Twitter Foundation Course

(Or: Twitter Marketing For Twits)

I have to admit it, when a client first asked me to write for Twitter I’d pretty much no idea what it was. Worse still, when I researched it online as you do I found there weren’t really any guides that explain in simple terms what Twitter is and how to make use of it. It seems like everyone else was pretending they’re far too smart to need a basic ‘heads up’.

So, if you’re not ashamed to admit that you don’t really know what Twitter is, I’ve written this sort briefing which I hope you’ll find useful.

What is Twitter ?

Twitter is one of the biggest social media platforms (technically what is known as a microblogging platform) right now. Twitter has over 236 million active monthly users, and is one of the ten most visited websites in the world. That makes it a potentially powerful way of getting your message out and reaching new customers that you really can’t ignore.

The pros

* Very easy to do. Quick. Low cost.

* Works well with other methods of online advertising, such as a website or blog.

* Good for communicating with those who use mobile devices (eg. phones) rather than computers.

The cons

* Message length is limited.

* Good tweets can be tricky to write.

* Takes time to build up followers.

* To some extent unproven.

How does Twitter work ?

Twitter allows you to compose and broadcast short (up to 140 characters) informational messages send them to those who sign up to receive them quickly and easily. You can also sign up to receive messages from other Twitter users on subjects of interest to you.

Honestly now, does it really work ?

As a way of generating traffic and engaging customers, yes, it seems to. Difficult to tell how effective it is at generating direct sales though.

How to get started with Twitter

To begin, set up your Twitter account. Basic accounts are free. You can set up an account in your own name, or that of your business or product/service, or have several accounts if you wish.

Decide exactly what you’re going to send messages, or tweets as they’re called, on. For best results focus these tightly to your business, product or service. Avoid the temptation, as some businesses do, to tweet about anything and everything. Tip. Try and choose a niche or niche that is very customer focussed – that relates to the kind of information, news or tips your customers are looking for and will value.

For example, if you want to advertise a sports-related business send out sports-related tips and news rather than product information as such. This will appeal more to your followers. It will also make it easier to find the most relevant and motivated followers.

Once you’ve done that you need to spend some time building up a following. You can do this by following other people who are interested in the same and similar subjects and also encouraging them to follow you. Ask your existing contacts who are already on Twitter to follow you. When you first sign up Twitter will make some recommendations to get you started. You can also link Twitter to your website, blog and other social media sites.

You can then begin tweeting. Make your tweets interesting, valuable and fun. Here are a few ideas for things you can tweet: News, tips, ideas, comment, recommendations, questions and requests for help. Include relevant links to your own website and other noteworthy websites, pics, videos and so on.

Then, once you’ve got a decent sized following you can start recommending products and services to your followers. Whatever you do don’t be too pushy or it will turn your followers off. Don’t make every tweet a sales-oriented tweet.

Tip. When a tweet is selling something make it a softly, softly ‘you might like this’ style sincere recommendation from a friend – rather than an in your face ‘go on buy this’ message.

Here’s an example of how to use Twitter effectively in a business: Say your ultimate motivation in starting up on Twitter is to advertise holidays – flights, hotels, villas, car hire and so on. Set up a Twitter account and, first and foremost, send out useful and interesting tweets on travel – new holiday ideas, destinations, things to do and so on. Once you have a following and people come to welcome your tweets you can then promote products, such as ‘special offers’ and ‘best deals’.

You can also pay to advertise on Twitter, using methods such as Promoted Accounts and Promoted Ads.

Tips and tricks :

* Ensure your product service is right for the Twitter demographic – Twitter tends to be used mainly by younger age groups.

* When creating tweets bear in mind both the opportunities and the limitations. Twitter is well suited to communicating with people who use mobile devices.

* As well as looking for others to follow you, follow as many others as possible. This is the main way of building followers, at least initially.

* Make sure every tweet is meaningful.

* Get the frequency right. Several tweets a week is optimum but several a day is appropriate in some circumstances. Get a feel for what your followers want.

* You can retweet tweets which originate from others, but your own unique tweets are always better. Also if tweeting someone else’s news/story be very selective about what you choose to send.

* Check for trending topics on Twitter and try to create tweets that fit in with those.

