I want my Sales/Service Team to Use Twitter…Now What? Part 4: 8 more tips for a richer experience

Now that you’re comfortable with twitter, lets up the ante a bit…

If you have made it this far, Congratulations!  Consider yourself “up to speed” on twitter; moreover, good luck leveraging your new-found proficiency.  However, like any evolving technology/platform, there is always something new to learn.  Here are 8 more tips to help you enjoy a richer twitter experience.

In three previous posts I listed 8 simple steps to get your sales/service team to dip their toe in the water per twitter (click HERE for Part 1), 8 simple steps to go a little deeper and engage with others via twitter (click HERE for Part 2), and 8 simple steps to better manage your twitter account (click HERE for Part 3).

Here are 8 more tips and ideas to help you and your team extract more value from twitter.

1. TweetChat: If you are participating in Twitter Chats, you may notice that trying to keep up with the conversation by searching for the hashtag on your twitter page, or following the hashtag as a separate feed in HootSuite, may be difficult.  Plus, always remembering to include your hashtag at the end of each comment (and typing it) can waste a lot of time.

IF this is the case, click HERE to check out TweetChat.

I would normally include instruction here, but when you go to TweetChat, it lists 3 easy instructions to get you started.  Here are a few tips they don’t explain: click on PAUSE to stop the scrolling feed, I like to change my REFRESH SPEED to 5 seconds to keep it moving, and I TOGGLE FONT to keep the text small so I can scan faster.

2. Customize your Header: modernize your personal twitter page with a bigger photo

go to twitter and click on the arrow in the upper right hand corner near the compose icon, click on EDIT PROFILE

Click on DESIGN (above App and under Profile)

scroll down to CUSTOMIZE YOUR OWN, click on CHANGE HEADER, pick CHOOSE EXISTING IMAGE from the drop down, upload a photo – Done

Check out a good example from NBC News HERE

Confused?  Watch this VIDEO to see how.

3. Customize your Background: just like customizing your header, customizing your background is a great way to make your twitter page look more professional and unique.

If you were able to use the instructions above to change your Header, great.

So to change your background, follow the same steps, but rather than click on CHANGE HEADER, click on CHANGE BACKGROUND – Done

Check out Brian Solis’ twitter page for a good example HERE

Want to make a Custom Background, this VIDEO should help get you started

4. Getting (even more) Follower: Did you know, there is a direct correlation between how much you tweet and how many followers you have? 

  • People with 10,000+ tweets average 1,000+ followers
  • Women average more tweets than Men
  • Family is the #1 Topic Tweeted about

Check out this great data-summary from Mashable about this correlation

Mashable got their information from an “Exhaustive Study of Twitter Users Across the World” from Beevolve…check it out HERE

5. How to View Your Old Tweets: Twitter doesn’t save old tweets for more than about 10 days, and if you tweet a lot, they are saved for even less.  [if you have only tweeted 6 times ever, even months later, you will probably see those tweets because you haven’t tweeted enough to push them down your page – if this is you, go back to Part 2 of my twitter-series and try again 🙂 ]

There are 3 good places to go if you want to see your old tweets:

SnapBird – not only can you search your old tweets, but you can search for old tweets from friends, tweets that mention you, favorites…but you can only search about 200 at a time.

TwimeMachine – this one is easy to use, but it is real basic.  Easily access up to 3,200 tweets from your history.  As a best practice, every 3,200 tweets, use TwimeMachine to quickly access al your tweets in an easily readable webpage, then save the tweets as an archived history on your computer.

TweetScan – this site bills itself as “The Most Complete Twitter Backup Available,” similar to the two listed above.  Check out all 3 and use the one you like best.

