Yes that’s right people, as of 8:20 GMT this morning, politicians are officially more popular that popstars. According to The Telegraph, newly re-elected US President Barack Obama’s tweet (pictured below) had 507,745 retweets and had been favourited 173,028 times, making it the most popular tweet ever, topping a message from singer Justin Bieber (who?). As you can see when I captured the image, these numbers have increased again. My questions are: How high will these numbers get? Will social media be credited as winning the entire presidential campaign for Obama? If more people voted in this election, will this be put down to the accessibility and persuasive nature of social media? I don’t have the answers, but I bet I will have them in about 48 hours! Gotta love the speed!
This weekend’s Spa Grand Prix saw some awesome racing as well as huge frustration, penalties and pain. Against the backdrop of Jensen Button’s immense pole lap and race winning pace, McLaren team mate Lewis Hamilton seems to have swept the headlines with his Twitter antics again.
Lewis got into hot water after tweeting confidential information with a picture of his team’s telemetry data from qualifying. Cue the media frenzy, speculation about Lewis’ employability as he’s yet to sign a contract for next year, and McLaren’s PR machine hitting overdrive. The tweeted pic was quickly taken down by Lewis under instruction from McLaren, but he also adjusted some earlier tweets that were a little beyond the corporate barrier with reference to bad language and team issues.
As a motor racer’s daughter, I understand how important telemetry data is and, even at club racing level, we keep a good veil of mystery in the pits and paddock to ensure fun and fair competition. I cannot condone Lewis’ actions in sharing team data with the world, but I can understand his ‘human’ side and wanting to be honest and share his feelings with his fans and followers: he is, before anything else, a racing driver. I appreciate people who are passionate about their jobs. Surely we’d all like to be like that?
Any brand worth their salt will have a strong Social Media Policy in place and will work hard to ensure all staff adhere to it to maintain and improve the company’s reputation. On the flip side, Twitter works because it’s about being human and engaging with others. Therein lies the rub. If you’re representing a brand or corporate identity where big monies are at stake, then you need to tow the line with what you can and cannot say. Don’t you…?
I’ve spoken to quite a few people recently, both here and in Germany, about why Twitter is such a useful tool. Now, don’t get me wrong, some individuals may never want to get involved in the tweeting world, but if you’re in business, then there are undeniable benefits.
As of February 2012, Twitter has 200 million* members. Not quite as many as Facebook’s 845 million*, but it’s a different media and should be treated in a different manner. It’s less about friends and more about engaging with strangers with common interests – and listening out for business opportunities.
I say ‘listening’ because for small businesses this is how you start on Twitter and how you effectively engage with Twitter users. Before you begin to tweet yourself (writing updates in 140 characters or less), use the search function, put in your keywords, competitor names, your name, follow trends (#) etc, and get a feel for what’s being said in your industry or locality. Just like when we first started using the internet for search, you’ll be amazed at what you’ll find on Twitter. I’ve learnt a huge amount about my local area by following businesses and local folk and found activities for the kids which I probably never would’ve seen before. It’s all there in my Twitter feed, easy to read and instant. Fantastic.
The below video is from Yell and features BusinessZone.co.uk‘s editor Dan Martin explaining how to use Twitter to promote your business. It’s concise and useful, so have a look. If you’d like to have a look at my top tips too, that’d be great!
*data from comScore
I’ve been on Twitter since 2008. I’m not the greatest Twitterer and, as with all things evolving and social, I’m always learning. But in my time on the tweet scene and rubbing shoulders with those in the know, here are my top tips which should help you engage the blue birdy world effectively:
1. At first, just listen. Follow others in your industry, including competitors and suppliers. Search and follow keywords and trends relevant to your business and locality.
2. When you’re ready, join in the conversation. Be engaging; ask and answer questions; create a dialogue that provides added value to your followers. People buy from people – personality is good.
3. Your followers should eventually become your target customers. Find them by following steps 1 and 2.
4. Twitter is public and searchable. Be nice. Don’t swear, stalk or argue.
5. Keep it up! As with all things social and shampoo, it will only be effective with regular use. (Let’s see how many read that bit!)