How to Effectively Use Twitter for Your Business

how to use twitter for business

Media Bistro says 33 percent of the 200 million Twitter users follow at least one brand, and the top reason they follow brands, which could include your small business, is because they want discounts and deals, updates, exclusive content and customer service. Yet Forbes.com reports more than 60 percent of businesses surveyed who use social media including Twitter report no return on investment. Why aren’t the sellers-of-stuff reaching the buyers-of-stuff? They’re not using the tool properly.

How Consumers Use Twitter

Twitter users connect with the world by following people, which means other Twitter users who have @ before their Twitter handles, as in @BarackObama, @cnnbrk (CNN Breaking News), @Bill Gates, etc.

They create lists of the people they follow and group them into categories, as in friends, celebrities, news organizations, funny people and so on. Those lists can be made public to the people who follow them, or they may be kept private. The advantage of sharing lists is you can filter out noise you don’t want to read, and zoom in on the people who interest you.

Users also follow conversations, which appear as hastags, as in #superbowl, #iphone, #usingmyimagination, and #breakingbad.

Bottom line: People use @ to follow people and organizations, and # to follow conversations.

How Businesses Use Twitter

As a small business, you probably already know your customers, their demographics and their buying habits. But do you know what they talk about? Do you know what problems they have? Do you know what makes them happy or really ticks them off? Find out what your customers talk about, and use a reliable connection such as InternetProviders.com to get in those conversations.

Let’s say you’re a flower shop with five locations, and you live in a large city such as Minneapolis or San Diego. You will follow your competitors, hotel chains, funeral homes, large corporations, local media and your own customers — and maybe they’ll follow you, too. What do most of your competitors Tweet? Here’s a sampling of a florist in San Diego who has posted nothing but self-promotions in the previous seven Tweets:

twitter for business thread

Here is a Minneapolis-based florist who posts Tweets that tell stories:

twitter for business thread

Take a page from Chez Bloom’s book (or petal from her flower?) While Allen’s Flowers repeatedly says “Buy stuff,” Chez Bloom tells stories. She helped stage a home, she piqued interest with the man-eating flower, and she helped promote a farmers market.

Bottom line: Get into conversations.

How Much Should I Tweet?

Three to five times a day? What?

Calm down. It’s not that difficult. First, you’ll use Twitter’s tool to allow you to see what’s trending in your local area. Get in those conversations.

Next, you’ll look into software that allows you to schedule Tweets out. SocialTimes.com lists 10 apps that will help you do that.

Lastly, you’ll hire an intern. Hire a college kid to do it for you, especially if he or she already has 10,000 followers (that’s a lot — be impressed.) The student will love to get paid to be on social media, and he or she can do your Tweeting on a flexible schedule.

how to use twitter for business

Nikki Siebel’s a native Oregonian who launched her own social media consulting business after baby No. 2 came along (baby No. 3 is on her way, and there will be no baby No. 4).

Brand Conversations: Not Just On Your Twitter Feed

social media marketing

Are you in charge of running a company’s social media campaign? If so, you know that your brand receives all kinds of feedback from followers on social media.

In day-to-day monitoring and community management, social media managers are faced with both positive and negative mentions about their brands. From complimentary praise to harmful attack, social media feeds reflect what people think, feel and write about brands and products.

For marketers, this is of top concern. They should be aware of how their brand is being perceived. The three Cs for marketing teams are Content, Conversations and Community. How is the brand developing content? How are marketing teams leading and responding to brand conversations? What’s the community vibe of a particular product and brand?

Dedicated Twitter feeds, like the Twitter stream of iAcquire NYC, are growing in practice; Facebook pages are optimizing the use of social opt-ins and digital marketing firms are selling social services to clients across the entire online spectrum.

But it’s not the only thing. Where’s the conversation about your company happening? It isn’t just on your social media stream. It’s happening in forums, online webinars, LinkedIn chains, street level marketing events and brand-sponsored tours. How can brands utilize these areas to drive partnerships, bring in new customers and offer up new branding opportunities? Let’s take a look:

Buzz Marketing (aka Word of Mouth Marketing)

As Forbes rightly points out, word of mouth marketing just keeps getting better. Why? It’s a sign that a company is doing something right, and many people are driven to want its product or service. Brands can use teaser and buzz marketing campaigns to build conversations around some of their customers’ best testimonials. For years TV ad campaigns have used customer testimonials. More recently, there are buzzworthy tee-shirt campaigns in urban centers, delivering messages (and sometime free swag) to passers-by.