6. 50 Fascinating Twitter Facts:

Here is a great list of 50 twitter facts, many are shocking.  Here are a few examples:

  • 85% of Recruiters use Twitter
  • 5% of users create 75% of content
  • The first tweet from space happened in January 2010
  • twitter means “chirping from birds,” but it also means “a short burst of inconsequential information”

Click HERE to see the list via http://www.stumbleupon.com by @lilachbullock in March 2012

7. Best Time to Tweet: (or tweet to Facebook) 

CTR (Click Through Rate) is a huge indicator as the popularity and impact of your tweets.  As we have covered in Part 3 of this series, some sites like BufferApp provide analytics as to the activity of your tweet.

Often, when you tweet is just as important as what you tweet…the old tree falling in a woods analogy fits here.

Do you tweet on the Weekends? Wednesdays? Noon & 6pm?  You should.

Click HERE to see some great data on when you should tweet via @TheNextWeb, Data courtesy of @danzarrella

8. More Dos and Don’ts for Twitter

  • #FF – if you are going to use the #FF on Friday to tell your Followers who you think they should follow, do not do this: “#FF @abc @def @xyz”
    • instead, do this: “#FF @abc @def – great source for me for all things x”
    • tell us why to follow someone, and we may do so
  • Personal vs. Professional tweeting – there is no good answer here, just know that if someone follows you for professional contact, too much personal content may cause them to stop following you…and the reverse is true.  Pick your balance carefully!
  • Since this series was originally started to help a sales/service team use twitter, DO NOT let twitter get in the way of conducting business.  Schedule time to use twitter, and when time is up, get back to work…twitter will be here when you come back.
  • Do not say “I love making money” or “I love making it rain” or any other off-putting remark in your bio.  Most people will see you as too sales oriented and it can create a bias to your tweets.  exception: if people will follow you because you are actually a respected financial wiz, then you are only projecting a pre-existing brand.
  • DO NOT take everything I say as the “The Only Way” to use twitter.  Use my tips as a guide, find your own way, find your own voice, have fun!

I want my Sales/Service Team to Use Twitter…Now What? Part 3: 8 steps to managing twitter

Now that you’re comfortable with twitter, its time you learn to navigate and manage it…

In two previous posts I listed 8 simple steps to get your sales/service team to dip their toe in the water per twitter (click HERE for Part 1), as well as 8 simple steps to go a little deeper and engage with others via twitter (click HERE for Part 2).

Now that your team has a basic understanding of twitter, and has even began to participate in the medium, it is time to teach them how to manage this tool to maximize its value.  Here you will find eight well vetted steps (I’ve sited others where I have stolen their tips) to manage twitter.

1. Create Lists: As the list of people you follow continues to grow, your twitter feed (the non-stop pile of tweets pouring into your computer) can become difficult to navigate.  If nothing else, you may be missing those you want to follow most.

click on Lists, click on Create List, name the list

go to “Following,” find the icon of a person with an arrow, click on this icon, pick “add to list,” then check the box from the pop-up window, now this person is in a list.

They will still show up in your main twitter feed, but you can also click on a list and chose to only see that tweets from that list’s members.

2. Tweet a Pic: take a photo with your phone, open the photo and “share” the photo via twitter.  These photos will be available via link to anyone checking out your tweet.  More importantly, this photo will be visible on your twitter profile page under the heading “recent images.”  Pick photos from professional events, pictures of awards, etc and let those photos speak for you when someone visits your page.

3. Abbreviations: You will encounter a lot of shorthand on twitter, plus you will want to use it to save character spaces. Here is a list of shorthand that is common on twitter to maximize the 140 character limit.

FWIW – For What Its Worth  IMHO/IMO – In My (Humble) Opinion  FF – Follow Friday

HTH – Hope That Helps  HT – Hat Tip  TY – Thank You  SoMe – Social Media

For a rather long (and at times absurd) list of abbreviations, click HERE to see SocialMediaToday’s list.

4. Participate in a Chat: a Chat Group is twitter users that get together, usually for an hour once a week, and discuss topics pertinent to their interests.  For instance, lets say that I host a twitter chat called #HelpWithTwitter every Monday at 8pm EST.  At 8pm EST, jump on to twitter, search for the hash-tag #HelpWithTwitter and the conversation stream will show up.

