Secrets to Twitter Marketing

Twitter has quickly become the most powerful microblogging tool on the Web and has gained a reputation for breaking news and providing information to millions of users worldwide. Businesses have discovered the immense exposure and resources that Twitter has to offer. Companies utilize Twitter to promote their brand, interact with their targeted audience, track what people are saying about them, promote their organization’s content and create buzz around upcoming events. Business-to-customer and business-to-business interaction are crucial to any organization’s success and Twitter makes both quick and easy. Here are some things you need to know about Twitter:

What is Twitter? — Short posts called “tweets” serve as effective vehicles of communicating what is happening in your organization to others. These updates of 140 characters or less make Twitter compatible with mobile phones and text messaging. While you only have only 140 characters to communicate your message, you can include a link to full articles, websites and more. One important thing to keep in mind about Twitter is that people don’t care about what you’re doing, but rather what you’re thinking, reading or how you can help them. Through your tweets, notify followers of company and industry news, interesting articles or other business highlights.

Twitter Terms — Like many social media sites, Twitter has its own language. Before you create an account, it is best to be familiar with this vocabulary. To “follow” someone is to subscribe to their updates. Likewise, a “follower” is a person who receives your updates. Your “Twitter Handle” is your username. On Twitter, usernames should be as close to your real name, or business name, as possible. Otherwise, your audience will have difficulty finding you. The hashtag (#) is a tool to compile all conversations surrounding an event or theme in one place. You may also use hashtags to indicate a category or something that other people may be tweeting about. For example, after your main content, add #attorney or #italianrestaurant. To send a public message to an individual person, begin your tweet with @USERNAME. For example, your customer’s username is “ChefJoe.” To publicly address him on Twitter, you would tweet, “@ChefJoe Thank you for stopping in our restaurant today! We look forward to seeing you again.” This message will be then sent to all of your followers, as well as ChefJoe, even if he is not a follower. If you want to send a private message to a Twitter user, use the private message option. You can private message any Twitter follower. You may also choose to quickly share what other users are tweeting. If you spot another user’s tweet that you would like to share with your followers, you may choose to “re-tweet” it. Re-tweet, or RT, is to repeat what someone else has already tweeted, allowing your own network to see their post as well.

Get started — Before jumping right in, make sure that you have a feel for how Twitter works. Browse through your competitors’ Twitter profiles and learn how to improve upon their approaches. Once you understand how to use Twitter and are familiar with what each term means, develop a strategy. Determine what you will be using the outlet for and what you would like to communicate to your audience. Once you have a plan in mind, create a primary account based on your name and then another for your business. You may choose to use your personal account to act as a liaison to the public for your company, share your personality and develop more personal relationships with your company’s network. Make sure to fill in all relevant information for your accounts – company website, blog, LinkedIn profile, etc. After you complete your profiles, seek out users that are relevant and share common interests. A tip is to start with your personal contacts and then build followers by promoting your new page. Once you follow someone, their tweets will show up on your newsfeed. Ideally, you want to be followed more than you follow others. While you are building a strong follower base, it is essential to begin tweeting.

Interact — Twitter offers more than a mere one-sided conversation. Although Twitter can be used as an effective public relations channel to share links, press releases and direct followers back to your company’s website, do not make this its sole purpose. Avoid having too many self-promotional tweets. Instead, interact with your audience. Interaction and communication shows your customers that you are interested in what they have to say. Businesses can re-tweet other users’ posts or links that they might find interesting and would like to share with their audience. Address any negative comments, give valuable feedback and help customers solve their problems by tweeting at someone or sending a direct message. Post questions to your audience such as “How can we improve this product?” or “What else would you like to see from our company?” Listen to customer feedback and adapt to their needs.