* Use the Twitter hashtag (#) correctly. Hashtag is used before a relevant keyword or phrase in a tweet to categorise it and get it shown in Twitter searches.

* Make sure a high proportion of your tweets have links. Ideally links that are useful to your followers but will benefit you, such as links to your website and blog.

More info. and advice: I can formulate a Twitter campaign, devise ideas for tweets relevant to your product/service, and copywrite effective tweets. Drop me an email for more details.

 

 

Why Bother Blogging ?

Why Bother Blogging ?

Nowadays blogs are big in marketing – the biggest blogs like TMZ and Business Insider get 30 million unique visitors each month. But if you’re a local or regional business what can blogging offer you? Here are a just few benefits:

* It’s very good for search engine optimisation. Websites that add new content ought to appear higher in search, while sites that don’t might not appear at all.

* It enhances your credibility. Like authors and broadcasters, bloggers are somehow regarded as experts or ‘gurus’ by consumers and colleagues.

* It’s easy PR. Blog posts are increasingly picked up and used by the media.

* It’s social media made simple. Posts can easily be Facebooked or tweeted to Twitter.

* And perhaps the most important reason in the context of this article – most local businesses don’t do it. Google say around 60% of local businesses don’t have a blog while a third of those that do don’t post to it. So it can be one way to gain an edge over your competition.

If you want to start blogging – or restart if you’re a lapsed blogger – here are some tips for getting the best results:

* Blog regularly. Weekly is too little, while daily may be too time consuming. Two/three times a week is optimal.

* Don’t be too pushy. There is a place for showcasing products and services sometimes, but posts that aren’t just an ad. are more likely to be read.

* Think about presentation. Short paragraphs are easier to read and, apparently, lists are number one for SEO.

* Have a varied range of things to blog on. Industry news is good, but there is only so much you can write about the launch of a new grommet or whatever. Ideas include tips, analysis/opinion, interviews, market research, reviews and perhaps even a poll or contest.

* Make it sharable. Something people will want to sent to friends and colleagues, or repost to their blogs. Humour is good, as is anything image based. (It might not work for you but cats doing funny things are some of the most read posts ever.)

* Consider vlogging. Video blogging is the latest thing and, apparently, a hit in the SEO stakes. (It’s also good if you dislike writing.) So you could post some short interviews, documentaries or tutorials to your blog as well.

If you’d like more help with setting up, developing and creating content for your blog don’t hesitate to get in touch with me – mark @ markhempshell.com

Marketing Your Business On A Tight Budget

Marketing Your Business On A Tight Budget

While online and social media marketing is the latest thing in business marketing, there are still some simple ways of advertising your business that are cheap or even free. (I wouldn’t recommend that you use only these methods instead of paid advertising but they can be a useful addition to the range of marketing tools you can use.)

Word of mouth. This is one of the best ways of bringing in business for a new or small project. Get some business cards. Hand a stack out to everyone who know. Ask them to tell their friends and colleagues about what you’re doing and help spread the word.

Window cards. In shop windows, supermarket notice boards, church, club and community centre notice boards. These are low cost or even free. But be sure to place plenty of cards – not just one or two – if you want a good response.

Local newspapers and freesheets. A cheap way of targeting customers in your local area. Always negotiate on advertising rates though as the ad. sales people will often take much less than the rate card price.

Street posters. Again good high-impact advertising that can get you noticed fast. Many local councils don’t like you putting posters up on lamp posts etc. Look for local people or shops who will display a poster in their garden or in their window for a small rental.

Leaflets. Door to door and street hand-outs. A great cheap way of getting a lot of business quickly. Make sure they are good quality or people won’t read them.

Free newspaper coverage. Contact all your local newspapers and tell them about your new business. Send them a press release and a photograph. Most of them will be glad to run a news story on your new business, which is great free publicity. Send them more press releases from time to time.

Radio and TV. It’s always worth contacting your local radio and TV stations. They might invite you to come in and talk about what you’re doing, which again is great publicity for nothing.

Speeches and presentations. Offer to give free talks on what you’re doing to local clubs, associations, community groups and business clubs. Most are always glad to hear from new potential guest speakers. Works well if your product or service is relevant to that group.

