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#TwitterAcademy Webinar

#TwitterAcademy Webinar

Last week I took part in the first webinar of the #TwitterAcademy series "How to grow your business with Twitter". This was a short session which I was able to fit into my day, at 30mins tops. Keeping it short also meant keeping focused!

I thought it was a good, easy to digest session. Yes, it was a bit 'back to basics', but even so there was some really useful pointers to take to get you back to having a strategy, however simple, and sticking to it.

In summary, these are the key points which I'm taking away and aiming to refine not just our Tweeting, but also our clients approach to Twitter. It's simplistic stuff, but I think we can all agree we can make some improvements to the way we use social media.

  1. Look at what the big boys are doing - the example in the Webinar was Pret, showing their timely Tweets over the lunchtime period, and answering questions and Tweets quickly and in good humour.
  2. Follow your competitors. That's obvious!
  3. Retweeting other accounts tweets can be a simple but effective strategic move - mentioning their @ handle in your tweet suddenly has the potential to reach many more recipients.
  4. Reply to followers questions and comments - again, this helps to reach new recipients, but also gives an opportunity to show some personality and character to your brand on Twitter.
  5. Use #hashtags - see what's trending, or what's topical in your market, and use that hashtag. Anyone researching or looking at that subject matter might just come across your Tweet.
  6. Use the Advanced Search https://twitter.com/search-advanced feature on Twitter. Search for keywords and look at conversations that relate to your product or service, or as importantly your customer base - then tailor your Tweets accordingly.
  7. Use links, pictures, proverbs, news... something other than just your 140 characters!
  8. Providing value + achieving your Business goals + entertaining = the ideal Tweet. Remember why you're doing this, but have some fun at the same time..

If you'd like an informal chat about Social Media, or need some help planning your activity, please get in touch!

Annette Ryske
Annette

Created on Wednesday November 27 2013 04:18 PM


Tags: twitter


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Bootstrap Foundations

We blogged a while ago about our use of Twitter's Bootstrap project on some of out internal sites. We're in the middle of a redesign for Bristol Balloons and we've been using Twitter Bootstrap as the CSS foundation for the design of the site. We've found that the process of styling internal pages has sped up considerably whilst still producing excellent results (if we do say so ourselves). We get good looking styling from the get go which can then be customised to fit the design rather than starting with a blank slate. We've also found that we're producing CSS/HTML builds which are rock solid in IE (7 and above) without the need for time consuming debugging and CSS hacks.

Twitter Bootstrap seems to be to internal styling what a grid system is to page scaffolding.

We're still in the process of deciding when we use this approach but it's certainly an interesting one. There is still much for us to explore here, particularly the responsive design elements it provides, so watch this space.

Created on Thursday April 19 2012 12:00 AM


Tags: website blog new-web-site twitter


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When Design is Irrelevant

No-one is going to argue that the better a site's design the easier it is to use. Understanding content, features and functionality on a badly designed website is hard. Getting excited about it is impossible. The mental hurdles your brain needs to go through to look beyond the way a site looks is too high for users to form an objective view. The same site with and without good design simply isn't the same. You can't expect people to be able to look beyond the difference.

So what to do when building a site where the branding requirement is near zero and the message is all important? We'd recommend a solution such as Twitter's Bootstrap project. It provides clean and professional styles for all the common elements a site needs. As well as this the styling is restrained enough that your message can shine through. Built to work in all major browsers to a very high standard it allows you to keep the time required to style a site to a minimum on projects for which the requirement for design is at a minimum!

Faced with this issue when building internal and demonstration sites we use Twitter's Bootstrap project.

Just because the design is irrelevant doesn't mean it's not important.

Created on Thursday February 02 2012 03:24 PM


Tags: website open-source twitter web-design


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Royal wedding or digital death?

Royal wedding or digital death?

I know, I know, I know. Not a very original theme for a blog article. Here at Focus Towers it feels like everyone's going unreasonably nuts for the forthcoming nuptials.

Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled to bits about the extra bank holiday, but that's about as far as it goes.

2 billion people across the globe will tune in in some way to watch the ceremony, it's reckoned, making it possibly the biggest media event in history. 

Googling anything to do with weddings that day? Good luck! You're not likely to get anything useful. Top search terms are reckoned to be 'royal wedding stream online' and variations around that theme.

What's really striking though is that this is the first truly digital event of its kind. Charles and Di in '83 may have attracted some attention, but this time, it'll be more a case of trying to escape it! 

Of the 2 billion (!) people estimated to be watching across the globe, an estimated 400 MILLION will stream the content online. 400 million. That's about six times the population of the UK, kids.

The royal family may have managed to turn down B Sky B's request to film the event in 3D (I kid you not), but they can't stop the hoards all trying to get their little bit of the magic digitally. Will the internet fall over? Who knows? Good luck servers across the globe!

I won't be watching online. I won't be watching on TV. I'll be on a beach on the south coast somewhere hopefully. But the thing is, I'll have my iPhone with me for sure. And Twitter. And Facebook. And the Royal Wedding digitally, in the palm of my hand. Looks like I might be getting involved, after all...




Twitter - 5 years old today!

Twitter - 5 years old today!

Today sees Twitter turn 5 years old and with it celebrate a meteoric rise to fame and popularity. Currently 1 billion tweets are being sent a week, indicating that the social media era is definitely here to stay. This fascination with the ability to broadcast ourselves to the world has changed the way we interact with each other. We can't seem to get enough social media, if we're not tweeting our latest thoughts or facebooking our friends we're watching blockbusters about the creation of our favourite social network.

It is a fact: Facebook and Twitter have defined a generation. Facebook and Twitter have a magic formula which attracts thousands of people. People who could become potential customers, there is a huge opportunity for small businesses to tap into that market through the platform that these social networks provide. Social media has replaced print advertisements, with an estimated 85% of small businesses launching social media campaigns this year.This new form of communication offers a way for businesses to personify themselves whilse using micro blogging as a sales and marketing tool.

We can see where this is going and are already doing social media campaigns for some of our clients. If you think social media could make a big change to your business we'd be happy to put together a social media strategy and implement it for you, don't hesitate to contact us.

Created on Monday March 21 2011 10:44 AM


Tags: youth young-people facebook social-media twitter socialmedia facebook


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'Listening' to the web with Addictomatic

'Listening' to the web with Addictomatic

Everybody knows the value of social networking these days, right? Any commercial organisation worth its salt will have a social media strategy in place, and be falling over themselves to implement and update it. (There's nothing sadder than a neglected Twitter feed or blog).

But how do you keep track of all your followers? How can you measure the effect - the buzz - created by all your hard efforts and updates? Simple. Addictomatic.

Branded with the strapline 'inhale the web', Addictomatic does just that. Whether for ego searches or general interest, Addictomatic 'listens' to the web, seeking out your search term, and delivers you real time results from Twitter, blog posts, YouTube and news articles. You're left with a snapshot profile of exactly what the web thinks of any given topic at any given time.

Now Addictomatic is not the only provider to offer this service. Google has recently launched its real time search, and while it is largely limited to search results returned from news sites currently, in theory it has the ability to monitor social networking sites too.

The beauty of Addictomatic is that you can personalise your page, moving, editing and deleting areas as necessary. Save it to your favourites and there you have it - a real time snapshot of what everyone on the web has to say about any given topic. With the season of Easter upon us, I searched for 'master chocolatiers' Lindt, and came up with all sorts, from recommended outlets to stories of those who'd been 'saved' by the chocolate.

Fun stuff, if a little addictive!




Social Media and why you should care about it

Social Media and why you should care about it

2009 has seen the proliferation of a whole range of words and phrases that may have left many business owners scratching their heads. It's seems like it's no longer enough to surf, to click or to blog. We're now expected to Twitter, to LinkIn and to 'poke'.

