The Tin Shingle Blog - #Twitter
Here's something you should know about me: I LOVE posters that employ the use of graphics (photos or backgrounds) with cool typography over them. You see these regularly on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even company's websites. Why do I love them?
- They allow you to share inspirational quotes or company messages in a highly visual (and share-able) way.
- People in social media feeds love sharing images they like or are motivated by, and if you slap your company's name, website or social media handles at the bottom you're getting your name out there!
- Who wants to see a boring "sale here" post when you can add some KAPOW with a poster including an image of your sale items and the text right over it! Here's an example from Grey Era and its founder Sierra Fromberg.
- They are a great addition to a social media campaign or launch!
- They are simple to make: low workload and HIGH impact!
You catch my drift, and I'm sure you've seen and possibly shared these posters in the feeds you follow. Also, I'm sure that you, like me, may want to create them for your own use but aren't really sure where to start. NEVER FEAR, we've done the work for you!
We connected with our sources, including the woman on our Tin Shingle team who knows all, our community manager Jackie Nees, and I've got two apps for you that make poster creation child's play! Find my current favorites listed below. They are free to start using, only require a smartphone and for a minimal fee (a couple bucks) you can upgrade to more backgrounds, no watermarks and more font and text options!
- InstaQuote - Use your own images or select from the background choices they provide, pick a font and text color and you're good to go! This App also lets you pull from your own camera roll, Facebook, Instagram and more and of course when you're done you can share it over your network.
- Overgram - Yet another great App that lets you add beautiful typography to your images. The main difference here is that it relies on your photos instead of supplying you with background posters to select from. The user interface is also a bit different and to be honest was a bit harder for me to master, but once I did I loved it!
Both accomplish similar results and take different paths to get there. I suggest you test them both out (via the free versions) and select the one that works for you - I personally have both on my iPhone and am switching back and forth until I fall deeply in love with one of them!
Yesterday, when I was doing a regular check-in on my Facebook feed, I caught a news story via a Jezebel post regarding teenagers protesting at Conde Nast. Curious, I clicked and read more.
It was there that I read this article about teenagers protesting at Teen Vogue and demanding that the magazine use more "real image of real girls". You go girls! I was excited, but when I read on through the story and found other accounts of the nationally televised protest, I also found several reports saying that disappointingly, Teen Vogue's response was less than stellar. (Check out the lack of response from the magazine in this article by Buzzfeed's Amy O' Dell HERE.)
With so much buzz building around the incident I decided to see what Teen Vogue's response was on social media (isn't it amazing that Twitter was the first place I went to see a real time response...times have change). I headed on over to Teen Vogue's Twitter feed only to find that their response was...well there was no response. They spent the day tweeting as if it was all business as usual. Not one mention was made about the protest, their thoughts on airbrushing or "real" models, it was like they were living in a happy bubble that the rest of us were not part of yesterday afternoon. To be honest, in light of the afternoon's protests and discussions, their afternoon tweets about celebrities and beauty actually felt a bit odd. In the end, a (male) publicist made a statement, and as of late yesterday, the Twitter feed remained silent about the protest.
TWITTER FAIL! I'm actually a big fan of Teen Vogue and couldn't believe they didn't seize the chance to begin an open dialogue on and offlline with the teens. I'm more surprised that they didn't even make a social media statement as the buzz online grew. The thing is, like it or not, we live in a world where social media allows messages to spread quickly and demands us to be authentic online. You can't ignore an incident and think it will go away. You can't use Twitter when you want to communicate things on your agenda and then hide from Twitter when things are uncomfortable.
To be successful in social media (and life) you have to be transparent, authentic, responsive and engage in real conversations. This also means taking the good and the bad. If someone makes a comment on your Facebook page about something they didn't like about a product or service, don't erase it (unless it's an extreme case) instead, you respond to it. Good social media skills require great customer service. They require relationship skills. If you were in an argument with your friends or family you would talk it out you wouldn't hide in your room and hope it went away.
Teen Vogue isn't the only big brand that has made social media mistakes and theirs is far from the biggest. Read on to hear about other Twitter failures. Learn from their mistakes! Tweet on!