Click HERE to check out an article from Forbes if you want more help on chat-groups

My recommendation would be to attend a tweetchat and observe, read and learn for the first time.  Then, the second time you attend feel free to participate.  You will gain great followers, and find valuable people to follow, related to your interests.

Click HERE for a list of 20 Great Twitter Chats from SocialMediaToday.

5. Schedule Tweets: It is very difficult to tweet all day, especially if you are in sales/service.  You should be spending all day interacting with clients and prospects. (Although twitter is a great form of research on a company.) Rather than sending a blast of tweets and RT all at once, you may want to schedule your tweets to go out in a metered fashion throughout the day.  See #6 for tools to schedule tweets.

6. Get Help: There are a number of websites that can help you manage your account.  You should have already created Lists, and have an understanding of hashtags, to successfully use these tools.  Here is a list of Great Tools (there are dozens of good ones) that I use:

HootSuite – this site allows you to aggregate multiple social media sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) into one easy to use page.  Click HERE to access HootSuite, click HERE for a great 5min tutorial via youtube on how to set up HootSuite.

BufferApp – this is similar to HootSuite in that you can schedule tweets.  What I really like is that this app gets downloaded to your computer, so while browsing the internet, you can click on the buffer-icon to tweet the article you are reading without leaving the site.  Plus, it has a simple analytics page to see how many people click, RT, Reply, etc. to your tweets.  Click HERE to access BufferApp, click HERE for a 2min tutorial.

Tweepi – this site is a must have when you start having hundreds or thousands of followers.  At a quick glance tweepi allows you to see how many followers you follow back, and you can see how long it has been since they last tweeted.  A great way to clean up dead accounts, fake accounts, spammers, etc. Click HERE to access Tweepi, if you need Tweepi you don’t need a tutorial video :-).

TweetChat – I recommend this site to help you participate in a tweetchat group, click HERE to access TweetChat, and click HERE to watch a 45second video via youtube on how to use it.

7. Tweets Last Forever: Genuine Accurate Positive

I have always believed in trying to communicate honestly and accurately on twitter.  And then I read this blog about the GAP method, it speaks to being Genuine, Accurate and Positive.  I thought it was great advise, click HERE to read more about the GAP Method from Scott Williams at his blog/website.

8. Etiquette: Here are some helpful tips about twitter etiquette to guide your experience:

  • Before jumping on to a Twitter Chat, announce to your followers that you will be doing so, this tells them you will be tweeting a lot in a short amount of time
  • Don’t Follow People, then Unfollow, once they Follow You
  • Thank People (via Reply) for RT your post
  • Do not have long conversations on twitter, after a few comments take it off line
  • Do not ask others to RT your post (exception: corporate tweet in which many of your followers are clients, employees, the press, etc and you are getting the word out)
  • If someone compliments you, don’t RT it, it looks like bragging

For more twitter etiquette check out Heidi Cohen’s blog HERE, and @gothamist HERE

I want my Sales/Service Team to Use Twitter…Now What? Part 2: 8 steps to engagement

If you have already put your toe in the water per my first post, let’s go a little deeper…

In a previous post I listed 8 simple steps to get your sales/service team to dip their toe in the water per twitter participation.  It was really geared around who to follow and why, and becoming comfortable with twitter as a custom news feed.  To see that post click HERE.

Now that your team has accounts, and hopefully they are using twitter to at least read information, it is time to start engaging with people.  Here you will find eight well vetted steps (I’ve sited others where I have stolen their tips) to drive engagement via twitter.

1. #: People new to twitter are often confused by the symbol #. # is a way to tag a word or phrase so it can be searchable.  Using a # is called using a “hashtag.”

example: #Olympics, this was a popular tag during the Olympics.  So anyone searching for #Olympics in the search bar will find all tweets where the word Olympics was preceded by #.  The phrase “hashtag-Olympics” is how you say “#Olympics.”

