Sharing for Engagement on Twitter

Cat Mandoo too

Content, as we say in the social media biz, is king. Well, that and cats. So cat content is king. But the rest of content is a very close second. It’s what drives the social media machine, garnering likes, gathering retweets, and being spread virally through shares. It’s articles, listicles, photographs, infographics, videos, and so much more. Content is the key to engagement.

No matter the format, be it Facebook or Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram, you’re going to want to share content that occupies that magical space where your own interests and your customers’ interests overlap. Of course, how you share that content is largely determined by which social media platform you’re using. The Vine app, for instance, only posts user-made videos. Instagram started off as a photo-only app, though it now offers video sharing, as well.

Be Concise

When it comes to Twitter, sharing content can be a tricky endeavor. The popular social media site’s 140-character limit per tweet doesn’t allow you to dive into a deep analysis of whatever it is that you’re sharing, like a Facebook or LinkedIn does. Instead, you want to deliver content with a concise but engaging headline with two goals in mind: Users clicking on your content and users retweeting your content.

Be Visual

One of the biggest things that can help is including an image with your Tweet. This used to be more of a hassle but Twitter has recently incorporated images directly into users’ Twitter feed. If you are tweeting a link to someone else’s article, find the author’s Twitter handle and include that in your subject line. This greatly increases the likelihood that you’ll be retweeted.

Be Relevant

You’re going to want your content to be relevant to your message, trustworthy, timely, topical, useful, informative, and personal. And take the time to see what your followers respond to. If you notice that one type of tweet is consistently retweeted more than other types of tweets, thoughtful analysis may reveal what your specific audience is interested in.

4 Ways Your Marketing Fails


Trier (Photo credit: sazbean)

Marketing is easy, right? Well, it doesn’t really have to be difficult, but it does require some forethought and planning. More importantly, it means understanding the entire point of marketing: explaining to potential customers what your product can do for them. Unfortunately, a lot of marketing out there fails at even that…

1. Customers Can’t Tell What You Do

Sometimes people think they need to use big phrases and keywords in their marketing and they forget to speak to who is important: people. If someone visits your website, or walks past your store, or sees your ad or your Facebook page, they should immediately be able to tell what it is you do. The best marketing sums this up in a short phrase that can often be used as a tagline.

2. Customers Can’t Understand How You can Help

Marketing too often is caught up in features.  Our product does X, Y & Z.  That’s great.  How does the fact that it does X help me? While it may be clear to you that a pressure washer that has a 1200 PSI is a good buy, how does a potential customer know why that’s a good (or not so good) number. What applications is 1200 PSI pressure washer good for?  When should they consider more, when should they consider less? If you think in terms of benefits to the customer or how you can solve specific problems, your marketing will be much more effective.

3. Customers Can’t Tell You Apart From Your Competitors

MBA-types like to talk a lot about competitive advantage — what sets you apart from your competitors.  While this is a lofty, intellectual concept, it really is important.  Not only from a business strategy, but also in marketing.  To boil it down: why should someone choose you over your competitors? This should be obvious from all of your marketing efforts.

4. Customers Don’t Look to You to Solve Problems

Customers buy things because they have a need.  Sometimes that need is just for those trendy new shoes, but often times they’re looking for something to solve a specific problem.  This is especially true of services and business-to-business products. Do you know what types of problems can be solved for your product or service? Do you specifically address those problems and how you can help in your marketing? There is great content ideas here for blogging and social media….

What other ways does marketing fail?

5 Tips for Better Twitter Advertising

Accessible Twitter website icon

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Advertising on Twitter can be effective for increasing the size of your audience and also for sending traffic to your website. Besides knowing what your goal is, these tips will help you advertise better on Twitter…

1. Goal Impacts Type of Campaign

Deciding on your goal for your Twitter advertising will help you choose the right type of campaign. The promoted account campaign (followers campaign) is best for increasing your followers and building audience for the long term. If your goal is to boost traffic to your website (or to particular pages on your website), then take a look at the promoted tweets campaign. And if you’re trying to get people to install or engage with your mobile app, there’s a campaign for that too.

