The Social Contact Centre

to a social networking way of working through the eyes of a Contact Centre manager

Posts Tagged ‘twitter

Understanding the links


In 1929 Frigyes Karinthy summarised the future potential for friendship networks in a world where communications and travel were easier and cheaper. Six Degrees Of Separation was the model which suggested that two people anywhere in the world could be connected with each other by a chain of introductions. In the 1960s Stanley Milgram conducted experiments to prove the theory. Earlier this year Facebook announced that Facebook users were 4.74 degrees apart on average. 

This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons by Dannie_walker.

It figures that if you want to communicate a message to as many people as possible you need to understand a little more about these interconnections. Firstly a tweet which is retweeted can rapidly go a long way and secondly you may be interested in curtailing the connections in some way.

Most social media tools are designed to spread the word. For example there are checkboxes in Twitter to copy your tweets automatically to Facebook. Its very easy to forward content but I quickly realised the importance of controlling this secondary connection. Something which may look right in Twitter can seem out of context in Facebook. An obvious distinction is the separation of the business and the personal. Each social media tool has its own flavour and its community expects you to behave according to its rules. I address this by having separate personal and business personas. For business, understanding this roadmap is very important – what are you trying to achieve and where do you want to do your selling? One logical solution is that the most functionality and greatest control is your website or your retail store. Therefore the mission of your social media is to signpost to either location. You can then map out a strategy on how you are going to achieve this for each of the channels you choose to use. Fail to think this through and you’ll either be an island or face lots of inadvertent unliking, unfollowing and unfriending

Written by greencontact

September 30, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Building Twitter

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If there is a Golden Rule to Social Media it is that numbers don’t matter in a positive way. It is irrelevant how many followers or friends you have. There have been plenty of articles recently highlighting how  easy it is to acquire large bundles of Twitter followers but volume for its own sake is vanity. There are some very good reasons why you don’t want to just concentrate on volume unless you are being paid for page impressions viewed. Following on from my last blog about the CCExpo, imagine you have a stand at a big trade show. You know roughly how many people are likely to attend but you need to decide how many people to man the stand with, and how much marketing collateral to take with you. If you under-resource you won’t be able to take every sales lead available to you. If you overstaff  it wastes precious resource and can make the stand look unpopular. In a perfect world, all of your staff on the stand are engaged in meaningful conversations throughout the day and there is always someone available to talk to. You never waste resource on tyrekickers, suppliers or competitors. Although in the social world there may not seem to be much of a cost of participation there certainly is an opportunity cost to concentrating on numbers:

  • Firstly, the bigger the numbers, the harder it is to even monitor the conversation. It would make sense that you would want a mutual social relationship with your community and so you would “see” all their comments, statuses and posts. The sheer volume of noise this generates means it is difficult, even with the best monitoring tools, to make sense of what is happening – even harder to engage in a meaningful way with your community. This is the equivalent of the doors to the trade show opening and a wall of people making their way directly to your stand. The people manning the stand would be completely overwhelmed and be unable to identify the real prospects amongst the timewasters.
  • The objective is not just to acquire and keep the community captive. The challenge is to nurture and develop relationships with the community on as personalised basis as possible. A monitoring and listening approach will look out for references to you, your company, your products, your competitors and market issues. The hierarchy would suggest that with limited resources you want to make sure that the defensive position is protected first – that the mentions of you and your products are picked up and responded to. This could still leave a large part of the community untapped and feeling unloved. This is similar to having a stand and just handing out promotional literature. It’s a fairly blunt marketing strategy. The best use of trade shows involves taking the right people to one side and discussing their detailed requirements over a coffee.
  • The final reason why numbers are unimportant is that you will be judged by the company you keep. The Social Influence scorekeepers look not only at numbers but the strength of the community you interact with. As your social community is often visible, if it is largely made up of pornbots and people from different continents it doesn’t reflect well on your housekeeping. It may mean that potential followers decide not to. Again, taking the trade show analogy, we all scout the whole venue first and make value judgements over which stands are worth visiting. Of course there will be those you have heard of in advance but there will also be those that look popular or have interesting content worth exploring. Similarly you avoid the ones where the staff look uninterested or uninteresting and the stands which are full of students. As a supplier you need to create a positive first impression just to have a chance of developing the relationship further.

With those caveats, how should you build your Twitter community?

