30 Ideas for using Twitter for Business – Just in case you still weren’t sure

Old style business communication and marketing
Hastings, UK 
Getting started
1.  Sign up!
2.  Complete your user profile – we want to know who you are. Be interesting and keep it real.
3.  Add a photo/picture/avatar – keep in mind real people like to see real photos – if you’re just an egg it shows you don’t care so why will anyone else.
4.  Find similar businesses to follow – start developing your community – use Twitter search for followers.
5.  Twitter is a conversation – Listen to and Talk to people about THEIR interests.
6.  Be wary Twitter is not a forum for relentless sales people. If you’re  ALWAYS selling or Promoting just your stuff, people will turn off.  Strive for balance.  Understand Twitter is a long term marketing tool.
7.  Follow people/organisations not just in your sector, you can have non-business interests too – be well-rounded.
8.  If more than one person is tweeting on behalf of the business make sure there’s a  policy/understanding in place so there are boundaries and a shared purpose.
9.  Always keep in mind why you’re using Twitter and ensure it adds to your marketing strategy. Use some of the statistical tools available to make sure Twitter is worth the time (therefore money) input.
10. When online be engaged and be helpful.
How to Tweet
11. Have other members of your team tweet if possible. It’s nice to have variety and if it’s one person’s sole responsibility they may get fed up.
12. When promoting a blog post, directing people to a website etc, give a hint what it’s about – give your followers an indication as to why you bothered to write/post it so they can be bothered to follow your link.
13. Ask questions. Twitter is GREAT for getting opinions – people love to share their knowledge and give advice.
14. Follow people who have similar interests but go a step further and see who follows them – follow their followers.  Remember you can unfollow.
15. Re-Tweet (RT) other people’s Tweet. This probably won’t directly impact your business, but you’re seen as someone who shares. Commenting on others’ tweets, and retweeting what others have posted is a great way to build community.
16. Tweet when your audience is online.  The wee hours or weekend are quite often quieter times. Have a break!
17. When you DO talk about your stuff, make it useful/interesting/fun. Give advice, blog posts, pictures, etc.
18. Share the human face of your company. If you’re bothering to tweet, it means you believe social media has a value for connecting people. Be a “human” not a “robot”. Share some personal items but nothing private.  Also share links of interesting events/people/places in your community.
19. Don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back but do share your successes. Share other people’s triumphs as well. Be supportive.  Don’t single-mindedly tweet about you and your business – don’t be an ego maniac. Boring!
20. Point out things of interest things in your field.  Become an expert.  Also share links of interest about your community eg:  events/people.  Be real.
Tips for helping you manage Twitter
21. You don’t have to read every tweet.  If you want to get anything else done in a day, you can’t. And honestly, ALL Tweets are not the same.  Some of them aren’t incredibly interesting.
22. You don’t have to reply to every tweet directed to you – some are robot anyway. But its nice to respond to say a quick thank you
23. Use direct messages (DM) for 1-to-1 and private conversations.
24. Use services like Twitter Search to see if someone’s talking about you.
25. Use a Twitter management tool like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite These tools make it much easier to manage Twitter.
26. Don’t let Social media take over! Be prepared to miss stuff but the good stuff will come around again.
27. Use an URL shortening tool. It helps tidy up your tweets. (the facility is available directly on Hootsuite).  You can also track who follows your links.
28. If someone says you’re doing it wrong, forget it. There are no hard and fast rules for using Twitter. They can unfollow if you if they want.  However, if a lot of people say you’re doing it wrong, well then maybe it’s time to reconsider Twitter as a marketing tool or get someone else to do it for you.
29. Schedule Tweets! You don’t have to be glued to the screen.
30. You can tweet some of your tweets again.  Resend tweets out at different times of the day.  The Twitter audience fluctuates so new people can pick up your old tweets.  Don’t get too repetitive though.
Stopping now 🙂  There is more advice but this is already too much to remember. I’ll save a bit more for later.
One last point and it’s the big one.Top, number one rule (and I’ve said it before, yes, will say it again) always keep in mind when using any form of Social Media for business that:
“People do business with people they know 
and people they like”
 New style communication is on the Web
Hampshire, UK 
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My Insights on Social Media – after…..?! Years of Being Online

