You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Twitter’ tag.

Dear #hashtag user,

I’ve noticed recently that you are quite the fan of this clever linking device. However, I think that you misunderstood its purpose of functionality. You see, the hashtag was created as a method to “tag” tweets, essentially adding organization to the clutter that consumes the Twitter-sphere.

For example, if I were hoping to connect with people in the fashion industry, I could search #fashion and, immediately, thousands of tweets would show up that include the same hashtag. By searching #Obamacare, I can access the opinion and news results of all who are discussing the controversial matter.

Upon conception, the hashtag was (and still is) a brilliant piece of digital creation.

However, I have noticed that you, Mr./Mrs. hashtag user, have used this tool completely out of context. The hashtag is no longer a method of organization, but is now a form of language that is substituting complete thoughts.

Examples include:

“Looking forward to my trip to the Bahamas. Is Friday here yet!? #excited #cantwait”

or

“This weather is killing me! All I want to do it go for a run, but I can’t in this rain. #RainRainGoAway”

What, on Earth, has the use of these hashtags accomplished? Personally, I am a fan of how GIZMODO phrased its frustration, stating, “But at their most annoying, the colloquial hashtag has burst out of its use as a sorting tool and become a linguistic tumor—a tic more irritating than any banal link or lazy image meme.”

Now, I’m not calling you lazy. No, this annoying use of the English language is not lazy. However, these simple misapplications of a hashtag have turned into a much larger infraction.

Recently, you have begun using hashtags as a way to self promote, hoping that the more hashtags you use in a post, the more likely you will acquire new followers. Your thought is similar to the practices of SEO – use key words and hopefully show up in search results.

A word to the wise? When you do this – people like me will ignore your post completely.

photo copy copy

This is merely a desperate attempt at being seen. Seriously? How many people are searching the hashtags #orange or #thegreatpumpkin?

So, I beg of you, Mr. or Mrs. hashtag user. Think before you # it.

Don’t believe me? Then check out this video of Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon. They have no qualms about showing you how stupid you sound when misusing hashtags.

Advertisements

I have been a mobile customer with Sprint for the past five years. As a college graduate with only $200 to my name, I was enticed by the cheap plans that promised unlimited data and text messaging. Yes, that meant unlimited Facebook and YouTube access for approximately half of the cost that Verizon or AT&T could promise.

Then, to make things even better, Sprint announced that it would be the main sponsor of NASCAR {Insert redneck jokes here.} According to Sprint, there would be a ton of perks as a mobile customer if you were a NASCAR fan: exclusive content in related apps, behind the scenes action, and improved mobile service while at the track.

So, while I have not always been pleased with the service or data speeds that Sprint can provide – I have stuck by their side.

However, there has recently been a constant debate in my household as we plan to finally merge our cell phone plans onto one family plan: Which is better – Sprint or Verizon?

There’s no doubt that Verizon has faster data and better service, but you simply can’t rule out the competitive pricing of Sprint or the NASCAR partnership. (Seriously, I can hear the redneck jokes from here…)

So, how did we solve the debate? Simply put: the customer service I received or didn’t receive via Twitter.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Sprint Cup race in Bristol. With around 100,000 race fans in attendance, it’s doesn’t surprise me if I can’t get service on my phone, even if Sprint tells me I should. However, when I looked over at my friends phone to see that their Verizon service was running just as strong as ever, I became instantly frustrated with Sprint. My reaction? I did what any civil 20 something would do and I tweeted about it.

Sprint Customer Service

Now, let me tell you why this response only infuriated me.

1. It was sent to me the next day – when the race was over and I was home.

2. Sprint is the main sponsor of NASCAR! The events that they put their name on is part of a multi-billion dollar sports industry. So, how on earth would somebody responding to me via Twitter have absolutely NO idea where Bristol is located?

OK, now that I got that out of my system. Let me share with you the response that Verizon provided another day or two later.