As of the writing of this article, SOPA and PIPA have been put on hold by the U.S. Congress (here's a good description of SOPA happenings before today and here is a dated timeline of SOPA and PIPAs evolution). The timeline of events leading to its demise is startling, swift, and efficient. Even though it is frightening to think how easily these bills could have gone through, which could lead to a slipperly slope of wrangling in the Internet, and the freedom of expression and commerce with which we enjoy within the Internet, let's not miss the opportunity to think about a real problem that is going on - free downloading or lifting of creations by hard working people - Americans and those in all countries producing music, film, books, and any other form of entertainment we enjoy and now take for granted.
The intent of the SOPA bill was this, as stated on the bill H.R. 3261 - "Stop Online Piracy Act" on OpenCongress.org, a website that posts bills for you to view in full text, and track the progress of: "To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes."
This statement is valid, worth fighting for, and you play a direct role in protecting it - with your dollar. In order to protect intellectual property, which can lead to commerce in any form, be it sold online, at a street fair, or in a movie theatre, people must buy it. They must shell out the cash. The cash comes back to you in many ways, especially in your local community, by making your immediate surroundings a better place. If you don't buy it, if you download free music at a cool website, if you download a free Droid app that streams free movies, or if you grab a DVD that is just released in the theatres from a street vendor (not good local support), you are hurting the global economy. Yes, global. The whole world goes down a notch every time you take a free download. The people involved in making your entertainment are working together from all over the world. Tax incentives might make it better to film a movie in Romania, than in New York City. Musicians band together from anywhere, and tour anywhere that will take them - and pay them. YOU MUST PAY THESE PEOPLE, or the music will stop.
Creators who do not get compensated for their creations won't be able to make your entertainment anymore. You may be upset that a movie costs $13.50, or that a small popcorn costs $11. And that a night at the movies may cost you $70 if you have children who need a babysitter (which is actually one more local person benefiting from the movie industry). This price anger does not entitle anyone to a free movie download for their viewing pleasure. If no one is paid, movies won't get made. Plain and simple. 1 + 1 = 2. And that's it. You have to:
1 (buy the ticket), + 1 (create the piece of entertainment) = 2 (happy viewer/listener/reader)
We at Tin Shingle called our Congressman to stop the bills. We agree wtih Marc Zuckerburg's and then Facebook's official statement about thinking carefully about how legislation for the Internet is created. I personally am directly impacted by the economy of the entertainment industry because my husband works in it (despite this great SOPA/PIPA video, where the only flaw is that it dismisses the economic impact of the entertainment industry). We, along with many other film people, suffered with uncertainty during the Writer's Strike of 2007-2008 when writers were fighting "the studios" for compensation for online viewing of their written work. And now "the studios" are fighting "we the people" for compensation for viewing entertainment, and have tried to get the big guns to make that happen, with legislation and enforcement.
The thing is, there will always be excuses as to why someone isn't getting a piece of the pie. During the Writer's Strike, a producer friend explained to me that "the studios" were holding up paying the writers fairly because they didn't know how to measure views of a show that a writer wrote. However, this friend must not have realized that I know that that isn't true, being that I'm a website producer and am obsessed with tracking traffic on websites. Websites, especially corporate ones with big money, can know exactly how many views their videos get, so this excuse is bull-$hit and an excuse to not pay. See all of these examples of not paying people going around? Irks me.
We should keep a strong focus on Internet piracy. It's a huge problem that directly impacts the household incomes of many Americans. Supporters of the bill who were anti-opposition, like Ex-Senator Chris Dodd (why is he still around?), MPAA' (Motion Pictures of America) chief executive. Folks like him will continue misleading us and missing focus. Early on in the protest, he declared the blackouts at protesting websites an "abuse of power". Abuse of power? To what, taking away a service of at the very least, free content, and at the very most, a service you pay for to help your personal or professional life. Abuse of power would be if the electric company shut down the electricity without asking you. Or if companies who supply servers that supply millions of websites with actual electrical power shut down their servers without asking their customers, in order to create a more wide-spread Internet blackout with no opt-in agreement to the business owner paying them to keep the lights on at the website. Chris Dodd is wrong when he called the 24 voluntary blackout of specific websites an abuse of power. It was a freedom of expression, which is what we're all trying to protect and live by.
