Last Friday, I was asked to sit on a panel to discuss social media at the Fair Media Council's first New Jersey Media Connection Day. I joined Noah Gurock, Web & Enterprise Manager for WWOR-TV (My 9), Frank Burgos, Managing Editor of NorthJersey.com and The Record, and David Mathison, media expert and founder of BeTheMedia.com.
While the topic of social media encompasses a broad range of online platforms and practices, the questions naturally gravitated toward Twitter and Facebook. The majority of attendees were in advertising and public relations and trying to figure out how to use the 2 online networks to either promote their business or clients.
While it may seem that all you need to do is start posting Tweets and Wall posts for people to start noticing your message, there is a lot more on and offline planning that needs to be done in order to make social media work for your marketing efforts.
Here are 5 tips to consider about Twitter:
- Is your message relevant? Before you tweet, ask yourself if your post is news-worthy or if it has a personal interest story that would connect with the general public? Make a list of story topics or announcements that you'd like to promote and see if you can tweak the wording to appeal to the public.
- Know your audience. We all start with 0 following and 0 followers on Twitter, but who you follow should be as deliberate as who you choose for your direct mail and email marketing list. If your client is in the medical field, then look for people who would fall into that interest category. If they have a 1:1 Twitter ratio (followers : following) then they're more likely to follow you back. Once you have a few dozen followers, then start interacting. Start tweeting your message, but also respond to or re-tweet other posts.
- Find your audience. So, you need to find people with similar interests but where do you begin? If you want to reach celebrities or people or influence, check out Twitterholic.com. This site ranks the top Twitter users based on number of followers. If you're looking for people who share a similar interest to your business or client, then check out Twellow.com (kind of like Twitter Yellow Pages) and WeFollow.com (Twitter users listed by category).
- Use Twitter for research. If you're using Twitter to promote your client, then you're most likely sending press releases to the media, experts in the field and bloggers too. Use Twitter to find your contacts. Check out their websites and see if there might be potential for introducing your client. Don't expect all bloggers you contact to be interested or even have the time to address your request, but if you're able to get coverage from 1 or a few, then that's better than none (tidbit: reach out to bloggers the same way you would pitch an editor or reporter...but that's a topic for another post). You can also use Twitter as a way to find members of the print and television news media. Sometimes sending a message through Twitter is easier than trying to reach them by phone or email.
- Decide if you have time or resources for Twitter. If you are ready to take the next step and start a Twitter account, then you need to set aside time in your day to use it. Or if you don't have the time, then designate someone as your social media contact or hire someone (if you have the money). Once you have the account set up and ready to go, then set up time in the day for use, just as you would set aside time for making phone calls, responding to emails or doing administrative tasks. You don't need to spend a long time online-just 15 minutes, 2-3 times a day. To be truly effective with Twitter, you need to use it as a conversation tool and not just a platform to post links and tweets. You need to spend time to respond to people and to reach out to make connections.
If you have questions about using Twitter or would like to set up an appointment to discuss your interest in designing a social media marketing plan, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can also address quick questions through Twitter at @MrsMoNJ or @NJMyWay.