Online chats have really evolved since the days when AOL was king. In this day and age of social media where our online conversations have been condensed down to bite-sized nuggets of 140 characters or less, chatting has moved from the IM chatrooms to Twitter. A natural progression, since Twitter is already being used by millions of people to converse with each other daily.
Enter Twitter Chats. While not a new concept (Twitter chats have been around for at least a few years), they're still fantastic for connecting with people in much the same way the original chatrooms allowed.
There are Twitter chats that happen daily for a variety of topics (check out this comprehensive list of Twitter chats to find one that interests you), and it's incredibly easy to join the conversation. Simply follow the assigned hashtag for the chat you want to participate in and include that hashtag in your chat-related tweets. Tweetchat is the foremost tool available for Twitter chats, allowing you to easily follow a specific hashtag in a dedicated “room” and automatically include that hashtag in your tweets (so you don't have to type it yourself). Twitter chats usually take place at a certain scheduled time on a regular basis (check with the moderator of a particular chat for its schedule) and last for about 30 minutes to an hour.
It's equally easy to create and moderate your own Twitter chat, and it can be used as a powerful community-building, networking and marketing tool for businesses, events, associations and nonprofits. Here are 7 ways Twitter chats can be used to help you connect with your customers, prospects, base, members and others in your industry:
How have you used Twitter chats or seen them used successfully as a marketing or community-building tool? Leave a comment and tell us about it?
Contests and promotions through social media outposts like Twitter and Facebook are a great way to generate excitement and engage and involve your fans, friends and followers. It's a key way to get people interacting with your brand, product, event or organization in a meaningful way while helping you to identify your most enthusiastic advocates.
Through our work with a variety of clients at Tuvel Communications, we've created and executed several successful social media contests & promotions. You can see some examples of our work, here, here and here.
Along the way, we've been able to refine our efforts to maximize results while creating excitement and having fun! By sharing some of our tips, we hope that we can save you time while driving the results that you want. With this in mind, we've created our Top 10 list of ways to ensure that your social media contests & promotions are successful:
Get peeps engaged! Don't just broadcast promotions through social networking outlets. Rather, get folks involved with your brand or organization. We recently ran a Twitter promotion that asked folks to tell us, in 140 characters or less, why they should get a free conference pass. We also ran a promotion that required those interested to provide the contest answer as a comment on the client blog. Create something that allows people to interact directly with your brand - it's key to getting traction and conversation going in your social media communities.
Have a there-there. Don't just do a contest for the sake of doing a contest! All of our promotions have a specific purpose. While you want to create buzz and excitement, you also also want to think about the other goals you want to accomplish. Do you want to increase attendance, fund-raise, generate discussion, build an email list or deliver another metric?
Make it simple to participate. Complex games are fun (anyone remember the early days of scavenger hunts that included several websites?) but may attract less participants. It's great to utilize the "flavor of the month" technologies out there, but keep your audience in mind and don't make them do anything that will generate more perplexed questions than actual participation.
Create fun and excitement! People love contests and the chance to win prizes. Make 'em interesting and people will play. Convey excitement through messaging. Make your promotion different and, of course, inject personality into it.
Follow best practices. We are careful not to get our clients or bloggers and others into trouble by promoting or creating a contest. Know the rules beforehand. In this game, you can't beg forgiveness! You can find out more about the rules and regulations here and here.
Offer value and relevance. Find out what turns people on. We have executed many government related promotions. We've been told that government types aren't interested in promotions. Not true! Most people are interested in a contest or giveaway, it's just a matter of finding out what they like.
Leverage marketing partners. We typically approach client partners that have large followings (fans, friends, followers, subscribers). We then approach these folks so that they might create a special (client) promotion for their readers. Everyone wins in this scenario with partners being able to offer value and our client reaping the rewards!
It's the total campaign that matters. Promotions are most successful when they are part of a larger, integrated campaign. Involve creative and promote on the website and through email. Our most successful campaigns are seamless and can be played through several social networking platforms.
Make it easy to pick a winner and fulfill. We typically create giveaways so that our clients can randomly choose winners. We also find prizes that can be fulfilled through an email address - gift cards are a good example - make awarding easy. Have you ever had to hunt down snail mail addresses for fulfillment? Logistically, it can be a painful process!