I said in a much (much) earlier entry, I didn’t expect to be giving out advice on a regular basis because: 1. there is a lot of that on the Internet already, 2. why would I expect you to listen to me, (if you know me you would!) and 3. it’s my objective and that of my small business to offer my clients practical help – the roll up one’s sleeves and get-on-with-it kind of help.  So I’m a doer not a teller.  But well, things change 🙂

After the rambling preamble, what you can expect from this blog, is a series of loose observations and some personal opinions with some nice photographs here and there.

Vancouver, British Columbia – 2005

Today I will be sharing a few insights that I have gained over the last few year as I have plunged into the world of “Social Media” primarily for business (business? That is so funny on reflection! It’s pretty personal now as well.):

1.   Social Media isn’t free.  Twitter, blogging, Flickr etc may be free applications but they have to be maintained and of course the old adage is true – Time = Money

2.   Social Media is a public forum.  Don’t say anything you’ll regret and keep this in mind triply if your using it for business.  I know many of you have been indulging in major sporting events and the festivals (it’s not just me), but I don’t want to know how much you drank to celebrate/commiserate and I really don’t want to know what intimate bits of you got sunburn!  Yes, maybe I’m old fashioned but these colourful insights will have an adverse effect on my opinion of you.  You maybe my colleague, my potential colleague but you are not my friend (yet).

3.   There is no excuse not to be polite.  Please and thanks yous don’t cost anything and you’ll cultivate a reputation for generosity, fair mindedness and integrity. When texting and Twittering, brevity is essential but being terse and rude isn’t acceptable. And yes, spelling counts!

Granada, Spain – 2008
4.   Don’t ask for favours from people (requests for links, referrals, reviews, etc) and then tell the person what to say.  Note the word favour! Keep in mind when you ask, that you might not actually know them all that well.  Social Media can engender feelings of rapport that may not be reciprocated.

5.  Remember you have real friends and real family members.  Texting, tweeting, making or taking phone calls, whatever is NOT acceptable when you are supposed to be spending quality time with live, present people who care about you.  Always use technology to support and enhance your life and business not as a social substitute.

An aside here, I have never understood in films/TV even real life, why people ALWAYS feel they have to answer the phone.  I have an answering machine that provides a very adequate messaging service.  Sometimes I’m busy and can’t deal with a call at that exact moment.  It may be that I’m not even necessarily busy.  I might be reading a book, in the shower, just back from a run and wanting a shower, anything.  When the phone goes and I don’t answer it, it’s simply because I’m not ready to have a chat.  I promise to get back to you asap.

Oh dear, my phone dilemma.  This is probably just me and my eccentricities 😦  Still I maintain that I’m in charge of my phone, not visa versa!

And finally,

6.  Always, always remember the key to using Social Media successfully, is to be yourself.  People do business with people they like.

Hope you found this helpful, I do try my best.

Right, now I’m off for a run now.  Don’t call I won’t answer.  After running, I really really do want that shower!

Later

J

Paris, France – 2007

10 (Plus 1) Random Golden Rules To keep in Mind When Using Social Media

Ta Dah!  An actual useful, “how to…” post.

The following list is a few choice tidbits on dealing with Social Media – focusing on Twitter and LinkedIn (I’m a long time non-fan of Facebook.  How much time do you have? Yes I’m there but not yet entirely comfortable.).  Of course accompanied by the usual disclaimer – “In my humble opinion the following is very good advice…”

1.  Remember it is a public forum.  “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, does not apply.

2.  Social Media is yet another tool and will not replace any of the tools you are currently using.  You will have to pick your demons carefully because you do not have the time to be brilliant on all platforms and you have to do them well. Choose wisely.