Street Marketing

Consumer brands should look to street marketing activities for many of their offline campaigns. They can set up booths at city festivals, sponsor local industry functions, and align themselves with local non-profits or worthy causes to boost their community partnership standing.

Marketing Forums

Marketing leaders on all fronts should follow industry insights to benefit their daily roles. LinkedIn hosts a number of industry forums to follow, as do local professional associations. Global and international associations have forums worth following, too.

TV Advertising

A great TV campaign can spark online and offline conversations about your brand. A great product, along with a great message, good timing and a link to the current cultural zeitgeist will help any TV ad campaign. From “Where’s the Beef’ years ago to the best TV ads of 2013, great TV ads can capture a brand’s audience and get them talking about and engaging with the brand. TV ain’t dead yet.

Industry Webinars

Marketers can learn a lot from hosting, sponsoring and participating in online webinars. Direct feedback from customers, competitors, and potential new business partners is invaluable to marketing teams. The key to making a webinar valuable is understanding essential industry topics that need further discussion. If your timing is right, then your webinar can have long-lasting benefits. Set it up with a provocative title, invite the best marketers, and host it with one of these top webinar platforms.

Once marketers spend some time off Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, they may find there is another, sometime deeper, discussion taking place. Online and off, it’s time to manage the discussion of your brand, with the audience that suits your company best.

big data

Guest post by Lucy Kim. Lucy is a mom and avid environmentalist who runs a social media company from her home.

Big Data and the Future of Digital Marketing

marketing big data

It’s no secret that the world of marketing has become increasingly sophisticated in the ever-evolving world of digital media. This new complexity is derived from marketing data becoming exponentially more massive and fueled by today’s discerning, fluctuating consumer base. Big data is here, and it’s changing everything.

What is Big Data?

We produce and consume roughly 2.5 quintillion bytes of data daily, and 90 percent of the world’s data has been generated in the past two years alone, according to IBM. Whether we like it or not, all of the data we’re dealing with and managing in the web marketing space is big data. In a nutshell, big data is information that is gathered from social media, GPS, photo sites and general Internet browsing — pretty much anywhere that thousands of users congregate to post and download information produces massive data sets referred to as big data.

Big Data: The Future of Marketing

Five years ago, the idea of web marketers leveraging big data to deepen their understanding of potential customers was laughable. The cost alone of backing up terabytes upon terabytes of marketing data on a daily basis was almost overwhelming. But now with the advances of storage, managing big data in the marketing environment is easier than ever. Many companies are taking advantage of online backup comparison sites that help ensure realistic and affordable prices for online data storage.

Beyond the lowered cost of managing big data, big data-centric social businesses have received a lot of interest from investors over the past few years. Many of these social businesses — Facebook, LinkedIn, Vitrue, Buddy Media, etc — are all resources that marketers use on a daily basis. This is all outstanding news for the marketing community. Never before in advertising and marketing have millions upon millions of users all congregated in the same place. But the big problem with this social business trend, according to Business Insider, is a lack of effective measurement.

This is where big data analytics come into play. It allows marketers to gain sophisticated data on millions of users and social impressions in a single, unified big data analytics dashboard.

Big Data in Healthcare

One of the major industries benefiting from big data technology is healthcare. Big data technologies are making it easier for healthcare professionals to manage data that both helps increase the efficiency of mission-critical healthcare processes and makes it easier to help patients of all kinds. With the right systems in place, healthcare facilities can easily understand and deliver data to patients and other professionals throughout the facility. Big data streamlines these healthcare processes through a combination of virtual administrative assistants (not unlike Apple’s Siri), data mining and analysis, data collection and market analysis, as TechTarget notes.

Big Data in the Entertainment Industry

Big data is even reaching its way into the marketing sector of the entertainment industry. Take the film industry for instance. The film industry needs to embrace this new era of big data to keep up with the growing demands of tomorrow’s moviegoers, opines Steve Canepa on Business Insider. This idea of big data and entertainment industry marketing even trickles down to the video game industry. As more games become social and rely on sophisticated user data, the only way to keep up is through the use of big data technologies.

big data

Guest post by Sarah Phelan, everyone’s favorite IT gal. She does tech reviews on the latest in virus protection software and web hosting.

SEO Case Study: Content is NOT King

content is not king

The prospect wanted to go after the key phrase “corporate wellness Michigan”.