Free Internet advertising! You don’t necessarily need to pay out for a website for your business. Simply registering it with Google Places and filling in your business profile will mean potential customers in your area will be able to find it when they’re searching for the products and services they want.

If you’d like more advice on marketing your business on a tight budget then drop me an email at mark@markhempshell.com

Growing Your Business With Review Sites

reviewHow can review sites be used in marketing?

You probably know what review sites are. They are sites that allow customers to post reports on their experiences. For example, TripAdvisor is one of the most well known review sites (in this case covering travel) but there are hundreds if not thousands of others.

You might not think you can use review sites for marketing your business, but you can. Not only that but they can be a very powerful form of refer-and-recommend advertising.

The pros

* Additional source of traffic to tap. Some review sites attract high volumes of traffic.

* You can engage with customers and potential customers away from your website, in a neutral non-sales environment. As such it can be a very powerful form of marketing.

* Inexpensive to do.

The cons

* Can be time consuming to undertake.

* Results may be difficult to quantify.

How does it work ?

Review sites work on the basis that opinions and recommendations from product/service users count carry much more weight than conventional paid-for advertising. They are another under the radar method – soft sell rather than hard sell.

Review sites are also a form of content marketing. They are a way that information about your product, service or business can be pushed out all over the Internet by you and others.

Review sites also offer the opportunity to benefit from user generated content. This means that others create and publish most of the content for you, and at no cost!

Honestly now, does it really work ?

As long as you bear in mind the limitations, and accept that there can be both good and bad publicity – yes.

How to get started

Although review sites are predominantly focussed around allowing others to post reviews of your business, product or service there are plenty of things you yourself can do to enhance your presence on review sites and use them as a marketing tool.

To get started, identify the main review sites that cover your product/service area. If your business isn’t already listed there, consider adding a listing. If it is, check that the listing is correct or if not provide corrections.

As a first step, encourage your existing and new customers to post reviews.

Where permitted by the site, you can also post your own information and comments.

Respond to reviews where permitted, both good and not so go. Thank positive reviewers for their reviews. If negative reviews are publisher, offer a solutions to the review concerned, ad explanation to other users.

Tips and tricks :

* Be aware that making use of review sites can be a double-edged sword. Bad as well as good reviews can be posted.

* Encourage reviewers to post photo and video where permitted.

* Check and update contact details periodically.

* Ask for inaccurate, negative reviews to be reviewed. Many review sites facilitate this.

* Target your efforts on the sites which attract the higher level of reviews and traffic …. don’t bother with sites which attract few reviews and/or little traffic.

* Also consider reviews which might be found on social media sites and Google.
More info. and advice: I can help with copywriting punchy, effective business listings and reviews/comments …. feel free to get in touch at mark @ markhempshell.com

Getting Started With Twitter

twitterGetting Started Using Twitter In Your Business

How To Start Using Twitter In Your Business

Twitter is probably the biggest social media tool so far. Twitter is used by millions of people now, and that makes it a great way of getting your message out and reaching new customers that you really can’t ignore. So let’s have a look and try to work up an overall strategy for getting started with Twitter.

Now, I can’t claim to be a Twitter guru myself. But I’ve been taking advice from someone who is an expert – Joel Comm. Joel is a well known Twitter expert. He’s written a book called Twitter Power 2.0 (highly recommended, you can get a copy on Amazon) in which he explains how it’s done.

This is very important: Joel points out that Twitter isn’t a direct way to make money. You shouldn’t expect to set up and start selling. Instead it is social media marketing tool. You need to take time building relationships with people. Once that’s done you can start trying to generate an income from them.

Here’s what Joel suggests: Start up a Twitter account that covers a niche interest relevant to your overall business. For example, it might be music, or film, or a some kind of gaming, or cookery, or travel. Anything quite specific but which plenty if people are looking for information on.

Once you’ve done that you need to spend some time building up a following. You can do this by following other people who are interested in the same and similar subjects and also encouraging them to follow you.

Offer your followers information – such as news, tips, ideas, comment, links to noteworthy websites, pics, videos and so on – that is interesting, fun and valuable.

Then, once you’ve got a decent sized following you can start recommending (or endorsing) products and services to your followers.