3.  LinkedIn – This social networking site is less about how many than about how good. You are expected to know your contacts and to be able to recommend them to others.  Remember people want to connect to you to use your reputation and access your contacts.

4.  Use LinkedIn to keep in touch.  Supposedly these are your most essential business colleagues.  Make sure they have your most up-to-date details.

5.  Consistency is king! If you use multiply forms of social media, say the same thing on all.

6.  Twitter might be a daft word and tweeting a seemingly frivolous activity.  Still, make an effort to be interesting, informative and real or no one worthwhile will follow you.

 7.  As much as possible (for your own sanity) try to use one social media platform to populate another.  Examples;  Tweet your latest (or relevant) blog posts on Twitter to drive traffic to your blog and website.  Use Tumblr to add content to your blog.  Post your Twitter on your website/LinkedIn. etc

8.  If you don’t want to tweet/blog/connect/follow and you still feel it is an integral part of your marketing plan (because it should be), hire someone else to do it. Delegating is OK, getting help to manage it better is OK too.

9.  THERE ARE NO OVERNIGHT SUCCESS STORIES!  Those people who say they made 3 million pounds in 18 months with their blog, yes they are trying to sell you something!

10.   If you decide Social Media doesn’t work for you, you really don’t have to stay.
How To Permanently Delete Your Account on Popular Websites – Here

Plus 1 – Finally – Always remember:

People do business with people they know and 
people they like!
So you are assured I don’t take myself too seriously:
Me as the reigning queen of Social Media
Surfer’s Paradise, Queensland, Australia – 2005

Following and Followers on Twitter – What’s the Big Deal?

Now this is the article where I show my true colours as a Social Media Heretic.  

I’ve written a number of articles about following on Twitter and you have asked me how to, why to and mostly what to do.  First off, please understand these are entirely my own opinions.  I don’t run a complicated stats package and I don’t use studies or fancy algorithms to back up my insight.  My Twitter advice comes from 20+ years working with people and establishing productive working relationships with them in the flesh and online. I do know what I’m doing.  I was manhandling online information before Twitter and before Mark Zuckerberg had any friends.

What you get from me is straight talking.

If you have read any of my previous articles, you’ll know that my advice is primarily aimed at small and medium business enterprises.  I want to help you develop and maintain an engaging, open and positive relationship with your clients.  All my advice is based on my mantra (yep here we go again):

 “People do business with people they know
and people they like.”

However, I’m not exclusive and any and all my advice can be taken on board by anyone.  It’s good stuff!

I probably spend more time on Twitter than most because I want to get under its’ skin and find out how it works for those of you in the real world.  It’s my job to sort it out Social Media for those of you who want to part-take but haven’t got the time or necessarily the inclination.  I would like you to be able to maximize your opportunities and enable you to use your time online productively.

“I like work; it fascinates me. 
I can sit and look at it for hours.”
Jerome K. Jerome
Not us though!
Paris, France – 2007

So back to being a Social Media Heretic. 

For SMEs (and most of us) I sincerely believe that it’s not about big numbers but quality numbers.  This is why I don’t adhere to the more is more plan of action. I don’t slavishly follow everyone who follows me. Honestly I don’t understand why some people do follow me.  They obviously haven’t read any of my tweets, visited this blog or gone to my website.  They usually leave before the week is out.  Yes, confession time here.  People leave me in droves!  OK a minor trickle, but it happens.

I don’t care. (OK it’s very nice to have loads and loads of followers.  I do enjoy having a fan club that may or may not listen to what I have to say.  I’m human, I want to be liked!)

What I do care about more is the people I follow.  And yes many followed me first and I liked what I saw and followed back. The others I discovered myself.  I’m choosy not a ego manic.

“Oh, but you’re so mean because that’s not very nice”, I hear you cry.  Not so.  I’m sure the other 189, 999,301 plus accounts on Twitter will find their own fans (in some cases I wish they would just go away but…).

Come on!  Who has the time? 