To start with – really think carefully about your Twitter name and profile. The name is important for making it easy for people to refer to you and contact you. The hard work is done by Twitter when you reply to someone but if you want to DM someone or refer to them in a normal tweet, underscores and numbers can mean you never get the message. Keep it as simple as possible. If all of the remotely basic versions of your company name are taken choose a different path. For example if you are a joiner called John Smith it is far better to go for @HappyJoiner than @john__smith377. Think in advance also about how other people at your company could get involved. If this is likely @JoinerJohn could easily be supplemented in future by @JoinerRichard but @HappyJoiner would only suggest Richard is in a bad mood or unrelated. Research shows that the photograph plays a really important part in whether people look at your tweets or not. As a result, never leave the egg image, and pick a photograph which is of a person or an image large enough that it can be seen clearly as a thumbnail. Twitter profiles are one of those areas where you don’t want to be too arty. You then have a limit of 160 characters. In this space you must say clearly what you do, try and differentiate yourself, explain where you are (a bugbear of mine) and who you want to follow you. The Twitter search will be used by people so think of the words you would want to be searchable in your profile. You can’t say everything you want to in 160 characters but you do also have space to add a url so have a clear strategy for where you are going to send people for more information.

I find that using lists and targets is the best way to stay on top of things. In Twitter there are some real constraints which you need to manage your way around. The most obvious of these is are the 2000 barrier on follows and the dangers of being suspended if you unfollow too rapidly. It would be much easier if you could spend hours searching for “your kind of Twitterer”, follow them all and then wait for them to follow back. Unfortunately Twitter puts a set of hurdles in place to force true engagement. The first of these is that you can’t follow more than 2000 accounts unless you also have 2000 followers (approximately). There are similar hurdles as the number increases but the problem is the same. As you get nearer to the limit you find yourself carefully unfollowing to give yourself headroom.

I find it easiest to stay focussed from the start and not automatically follow everyone back. When I follow people I really try and concentrate on people that I want to engage with – potential customers, influencers, influences, relevant suppliers, customers and competitors. If the Twitter account doesn’t meet the profile: don’t follow! Of course this can appear rude if you ignore a follower by not following back. The simple way to address this is to publish a charter of what your account is about and who you want to follow you. When choosing who to follow always look at their most recent tweets – what’s the point of following someone who last tweeted three months ago? Similarly – what’s their balance of follows and followers. If you follow someone who has 13,000 followers but only follows 100 is their really any point? If you want to learn from their pronouncement then maybe but the chances are they won’t ever see one of your tweets. Interaction and referencing is the best approach with these accounts.

I also find it useful to maintain lists from the start. Lists are a really good way of grouping Twitter followers and followers according to whatever criteria you want. Make sure you make the lists secure if you don’t want to offend them by seeing how you categorise them (people will be notified they have been added to a list unless you do so). This will also come in handly when you want to be proactive – you can quickly see how many followers of a particular type you have (a quick check is to fill lists right up until you reach the 500 limit and then create a second list called Customer2 for example). These can be exported into spreadsheets and databases for further analysis. This is a very tedious job to do later so its best to stay on top of it as part of your operating procedures from the start.

One of these lists should be targets. These are people who initially you would follow and who you would love to follow you back. These may be journalists, executives, or key customers. They will often have thousands of followers and be extremely selective about who they follow. Importantly they are also likely to be very busy. If you don’t know who you are aiming for you are never going to engage with them. Tweetdeck is a good tool for monitoring their conversation in different lists – this target list may only have one or two tweets a day and most of them will not give you an opportunity. However, if you monitor in real time you can also react at a  time when you know they are catching up on their social media and may well see your tweet. To give yourself a chance of getting a follow you need to be seen first and foremost and you then need to give them a reason to! Examples of reasons may be that you retweet their comments (everyone likes retweets), that you provide more information on a subject they are tweeting about currently, or simply that they entertain you and they retweet your own creation. It’s a fine balance between stalker and someone who is genuinely interested in them so make sure you control frequency and content carefully.

Finally, regularly have a purge of follows. There are some good tools available which analyse people you follow who don’t follow you back. The same tools can manage removal of the oldest first and also give some indication of the likelihood you should expect a follow back based on the relative numbers of follows/followers. I regularly have a look at unfollowing up to 50 at a time. This gives headroom for following more people who may be interested in participating in your community without causing concern with Twitter. This is a good practice also because some of these may not be following back only because they overlooked you. Unfollowing and following back may be all it takes to recruit!

Written by greencontact

September 29, 2013 at 10:48 am

Metrics for Social Commerce success

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Infographic courtesy Bazaarvoice

I really believe that at the end of every working day it is important to know whether you are winning or losing. It’s a viewpoint that ensures you stop doing pointless things and push harder on the things that work. When times are tough it puts it in perspective if you can look back at previous victories and can see that the current challenges are only on the journey to something good – showing the light at the end of the tunnel. Fundamental to this are very clear objectives and targets.

