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Do you tweet for business or pleasure?

I like Twitter and have made it part of my business. Tash & Word Constructions on Twitter

Having to be concise means that the information presented via Twitter is quick to read (although it can take a fair bit of time to read all the associated links!). I only follow people who are providing business information so I don’t get a lot of personal things coming through which is the complaint I most often hear from people who don’t like twitter.

Study of Twitter users

Recently, results of ‘an exhaustive study of Twitter users around the world’ were released.

And apparently my use and perception of Twitter is not shown by the results.

Here are some of the statistics…

36 million twitter profiles exist – 25% of which have never actually tweeted anything
I’m in the 75% as I’ve tweeted many times!

70% of tweeters don’t have anything in their profile
That is an incredible number to me – although if the 25% who never tweet is included it makes more sense. Certainly for any business using Twitter for marketing, you have to add a bio to get the maximum benefits.

53% of users are female
Yes, I am in that 53% and without actually counting them, I would think the people I follow and am followed by do fall into roughly 50% male/female.

74% of users are between 15 and  25
This time I am in the minority apparently. Interesting though as everyone I have met via Twitter is certainly out of their teens, and most would be over 30 – and my teen daughter and her friends don’t Tweet (they use other social media platforms obsessively but don’t like Twitter. My daughter has sent one tweet – actually a retweet of something I wrote as I was testing something!)

4.09% of users are in Australia – 50.99% the USA and 17.09% in the UK
I contribute to Australia being the third most prolific country for twitter use – I wonder how we’d rank if the statistics were done per capita rather than just number of users…

81.1% of users have less than 50 followers
I actually fit into the 9.2% with 101 – 500 followers but I found this statistic interesting.With so many people appearing to be keen on having many followers, I am surprised so many have less than 50 although if the 25% of non active users were included in the results it completely skews the meaning. If over 80% of active users have so few followers I am pleased – social media should be about relationships, not numbers, even in a business setting (50 followers who engage with me, retweet me and potentially buy from or help me is much better than 500 who don’t read my tweets at all).

22% of female twitter users have a purple background
I don’t have a purple background (I want blue to match my logo and brand) and generally find this sort of statistic somewhat superficial but I find it interesting because there has been an increase lately in purple as ‘the girl’s colour’ including the introduction of ‘women’s pens’ which are purple (although I appreciate this for the hilarious reviews made of this pen!)

Females are generally younger
By age group, females to number males while under 25, while the genders are pretty even for 26 – 35 year olds and males outnumber females after age 35. Men outnumber women by approximately a third in the management category and by about 50% in the entrepreneur category.

22.7% of tweets are sent by third party apps, not directly from Twitter
I also fit into this category as I use tweetdeck most of the time – it gives me access to multiple accounts and platforms at the same time (although not as well as it used to unfortunately since Twitter took it over).

On average, the more followers you have, the more often you tweet.

 

So obviously a lot more people do use Twitter for ‘social chats’ than I thought. However, the fact I don’t see that stuff shows you can select your Twitter experience by choosing who you follow – Twitter is definitely a business tool for me but I also make connections and have friendly conversations with people – it’s not all business.

So how does Twitter feature in your business and life?

Do the above statistics put you in the average or doing your own thing?

Social media choice

Which social media platform(s) do you find useful for your business?

Twitter or Facebook?

I have seen a number of discussions on this topic recently, in blogs and forums, and most people have answered in favour of Twitter or Facebook, with some being against the other. Other sites get little mention or are listed as additional channels.

It intrigues me that people still consider Twitter to be about what someone had for breakfast and won’t look at it while swearing by Facebook as a business tool. Both sites can be used seriously or frivolously – you can choose to not like/follow anything you think is nonsense.

My personal experience is that business people share a lot of information and resources on Twitter while Facebook is great for products and consumer services that people can relate to in ‘their time’ rather than in ‘work time’.

I heard it summed up nicely by Tom Webster (of Brand Savant) recently when he said (paraphrased) “Facebook is for sharing with people you know while the other platforms are for sharing with people you don’t know.”

Benefits to business

As a B2B business, having my information shared widely is valuable so Twitter suits  that need. I also like reading what other B2B people share as I can learn from it. Reading what friends share on Facebook may be interesting or fun, but generally doesn’t teach me business skills or knowledge.

One set of  statistics* I found interesting is:

Comparison of social media platforms for B2B and B2C results

B2B 39% & B2C 53% have acquired a customer via Twitter
B2B 41% & B2C 67% have acquired a customer via Facebook
B2B 61% & B2C 39% have acquired a customer via LinkedIn
B2B 55% & B2C 63% have acquired a customer via their business blog

It clearly shows that LinkedIn is more about professional links rather than leading to consumers. But more relevant for now is that Facebook works much better for B2C than B2B, and Twitter and Facebook have produced similar results for B2B users.

Those figures also make it obvious that a blog is still a very useful tool for both B2B and B2C – with the advantage of complete control of the blog and content (social media platforms can and do change).

Your social media experiences

How do you use social media as a consumer/client? Where would you look for a business in social media?

What results have you seen from social media for your business?

*From HubSpot State of Inbound  Marketing Report 2011 (2012 version due out soon)

Learning social media rules

I have been using a lot more social media (specifically twitter) recently as part of my Love Santa project. It because abundantly clear that some people have no idea (or don’t care) about how to effectively use Twitter. Follow TashWord on Twitter

Top most is having an understanding that twitter is for communicating and building relationships – not for blatant ads like old-fashioned media (e.g. a newspaper ad was a one way message). I saw a few businesses tweet their ad at least every couple of hours with no other messages in between. For one business, they had 3 variants of it and ran them in succession once every hour or so during their business hours. I wasn’t their audience anyway but seeing it so often bored and annoyed me, and gave me an uncomfortable feeling about them as a business.