Really is it important to be followed by everyone including the cat’s brother?  Wouldn’t it be better to develop a solid core of interesting and engaged followers who actually know who you are?  People and businesses you can talk to/sell to/rely on/are interested in?  My answer is yes.  Your most effective use of Twitter is as an integrated part of your marketing scheme.  So use it to it’s best advantage to find your particular niche audience.

I say this because I feel that you must always keep in mind the “Social” aspect of Social Media and this require dialogue, interaction, exchange.  You know – being social. And yes, to use Twitter really effectively you have to do this.

Coffee or tea with chat works nicely too
Buonconvento, Italy – 2009

The formal lingo for developing a compatible/useful/involved following is called “Organic”.  Because it’s a selective process, takes a lot of time and yes you have to wade through some decomposing natural products to get there (nice euphemism eh?).

In the long run (and do keep in mind that all Social Media is for the long run, it’s not an over night quick fix), developing your home grown organic followership will be much more rewarding than 1,500,000 followers who only need you to make their numbers look good.

It’s not just a popularity contest.  Twitter is a business platform.  Seriously.

Hope this helps clear up a few things.  Any ideas, objections, insights……you know where I am.

Later

J

Welcome to the Twittersphere – Now What Do You Have to Say?

For business people Twitter represents a unique opportunity to communicate with others in a quick and engaging way.  The core challenge to every Tweeter is to find a distinctive and engaging voice that will enable them to connect to their audience.

The key to effective tweeting is to give people something they will value using a variety of tweets.  By being interesting/useful/insightful/attribute of choice, followers will be attracted.  They’ll want to find out more about you, get to know what else you have to offer, or even chat just to you.  All this activity will ultimately increase traffic to your website and increased awareness = more business.  All in all, good tweeting is good for business.

You!  Start talking!
Manchester, UK – Spring 2010

So now you’re using Twitter but what to say?  Are you new to Twitter or just suddenly become tongue tied?

Here are a few tips and suggestions on what to tweet to get you started or get you going:

1.  Give your audience cool stuff.  I’m sure you have come across a few wonders on your travels across the Internet.  If you get a bit stuck now and then, a short trip to Stumbleupon is always refreshing.  I’m never going to admit how many days I’ve lost wandering in that universe!

2.  People on Twitter love to chat. If you can’t think of anything to say ask questions – see what they want to talk about

3.  Retweet the stuff you receive that’s worth passing on.  This is also seen as a compliment to the original tweeter and you’ll be known as a collaborator and as someone who shares the good bits.  Retweeting what others have posted is a great way to build community.

4.  Sometimes they’re worth a 1000 words, so show a photo or two.  Your shop, your product, your great new haircut!

5.  Be sure not to talk relentlessly about work and your stuff.  Don’t be an ego maniac. Be human rather than a work drone and slightly go off piste. Be informal.  On Twitter you can talk about what interests you, engage in comment on politics (be mild though remember this is a very public forum), discuss movies, sports …..whatever!

6.  Do talk about yourself.  What you are doing/going to do/have done. When you do talk about your stuff, make it useful/interesting/fun. If you work in a team or have employees include them (of course with their knowledge and consent).   Let everyone know who is doing the 10 k run, who’s working on a new product, who is making the tea and coffee run this week.

7.  Send useful links and point out things of interest in your field.  Establish a reputation as an expert. 

8.  Send messages.  Chat to other people.  Stop with the monologue because people are on Twitter to talk and find out what’s going on.  So tell them!

9.  I’m sure you’re having a great time on Twitter but don’t forget about work completely. Broadcast your news!  Definitely use Twitter to promote your website and your blog.  When promoting a blog post or directing people to a website etc. give a hint what it’s about.  It’s very helpful to give your followers an indication as to why you bothered to write or post something.  Followers sometimes may need a nudge to go to your link.

10.  If you’re stuck, ask for help. Twitter is GREAT for getting advice because people love to share what they know and what they think.

11.  Really stuck for something to say?  Occasionally you can be profound or fun.  Send out an inspired quote or just a whimsical picture.  Remember what all work and no play did to Jack.