Link your Twitter and Facebook Fan Page — Linking your fan page and Twitter profile will save you time and effort by sharing status updates, photos or events on both social media outlets simultaneously. To have your fan page updates automatically linked to Twitter, download the Twitter application on Facebook, found here. Every time you publish on your Facebook fan page, the updates will be immediately tweeted. You may also update your Facebook status from Twitter using Selective Tweets, found here. Through Selective Tweets, you can choose which tweets you would like to share on Facebook by simply ending a tweet with #fb whenever you would like to post it as your status. This is a good way to integrate your social media sites and build your Web presence.

Download TweetDeck — Download TweetDeck. You can use this tool to manage your Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Google Buzz, Foursquare and LinkedIn accounts, all in one convenient place. One benefit of TweetDeck is that it allows you to converse more easily on Twitter. TweetDeck shows you everything you want to see at once, in organized columns — @replies, direct messages, friends, favorites and even customized columns.

Use Twitter Favorites — The Twitter Favorites feature is an excellent marketing tool for businesses. To the left of each tweet in your news stream, there is a star icon. By clicking this star, the tweet will be added to your Favorites tab. As a business, you should favorite all positive tweets or praise your organization has received. These testimonials are a valuable resource in improving your business’ public image. You may send your customers the link to your Favorites page (http://twitter.com/USERNAME/favorites) to display the positive feedback you have received.

Use Twitter Search Engines — Consistently monitor your business through the Twitter search engines, as well as through other monitoring software. This allows you to see what people are saying about you, your organization, products, services and competitors. Once you have spotted relevant tweets, address any praise or complaints by either tweeting at the user or sending them a direct message. Twitter Advanced Search is also a helpful monitoring tool. Once you set up your search, you can save the query as an RSS feed for you to easily monitor updates. You may want to keep track of a trending news story, monitor conversations surrounding your keywords or follow mentions of your business. TweetDeck is also a helpful tool to help you quickly search for what you want and filter out what you don’t.

Watch What You Tweet — Never tweet anything that you wouldn’t want the whole world to see. Despite its casual feel, social networking should be taken seriously. Employees have lost their jobs for posting inappropriate content or photos on social media websites. Once you post something online, it is fair game for the public and damaging content can tarnish your company’s reputation. Remember, when you post on a social media site, you are speaking on your business’ behalf. All content should be positive, accurate and put both you and your organization in a good light.

Measure your progress — Measure your success using free Twitter monitoring websites. For example, TwitterGrader grades your profile based upon your number of followers, power of followers, updates, follower/following ratio and more. Similar sites include TwitterScore, TweetEffect, TwitChamp and Twitterholic. Grade your own profile on these sites and compare your score with that of your competitors’. These programs will provide you with valuable information about where you rank in comparison, where you are successful and what areas need improvement.

Promote Your Twitter Profile — Make it easy for your audience to find your business. The Twitter icon and link should be present on your business’ website, blog, email signature, business cards and in any correspondence with your clients.

Stay active — Constant activity is essential to Twitter. Tweet as much as possible – at least every day. If you don’t devote time to maintaining your business’ Twitter account, there is no point in creating one at all. As with all social media outlets, a fresh stream of strong content is vital to their success. You can update your Twitter feed from any Web browser, mobile phone or instant messaging service. Ideally, businesses should be tweeting at least several times a day. It is also important to have a wide range of tweets, re-tweets and direct conversations with other users.

Visit The Public Relations and Marketing Group’s website for examples of social media performed on behalf of its clients.

10 Steps to Getting the Most Out of Facebook

Facebook is the most popular and widely used social media outlet. Facebook users create profiles, interact with others, become fans of business pages and join in common interest groups. With more than 400 million members, Facebook is an excellent marketing and advertising tool, especially for B2C companies. Every business and non-profit with a customer base needs to have a presence on Facebook. Facebook offers exposure, advertising opportunities and an outlet for customer relations. It is essential for businesses to create an active and compelling presence on Facebook to enhance any social media marketing strategy.