Verizon Customer Service

While I admit that the response is less than clever – it is still a response. It shows that Verizon not only monitors the conversation that people are having directly with the brand – it is also listening to what others are saying. If nothing else, Verizon took an opportunity of frustration and turned it into a time of research.

I inevitably clicked that link. And because of that, I will inevitably switch my service to Verizon.

So, who still says social media is stupid? Because, for Verizon, a simple tweet that took 30 seconds to write earned them a new customer.

Seriously, Sprint, share your marketing plan with the rest of your company.

I’m always on the look-out for smart brands. Brands that bring something new to the table or brands that do an amazing job engaging their Zealots. When I first stumbled upon Warby Parker I knew they were someone to take note of.

What’s Warby Parker?
HTOWP is a vintage-inspired eyeglass company based in New York City, known for their online sales program. While selling eyeglasses online doesn’t seem like the smartest business model, WP has thought it through. As a potential costumer, you simply pick out 5 of your favorite frames and WP ships them to your home for free. Your instructions? Wear one pair each day so the people who see you the most can give you feedback. Then, pack all 5 frames in the box and mail them back – shipping covered by WP. If you found a pair you like, simply order that frame with your prescription and the glasses will be custom-made for you. Sounds like a pretty pricey product, right? Not at all. Each complete pair of glasses costs $95. Plus, for each pair purchased, one is donated to someone in-need. Talk about making your customers feel good!

Get Social
Warby Parker has a strong social presence – both on and offline. When WP sends your Home Try-On kit, you’re encouraged to share pictures on the Warby Parker Eyewear Facebook Page. So not only can you to get feedback from your friends, but you can get feedback from the WP community as well.

Screen Shot 2013-01-30 at 2.31.54 PM
For those of you addicted to 140 characters, give WP a Tweet. Even with an average of 3592 Tweets to @WarbyParker each week, they do an amazing job of interacting with their followers. Here’s my friend’s interaction with WP. In fact, it was her posting on Twitter/Facebook that first introduced me to the company. See? Engaging your Zealots truly pays off.

Screen Shot 2013-01-30 at 2.59.15 PM

WP has also thought about their more traditional customers, making their frames available in 12 showrooms across the US as well as on the traveling Warby Parker Class Trip. Visiting 9 cities over six months, this school bus full of frames is touring the US, with members of the WP team posting pictures of their journey along the way. Simply put, this campaign it’s buzz-worthy and fun.

Screen Shot 2013-01-30 at 2.46.59 PM
After all this research about Warby Parker, I think it’s about time to get a new pair of glasses. Stay tuned.

Recent blog from Harvard Business Review expounded the virtues of CEOs using social media. They cited several facts, some of which don’t exactly make the case.  For instance, LinkedIn was the most used medium (26% of CEOs surveyed), however only 4% use Twitter.  Another study predicts CEO use of social media will rise from 16% to 57% in the next 5 years.

Old+School+RocksBeyond “keeping up with the Jones,” here’s a take on why involvement in social media makes sense for CEOs.  Now. Two “old school” reasons:  building trust and gaining insights.

First, social media is about accountability if nothing else. Where does “the buck stop” in a company?  With the CEO of course.  Companies that engage in social media are 82% more likely to be trusted.  Want to be trusted?  Want to convey authenticity?  Play in social media.

And, CEOs love insights … into their customers, how their products are perceived and “what could be.”  Social media, unlike any other media, offers the opportunity for spontaneous research.  Without the recruitment, the staging or the pretense.  Most importantly, the CEO that engages in such forums, not only gains a new appreciation about his customers’ perceptions, he will gain brownie points in terms of referral.  How likely will a customer tweet or post an online discussion they have with the company’s CEO?  How will their followers view the company?

As CEOs discover that social media offers traditional tasks they personally value, more will jump on the bandwagon.