Whatever you do don’t be too pushy or it will turn your followers off. Don’t make every tweet a sales-oriented tweet. And when a tweet is selling something make it a softly, softly ‘you might like this’ style sincere recommendation from a friend – rather than an in your face ‘go on buy this’ message.

Here’s how it might work in summary: Say your ultimate motivation in starting up on Twitter is to sell holidays – flights, hotels, villas, car hire and so on. Set up a Twitter account and send out useful and interesting tweets on travel – new holiday ideas, destinations, things to do and so on rather than obvious sales announcements. Once you’re up and running you can then start to endorse revenue-earning products and services in your tweets.

If you’d like more help with setting up your Twitter account or writing tweets drop me an email at mark @ markhempshell.com You might also find this article interesting: Tips To Help You Write Better Tweets

Simple Ways To Get Started In Social Media

Simple Ways To Get Started In Social Media

How to boost your business with social media …. even if you know little or nothing about it.

Social media is hot news in business marketing at the moment. Social media can be an effective, low budget way of finding and engaging with new customers, and keeping your existing customers loyal. Social media can also help your business be found more often in search engine results.

If you’re a small business with a small budget, or completely new to social media,how can you get started using social media to bring in more business?

Here’s what I suggest:

* Start a blog. This is one of the easiest ways of getting started in social media.

Here’s some more information on setting up a blog: Why You Need A Blog

* Set up a Facebook page. If you already have a personal Facebook profile you can also have one for business. Facebook is perhaps the most established, most well known and most popular kind of social media platform.

* Use Twitter. Build up a following, and send out tweets regularly. Link these tweets to your other social media postings where readers can find more about what’s behind the tweet.

* Use LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a kind of professional Facebook.

* Create some videos and post them on YouTube. This is a great choice if you’re not much of a writer. Simple, home made videos put together on a mobile phone can be as or more effective than professional productions.

Here are a few more tips to make a success of your first steps in social media:

* Make sure you can commit the time before you get started. If you’re short of time pick just two or three platforms and do those well. It’s far better than spreading your resources too thinly across too many platforms.

* Maximise your efforts. You can post the same material to different social media platforms …. often with just a few small changes to customise the material for each individual platform.

* Think quantity rather than quality. Make sure whatever you post is good quality and genuinely useful and helpful to your readers. Never post just for the sake of posting.

* Monitor your results. This way you can see what is worth concentrating on – and also tweak your social media publishing and get even better results in the future. Make use of any analytical tools posted by your chosen platforms.

If you’d like some more tips on writing for social media you might find this article useful: Writing For Social Media.

If you’d like some help with writing social media posts get in touch with me at mark @ markhempshell.com

Why It’s Good To Give Stuff Away For Free

images

Why It’s Good To Give Stuff Away For Free

How to use freebies as part of your marketing strategy 

So you’re in business to make money. Not give things away. But there can be very good reasons for giving things away. And it won’t cost you much at all if you do it the right way.

Here’s why you can attract more customers by giving things away for free:

* FREE still has a very big pull with customers and would-be customers. People are still attracted to FREE big time.

* It helps build trust with potential customers. Consumers are weary of businesses (mainly big businesses) who take-take-take all the time.

* It can help set you ahead of your competition.

* You can use it to collect potential customer details. Offer a freebie as a thank you for signing up for your email newsletter.

* It can act as a great product or service ambassador. If your freebie is good people will assume your paid for product or service must be even better.

Now giving something away to achieve all this (and more) is all good in theory. But how can you achieve it in practice?

Giving away free products and services is one way. But it can be expensive.

Well, this is a way you can give something valuable and worthwhile away for free but which will cost you very little:

Give away a free book, guide, or even a course.

Put together some information around your subject area. Make it genuinely interesting to and valuable to potential customers. For example, if you’re in the gardening products business offer a free booklet of tips for growing better fruit and veg. If you’re in the travel business offer a free destination guide. Deliver it to the customer as a PDF document, or even a Kindle book. It’s a very effective way of engaging with and marketing to your customers that’s very, very cost effective too.

If you’d like some ideas for freebies you can give away and expert help with creating and writing them get in touch with me at mark@markhempshell.com