Create a Profile — Before you can create a fan page or group, you must have a personalized Facebook profile. When creating your personal account, you may choose to use it strictly for personal use or also for your business networking. Either way, your Facebook profile should be professional. Update your privacy settings to control who can see what information and never post anything that you wouldn’t want everyone to see. Despite its casual feel, posting on social networking sites should be taken very seriously. Remember, what you post on Facebook will reflect your business and professional image.

Create a Fan Page — Once you have a personal profile, with your name and personal information, you may create a business fan page. Facebook fan pages are specifically for promoting your business. Businesses will benefit greatly from creating and maintaining a fan page, where they will be able to communicate with their target audience and enormously increase their Web visibility. When Facebook users “like” your business page, their friends will see an update on their homepage. This exposure may influence a greater audience to learn more about your organization. To gain more fans, consider offering an incentive for those who like your page. Giving exclusive deals to your Facebook fans will encourage them to follow your company and recommend you to others. It is now very easy for businesses to offer coupons to your Facebook fans with the application, Easypromos. The promotion will be introduced on your fan page. For example, “Receive a 10% coupon for becoming a fan of our business!” When the user clicks to become a fan, they will be granted access to the coupon. Keeping track of how many Facebook discount codes have been redeemed is a useful tool for monitoring how beneficial your Facebook marketing efforts are. Fan pages also give you the option to send mass emails to all of your fans to promote products, services, events and ongoing promotions.

Facebook Ad

Create a Group Page — Creating a Facebook group page for your organization is also a useful feature. While they are not necessary to your Facebook marketing success, groups are another way for businesses to create an online community to keep their audience connected. Compared to fan pages, groups are typically for more in-depth communication around a certain subject. Engage in discussions about your products, industry and organization. Facebook groups don’t require nearly as much time as fan pages. While it is good to create a group, don’t invest all of your effort in this area.

Add Multimedia — Facebook is a great place to share multimedia. Everyone takes in information differently and many people are visual learners. Post photos that resonate with your business such as your location, building, events, staff, products and more. Videos are also important to show your audience what kind of company you are and how you can benefit them. Share videos of successful customer stories, interviews with experts in your industry, educational or how-to videos and features on business accomplishments.

Expand Your Network — For proactive social media networking purposes, it is crucial to grow your fan base and make personal connections with your audience. Seek out personal contacts, customers, potential customers, influential people in your industry and so forth. To find new people to add, use the “Friend Finder,” invite friends by email and join in similar groups and fan pages. When sending requests, always add a personal message to let the user know who you are and why you would like to be their Facebook friend.

Interact — Communication and interaction are keys to your business’ Facebook success. Always encourage feedback on your posts. Address every comment, concern and message you receive in a timely and thoughtful manner. Promoting your company as a client-friendly organization will boost your online reputation and encourage others to speak favorably about your business to their connections. To keep your audience informed, update your status each time your company has an event, shares industry news, sends an e-newsletter, launches a product or has received press coverage. Produce fresh, well-written and relevant content for your fan page especially. All fan page content gets indexed by Google so it should be strong and relevant to your target audience.

Create Events — If your company is having an event or promotion, create a Facebook event and invite all of your friends and fans to attend. Include all contact and event information on the page. This is a great way to promote your event and spread exposure. For example, when someone RSVPs to your event, their friends will see an update on their news feed. If you have limited space, indicate that your event is not open to the public and limited to “invite only.”

Facebook Advertising — Facebook provides outstanding and effective ad placement. For a detailed account of how Facebook advertising works, see this week’s advertising spotlight. Using Facebook fan page ads can help you expand your fan base and ongoing marketing efforts.

Promote Your Facebook Page — Make it easy for your audience to find you. Facebook icons and links should be clear on your business’ website, blog, email signature, business cards and in any correspondence with customers and potential customers. It is also important to advertise any special discounts that your audience will receive for becoming a fan of your business’ fan page.

Stay Active — Most importantly, stay active in your Facebook marketing efforts. Your success requires regular updates with fresh content, photos and interaction. While you cannot control conversation on social media sites, you can enhance it. Participate in discussions, share strong content, respond to comments and concerns and you will be rewarded.