2. Targeting Usernames vs Interest Categories

For smaller organizations that are looking for niche audiences, use username targeting to find followers similar to the ones you enter. Interest category targeting works better for larger organizations or broader audiences.

3. Good Messaging

Just like any other good messaging, Twitter ads should have use plain and understandable text and have a clear call to action. Adding pictures can also increase clicks on your ads. Try adding 3-5 different tweets to test your message and images.

4. Competitive Budget

Advertising on Twitter can be cost effective, but make sure your bids are within the suggested range or you may see a drastic decrease in the impressions of your ads.

5. Test to Optimize

Just like any advertising, testing will help you optimize the ads to get the best results for your budget and goals. Test different messages, images and calls to action. Test for a certain length of time, and then copy your campaign to make changes and save past tests and data.

Twitter advertising can be a very cost-effective way to increase the reach of your social media marketing.

Book Review: The Visual Organization by Phil Simon

We are inundated and surrounded by Big Data. So much so, that it is very difficult to wrap your mind around how to use all the information that pelts us from all directions every day. Understanding how to use Big Data is becoming imperative for organizations and data visualization is the method to turn data into understandable information. In Phil Simon’s latest book, The Visual Organization, he uses easy-to-understand explanations and real-world examples from a variety of organizations to help you visualize (pun intended) how your organization could use data visualization. Starting with an example of how a data visualization company made it big, Phil shows how the rapid innovation and quickly changing industry of d.v. has opportunities for big disruptions in every field. Organizations of every kind and size would find this book a helpful primer and resource on the way to becoming a visual organization.

Why & How to Use Data Visualization

Divided into four sections, The Visual Organization is a pleasant and interesting read straight-through, but also allows more experienced individuals to skip to the most important sections. You will get an understanding of what data visualization (d.v.) is, why you should care, why some level of d.v. is vital for every organization and how higher levels of d.v. can improve your business strategy by better informing key decisions. One size does not fit every organization, especially for tools. Phil discusses a variety of data visualization tools from large enterprise vendors, open source tools and design firms.

What is a Visual Organization?

Key to becoming a visual organization is understanding what one actually looks like, beyond just concepts and tools to making d.v. an integral part of how the company operates. Phil uses real organizations in his case studies, which include large companies, small companies, non-profits  and show many different ways to leverage d.v. to improve how the organizations operate.

Become a Visual Organization

Becoming a visual organization goes beyond just purchasing some d.v. tools, and Phil discusses steps, strategies, tips and insights to help you put d.v. into practice with a 4 level framework. Understanding what a visual organization would do when making business decisions is key to properly implement data visualization and Phil will help you navigate mistakes, myths and challenges in a real world execution.

Data Visualization Tools

As more data visualization tools come to market, the ability to analyze the wealth of information organizations collect will not only become easier, it will be vital to staying competitive. The easier it becomes to get good information from so much data, the more companies will start to leverage data visualization.  Get ahead of the curve by reading Phil’s book to understand the how, what, and why of using data visualization for your organization.

Buy Now: 

(links to the book on Amazon are affiliate links — feel free to use them, or not)

Internet Marketing Strategy Articles for the Week of May 12, 2014

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Tips for Effective Lead Generation

marketoWhile we may have marketing to increase awareness or stay top-of-mind, the gold at the end of the rainbow is generating quality leads. Content marketing and communicating with customers via social channels are great ways to connect, but how do you leverage your efforts to generate leads? Marketo, which provides a marketing automation platform, recently asked several marketers (including me), about lead generation best practices:

There are a lot of philosophies and opinions on lead generation. To help you cut through the noise, we spoke to four leading marketing experts and got some of their best insights. Here’s what they had to say about the dos and don’ts of effective lead generation. — Dos and Don’ts of Effective Lead Generation

Some of my thoughts:

Leveraging your network to drive lead generation can be a very tempting way to try to get referrals. While it certainly makes sense to use this resource, it’s vital to respect your network.

Spamming with marketing and sales offers is the surest way to lose valuable human connections, and increase the deafness to your message when you really need it. Stick to an 80/20 rule for any marketing you do online, but especially to your networks. Eighty percent of your content should be of value to the audience, and only 20% (or less!) should be direct marketing or advertising.

