I want you to think about the following for a moment:
- The last tweet you sent.
- The last blog post you published.
- The last marketing email you sent.
- The last Facebook status update you posted.
I want you to think about the following for a moment:
If I said I never used anything I learned in algebra class, I’d be lying. In my career as a marketer and communicator, I’ve never had much use for sophisticated math. But I have had plenty of use for the life lesson that algebra offered – of being forced to do something uninteresting simply because someone in authority told me I had to do it. Moderating an event this week in London on corporate social media, it struck me that many organizations have started with this same uninspired approach to using social media – simply because someone said they have to.
Social media is immediate.
Once you’ve pressed send, your tweet, Facebook update or Google+ status shoots out into cyberspace to be read by your followers.
While Malcolm Gladwell posited, in his book Outliers: The Story of Success, that one needs to engage in a challenging 10,000 hours of experience and practice before becoming a master, don’t let the belief that you need to accrue all 10,000 hours of challenging practice and experience before you sell yourself as a social media maven.
SohoOS announced today the debut of Soho Shop, an online marketplace for third-party businesses to sell their services to SohoOS users. SohoOS, in case you aren’t familiar, is a virtual operating system for small office/home office (SOHO) that allows companies to use their free online system that consolidates all of their business tools in one place. Users can access the platform from a desktop or mobile/tablet device. With todays launch of the new ‘Soho Shop’, they now have an in-house marketplace that allows SohoOS.com members, as well as external service providers to buy and sell subscription-based services that cover the gamut of small business tools, and are fully integrated with the member’s account.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve been able to leverage Twitter to develop some pretty nice relationships in my local community and amongst my SEO peers. I’ve been introduced to and have had lots positive interactions with many new people, as well as continued developing relationships with older connections.
I wrote an article a couple weeks ago that was received fairly well entitled, “13 Tips to Get More Twitter Followers.” It detailed some simple – but useful – strategies that have worked for me personally in terms of gaining a larger Twitter following.
In February 2011, I have the privilege to speak at the lift conference in Geneva. But this isn’t about the conference as much as it is about an important subject that I’ve been asked to address. While this idea is nothing new to economists, theorists, futurists and other intellectuals around the world, my focus is on those who are unfamiliar with the role they play in an underground, but vital economy.
I had an interesting discussion this past weekend which led me to a few assumptions and I thought I might share them with you. The conversation centered around Twitter and its opportunities for users on many different levels. Now, for those of you out there who are paying attention, you know that Twitter is an often criticized social network, and many (including Twitter themselves) don’t even consider it a social network at all. I shouldn’t have to tell you about the criticism Twitter suffers, but in case you were unaware, there are many people out there who consider it to be a source of banality and useless drivel crowding up the pipeline. Others just think of it as a place for Justin Bieber fans to gush over their favorite celebrichild. Unfortunately, many of those critics are right. Twitter is all of those things, but it is also a terrific news source, even for individuals who don’t do any tweeting themselves. The beautiful thing about Twitter as a news source is the fact that you can select the news that comes to you based on your interests. This isn’t really a luxury that Facebook provides as succintly or directly. Not yet at least.
With Twitter as a news hub, it only seems natural that people would be most interested in the news most relevant to them, which often means information pertaining specifically to local and regional goings on.Twitter is primed for local businesses and regional small businesses to take full advantage of them, they just have to know how.
It doesn’t take an SEO guru to tell you that you need to include relevant keywords in the content you’re writing. I absolutely cannot stand it when I see websites for businesses that have a “Contact Us” page but don’t have a city and state listed. This should be the same for Twitter. They give you a nice little spot for which to put your location, and you should take advantage of that. The other thing you should probably take advantage of is the opportunity to link to your website so that you can give followers more information if they require it. Also, using a hashtag for your location might be a good way to attract out-of-towners who might be looking for the best restaurant in your area.
Inform and Reward
You know who can benefit from Twitter the most? Food trucks, man. There’s a food truck in my neighborhood called Only Burger, and they have really taken advantage of the power of Twitter. Food trucks are mobile, so it makes sense for them to have a way to update their location so you don’t have to search for them. Tweeting is the perfect means. So you can tell people about the latest news for your business – where you are, what specials you’re running, what new thing you can provide for your audience. But also, do them one better than that and give them a reward for being a fan. Give them a discount for following you on Twitter or add some value to show them you’re serious about them as a customer. They appreciate it and tell their friends how awesome you are. That’s the point of social media marketing, right? Well, get to it. I want free fries.
So, check this out: You’re a local business and you want to know what people think of your newest thing that you did. You could wait for them to tell you, or you could Tweet out a question. Likewise, you can use the search function on Twitter to find exactly who has said what about your business. Are they upset? Fix the problem. Are they happy? Give them more reason to be. You’ve got a free platform to have a discussion with your customers, so use it.
Twitter isn’t going anywhere as long as there are individuals out there are using it as a means of information consumption. Personally, I follow more local people and businesses on Twitter than I do anyone else. Because those are the places I go and the people I am most likely to interact with. So Mom and Pop, I suggest you do what you need to do to start using Twitter if you aren’t already. Don’t be afraid or intimidated by it, though, because there are people out there who want you to succeed.
You don’t need a website to practice SEO. Depending on what your goals are, you can present yourself and your business to interested parties by using SEO principles and understanding a few things about how search engines work. In fact, there are several places you can get noticed for little or no money, and by using some simple optimization techniques you can piggyback off the trust of someone else’s site to achieve your objectives.