Just talking
Goa, India – November 2009

I hope these few suggestions will help you get started or get you out of that rut.  If you have any tips I haven’t mentioned, I’d love to hear from you.

Later

J

4 Simple and Free Apps to Keep Your Twitter Stream Troll Free, Interesting and Relevant

Some people care and others don’t about the quality of the people in their Twitter stream.  I think you should care, especially if you’re in business because it’s all about quality and not quantity ( I’ve said this before and will probably say it again), and who really has the time or the desire to follow trolls?

I find these apps help me maintain a vibrant, diverse and relevant Tweet Stream.  In just a few minutes a week, I can ensure the trolls are kept at bay.

I’m Not Letting You IN!
Manchester, UK

1.  Who Unfollowed Me – http://who.unfollowed.me/ – Find out quickly who unfollowed you.  I do this every week and this service is accurate and very straightforward.   If you are so inclined, you can unfollow those who unfollowed you immediately from this app.  I do, well unless they’re really interesting!

You can also find out what Tweeters aren’t following you and re-check who you aren’t following.  However, Who Unfollowed Me will only show you their avatar, so you will have to go to Twitter to find out more about them.

 2.  ManageFlitter – http://manageflitter.com/–  Quite similar to Who Unfollowed Me but different enough to be useful.  This app lets you know what Tweeters you follow that aren’t active.  A lot of people start with good intentions but then fade away.  I generally unfollow people if they have been inactive for over a month.

ManageFlitter will also let you know who isn’t following you back and how active they are – who tweets very little and who tweets too much. You will get more info on Tweeters from here, than just their avatar.  You get a short biography, a few details on their activity (how many tweets eg) and their last tweet.  If you choose to, you can unfollow them from here.

One minor glitch – if it tells you “No Tweet found”  – it’s not right.  This only happens sometimes, not quite sure why.

3.  Twit Block – http://twitblock.org/ – Essential for getting rid of nuisance accounts, spammers, junk Tweeters and the down right malicious!  Because all the good people are on Twitter the unsavory want to crash our party.  From here you can scan your followers, your friends  and even yourself.

Twit Block also lets you manage your Blocks.  I have blocked over 150 people in 2 years.  Mostly people who never tweeted or those that offer to provide services that frankly, creep me out.

Follow you?  Maybe Yes, Maybe No
Cornwall, UK

4.  Twit Cleaner – http://thetwitcleaner.com/ – This app analyses the tweeting behavior of the people you follow.  It assess how many times they RT, reply, use links and how varied their Twitter stream is. 

Some seemingly poor behaviour  isn’t always spammy behaviour.  For example, news sites and magazines don’t reply or RT a great deal.  Twit Clean provides you with the data so you can choose whether to unfollow or not.  I usually unfollow someone if their behaviour is dodgy and I can’t remember who they are!

These apps are all quick, easy and reliable.  And they are free but if you do like them and use them a lot, they always could use a donation.

Later

J

Happy Chilled out Twitter User 🙂

Please Stop Doing That #2 – What’s Driving Me Crazy About Your Twitter Stream

The use and abuse of the Twitter stream and what can be done about it. A few thoughts on doing better as it’s getting noisy out there and you’ll have more success if you shine than if you …… don’t.       

* Note:  As before I’m claiming some authority on this subject due to painstakingly acquired experience and years of geeky knowledge.  I’m trying to use my powers for good and point out a few possible foibles you may suffer from and to direct some people to the “naughty step” if I have to!

A (loose) dozen things to stop doing:

1.   Your stream is all about you!!!!!!!  Me, me, me and blah, blah, blah.  The absolutely key to an effective Social Media strategy is understanding it’s a communication tool and that communication needs to go both ways.

 2.  When you have NOTHING to say – you say it anyway.  Relentlessly.  Musing is fine, but endlessly pondering your navel is not OK.  Maybe you need to get out more?

3.   You don’t interact.  You never RT, you don’t re-share anyone else’s great stuff and if someone does share something you said you never say thank you.  Rude!  And you’re surprised no one wants to talk to you!!!!