If you put a hashtag in front of someone’s twitter name (twitter handle), you are essentially mentioning them.  So if you want me to see your tweet you can insert #NickStepanovich in your tweet.

2. @: This symbol is similar to the #.  # are typically reserved for tagging a word or phrase, or merely mentioning someone.  However, if you want someone to receive your tweet directly, then you would use @.

example: Thanks for the kind words @NickStepanovich

Here, someone wanted to speak to me (rather than mention me) and they used @.  It is good form to use @ when referencing someone’s twitter handle (their user name); and use a # when tagging a word.

3. Favorite: As you begin to follow more and more people, you will notice that your twitter feed starts to get a little long.  A very simple best practice is to “favorite” tweets and read them later.  You will notice that under someone’s tweet you have the option to “reply,” “retweet,” or “favorite.”  The favorite icon is a star.  If a tweet looks interesting, simply click on the star, you have now “favorited” the tweet.  Scroll through your whole twitter feed and “favorite” the ones you like.  Then, later in the day you can go back and access all of your “favorited” tweets and read them when you have time.

4. Say Something: twitter is not used for just pushing out content.  If all you do is push out content, you are missing the social part of social media.  If you are doing something interesting, share it with people via twitter.

example: I’m going to the #SHRM conference this week. Let me know if you will be there.

I told my followers I was doing something, and I asked them to respond.  Great engagement.  Also, I used a hashtag to “tag” SHRM, so anyone searching for #SHRM can find my tweet.  If they find it, they may respond, and they may start following you because you have a shared interest.

5. ReTweet (RT): If you like someone’s post and think it should be shared with your followers, then click ReTweet.  Even if you have zero followers, the person you are ReTweeting doesn’t know.  They may start following you because you ReTweet them.  If you are using a twitter management tool or your phone, you may be able to insert a comment in front of the RT.

example (My Comments are in Purple): C-Level Belief in Link between Engagement & Revenue Helps RT @DanKorten Closing Credibility Chasm between Sales & HR http://buff.ly/OTOvTs

RT denotes that this tweet is being RePosted and that it originated from @DanKorten

If you change someone’s tweet, it is proper etiquette to use MRT for “Modified ReTweet”

example using tweet from above: C-Level Belief in Link between Engagement & Revenue Helps MRT @DanKorten Closing Credibility Chasm http://buff.ly/OTOvTs

6. Share Content Your Have Found: If you read an article that you like, then share the article via Twitter.  Be sure to cite the source of the article and the author.  Not citing the source is bad-form; and if you give credit to the author then they may follow you.

example: This just sounds cool –> “Convergence Analytics:” One Ring to Rule them All http://buff.ly/OVBwR8 via @clickz by @AEdwards_TL

I cited my source in Purple and I gave credit to the author in Blue

7. Reply: When you read someone’s tweet and would like to respond, click on the arrow which denotes reply.  When you reply, all of your followers will see the reply; moreover, the person you reply to may RT your response if they find it of particular value.  This is a great way to have one-on-one engagement, it also shows others that you understand the social aspects of social media.  If you respond to people and have a conversation they will probably follow you too.

example: (here, I ReTweeted a post, see reply below) Try different, hip, authentic…just BE something RT @socialsellingu – Selling In A Commoditized World http://buff.ly/OTJWbB via @paulcastain

then he appreciated my RT and replied with: @NickStepanovich Thank you Nick and thank you @socialsellingu I really appreciate the RT!

In the comment in purple you will see that @paulcastain wrote me back and thanked me because I ReTweeted a post from @socialselling and gave credit to paul.  So he essentially thanked both of us in one post.

But, I could also reply to some with “Great Point!” if I like their blog, etc.  Whatever makes sense for you.

8. Etiquette: You have had enough of my opinions in this blog, here is some simple twitter etiquette from Chris Brogan.  If you like his tips, check out his list of 50 Power Twitter Tips.

