A snowy Tuesday evening and the eve of the great blizzard of 2011 and I’m perusing the chatter on Twitter. As I do I see a number of my favorite brands–some local Chicago businesses, others national brands, all doing interesting and innovative things on the platform.
I’m inspired to write this blog because I don’t think enough credit goes to marketers and conversationalists who are using Twitter and increasing brand awareness without the aide of billion dollar marketing budgets.
Here are 5 things I’ve learned from them about how brands can and should use Twitter.
1. Start the conversation. @Huggies does a good job of asking a question that really gets you thinking and is easy to respond to in 140 characters. Even better, they often RT your reply which makes the user feel heard and recognized.
2. Join conversations about your brand. I can’t stress enough the close ties between pop culture and Twitter for consumer brands. Therefore, your brand has to have a full-time voice, and eyes and ears, to remain aware of what influencers are tweeting and saying offline that could lead to tweeting. This could be an opportunity to engage a very powerful brand advocate.
3. Tie into the trends. Twitter had made it incredibly easy to see what people are talking about. Go the extra mile and tie your brand to one of these conversation topics. This is great way to be relevant and spark up a conversation. Retailers like @bluelgcrew and @homedepot are doing this as we speak, tweeting about tips, tools and sales to help those in the Midwest battle the snow.
4. Connect across channels to reach more of your audience. @JimmyFallon is a great example. This afternoon Fallon tweeted to followers to play the hashish game by sending him your worst pickup lines with #worstpickuplines. Stay tuned to Jimmy Fallon Live tomorrow night and he’ll show his favorites. An awesome way to drive his audience from Twitter to TV by offering someone 15 seconds of fame.
5. Engage followers around your brand with a regular event. Whether it’s a regular Twitter conversation like the weekly deal chat hosted by @Frugalista or the daily trending topic shared by hosts if BET’s @106andPark. The topic is posted every evening on their show and leads to hundreds of tweets by their viewers and followers.
These ideas may not be driving ROI or winning a Shorty, but they’re creative, engaging and fun. At the end of the day that’s one of the primary reasons social consumers respond to and remember brands.
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It’s nearly 10 pm on January 25, 2011 and I’m inspired and in awe. The State of the Union Address (#satu) is coming to a close, but the post-address commentary is just beginning. What amazes me is that I’m not watching it or the address on TV. Instead I’m following President Barack Obama (or the members of his staff who handle tweets) and between him and a handful of others getting a real time feed of the best of the State of the Union Address.
Let me be honest. In a household with two working adults and two kids, including a new baby, we just don’t have time to sit glued to the TV for an hour or more. We’re lucky if we can watch a thirty minute sitcom. Most TV gets recorded and watched later which just doesn’t cut it when history is in the making. So I turn to Twitter and am able to keep up with the theme and highlights, including a healthy dose of political satire.
Earlier today I learned of a major change in the Chicago mayoral election, followed one of the candidates and retweeted one of his posts to show my agreement and support though I live in the burbs. Not only has social media and Twitter in particular given me a window into politics, but it’s also amplified my political voice beyond the ballot.
It all seems to have started with the 2008 Presidential election and then-candidate Barack Obama using social networks to reach young voters. It’s turned into the way my generation talks politics and debates the issues that are most prevalent in our global society. We are journalists, bloggers, entertainers, mothers and more and we’re connecting to voice our opinions and exchange ideas with the fervor of a 60 Minutes broadcast and the pithy wit that comes with only having 140 characters.
Follow me on @jenpolk1 for more.
It’s Friday evening and I’m preparing to head home and say goodbye to my first Blogher conference. BlogHer 2010 has been an amazing whirlwind journey, and one that I’ve had help navigating thanks to more experienced bloggers, those who have attended the conference before and helpful tweets and check-ins from trusted tweeps. I had a great time and I leave feeling simultaneously exhausted and invigorated by the people I met and the things I learned.
I came. I saw. I took pics and copious notes, handed out cards, live tweeted and checked-in for two solid days. Along the way I met amazing women bloggers, most more experienced than me, all willing to share some piece of themselves. I was so impressed by these women, their warmth and how open they were exchanging ideas and sharing their knowledge and perspectives on social media, technology, parenting, relationships, fashion, etc.
If the content, panel discussions and break-out sessions, draw the lines of your experience at at BlogHer conference, then the people you meet color in those lines. So let’s talk about the content. So many sessions and opportunities to learn, so litte time. I attended BlogHer Business heard from well-known brands and agencies on funding social marketing programs; consumers as co-brand managerse; and moms and social media, plus very useful case studies.
Hard to believe all that was just the encore to the main event–BlogHer Conference 2010 where 2,400 bloggers descended on NYC and the Hilton ready to connect with each other in RL. What they also discovered or rediscovered was inspiration for their writing; tips on how to optimize their blogs and address major areas of concern, such as FTC guidelines; and a chance to hear about, taste and try new products from brands such as Tropicana.
I attended sessions on blog usability, blog layout and design and build a library of knowledge and connections with subject matter experts. Equally as important, I skipped a few sessions and keynote speakers to visit the booths and exhibits and see first hand how brands are leveraging this opportunity to connect with bloggers in person. I also took this time to chat with other bloggers, learn about their blogs and talk about my own. Believe me, it was well worth it.
So I’m heading home from my first Blogher conference with a suitcase full of swag, rolodex worth of business cards, countless new followers, numerous check-ins on Foursquare and a new badge! If that were how I defined my first BlogHer conference, then it was a waste. I’m really leaving with a greater appreciation for what this conference means to women bloggers and their readers–empowerment of women through the voice of women.
BlogHer is a chance to connect and network with other women, without judgement or insecurity. The conference is a place to learn in an environment where no one is an expert in everything and everyone is here to learn something. It’s also a place to study the craft of blogging and get better at it; find your audience and reassurance that, no matter the topic, as long as you’re passionate and genuine someone is listening. Happy blogging and see ya at BlogHer 2011!
For more info on my trip to BlogHer and BlogHer Business, check out my guest post, Live from BlogHer, on Corporate Executive Board’s Wide Angle Blog.
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