Alone and wondering why?
Shropshire 2012

4.  You share nothing original and only RT.  Um…. your point?

5.  You know where I can get a free iPad.  Really!!!?  Aren’t we done with this one yet?

6. You’re still just talking about you.

7.  You promise me that if I follow you, you will teach me the secrets to finding 1,000,000 new followers.  Liar!  Almost as old and as bad as telling me I have a long lost uncle in the jungle and if I send you £250,00 to your Cayman Island bank account……

8. I don’t understand you.  Obviously you are 2G2BT but I 404 what you are saying so ,!!!!  

(the translation – Obviously you are to good to be true, but I don’t understand what you are saying, so talk to the hand)

9.  You tweet too much!  My Twitter stream is full of you.  Seriously, you do need to get out more.

10.  Um, it’s still just about you.  Yes, I’ve mentioned this before, TWICE!  It’s THAT irritating.

Be good and you can have cake!
Oxfordshire – 2011

11. You automate your tweets (I’m fine with that) but they all come at me one right after the other.  There’s no opportunity to see what could be of interest because it’s overwhelming and I’m off.

12  You’re always asking for stuff.  Please RT this, pass on that, my cat is swimming the channel for charity please sponsor him (10th time this year), donate to that, Does anyone have one of these (for free) ….. and so on.

OK done the rant now.  If anyone has any Twitter grievances I haven’t mentioned, please let me know.  We can commiserate together

Continuing my mission to make the Internet a more inviting place for humans.

Later

J

Relax
Reading, 2012

11 Tips on How to Find Your Essential People on Twitter

There are an overwhelming 500 million plus accounts on Twitter (not quite as scary as it sounds, as there is some debate on how many are active), but how do you choose who to follow?  If you’re not selective you can find yourself wading through a lot of dross to get to the good stuff (and sadly there is a lot of dross). Finding the right crowd is worth it because the better the quality and relevance of who you follow, the more value you will get out any time you spend on Twitter.

I know there are dozens of applications on offer that will find you the 1,000,000 people you must follow and in return they offer the 2,000,000 who will follow and hang on your every word. That is absolutely not where I am at.

I’m not into pointless extravagant numbers that you can’t really manage properly. I much prefer quality.  Big brands and big celebrities may have huge numbers but as a SME, I  feel it’s critical to know and understand the people you choose to follow.  You can and should use Twitter to promote and develop your product/service so you can increase your value to your existing clients and of course entice new clients; making them aware of your unique business propositions.

Collecting or choosing followers is also a time issue. Especially for the small business as you always have to keep in mind why you are spending your valuable time online. Can you really develop a responsive relationship with 1,000,000 followers if you aren’t the size of Coca Cola with a marketing budget the size of the GDP of a developing nation?   It’s probably not feasible. Also, really ask yourself do you want to!

Time – there’s only so much of it
St Pancras, London, UK – September 2007

If you manage a SME, then Social Media is an essential part of your marketing and communications strategy but not your core business. so quality will trump quantity every time.  Follow people you are genuinely interested in, who you like and who will be of use to you. Then remember to involve the people you follow, and not neglect them.  Twitter is a great  opportunity for you to create a vibrant, closely-knit community in your particular niche.

If you’re like me and want to develop better business relationships then you want to engage and be engaged by Twitter. So be choosy!  To help you get started here are a few of my finely tuned selection habits:

1.  A really easy idea – I already connect to you in the ether by LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace (they’re still around and rumours of a comeback!), Email, Blog etc etc.  If we’re already speaking in another part of the Internet, why not talk on Twitter too?

2.   I met you live and in person and:
              – I liked you, or
              – I feel at some point we could make beautiful music together
                i.e. do business.