They had their heart set on this term. Now, this was not really based in any kind of keyword research they had done. They were in the corporate wellness business and, by golly, they wanted to dominate the search results for corporate wellness in Michigan. Their logic was sound.

They said they had been trying to rank for this term for about 6-7 months, and they were stuck at page 3. They had all sorts of content in their website. The term “corporate wellness” was woven throughout. Yet for some reason they just were not able to get pass the top of page 3.

So we conducted a little experiment!

The prospect contacted us on a Thursday and by Friday we had decided we were going to try this experiment, so we bought a domain. The domain we purchased was not even an exact match domain (EMD). We went with “corporate wellness”, then put the little “MI” in front of it so it read “micorporatewellness.com”.

Next, we stood a few things on the page. Not a lot of content, mind you; a page title, a sentence or two, an image and a link.  “Corporate Wellness Michigan” is the title for this particular page. We placed it in the title and meta tags. We were even bold enough here in this case to say, “Dear Prospect, you want to rank for this? Please click here.” After that, we pointed a couple links (literally, two) back at this very fresh domain.

Ranking Corporate Wellness Michigan

Turns out, we were able to rank this site by day six.

corporate wellness michigan day 6

All we did is buy a domain, stand up a barebones site, put a couple backlinks facing it, and by day six we had this brand new website on the first page of Google. Not too shabby.

And two weeks later? We were at the top of the search results!

corporate wellness michigan week 2

Keep in mind, nothing changed at this page since the day we built it. We never added any more links going back to it. Yet there it was, on the top of the rankings for those statewide state results. The same search this prospect could not attain on their own, even after six months of trying.

Want to see the page? (You probably want to see the page.) Here it is.

corporate wellness michigan page

This single page is the whole site. That’s it.

So, you know the whole notion that content is king? And how, in order to build up an authority site, you must produce reams and reams of blog posts, each thousands of words long, and they have to be so captivating that people will link to you naturally and (blah, blah, blah)—all the junk we been hearing ever since the Panda and Penguin updates from back in 2012?

It’s junk.

Content is NOT king, folks.

Content helps, especially on the long game (this experiment was a very short game we played) where it’s important to keep people at your site. You eventually want to show that people are staying on your page. Google likes pages that are sticky. With good content, people tend to stay at a website longer and when they linger longer, your bounce rate decreases and your page views increase. Google uses these metrics as social proof by which to weigh the value of your website, so—at some point—you’ll want high quality content on your website.

Again, if we wanted to keep this domain and really turn it into authority-ranked site, we would want to do something more to the site to build it out, but this was just an experiment. Do we have any desire to keep it and build it into authority-ranked site? No, not really. Not unless something happens along the way; maybe the prospect wants to buy this?  For now, it’s just an experiment to boast about and to use as a lesson.

Note: In this case, in this niche, competition was not terribly strong.  We saw things like indeed.com showing on the top of this search results. Usually when you see job sites coming up at the top for search results (when you weren’t searching for jobs,) what you’re seeing is Google not knowing what else to put up there, so it begins filling in the blanks.

P.S.- “Corporate wellness Michigan” was not a well-loved search term to begin with, so the notion that the prospect could not rank for this within six months? They simply did not know what to do. This is why they came to us.

So you there you have it, folks. I hope you enjoyed this presentation! Have questions? Leave them in the comments.

Want more leads through your website? Fill out our SEO questionnaire.

Writing and Buying Articles: Is iWriter Right For You?

marketing ideas iWriter review

If you have a blog online, you need articles to ensure the success of your blog. If you want to make extra money online, then writing articles for other people is an excellent way to get money quickly. An online writing service called iWriter caters to both people wanting articles written and people wanting to write articles. But is iWriter right for you?

online writing

For People Who Want to Buy Articles

If you need articles written for you, then iWriter can definitely be your best friend. There are not too many downsides for people requesting articles.

Personally, I have not seen anywhere else who offers articles as economically as iWriter. You can get a 500-word article for as low as three dollars. That is cheap!

However, the cheapest articles are written by the most nubile writers. Most of these writers have been negatively rated by other people buying articles, or they are just starting out on iWriter. Obviously, if you get someone who is just starting out, you could end up with a really great writer at a really low price, however you are rolling the dice here because most the writers in the basic category are not excellent writers. More like “writers in waiting.”