Now that the bills have been put on hold, and 13 million people called their Congresspeople, and more millions flooded congressional servers and unintentionally caused them to crash (like with The Today Show or the Daily Candy Effect) Chris Dodd has changed his tune, according a New York Times article (but I learned about it an email from FighttheFuture.org) “'This is altogether a new effect,' Mr. Dodd said, comparing the online movement to the Arab Spring. He could not remember seeing 'an effort that was moving with this degree of support change this dramatically' in the last four decades, he added."
Whatever, Mr. Dodd.
Just please, people, pay for what you want. It keeps the services coming to you. And keeps big guns out of meddling with laws that limit our creation of business and creation.
A good video for early cliff notes is here:
A few other good articles are here:
Entrepreneurship can be lonely. And if you're looking for 'friends' there are plenty of networks that you can join. But if you're looking to grow your business, to increase your exposure, to improve your sales, to get more press and to establish your credibility in the marketplace, then Tin Shingle has your back.
What makes 'PRENUER unique is that we were founded by real experts in the areas of business strategy, marketing, online media, public relations and SEO. We leverage our more than 30 years of collective business experience to give your brand, your company and you the edge you need as a small business owner.
We don't just send you a list of PR leads and hope for the best, we connect you with the people who are writing the stories that are going to bolster your sales. We don't just tell you that search is important, we actually work our SEO to help improve YOUR site traffic. And we don't just espose business theory, but we give you real concrete guidance and strategic tools that you can use to make an impact in your business.
It's all about real people helping real businesses.
So if your business could use a leg-up, an extra edge and some real solutions, come Tin Shingle with us.
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Why do I want to care? I have so much to keep up with, why do I need to keep up with the perceived perception that Klout's algorithms have about my Twitter account, and Facebook activities? I just got an email from Klout, encouraging me to "click here" for their most important update yet. Here's the thing: I don't care. I care about real clout. And so does this blogger. I barely have time to tweet and read other people's tweets and articles they recommend, and that's what I'm focusing on at the moment. Here's why I don't care:
- Perceived ROI: At the end of the day, if you're using Twitter for business reasons, you only care about one thing, ok, maybe two things: 1. Am I getting sales* after my tweets? 2. Am I getting opportunities that can lead to sales after my tweets?
- Perceived Klout: Does Klout really know who emails me after I've strategically planted some tweets or Facebook updates? Do they know what people want from me after I've put updates into the Internets? No, they don't. Klout knows algorithms and if, mathematically, someone officially RTed me the Twitter way, or replied to me or mentioned me. And they think I'm extra cool if that "engagement" was from a tweeter with super high klout - The Cool Group - as I used to call them in Middle School. Here's the thing: Most people don't participate online. They read/watch, according to a 2010 study by a Forrester Research, reported by CNN and others. The rest are reading. Same with Facebook. Radio silence from most of my friends, yet when I see them in person, they all know. And that's the bottom line. They all know. It's in their brains. And Klout is not in anyone's brain.
- Speaking of brains, Privacy: So you sign up with Klout via your Twitter or Facebook username and password. I'm on security lockdown in my Facebook, and I don't tweet super personal stuff on Twitter because I don't want things floating around the Internets. Even though Klout declares that they don't claim to keep your username and password information in their database, I don't care. Some digits, somewhere, are exchanged. I've seen enough crazy things happen in this world, that I don't trust it. Sure, tell me it's encrypted. Tell me that it's not on file. Do I feel protected by your 20 words of a disclaimer? No. Even if you were telling the truth, I still don't trust it. These two accounts, Twitter and Facebook, can make or break a reputation. I share them VERY cautiously.