Visit The Public Relations and Marketing Group’s website for examples of social media ads performed on behalf of its clients.

The Healthcare Guide – Thursday June 23, 2011 Special Issue of the Long Island Press Offers Advertising Opportunities

Healthcare is in the spotlight in the next issue of the Long Island Press. Quality healthcare information is important to every person and family on the island. This coming issue promises to cover a large number of topics in the Healthcare sector, featuring an eye catching cover story on nutrition that will grab the attention of the reader and your marketing demographic. The special section will also include articles on today’s healthcare issues, healthcare-related advertisements and a collection of free Healthcare listings. This is a great advertisement opportunity that we would especially recommend for doctor’s offices, cosmetic surgeons, spas, dentists and gyms. If you have an upcoming event, open house, screening, etc., your listing may be considered for the free listing section.

The deadline for this issue is Wednesday by 3:00p.m. for insertions and ad copy. Please contact us at (631) 207-1057 if your company is interested in placing an ad.

Targeting Customers with Facebook Advertising

Last week, we discussed pay-per-click advertising on LinkedIn. With a similar model as LinkedIn, Facebook advertising also empowers advertisers to reach very specific demographics, while only paying for prospects that respond to a call to action, typically “Like our page” or “Visit my website.”

To begin an ad campaign, sign onto your personal or business account. On the left-hand side below, go to “Create Group…” You will see a button called “Ads” (you may need to click the “More…” link). Click that button and you will be taken to a blank report. Click the green “Create an Ad” button at the top right. Now you’re in business. The form to create a Facebook ad campaign is user-friendly. You can either choose to have your ad link to a website or directly to your fan page, where the clicker will automatically become a fan. Follow the prompts to create the ad’s copy and “look.” Then you can begin targeting your ad to certain groups of Facebook users.

As you begin to select a geographic region, age range and gender, your “Estimated Reach” will decrease. Next up is “Interests.” Targeting based on user interests is one of the aspects that differentiate Facebook from Google AdWords. This is a truly unique feature because advertisers can appeal to users that have self-selected into broad categories, or they can target by precise interests, which may include very specific terms, such as product names, locations, and activities. Another way Facebook advertising differentiates its product from other social networking advertisement opportunities is in the ability to target users based on their relationships to other users and groups. This also helps to ensure that your ad isn’t shown to those people who are already fans of your page. If an ad is shown to a user who has a friend that is a fan of your page, that friend’s name will show up at the bottom of the ad. This is considered a “social impression” and tends to result in more clicks than a regular impression. Relationship status, education and workplace are all available for targeting as well, with some exceptions.

A Facebook ad budget is limited to a daily amount or a total sum for the lifetime of the campaign. Clicks generally cost between $1 and $2 each and Facebook will send you an alert every time your credit card (which they will have on file) is charged. It is useful to check your campaign reports every few days to see how your ad is performing. If you are not spending your full budget, it could be because your bid is too low and your ad is not being shown to many people. If you would like more information or assistance on starting a Facebook ad campaign, feel free to contact us.

If you are interested in this or other advertising opportunities for your business or would like more information, contact us at (631) 207-1057 or email johnzaher@theprmg.com.

Advertise to “Staycationers” with the Hauppauge Reporter

The July 2011 issue of The Hauppauge Reporter will be featuring a Staycation focus. This summer more than 60% of people are changing their vacation habits – driving instead of flying, staying with friends and relatives instead of hotels and many people are simply not traveling at all. Help these “staycationers” find your facility, restaurant or spa and spend their leisure time right here on Long Island. In addition to your ad, you are encouraged to submit a 300 word educational article in your area of expertise to run with the section at no additional cost.

Ad reservation and material due date is Thursday, June 30, 2011. Please contact us at (631) 207-1057 if your company is interested in placing an ad.