Swoozie’s brand colors are pink and orange, but during the month of October they are all pink in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This month, the brand offers its customers the option to purchase a PinkPASS – all proceeds benefiting the Breast Cancer Research Foundation – which also allows the customer to receive 20% off all purchases through the end of the month.

To further help spread awareness for the cause, and to further engage with their core target market in the online community, Swoozie’s hosted a #PINKPASS Twitter chat on October 23rd. The chat included special guest @brokesocialite who recently lost her mother due to a battle with this terrible disease.

The chat lasted one hour and Swoozie’s received participation from strangers, customers, and blogger-friends alike. We hosted the chat in the evening, meeting our core demographic during a time they were generally able to be online and connected. The conversation was heartfelt and authentic, engaging passionate supporters for the cause, while still having a little light-hearted fun with questions like “What is your favorite shade of pink” in the mix.

Through our work with client Swoozie’s, we have created deep-rooted blogger relationships and this paid off as so many of them willingly joined in the conversation and spread the hashtag virally among the online community. What is true in real-life is true online as well; it’s all about the relationships you build and the people you meet along the way. We were thankful to have this group of Zealots to further the engagement for this special online conversation.

In all ….

306 #PINKPASS mentions.
More than 1M impressions.
More than 121K followers reached.

While the chat garnered impressive numbers, the most noteworthy moment of the night was listening to the inspiring story of Kelly Spalding, who lost her mother to breast cancer and is newly diagnosed, herself. We’re proud to support Swoozie’s – and women like Kelly – this October.

I am sure by now you have seen a video clip of the controversial call at the end of Monday night’s NFL game, featuring the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks.

During the very last play of the game a wishful pass was thrown into the end zone by the Seahawks quarterback in an attempt to win the game with time expiring. They were successful, but according to just about everyone that watched, it was a bogus result.

A highly charged reaction on Twitter sent users into a tweeting frustration frenzy as they flocked to the site to share their opinions on what happened during the final seconds of #MNF.

According to @twitter, more than one million tweets had been generated on the topic in less than 48 hours.

Even NFL players didn’t hesitate to share their opinion by tweeting in response to the replacement referees call.

Finally, the NFL and its referees have agreed on a deal and will return immediately. What do you think? Did the reaction on Twitter encourage the @NFL to establish a contract agreement with  its referees?

Word of mouth marketing has existed since the day of the first business. Sharing opinions and experiences has always been a means of success or failure for many companies. If you have an excellent product, people will find out and, as you can imagine, this same principle applies to those products of lesser quality.

In today’s age of social media and instant sharing, companies must utilize these tools to their advantage. Not only can social media allow you to monitor what is being said or share information, it can also be used to activate those that you want to share your message.

Marketing programs should be built from a referral perspective based on those most passionate about your brand. These passionate followers, or Zealots, live the philosophy of word of mouth marketing without even knowing the true power they possess. While tapping into this resource may seem obvious to many, it also shouldn’t be the end of the road for your marketing strategy.

Case and point: a recent promotion that our client CURE Childhood Cancer was involved in: Club Diamond Nation (CDN). Launched as the first virtual baseball and softball academy, CDN provided an opportunity for fans to vote for their favorite player for a chance to win a one-on-one training session. Additionally, CDN would donate $15,000 to the charity selected by the player who received the most votes.

CURE Childhood Cancer was the selected charity of CDN athlete and former Atlanta Braves pitcher, Tom Glavine.  Immediately, we began to promote the contest to followers of CURE Childhood Cancer, via e-blasts, blogs, Twitter and Facebook. With more than 31,000 fans on Facebook and even more on our email and blog lists, we were sure that this would be enough to win. However, after a month of voting we realized that this would not suffice if we really wanted to win the $15,000.

Softball player Jennie Finch was blowing Tom Glavine out of the water when it came to votes and, with a week left, Tom trailed Jennie by more than 1,200 votes.