Don't stop! Promotions help to create traction and momentum. Continue the conversation, get others involved and grow your supporters. In other words: be a smart marketer!
2011 is shaping up to be an exciting and productive year for Tuvel, and this is something I created as part of some big plans we have in the works.
This bridge infographic demonstrates how outreach and social media marketing/community-building go hand in hand - creating brand evangelists in the process. We believe that the two elements, while effective on their own, are much more effective and successful when working together at the same time to build community and buzz around a brand, product, event or cause.Posted by Kari Rippetoe at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
Happy Friday! It's been a busy and exciting week here at Tuvel - wrapping up projects, kicking off new campaigns, seeing great results from current ones. It's always so exciting to see the fruits of our labor! Tuvel was also featured in two articles this week - from Convene Magazine and the Omnipress Blog - which are part of our weekly recommended reading list today (but don't just read them because we're featured - they are truly interesting and insightful reads)!
Finally, we leave you this week with a fond farewell...from Old Spice Guy:
Posted by Kari Rippetoe at 09:17 AM | Permalink
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Happy 4th of July weekend! If you live in the USA (or even if you're an American living abroad), you're more than likely gearing up for some serious food, festivities, and of course, fireworks, and we here at Tuvel Communications hope you have a spectacular - and, most importantly, safe - Independence Day!
To help you wind down your week, here are a few selections from our weekly reading list. Enjoy!
In my previous post, I talked about the importance of a community outreach program to find your rock stars. To reiterate what community outreach is, it's engaging and building relationships with your influential customers (your "rock stars") in order to generate positive word-of-mouth for your company, organization, and/or products. I highly recommend reading the previous post to get a better idea of the importance of and principles behind community outreach, but today I'm going to talk about how to find your rock stars through community outreach.
Community outreach is more of an art than a science – it is, after all, about relationship-building. There are certainly different methodologies depending on the audience and marketing channel (blogs, forums, groups, social networks, etc.); however, there is a set of best practices that form the foundation of any community outreach program.
Today, I'd like to share with you Tuvel's outreach methodology in the hopes it gives you a better understanding of these best practices.
Step 1: Articulate Goals & Develop a Plan — Like with any marketing and communications campaign, it’s very important to define achievable goals and lay out a clear plan for your community outreach program. Ask yourself these questions:
Step 3: Identify & Validate Groups — As you conduct your research, be sure to validate each group and individual for overall effectiveness as message carriers, based on criteria such as marketing opportunity, activity (has anything been posted recently?) and relevance. Actually read some of the posts on each blog, forum, or group to get a good idea of the hot topics and how you can best be of benefit to them.
Step 4: Create Contact Database - Include information for researched bloggers and other new media publishers. Each entry includes the name of the communication vehicle, marketing channel, contact name and e-mail address.
Step 5: Communications Planning - Develop appropriate campaign messages based on audience, marketing channel and mode of communication for those identified, then test messages to determine the most appropriate formats for online dissemination. It’s also important to give a very brief background and get to the ask as quickly as possible – don’t make the message too long or heavy with marketing-speak. Speak to your community in their language.
Step 6: Program Execution — Once messaging is right, begin rolling out the campaign:
Step 8: Program Reporting and Analysis - You’ve already determined your metrics for success as part of step 1, so now it’s time to analyze the effectiveness of your program and return on investment. This also includes gauging response and feedback to your program from those to which you reached out. Don’t wait until the end of your program to do this – it’s important to gauge effectiveness throughout the campaign (see step 9).
Step 9: Revise, Improve and Do It Again —Revise your messaging based on feedback and campaign response. Test different messages to determine best response.
Our methodology will, of course, differ from other methodologies for outreach programs – but this will still give you a basic idea of how you can find and reach out to your rock stars – and build lasting relationships with them. For examples of how Tuvel has implemented community outreach on behalf of clients, check out our case studies for the National Association of Broadcasters and Share Our Strength.
Photo credit: DavidDMuir
How do you use PR to reach your buyers? Do you issue press releases and pitch to your media list of journalists, hoping to get a write-up or some sort of media exposure? Or do you reach out directly to the people who are actively buying and evangelizing your products or services and influencing hundreds or thousands (hundreds of thousands, even) other buyers via blogs, forums, social networks, news sites, podcasts, and other consumer communities – your rock stars?
Let me ask you another question: which one of these methods just mentioned do you think is more effective?