All of these strange terms are generally thrown under the umbrella of “social media”, for which (as with most things in life) lots of people offer lots of different definitions. But one of our favourites comes from Andreas Kaplan of ESCP Europe, who says:

“Social media is a group of internet based applications that build on the ideological and  technological  foundations of web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user  generated content.”

For now lets ignore the “web 2.0” side of things (as that's another story) and concentrate on that last sentence as it mentions a key aspect when thinking about social media – user generated content. Consider the old days where one of your customers may have experienced a bad ice cream from their local parlour. They may have told a friend or two, who in turn may have told a couple of their friends – but on the whole the damage to the brand may have been fairly minimal.

But times have changed. That bad ice cream could now be blogged about on a web site for the world to see. Or through a social networking site such as Facebook, where with one status update all that user's friends and contacts would know all about the ice cream based trauma. And even worse, the sight of that ice cream could be vividly captured and shown to the world on photo or video sharing sites such as Flickr and Youtube.

In general these applications – and the use of them to spread 'word of mouth' – sums up social media nicely. It's the use of these modern techniques to share opinion, thought, comments and – this is where it can get interesting for businesses – recommendations, ratings and referrals. But why should you care? Because if you're not using these applications to talk to your customers, it's a fair bet they're already using them to talk about you.

Let's get away from our negative ice cream experience and instead look at the positive way that some of the most fundamental elements of social media can be used by businesses to communicate with customers and colleagues:

  • social networking sites such as Facebook. They might have a reputation for only being useful for keeping your grandmother up to date with your life (females aged 55+ is currently the biggest growth sector for Facebook usage) but Facebook now has over 300 million users and a business profile page can help some of them become “fans” of your organisation or your products. Nike currently has over 825,000 fans. Fans include links to your profile page as part of their profile, which can then spread to their friends, and their friends – you get the picture. For very little effort suddenly you've hit upon an effective 'viral' method of spreading awareness of what you're up to.
  • Twitter is a popular 'micro-blogging' service that essentially allows you to climb to the top of a big hill and yell things at those who have chosen to listen. Helped by celebrities such as Stephen Fry and Jonathan Ross, Twitter usage has risen dramatically this year and will continue next year as brands truly discover how they can use this tool effectively. At Focus New Media, we have just over 310 'followers' who always get our latest news and announcements – lucky things! And Twitter also includes useful built-in tools that help you identify when your organisation is being talked about and by whom, really valuable marketing information and helping you connect with customers directly.
  • founded in 2003, LinkedIn has become a leading site for online networking – acting much like a Facebook for businesses, but without the updates for grandma. LinkedIn now has over 53 million users in 200 countries and it can be used for connecting with past and present colleagues, posting projects and business opportunities, finding industry experts and according to some reports has become a crucial resource for HR departments, with 80% of US companies saying they use LinkedIn as part of their recruitment process.

That's just a very quick overview of some of the core blocks that make up this strange new world of social media. They form only a part of your organisation's digital strategy – but it's a crucial part at that, and in these times when online spend has now overtaken spend in traditional channels such as television, radio and print, it's important for you and your business to understand them and take advantage of the new opportunities they may bring.

 

Simon Newing
Simon

Created on Tuesday December 22 2009 04:59 PM


Tags: social-networking twitter


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We are tweeting!


Twitter was something we avoided as a company for quite a while for two main reasons: Twitter

 1. Time and productivity can very easily get sucked away by hours of endless tweeting.

 2. No one's really interested in the minutiae of our working days (let's face it - we're not as important as this guy).

Thankfully, we finally overcame our reservations a while back and now use Twitter both as a quick way to link through to useful finds on the web and to update followers on our latest news and blog posts.  We're finding it most useful as a neat RSS feed for industry news.

Join us on Twitter.

 

Created on Sunday May 31 2009 08:03 PM


Tags: social-networking technology twitter web-development


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