  • Don’t read EVERY tweet. It’s perfectly okay. You have permission.
  • Promote other people 12x to every 1 self-promotional tweet.
  • Spamming us repeatedly is okay. We just unfollow you.
  • Spend more time in search than in chatting us up about your stuff.
  • Invite your customers to Twitter, then make it worth it for them.

NOW STOP

At this point you have helped your employees create an account, and you have helped them learn to engage with others via twitter.  You should be following all of your direct reports.  Challenge them to ReTweet at least once, Reply once, etc.  Check in on them by checking out their tweets.  Let them get comfortable with this step, then roll out Phase 3.

My next post in the series is I want my Sales/Service Team to Use Twitter…Now What? Part 3: 8 steps to managing twitter, and includes eight more steps to maximize twitter as a sales tool including instructions on how to leverage chat groups, twitter management tools and most importantly more twitter etiquette.

I want my Sales/Service Team to Use Twitter…Now What? Part 1: 8 steps to get started

How to Twitter…Lets Dip our Toe in the Water…

I’ve had the opportunity to help roll out a Social Media Initiative to regional sales teams at two companies now, most recently at ADP.  For a large company like ADP it was great to be surrounded by smart, progressive people who supported change.  However, in most small to medium size business, change will be initiated by a forward thinking leader (that is you if you are reading this).

So, you’ve decided your sales force (or service team) should be on twitter…now what do you do?  Here you will find eight well vetted steps (I’ve sited others where I have stolen their tips).  Once you’ve accomplished this, look for my Part 2 Post for Next Steps.

Lets Assume, from a Policy & Permission Perspective, you are clear to move forward…

1. Create Twitter Account: lead by example, create YOUR twitter account, follow your direct reports when they create their accounts.

2. Have your Employees create an Account: Add Professional Photo & Profession Bio

Ted Coine, on his blog, says: Your avatar sucks. Egg head? Unlikely folks will follow you, because you look like a spammer or lazy – or a lazy spammer. Animated avatar? Yes, they catch my eye – and they bug the sh!t out of me!! No follow back. And here’s one that few companies get: logos. If your avatar is a logo, rather than a person, that means you’re here to broadcast and sell. That’s not social, and people will avoid you. Twitter is a social medium. S-o-c-i-a-l. Look it up. [You can find Ted’s Post HERE]

3. Follow your Company, all Corporate Partners, Channel Partners, etc: stay abreast of what is going on within your own company

4. Follow Thought Leaders, Researchers, Commentators, Critics associated with your industry: if you are to be a resource to you clients, you need to know what is going on

5. Follow Sales Influencers: Keep a steady stream of motivation and best practices from sales gurus streaming to your team

For a great list of the Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2012

to follow from OpenView Labs click HERE

6. Follow all your Clients: You need to know what your clients are saying (good about you, bad about you, or just changes and trigger events you should know about)

7. Follow all your Prospects: You need to know what is going on with them if you hope to ever gain access to sell, you can learn how they speak their langauge and learn what is important to them based on what they say and how they say it.

8. Follow Your Competitors: Don’t people watch video on their competition in athletics

Measure your social efforts by seeing to whom your competitors talk to.  70% of business ignore complaints on twitter.  Be there to clean up the mess. (via http://learnmore.insideview.com/TwitterGuidePreview.html)

NOW STOP

At this point you have helped your employees dip their toe in the water.  Your sales/service reps have essentially created custom news feeds; content important to them will now be pushed to them, easily accessible, no risk, no intimidation, no fear about “what to do.”  Twitter activity needs to be a sustainable potion of a sales/service professionals activity, don’t over do it.  Let them get comfortable with this step, then roll out Phase 2.

My next post in the series is I want my Sales/Service Team to Use Twitter…Now What? Part 2 – 8 steps to engagement, and includes eight more steps to maximize twitter as a sales tool including instructions on how to find twitter followers, how to start engaging with people via twitter and some twitter etiquette. (or skip to Part 3 – 8 steps to manage twitter by clicking HERE)