The great news is—if you’re willing to spend a few more bucks—your article will only be seen by the top writers on iWriter (the ones who have been consistently rated as “premium” writers.) There are some really talented writers in the 4-stars-and-up group, and there are even more masterful writers in the elite group. These folks will cost you twice as much, but that is still a cheaper price than any other article-buying site once you figure in your time to rewrite that pathetic little article you got on the cheap.

You Choose The Articles You Want

You get to dictate what kind of article you want, what keywords you want in the article, what your article purpose is for and any other instructions at you want to include. This can take a few minutes, but it helps you get an article that meets your needs.

No matter who writes your article, you can choose to accept it or to reject it after you see the full article. This is quite unique to iWriter. Other article buying sites only allow you to see part of the article before you decide to buy it, to hedge against plagiarism.

One of the great features of iWriter is that you can send your requests to specific writers. This means once you find that excellent writer, you can specifically request them for every future article. A huge time saver!

Even though iWriter’s focus is articles, you can also get e-books and article rewrites done. Again, buying e-books on iWriter is much cheaper than buying e-books anywhere else. However, as of now, there is not much formatting the writers can do. Authors can write the content for you, but you will still need to format the book. Still, this can save you hours and hours of writing if you want to create a report or e-book.

Is iWriter Worth It For Requesters?

Absolutely. If you can find yourself in elite writer who understands what you want in an article, you are set. You’ll be paying less than most people on the Internet for content that is just as good.

And of course, if you simply want a deluge of almost-readable articles stuffed full with keywords for SEO purposes, then there is no other place like iWriter to get articles. You can buy hundreds of articles from basic writers at a very low cost.

»Visit iWriter.com

online writing

For the People Who Want to Write Articles

If your intention is to make some extra money writing articles, then iWriter can be a great option for you, depending on how well you write. Writers do have slightly fewer perks than requesters, however. First, the good news:

The Plus Side to Writing for iWriter

Once you become an elite writer, you can choose to write any article you want. Every day there are hundreds of articles available for you to write. In fact, you will notice there are new requesters almost everyday because iWriter is growing at such a rapid pace. (Good news for writers!)

This means your income potential is only limited to how much, how quickly, and how professionally you can write. If you have a good grasp on the English language and can write quickly, you can potentially make a full-time living off iWriter.

If you impress enough requesters, you will never be short of work.

Requesters are able to choose their favorite writers, so you can easily become a favorite writer of many requesters and therefore always have work available and (as a bonus) earn more money.

You earn a percentage of each article you write. As of the time of this article, iWriter takes 29% of the total cost of the article. This means if you’re writing a 700 word article, the cost to the requester five dollars and you, as a basic writer, will earn $4.05. However, if you get a personal request to write the article, then you earn another 5% of the total price paid. Therefore, getting people to request you definitely works in your favor over the long run.

As a writer, you also earn extra money through tips. When a requester accepts the article, they have a choice to tip. If you can find generous requesters, tips help supplement your income.

The Downside of Writing for iWriter

Let’s face it; rejection sucks. At iWriter, requesters can reject your article without reason. If you are someone who takes an hour or longer to write an article, this can greatly affect the amount of money you make. Wasting an hour or two on an article that doesn’t earn you any money can really chew glass. However, if you own other blogs, you may be able to repurpose those rejected articles, or try sell your rejected articles at other places such as Constant Content.

For writers, probably one of the largest drawbacks of iWriter is the effort required to get yourself upgraded to elite status. Currently, you must write 30 articles at a basic level before you are allowed to move up to premium or elite status. If you write slowly (but you are a good writer) this can require saint-like patience. Nobody wants to earn a few bucks for a lot of work. The two ways to get through this seasoning period? Focus on the light at the end of the tunnel and choose to write longer articles (which earn you more money.)

The other drawback is that you are graded on a five-star system. Requesters give you a star rating when they accept or reject your article, and this can greatly influence the amount of money you make. A basic writer is one who receives an average of 4 stars or less. A premium writer has an average of 4-4.6 stars. And an elite writer has an average of more than 4.6 stars.

While most requesters rate you fairly, there are many who may give you 4 stars for no apparent reason. Understandably, this can become very frustrating when you are trying to work your way up to elite status.

Is iWriter Worth It for Writers?

It can be. If you

  • can work yourself up to an elite status,
  • have good research skills or knowledge to write from,
  • have people who request articles from you, and
  • can produce an article with an hour,

then iWriter can be an excellent place to earn a part-time or full-time income from!

»Visit iWriter.com