Next is to have one honest profile. It because obvious when 3 supposedly different twitter users repeatedly sent the same tweet straight after each other – a number of times. It came across as trying to trick and con people, plus it seemed they were desperate for business rather than offering quality or showing a genuine interest in people watching their tweets.

The other behaviour that was annoying while I was on twitter a lot (I haven’t really seen it when just keeping up with people I follow on twitter) was an excessive use of hash tags*.

To me it was like reading a blog post or webpage written to show off keywords rather than actually communicate something – boring, annoying and an insult if they think I am impressed by such actions.

Adding # to key words within a message is fine, adding a keyword or two after the message is also fine, but the following wasn’t so fine:

  • adding five or more hashtags after a brief message
  • adding hashtags that were about advertising not the message (e.g. adding #santa after a message about a computer breaking down to get noticed for Christmas or adding #webdesign to a message about dreading a visit to the dentist)
  • making the entire message hashtags with a link

Tweets are like any other content you write – make it about the message and people reading it, not about SEO and getting noticed by more people, as that is what will genuinely get your message heard and distributed.

I can’t say what results those people get from their tweets, but I know I would never retweet or follow them (and I’m sure I’m not alone). I can say that most of the retweeted Love Santa tweets were those based on replying to someone else – in other words, ‘talking’ to people was appreciated and earned greater exposure to other tweeters.

Twitter can be a great marketing tool but it needs to be thought of as a relationship tool with marketing bonuses to have the best impact on your business.

Or maybe you are happy to read tweets with some of the above characteristics? Or have found them effective for viral marketing?

* A hashtag is simply adding # at the start of a word (or group of words without a space in between) that can be used to highlight a topic and make searching for relevant information on twitter easier.

Twitter for relationships

When twittering, it is about conversations and building trust so why not be personal?
Tonight, I got multiple tweets within half an hour from someone I don’t know or follow. She was using a company name as user name but talking about the business as ‘they do the hottest websites’ etc. Here’s my response to her tweets…

  1. It’s not very personal to say they when she could have chatted to me about how she could help me – and it looked stupid for XYZ to say “see xyz.com – they do the hottest websites”. No credibility and she lost the opportunity to get to know someone (someone who had just posted about businesses needing good designers, too)
  2. She obviously hadn’t read my reply which said ‘ no thanks, I’m not looking for a designer’ as she kept telling me to look at this design company. She didn’t build my trust or respect at all.
  3. She made no attempt to have a real conversation with me. I twittered about not just using anyone to help with setting up a new website which would have been a perfect opening for her to agree, ask questions about why I tweeted that and perhaps give some tips on choosing a good designer. But she preferred to tweet me repeatedly with a sales pitch – and even a newbie to Twitter like me knows that rule #1 is don’t do a sales pitch!
  4. If you are going to take the time to respond to a stranger’s tweets, and send them a number of tweets, surely you could take a few minutes to look at their profile and get some idea of who they are or what they do? One of her tweets listed various industries ‘they’ have designed for – none were my industry so she missed another opportunity there by not targeting her spiel.
  5. note: we're sick of spamSending multiple emails telling me to ‘hit their website’ annoyed me (both in the repetition and in the terminology!) so I blocked her. Frankly, I considered her tweets to be spam and I don’t like being spammed.

In other words,  she actively lost a client by her actions so totally wasted her time. It would have been so easy to have written ‘we’ instead of ‘they’, and have a conversation with me.

Do you follow anyone who talks in the third person about their business?

I don’t know that she’ll had learnt anything by being blocked, but maybe someone reading this post will learn from her mistakes instead!

Discussing automating social media updates

I admit there’s a lot about social media I don’t yet know, although I am getting a grasp of the basics now.

There’s one topic I have noticed floating around that I’m not sure I agree with, although I see the argument presented. So I want to ask what others think…

Should you use software to automate your posts on social media such as facebook and twitter?

The argument against it is that it looks impersonal and like you haven’t bothered to log into the specific platform to post something. Some make an exception for automatically sending a message about a new blog post if (and only if) you post other things around the blog post messages.

Here is my thinking on that argument…

  • I may not have logged into the platform but I did still take the time to write whatever the message is
  • if I didn’t use automated software, I’d have less time to post on social media so would do less – surely someone who values my input cares more about getting the messages than how I post them?
  • personally, I take little (if any) notice of the icon showing how someone submitted their comment – it is the comment I am interested in (or not!) Am I the only one who doesn’t notice the icons?
  • I think I might actually respect or at least understand someone’s use of automating software as they are sensible enough to manage their time

I am busy and while I do sometimes log in directly, the reality is that without tools like Tweetdeck and leenk.me, I just wouldn’t be able to manage a social media presence along with everything else. I certainly don’t want to give a bad impression by using such tools, but I need them and can’t see me logging into each platform multiple times each day (multiple because I manage more than one account on some platforms).

How do you feel when you see a link showing I posted without logging into the platform?

      Word Constructions on LinkedIn    

Keeping you updated…

Over recent weeks, I have been doing various things in the background for Word Constructions. I’m quite pleased with my progress, although it is still a fair way from finished, but if I don’t tell you what I’ve done you may never know!

Before that distracts me onto a new blog post, let me tell you some of what has been happening at Word Constructions…

I have released two eBooks for sale, both of which are aimed at business people interested in learning about writing to further their business. A style guide template will be added soon and I have another eBook or two underway so keep an eye on the eBook page of my site plus the top menu to the right of all blog posts.

I have joined Twitter and started tweeting – this is a great way to know when I post something new here in the blog. It will also have occasional bits and peices about writing and business. If you’re on Twitter, drop in and say hi!