So go ahead, Klout me. I'm probably mediocre. And that's not why I don't care about Klout. I just don't. I get what I need professionally from the actual updating and engaging that I do with others on Twitter, and I'll risk the perception that people have when they hover over a profile and it reveals a Klout score. But I've got other things on my todo list that hopefully are going to impact my business right now. It's real clout I'm after.
Am I wrong? What do you use Twitter for, and is Klout important to you right now? Or are you feeling like it *should* and is stressing you out? Tell me in the comments below!
*sales: When I refer to sales, I don't mean a direct sale from your website after one of your tweets, or one that someone made about you. The kind where someone could click on an "add to cart" button and send you sale. I mean income generation - however you make that happen for your industry. Could be invoicing for a corporate presentation. Could be sealing the deal on a speaking engagement that you've wanted, and pursued people on Twitter who could sign you for that gig. Could be establishing yourself as a legal expert over time, so that when someone needed legal help, they thought of you first, and emailed/called/DMed you for a future hire.
Today was my first Tweetworking class after my maternity leave, and we covered a lot! I'll share some Twitter best-practices we covered in today's session, in case you were wondering about them as well. Next time, maybe you'll be in on the personalized session. Check in with our Education Center for the next Tweetworking class.
- When making a RT, do put a space between the person's name and the RT. This lets the twitter name activate as a link. Any twitter name should have the @ symbol in front it it, one space on either side of it. Example: @kjpixelated or @_preneuring (in this case, the _ is a part of the Twitter name)
- Hashtags can be used anywhere in the tweet. If they don't fit in the sentence, then tack it on at the end. For more on hashtags, I wrote this article that has examples.
- When someone tweets to you, it is OK to respond back, even if it's just a simple "Thanks!". People like to be acknowledged on Twitter.
Based on today's session and the level that the business owner was at with Twitter, we will be covering how to create short URLs, how and why to connect your Facebook and Twitter accounts (and what not to connect), scheduling Tweets using Hootsuite. We will review the homework for strategy building.
When I started teaching my Socialness classes - the art of social networking - I would discuss how no matter what niche people were in on Twitter, tweeters usually revved up their Twitter accounts in the evening around dinner time to tweet about what they were making for dinner, or asked for ideas about what to make. One social media expert I followed even dedicated every Sunday to tweeting about everything she was cooking for her family that she could freeze for the week. We all followed along with mouths watering.
Mashable highlighted a study done by 360i, in which the agency uncovered that a lot of social sharing still revolves around food, namely in photographs. Mashable describes the inspiration behind food-based posts as: "to celebrate the completion of a dish or a special occasion. Some folks are photographing 'food art.'" This is a potential idea-generator for marketers, and 360i produced a beautiful graphic illustrating their data with tons of statistics to sink your teeth into, which you should definitely check out. But my focus is on the "why"...why people are still tweeting and blogging about food, despite mastering online marketing skills to promote their businesses.
The beauty behind this motivation, I believe, is the creationism. When one makes food, they are creating. From start to finish, it is maybe the purest form of creation we have - to feed ourselves or others, which then creates happiness and satisfaction. If most producers of online content are doing so to market something, then the desire to put forth something made is still there, even if it's about dinner that was produced or cupcakes baked.
So what would your takeaway be from me pointing this out? To be honest, I'm not sure. Maybe just a reminder that a motivation behind people is to create and to feel proud about what they created. That can translate into brand evangelism, writing reviews, referring friends to businesses, etc. People are proud of what they can produce.
Businesses are devoting real estate, both in print and in stores, to their social networking locations, as we spotted in 2009 at WholeFoods, Mandee, and The Burger Joint. The same trend is showing up in print advertising. What is missing is the address. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube logos are showing up in these expensive ad placements, but not the URL, or name of where to go. See this ad below for the new series, Circus, on PBS, where they have included the social icons in the bottom right corner of the page.
Great to know that this TV program is on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, but how is one to find Circus on these social networks? Facebook would seem easy enough - you can start typing into the Search box on Facebook. However, the first result does have over 2 million fans, but it's for MTV's Nitro Circus. PBS's Circus does not come up at all in the first 5 results. On Twitter, a search for this program will be hard to find.