3.  You followed me on Twitter so I checked you out and you appear to be real (not a nasty bot) and have something worthwhile to say – at least occasionally.  On Twitter I don’t expect every tweet to be oozing with profound insight, there is a lot of scope for frivolity.  But please do come prepared to partake in the “conversation”

4.  I actually used Twitter’s homegrown tool to find people I am am interested in.  Too easy that one eh?

5.  I followed your blog or landed on your website – liked what I saw, so decided to follow you on Twitter.

6.  My friends are noted for their impeccable taste so I (mostly) trust their recommendations.  As my Twitter friends/followers are also carefully selected and scrutinized, I’ll also follow Tweeters who they think are the “bee’s knees”.

Do they have knees?
Church Stretton, UK – August 2010

7. You’re Stephen Fry.  Sorry, I just can’t help myself!

8.  I came across your name somewhere in the physical world i.e. not on the Internet.  I believe this does happen occasionally 🙂  In order to keep in touch with “reality”, I unplug every once in a while and have been know to read an actual newspaper!

9.  Serendipity.  Don’t remember how we found each other but obviously it’s meant to be.  Not the greatest tip ever but true.

10.  You’re the famous/legendary/earth-bound authority/expert on a subject I’m very interested in.  You’re “The One”.  I want to pick your brain and learn from you.

11.  You’re a client and I taught you everything you know so now I have to keep an eye on you!

However, overall caveat – just because I start to follow you doesn’t mean I’ll stay. To keep my attention – keep it interesting and keep it real and I’m there for the long haul. Start committing Twitter misdemeanors and I’ll be off.

I’m a bit of a organising freak (um enthusiast) so do a radical review of my Twitter list every so often.  Hey people change even online and so do I.  A clear out is essential so you can get the most out of your world online.

I hope these tips help and if you have any other tips, please share.

Later

J

Don’t Blog – Tweet – Post – Facebook This – The List

Seems a bit ridiculous to say this as we’re all chatting away happily being oh so friendly, but sometimes it’s a good idea to remind oneself of the really obvious.
Although it’s very tempting and it’s so easy to do, there are some things you shouldn’t say using Social Media (probably shouldn’t even say any of these at all, in any format).  Because, ALWAYS  remember once you put it out there, there it is
FOREVER!
1.  Don’t complain about your customers on Twitter. They are listening. Very silly to have a moan because if you’re Tweeting/Google+ing/Facebooking for business, you’re really hoping they are paying attention!
2.  Anything defamatory – you can get sued.  Remember to be nice or leave.  Because if what you say is really bad, well then they can make you pay.
3.  Money stuff – What you make, what you spend, where you bank etc.  Why don’t you just give us access to your money?  Some unscrupulous fellow would love to collect these tidbits about you, eventually getting the whole picture.
4.  In business disclosing conflicts of interest. Do you want to stay in business? And why did you get involved if there was a conflict anyway?  What kind of business are you running?!
5.  Your schedule.  Yes, let the burglars know the best times to break in.  They wouldn’t want to be disturbed.
Be savvy and sharp and keep your followers
Vancouver, British Columbia – 2011
6.  Other people’s stuff (unless it’s really relevant to you and you have asked permission) – it’s not your news to share.
7.  Too many details about your kids.  Include them yes, but be prudent.
8.  Don’t get defensive about negative criticism of your company or products. Deal with any complaints more appropriately.
9.  Don’t share anything people can use against you because someone might and you, the Bozo, gave them the ammunition!
10. That you’re having an affair, think about having an affair, know some else who is or is thinking about it. Same for embezzling, stealing a car, working on your own version of the Italian Job etc.
11.  The online world doesn’t need to know if you have a problem with a coworker or your boss.  Be a grown up and deal with them directly.
12. Don’t spam your friends and followers.  Actually, don’t spam anyone!
13. Bodily functions – why would we want to know?
14. Family dramas. It’s not just about you and it’s really not our business.
15. How much you can drink or did drink – same for drugs.
16. That you are planning to lie to someone/ take a sick day/ do anything really stupid that will adversely effect your reputation. Seriously are you 5?
Show a little respect and love online
Vancouver, British Columbia – 2011
17. Hint at your passwords.  You never know who’s paying attention.
18. Spread insults, lies, and rumors about friends, family or colleagues.  If you wouldn’t say it to their face don’t say it at all.
19. Tell the world you’re going on holiday. Brag about it when you get back instead. Oh and post up a few pics 🙂
Don’t think hiding behind a cleverly named anonymous avatar makes any of the above OK.  What goes around does come around.  Just you wait.
Even after all this, I’m sure you’ll find something fascinating to share online.
Keep smart and keep safe.
And keep your friends, family and followers!
Later
J