Getting Started with Social Media

Social media is a crucial marketing tool to help you make connections, rapidly build your business’ online platform and get your message out. Just about every business should be using social media in some capacity. Social media sites allow you to interact with clients, customers, competitors, critics, employees, prospects and referral sources. Through the user-generated content of social networking sites, businesses are able to learn what people are saying about them and to respond to criticism and praise. These sites also make it possible to spread your message to a larger audience than ever before in a quick, cost-effective manner. The keys are choosing the right social media platform(s) for your organization, while developing and committing to a content plan you will use to feed your network with information they will value.

Here are some tips to help your business get its message across:

Choose Which Sites to Use — With so many social media sites out there, it is important to choose the ones that best suit your business. It is much more effective to actively use a few of these sites than to just be present on all of them. Popular social media sites include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, FourSquare, Flickr and MySpace. Research these sites and others to decide which ones are right for your business. As a general rule, if you’re in B2B (Business-to-Business), use LinkedIn. If you’re trying to reach the general public with your services, then consider using Facebook and Twitter.

Create a Memorable Logo/Username — Pick a username that is available on all or most of the major social media sites. Develop a logo to complement your business name, not overshadow it. Use the logo in your profiles and websites.

Know and Target Your Audience — First, determine who your target audience is. Using social media sites, post relevant content that your clients and prospective customers will find useful and interesting. Use your social media sites as a valuable tool for your audience rather than merely for your business’ self-promotion.

Advertise to Your Target Audience — Advertisements on Facebook, MySpace and YouTube micro-target based on demographics, age, interests and location. Facebook ad campaigns, in particular, are highly targetable and effective. Facebook captures postings to create analytical data of what members have as listed interests. This data can be used to target market certain keywords.

Build Business Contacts — LinkedIn, for example, is a business-oriented service that allows members to network and gather professional contacts. Users can find potential clients, search for jobs, land deals and get professional introductions. Creating a LinkedIn profile for your business is a great way to put your company on the map in your industry. You may also upload your existing contacts from Outlook or a CSV file to LinkedIn and Facebook.

Interact — Follow up quickly to every comment or direct message on your social media sites. Make friends and treat your connections respectfully. Be authentic and actively participate in the conversation. Remember, you are setting the tone for your business through every conversation and post online. Always encourage people to contact you.

Don’t Forget About Content — Content is far more important than technology or design. Write exceptional articles, recommendations and blog posts and load them with keywords so they are easily found. The text and quality of the content on your sites is what compels people to stay and return. It should be organized, well-written and complete with easy ways to link to information. Excellent content is easily and quickly spread on social media sites and search engines. Think about the type of ongoing content you can generate that relates to your organization and builds upon its credibility and expertise.

Track Your Social Media Success — Be aware of how effective your social media profiles and websites are. Compete.com allows users to compare the estimated traffic to their site against that of their competitors. Twitter.Grader.com will run your business’ Twitter profile through and compare it to each competitor. This allows you to not only measure your own business’ online success, but to keep track of your competition.

Don’t Slack Off — Social media is a long road and a way of doing business, not a campaign. Your social media marketing success requires commitment and long-term support. Actively update your pages with news, conversation and multimedia, such as videos and photos, to stay at the top of search engine results.

This is the first in a series of articles to be followed by closer examinations of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Visit The Public Relations and Marketing Group’s website here for examples of social media performed on behalf of its clients.

Derek Jeter’s 3,000th Hit – Newsday Special Section

Newsday is printing a special commemorative section to celebrate Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit. This will be a full-circulation section – home delivery and newsstands, printed on bright white paper. Newsday is printing the section in advance so it will be published the day after the 3,000th hit. Advertising rates are highly discounted and include color. In addition to the printed ads in the section, all advertisers will be entitled to a bonus web ad (estimated 250,000 impressions). When you submit the print ad, you may also submit a cube or a banner, which Newsday will then post for free on the sports section and/or Newsday.com. This special section will receive lots of immediate exposure when it is published and should have an extended shelf life.

The anticipated date for publication is anywhere between June 7 and June 17. Please contact us if your company is interested in placing an ad.