The Takeaway: If you are including social networking buttons like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc., in print ads and brochures, include the URL of where to find it, and the Twitter handle. It doesn't take up much more real estate, and could get you more conversions and eyeballs!
I was on the phone with social media experts, Social Bees, discussing a client's custom built tab for their Facebook business page. During the call, he visited the client's website and didn't see a Facebook button. Immediately, he assumed they didn't yet have a Facebook business page. However, they do have a Facebook page, the button for which is on every single interior page, but not the home page. I treat this type of situation as a live focus group (on a tiny scale), so that I can witness the behavior of a user on a website, and then address it and fix it, rather than correct the user's behavior.
Several companies get very protective of the aesthetic of their home pages. They don't want to give up the real estate for a brand that is not their own, let alone a link off their website. But as we can see in Techcrunch's April 2010 article on comScore results about Facebook, traffic and legitimate time spent on Facebook and Twitter is serious. It's worth the imprint on your home page. Users are getting more and more impatient and demanding of websites. They want information now. Your customers will look for your Facebook and Twitter buttons on your website. Don't make them hunt, or you might miss their click to follow.
Consider this, from this Techcrunch report:
- As of April 2010, Facebook's pageviews were up 150% to 220 billion pageviews a month. And that increase is growing.
- Don't miss this number: Facebook had 220 billion pageviews a month. That means pages viewed by anyone - one person visiting 20 pages, one person visiting one page, and so on.
- About 7.5% of all time a person spends on the Internet was spent on Facebook. That means you need to be in front of that person as she is checking family photos, and so on.
- The Twitterverse is pretty huge, but as of April 2010, Facebook's audience grew by 22 million in one month, which Twitter estimates to be its entire US audience.
THE DESIGN OF YOUR SOCIAL BUTTONS
Are you emailing your web team right now to add your social buttons to your home page, or to your site at all if you haven't? There are two routes you could take for the visual design of these buttons:
- branded to your company, or
- branded to Facebook or Twitter (or other networks you are active on, like YouTube, LinkedIn, etc).
I could argue for both directions. For faster recognition by your audience, you might stick with the traditional colors and fonts of Facebook and Twitter. However, if you're itching for something more fun, that you think you audience might appreciate, you could custom design buttons that live within the visual personality of your brand. Consider these social button designs:
If you have neat buttons you'd like to show off, let us know in the Comments!
Seriously, Margaret Atwood is tweeting. Tweeting a lot. Are you? Or, maybe you are at this point, but either don't update it much, or fall off the tweeting wagon from time to time (I know I do). Today on the Brian Lehrer Show, Margaret Awtood spoke about her new book, The Year of the Flood. But really, she spoke about her fascination with Twitter, stating that it is "powerful" and relished in her amazement at how much information one could get from asking a question via Twitter. Note, she has over 85,500 followers, a good many of them are most likely active readers of her tweets, so I'd imagine that her question would get more attention than most.
So how does Margaret know how to tweet? Brian asked Margaret if it was hard for her write in 140 characters because she is such a long form writer who weaves a great story. She explained that when she was creating a website for her new book, her website team told her that she needed a blog, and a Twitter. Not sure what that meant, she agreed, and they created a Twitter account for her. Not sure what to write, she just started writing. Margaret summed it up with:
"you learn by doing"
Earlier in a blog post, I encouraged those of you who weren't blogging yet or were facing bloggers block to "just do it" and start writing. That post was actually inspired by another NPR show, SoundCheck. Naturally, the words of such an accomplished author were music to my ears. Affirmation that even with a powerhouse publisher behind you, and whatever other teams she has, one still has to bunker down and get in touch with Twitter in order to use it effectively. Forget the auto ReTweets. Forget the auto blog reposts. Forget the auto Facebook updated linkages. Twitter is all about people and connecting and words and information. That's it. What do you have that people want? Start tweeting, and find out.
With the birth of my little girl, Ruby Ray, I haven't led a Tweetworking workshop in a while, but i will soon. Be sure you're signed up to our newsletter to learn of the next Tweetworking workshop, along with other workshops your business will benefit from. Until then, tweet on!
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