Choosing Wisely – The 5 Most Effective Social Media Platforms For Small Businesses

Social Media is a band wagon we’ve all jumped on because you can’t miss out on an opportunity to promote your business and engage with your customers.
Time and money are always issues when managing small and medium enterprises, which means the cliche “work smarter not harder”,  is more true.  When it comes social media, you’ll have to develop some smart tactics, because it’s not “an instead of”,  it’s an “as well as”.  You’ll need to add social media to whatever other marketing strategies you currently have.
But honestly who has time to do it all?  Don’t worry, you don’t need to. You just have to choose your “demons” carefully and wisely.  And there are a lot of “demons”. Just take a quick look at the latest list of social media networks from Wikipedia. Don’t despair.  You don’t need them all.
Get people knocking at your door
with an integrated Social Media strategy
Malta – 2004

Here are my top five. All – you still have to choose – essential to any SME’s marketing arsenal.

1.  Obvious first choice is  your website – Top of the list because everyone has one now so you have too.   It’s practically prehistoric not to have one.  Your website is your big “Hello, I’m over here. Nice to meet you. Let’s do business”.  You’ll use all other social media applications to drive traffic to your website and therefore to you.

2.  Second contender is Twitter because it’s a easy platform to use (a bit harder to use well and do make the effort). It’s extremely flexible as you can tweet when you have time and you don’t have to commit huge chucks of time to it.  Tweeting can be done as and when necessary – but of course consistently and with purpose. 
You can also automate tweets but do be careful not to alienate your clientele.
You can get up and running with a Twitter account relatively quickly. Be sure to use a Twitter management system to optimize your account. My preference is Hootsuite (primarily for its mobility as it’s a web based application).  Tweetdeck and Seesmic are other options.
3.   Your blog. These are an excellent marketing tool because you can describe your product and services (or whatever you wish) in greater depth. A blog will take more effort on your part to develop and will take a longer time to find its audience.4.  Google+.  My new favourite place.  Brilliant for us organised types who love to put things into boxes (or Circles) and it’s great for finding people/groups with similar interests.  Personally I love its visual nature.  I can see interesting (or not so interesting) posts from my contacts and make immediate decisions about what to do next with minimal effort.

Use Social Media effectively
to bring people to your door
Lille, France – 2008
5.  Facebook BUSINESS page – I emphasize Business Page as Profiles are for people and not designed for promoting businesses.   Please stop using your personal for your business.  I’m one of those people who keep my personal and business Facebook pages separate.  If you don’t use Business pages, I won’t “Like” you.  I’m not alone.

  I’ve recently moved away Facebook as there are serious concerns about this platform. Also there is only so much time and time spent on Facebook for me isn’t as valuable as time spent elsewhere.

The good news is you can often feed one Social Media tool into another.  The more you link up your resources the tighter and more effective your presence on the Internet will be.

For example – You can feed your website and blog links and your news into Facebook, but don’t include your Twitter feed.  Facebook is for longer, less frequent articles and people are put off being bombarded with tweets, which should be more prolific.  Tweets are very much the advertising/announcement of “it’s happening now”.   Facebook links have a longer lifespan and people will spend more time reading these pages.  Your Business page will take longer to find and establish its audience than your Twitter following. BUT (big but) be careful not to be overly repetitive.  Repeat some of your content across your Social Media platforms BUT ensure you offer something unique in each place.
Final note – it’s worth investing some time in establishing your branding and ensuring that your identity is coherent and homogeneous; making social media a part of your complete package.
This is more than enough to get you started.
Good luck
J