Social media is no different . We’re putting in the effort for a reason and it is important to understand, and more specifically for our bosses to understand, what the return looks like. I’ve blogged previously to indicate that the Social Media metric is Return on Influence. The emphasis on monetising social media is spawning the term social commerce.

In my mind the challenge is to think of social media as a channel. With my contact centre manager hat on I am used to understanding the return on investment of my activities. My clients understand their customers and they believe that the right balance of cost and service for their customers is to target me on answering 80% of their calls within 20 seconds for example. I know that to achieve this Erlang calculations tell me the number of people I need to have answering telephone calls at each part of the day. I can calculate my total costs by considering the amount of shrinkage I need to allow for holidays, sickness, lieu days, training, toilet breaks etc. Looking at it from the client’s side I can consider the value of each sale they make and the conversion rate against inbound calls. By factoring in the margin they make on each item I can work out a return on their investment in my contact centre. The important thing about inbound activities, whether they are telephone, white mail, web chat or email is that they are demand driven. In a purely inbound world the handle on the sausage machine turns and 1000 contacts produces x number of orders and so x number of products need to be manufactured to meet the demand. The emphasis in call centre operations these days is to minimise cost through first time resolution and to focus on customer satisfaction (which may require a few more touch points).

Social media turns the model on its head because, used well, it seeks out the conversation. I will discuss the merits of cars many times more than I will contact an automotive company’s help line. The challenge for automotive manufacturers is to build a relationship with me so that when the time comes to monetise my interest I understand the brand. It is much, much more complex though because I have a part to play in the influence of others too. Everyone likes to be seen as a clever consumer and so we tend to think that the car we drive/the holiday we chose/the clothes we wear were the best choices and we rate them accordingly. Bazaarvoice research as indicated by the infographic shows the difference between the Millennials (those born between 1981 and 2000 also known as Generation Y) and the Baby Boomers (1946-1964) in the importance of User Generated Content to their purchasing decisions. The bottom line is that the smart social commerce players want the potential purchasers of the car I drive to talk to me about my experiences, not send them a brochure.

So coming back to targets, the objective of the social commerce practitioner is to create and grow a carefully focussed community and to groom it with a light touch. Whereas my contact centre with its traditional channels is governed by demand, the perfect community would be the place where THE conversations happen. Only the Community Manager fully understands that the Community exists, its scale and its influence because it is built on layers of blogs, websites, Twitter feeds, Pinterest pages, and Facebook pages. Original content is created to feed the interest of participants but also the movers and shakers will participate. Taking the automotive example, it’s a big day when Jeremy Clarkson comments on your blogpost. And here is a further challenge; while it may be a great day if he likes what you have to say, woebetide it if he decides that today is the day to vent his spleen. Of course Mr Clarkson is subject to social pressure too – he wants to be seen building brand Clarkson by being Clarkson-esque but carrying some serious weight too. If your offer great cars and great service he is going to face a backlash if he decides to buck the trend.

I like to think of social media like water. It is a very precious resource that needs protecting and keeping pure but it is also an unpredictable natural resource – you will never master it. At best you can protect against the extreme damage and channel it to provide benefits in a wide range of ways but knowing that your best laid plans at some point have to change due to either drought or flood.

Initially your community of customers will be hugely grateful for the supply of fresh water you have provided for them to bathe, drink, create water features, enjoy as a natural spectacle, fish, swim, sail etc The moment you become complacent however they will start to scrutinise what you are doing more closely and challenge the price and service you provide!

So, at the end of today, how well are you managing the water? Market research is a key measure which indicates how well you are doing. You will never get the precision of knowing that a particular advertisement played well but the brand perception should move in accordance with your activities. There will be instances where the influence of social media can be captured precisely. Within the contact centre we regularly capture which specific advertising treatment triggered the purchase and the same crude mechanism could identify those customers who are following on Twitter for example. The customer database will grow with today’s name address, telephone number and email address being appended with Twitter name. Permission to contact by mail with carefully chosen offers could be altered to requesting permission to “friend” on Facebook.

Your customer satisfaction scores should also improve if you are proactively listening and engaging rather than relying on them getting in touch for help. Associated with this will be the day-to-day little wins – the new customer who takes the time to explain that the reason they are purchasing was a positive review they saw on Amazon or recommendations from Twitter followers.

The growth of PeerIndex, Klout and other social influence scores are becoming more and more relevant as they add social media platforms and work on the weightings and measures they use. I can see a day when Klout (or its future equivalent) is a reliable and meaningful metric that social commerce practitioners can treat in the same way a FTSE 100 board treat the share price. Accordingly I can see the time approaching where industry publications publish a regular index. In case you think it is a long way off, have a look at Dachis Group’s Social Business Index page http://www.socialbusinessindex.com/

 

Written by greencontact

October 22, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Pinning your hopes on a new social media product?