The major issue? Those who are Zealots for CURE Childhood Cancer are passionate about finding a cure for the disease and as a result did not feel directly passionate about this promotion, as it was very baseball-oriented. This is when we decided to take another approach and activate indirect Zealots of CURE by targeting those who are Zealots of Tom Glavine and the Atlanta Braves.

Through Twitter, CURE Childhood Cancer and Tom Glavine promoted the contest to Braves fans and asked them to vote. Tom began to interact directly with fans and reward those who were spreading the word by retweeting and replying to them directly. As a result, the dialogue exploded in frequency.

In a matter of six days Tom Glavine received more 6,000 votes, 4,500 more than Jennie Finch during that time. Additionally, direct mentions of CURE on Twitter increased 810%, resulting in an increased reach of 1,490%.

By simply asking Braves fans to support their old pitcher, Tom Glavine, CURE Childhood Cancer won the CDN contest and the $15,000.

Yes, word of mouth marketing can serve as a wondrous opportunity for organizations.  Now through social media platforms, companies can not only listen to what people are saying about their brand, but also have an simple and direct way to start the conversation.

LL Bean has about 3,600 people answering its phones, and 10 “wading boot-deep into social media,” according to the New York Times. They further report: the retailer typically fields about 100,000 phone calls a day, but records only about “50,000 social-media mentions on Twitter, blogs, Facebook and YouTube” a month.

Social Media is not easily “slotted” into existing company organizations, limiting impact and effectiveness. It is more than simply “outbound” marketing. It’s also customer service. It’s media relations. It’s a branding vehicle. In short, social media can be a tool for several departments. This cross-organizational function is the primary reason many companies are not pro-active in social media.

Guest Relations Marketing can help establish a work plan and training that allows correct implementation inside your company. We also consult on best social media practices for your business and resources. Of course, we handle social media in a turn-key manner for clients as well.

Regardless of whether you engage us or another firm, we highly recommend an internal strategic plan that identifies where and how you plan to engage in social media. As the New York Times article pointed out, “in many ways, these digital conversations are not all that different from those by phone, which can be chats about favorite Bean products, and speak to the company’s 99-year tradition of warm-and-fuzzy customer service.”

I stopped into Swoozie’s this afternoon for our weekly meeting and couldn’t resist snapping a shot of these oh-so-social cocktail napkins! Rest assured you will see these at our next tweet up …


In full disclosure, Swoozie’s is a client of Guest Relations Marketing; the opinions I express are my own.

Making social media work for you as an independent retailer, when you have just one location, don’t sell online and have the need to move inventory off your shelves – what’s the secret?

Here are a few tips we learned along the way to make your program work harder for you.

We were tasked recently on a four-month project for a local, independent retailer Rocky Mountain Ski & Board. Building and executing a Social Media program for their seasonally driven business provided a few great take-aways for similar businesses.

Give online guests the same experience as in-store guests.
Tell your story online to give the same impression of someone walking through your front door. Share pictures of your products, give people a reason to come visit you. Introduce your employees, tell their story and how it relates to your business.

Provide customer service.

Use your Social Communities to better assist your customers. Encourage them to ask questions, and when they do, respond back to them personally. When are you open? Do you have this in stock? Do you offer this service? Provide value and service to your community.

Welcome in your current customers.

While some customers will find you online, they may not necessarily think to seek you out. Notify your current customers that you are now on Facebook, Twitter and the likes via in-store signage, e-communications and by training your employees to mention it with the customers they are serving.

Leverage the Zealots for your brand.
Target the most passionate & loyal supporters of your store. Educate them, engage them in your online communities as well as in-store and encourage them to share your brand with their like-minded network of friends!

Giving your brick-and-mortar storefront an online presence instantly opens up a whole new audience, filled with both current and potential customers.

If you’re interested in learning more about a Social Media Program for your business, visit us online at www.guestrelationsmarketing.com.

Follow us on Twitter

Archives

Advertisements