Providing regular, valuable content to your network will increase their awareness of your services and improve your reputation as an expert.

Read more —Dos and Don’ts of Effective Lead Generation

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Internet Marketing Strategy Articles for the Week of April 28, 2014

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Understanding Facebook Boosted Post Metrics

Cardboard rocket

Cardboard rocket (Photo credit: Matt Biddulph)


As you may be aware, Facebook is making it more difficult for companies and organizations to engage directly with their intended audiences.  To counter this (and to make revenue), Facebook offers the ability to boost an individual post so that it shows up in the news feed of your intended audience.  These boosted posts can be fairly low-cost, with a minimum boost of $5 per day.  So how well do these boosted posts perform and what sort of metrics does Facebook provide? To find out, I boosted a post on Lady Paragon’s Facebook page (a site I run with my sister for Women in STEM careers).

Facebook Post Pre-Boost

Here’s what the post looked like before I boosted it:


The metrics we see are:

  • 1 person liked it (red circle)
  • There was 1 share (green rectangle)
  • 976 people saw the post (blue rectangle)

I boosted this post for 1 day at a budget of $5 and targeted fans & friends of fans of Lady Paragon’s Facebook page.

Facebook Boosted Post Metrics

Here are the metrics after the boost:


The metrics provided are:

  • 4 people liked it (red circle) — 1 was from before, which Facebook properly reports in the red circle in the How people engaged with your post section.
  • 1 share (green rectangle) — this was from before the boost
  • 3102 saw the post (blue rectangle) — Facebook reports that 2079 were from the boost in the Paid Reach box.  You can also see the percentage of paid to organic in the box with the 3102 — blue was organic, green was paid
  • 4 link clicks (purple circle)
  • Engagement of 7 — this is the number of link clicks added to the number of post likes

Facebook Post Insights

When you look at the post in the page Insights, you see the following metrics (more recent data):


The orange bar shows the number of people who viewed the post, divided into lighter orange for organic, darker for paid.  3.1K is pretty close to the 3102 mentioned above.  218 is the number of post clicks and 116 is the number of likes, comments and shares. This is very interesting. Either the boosted metrics didn’t include some of the stats, boosting the post helped increase the organic reach and engagement, or the post received an unusually high number of engaged traffic from some of the people who saw it (remember that when someone likes a post, their network sees that they liked it, at least for a short time period).

Hypothesis: Boosting a Post Improves It’s Organic Reach & Engagement Too

I boosted another post on the same page (same budget $5) and got the following results:

  • 1331 Paid Reach
  • 5 Engagements – 3 link clicks, 2 post likes


According to the post insights, the post  got 15 post clicks and 4 likes, comments and shares.  Not nearly as high, so there probably is a difference in the influence of the people who engaged with each post.

If we look at the Google Analytics traffic to the actual post on the website (April 2-April 22), the April 2nd post (Jessica Kirkpatrick) had 338 pageviews (20 from Facebook), while the April 9th post (Kate Synder), had 93 pageviews (77 from Facebook).

Conclusion: Unclear, More Results Needed

The results do tend to show that a boosted post receives more organic engagement, especially if there are people with good influence that do engage with the post.  Using good targeting to reach the right audience to improve engagement on a boosted post may provide the most beneficial of results.  More testing is needed — I’ll continue to monitor my efforts.

What have you found with Facebook boosted posts?

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Thoughts on #Socialnomics 2014 by Erik Qualman

Erik Qualman is at it again, with an updated 2014 installment of his #Socialnomics video (see below). If you are still unsure of the impact social can have on your company, consider these statistics from the video:

  • “53% of people on twitter recommend products in their tweets”
  • “93% of shoppers’ buying decisions are influenced by social media”
  • “90% of consumers trust peer recommendations only 14% trust advertisements”

Whether or not your company is using social networks, your customers are — in order to inform their purchase decisions and opinions about your brand.  Being active on social media gives companies an opportunity to listen, connect and contribute to the opinions consumers form of their products. Or as Erik states “Goodbye 4Ps – hello 4 C’s of digital: creating, curating, connecting culture”.

What do you think?