OK, I didn't mean to lead you on this, because even if you're using the former method (press releases to a media list), you may be getting the results you want – and that's excellent. I'm not trying to say that there's a right answer and a wrong answer, but I am telling you that in the last 5 years, outreach has become so much more than simply media outreach. The PR landscape has shifted to community outreach. According to David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing & PR (an excellent book I highly recommend, by the way), "The Internet has made public relations public again, after years of almost exclusive focus on media."
What is community outreach? It's about generating positive word-of-mouth and building relationships with your influential customers in order to drive conversions (whether that's buying a product, attending a conference, subscribing to a publication, getting donations or another action taken). It's also about finding, as I mentioned before, your rock stars. These are actual customers who are bloggers, forum admins, list owners, group leaders, or other thought leaders who are actively talking about your products and spreading the good word about your company to other buyers like them; but, most importantly, they are influencers within your customer community. When they talk, people listen.
So, if a press clip and media exposure is what you want, then the media is who you reach out to. If you want buyers, though, you find and reach out to your rock stars. This is why community outreach is so crucial to both your PR and marketing efforts. Besides, if you don’t find the influencers, you can be sure that the competition (or even your "coop-etition" – a cross between a competitor and someone with which you're in cooperation/partnership) will!
But you don't just pitch to them like you would a media list of journos – you have to build relationships by following these principles:
Posted by Kari Rippetoe at 12:58 PM | Permalink
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Tuvel Communications is the online PR firm for the NAB Show, and in addition to being the "voice" behind the show's social media outposts (Twitter, Facebook pages, LinkedIn group), we also devised and implemented creative pre-show and on-site social media promotions to engage attendees, drive registrations and generate excitement.
This year Foursquare became a major player in the social media game, and although we did not implement a full-scale location-based program, we did monitor how people were using Foursquare at the show, plus we came up with a last minute on-site contest that utilized the geo-location social network. What we learned was quite interesting and makes all of us here at Tuvel very excited about the possibilities Foursquare presents for the event marketing and conference business(s).
What did we do?
I mentioned earlier that throughout the show, we were monitoring how attendees were using Foursquare on-site. We found that in addition to people checking in through the show page we created, others were creating their own NAB Show pages on Foursquare and checking in through those. We also found that some exhibitors had created Foursquare pages for their own booths, using the same method outlined above (they used their company names and booth numbers in the Name fields).
I recently talked about our use of Foursquare in a discussion on the Engage 365 Community, and a great comment was made by John Barber that "the more event Foursquare pages that are added by your method, the longer becomes the flat list of places that all come up at the venue's main geo-location." This is a great point, and I would certainly not say our implementation method was in any way foolproof. This, however, is more attributable to the limits of the tool itself. When it comes to Foursquare's use at conferences, it's definitely not ready for prime time (although I hope to see that change soon).
As for our Stan Lee session contest, we garnered a grand total of 15 check-ins. Considering that it was a last-minute guerilla marketing tactic with literally a morning's worth of marketing to promote it and where we were basically experimenting with Foursquare's use at an individual conference session, I would say it worked pretty well.
Have you ever seen Foursquare used (or used it yourself) for event marketing? What were the results and how did you gauge them?
Here at Tuvel Communications, we have executed conference and expo social media programs for clients like the NAB Show and 1105 Government Information Group. We've learned several lessons along the way, and I thought it would be useful to get these thoughts down on digital paper to share with you so can be better prepared when it comes to social media marketing at events.
Having said all of that, don't underestimate the importance of feedback from conference organizers, attendees and exhibitors. It's easy to feel excitement in the air when you hear comments like "you guys are doing something different this year" or "there really is a lot of activity, I notice it."
Recent reading of companies that create social networks made me think of our recent experiences in community building. Client results points up the opportunity with 'vertical communities'. For an eBook publisher, we have established groups on sites such as book glutton. For the same client, we have set up a group on doc sharing site Scribd.
For events, we have set up groups on upcoming. The opportunity, of course, is to build relationships and spread the word. To be successful, you have to keep groups engaged. This is also true of social networkers that establish several profiles for business.
Many of the services mentioned let you tag your information so that people can find it easier. This is similar to bookmarking sites like delicious. It's good to find people in large social networks like facebook. It's also worthwhile to build your own group in smaller but active turfs.
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