We have just presented our first “Top Brands in Facebook” talk of the year in Milan. We gathered buzz in Facebook from 200 global and local brands in Italy and compiled a consumer behavior report across several products and services categories.
Although we relied starkly on our own tools to extract the data from Facebook and create several big fat spreadsheets, it was the minds of our team that worked hard to make sense of 1 million opinions of Italians on November, December and January. No matter how creative our application developers are, they cannot come up with software, which concludes that Ikea has a great engagement in Facebook mostly because of their support to social causes, or that a great deal of the talk in BMW fan page comes from die-hard fans of the brand without almost no corporate intervention.
Software is an essential ally for the social media monitoring business and to be fair there has been an increase of quite good tools that delivers awesome graphics, real-time reports and not so terribly good sentiment analysis. Still we found more and more people overwhelmed by data and not very happy with their long hours deleting Dell posts from “d´ella” posts (hers in Italian).
Unfortunately, more and more vendors tend to exaggerate the benefits of their automated software solutions and understate the enormous amounts of time needed to clean up the data, reflect upon it and produce a summary that delivers real value to marketing directors and brand managers interested in figuring out what to do for the next season.
A simple analogy might help: you can buy as many phone lines as you wish but still will not have a customer care service. Only when people are placed behind the lines and start talking to customers, value to your customer is created. Certainly the price of the lines alone is just a fraction of what you will pay for the team, as the saying goes, there is no free lunch.
Similarly buying a shiny web-based software package to monitor social media will appeal for many marketers at first. Problems start when data comes pouring in. As the weeks mount and the fat data spreadsheets get fatter, one is paralyzed by information overload. If there is no team in place or outsourced staff, paralysis leads to death of the social media monitoring initiative.
Allow me to conclude by stressing the point of this article´s title: software without people to make sense of the social buzz works just like a placebo, it makes companies believe they have the means to cure social media anxiety; but not having any real effect, ends up killing the patient.
Dr. Jairson Vitorino is CTO of E.Life
Twitter is above all a follower´s game. It allows you to convey information in 140 characters keeping your audience hungry for more. If your product is really good, you´ll increase your number of followers because of the spontaneous re-tweeting within your community. With a steady stream of followers, a Twitter account can, at any time, lock this audience in conversations that may be used for several marketing purposes – such as market research, promotions, customer care, public relations and so on.
5 Simple Steps using Twitter to promote your brand
1. Register your brand name on Twitter
If you haven´t done this yet, please stop reading this article and do it right now! Many brand names have been now taken by people that probably hope to make some money selling them to the real owners.
You might also want to create other accounts for specific audiences. For example, if you plan to talk often to the press, create an “@yourBrandPR” or if you want to reply to customers, create something like “@yourBrandCares”. In doing so, you avoid broadcasting irrelevant messages to your distinct audiences.
2. Monitor what people are saying about your brand on Twitter
To access real-time conversation is very straightforward in Twitter: type your brand name in the search field on the site and start listening. Tweets will pop up on your screen every other second. Of course this might be a very time consuming task, especially for popular brands.
E.life developed Tweetmeter to help you do this. Tweetmeter is a simple web-based tool that aggregates tweets in a database and provides more than 16 reports – including top users mentioning important terms for your company, top locations, top urls being talked about, sentiment analysis, most relevant tweets and an automated summarization of your Twitter buzz. By using Tweetmeter, you can find early trends, influential users whom you may engage, competition moves and much more.
3. Create Twitter Personas
Imagine that you are an automobile company. Your customers might probably have a very broad profile: some like to look at outdoor activities, others love technical details of their cars and a third group enjoys making weekend trips to visit restaurants in small towns. How about creating a different Twitter persona for each group? “@loveoutdoors” tweets about ever growing choices of outdoors activities, “@car_aficionado” might reveal fascinating new features of products and “@go_out_for_eating” would provide the ultimate gourmet mini-blog. If you take good care of these personas, chances are that you will tap into a much broader community, which brings us to the fourth step.
4. Engage in the conversation
Tweet a few times a day and make sure that your brand-life-stream never dries up. It is important to feel fresh and to give your followers relevant information in small doses. Do not overwhelm them with 30 tweets per hour, but don’t wait too long to tweet again. There are tools that help manage your Twitter publication activity (see the list in the end of this article), but you can start yourself to do some quick experiments.
Tweetmeter allows you to login as a user (and also directly into the application) and perform all operation just as if you were logged in directly on Twitter. You can send replies or direct messages to influentials and all conversations are stored and displayed at any time. Tweetmeter provides its own URL shortener and can give you exactly which links were clicked most often, at which hours of the day you got more traffic and which days of the week.
5. Let´s get things done: a pocket tutorial for improving your Twitter outreach
To conclude this article, I´ll give a brief tutorial of how to further develop your brand´s Twitter outreach and engagement with influential Twitter users.
“Hi there @influential, we would like to send you a special 50% off coupon from our store. Please follow or send us your contact.”
This writing was based on real projects that we are conducting using E.Life Tweetmeter together with our customers worldwide. Of course there is much to discuss, to create and to develop using Twitter. I believe that creativity and the right tools are the fundamental base to achieve success. If you wanto to join the discussion please follow us at @ElifeUS.
Thanks and happy tweeting !
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