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ASOS’s Pinterest page

One of my mantras is that “Social Networking is permanent, Social Media is fashion”. Regularly new social media platforms emerge and get publicity and some of them gain momentum. MySpace, Friends Reunited, and Bebo had their time in the spotlight and were superseded by Facebook and Twitter as the dominant platforms. This year has marked the rise of Pinterest and Instagram.

In the Social Media B2B world you can’t afford to ignore anything – any strategy based on any one platform or anything anchored to just Facebook and Twitter is bound to founder sooner or later. You need to keep monitoring the blogs, checking the statistics and talking to customers to understand what’s hot. Trying to make sense of what is happening is more challenging. Is the growth of Pinterest based on new social media users who have found the platform they like, switchers from Facebook and/or Twitter, or does it serve a need which isn’t being addressed elsewhere so that it is a true addition to the social media? It’s too early to tell in my opinion and the best practise is to wade in and try to understand what Pinterest is about. As with most Social Media platforms the concept is really simple and the applications are really easy to use. The big question is always Why? What is it that drives people to move beyond just registering an account and into becoming a daily user and contributor – a content provider rather than a lurker?

The figures speak for themselves. Development started at the end of 2009 and in 2010 the first users were invited to use the controlled beta version. By the end of 2010 there were 10,000 users. The site really took off during 2011 with the launch of an iPhone app so that by the end of the year there were 11 million visits a week and the site was listed as one of the top ten social networking sites. In August 2012 the site was made available to everyone without invitation. There are now 29 million weekly North American visitors and the company is valued at $1.5 billion.

So what’s so attractive about a pinboard all of a sudden? Like most social media applications there is nothing revolutionary about the concept but something has absolutely struck a chord. The company says “Our goal is to connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting. We think that a favorite book, toy, or recipe can reveal a common link between two people.”  Unlike Facebook which is geared around linking up with people through friends, and Twitter which is about sharing what you are doing or thinking to strangers, Pinterest is about linking people together through things. People say that you can tell a lot about someone by seeing their record collection, bookshelf or wardrobe and Pinterest is building on this. It is also building on the growth of scrapbooking and the standard practice of creatives to collect pieces of inspiration in a book.

The applications are interesting and are part of what drives lots of social media usage – they are the way that social media moves from being a passive page to something much more interesting and creative. The examples on the Pinterest home page are of people gathering ideas either for personal inspiration or to crowd source opinion – weddings being organised with input from friends and family, designers gathering inspiration online in a way which previously would have involved a scrapbook.

From a B2B perspective the challenge is then whether to and how  to use Pinterest in a way which is sympathetic to your business objectives and the Pinterest user community. With anything new the risk is that either companies pitch in because they feel they need to have a presence or conversely shy away because they don’t understand what it does. Retailers have been pioneers in this area – they have latched on to the vibrancy of the platform and the behaviours of younger fashion customers leafing through magazines for inspiration. It’s still early days but ASOS are pioneers on many things Social http://pinterest.com/asos/. Does it work in terms of money through the till? It’s too early to say but it does have 14,000 followers. The biggest brand on Pinterest, with almost 300,000 followers is The Perfect Palette. The biggest user is Ez Pudewa, a blogger, with 2.8m!

There is an excellent article assessing the power of Pinterest from a marketer’s point of view here http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/blog/assessing-pinterest-for-uk-marketers-do-we-really-need-to-care/ by James Carson of Bauer Media.

Written by greencontact

October 12, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Call Centre and Customer Management Expo 2012

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Call Centre And Customer Management Expo 2011 courtesy http://www.callcentre.co.uk

In a world where social networking plays an ever-increasing role I visited Call Centre and Customer Management Expo at Olympia recently. There is always a place for “physical” networking and ultimately in the B2B world physical networking is the goal. CCExpo is the event in the UK for contact centre professionals to meet each other and suppliers. There are other membership events which are more about benchmarking and sharing experience such as the CCA and PPF conferences but in the current straitened economy they are less accessible than CCExpo.

The prepublicity is geared around making the most of your visit and over the years there have been various different ways that the organisers have attempted to get people talking to each other. Their success depends on footfall of visitors (who will attend if they know about it and if they get value from their visit), exhibition stand takeup from suppliers (who will attend if there is sufficient footfall of prospects) and sponsors (who will also attend if the sponsorship packages are attractive enough). The problem that pervades all these events is how you get the most from your investment of time/money/sponsorship to justify the visit. In a cyber world, trade shows suffer in the same way that high street retailers do: there are many more ways of getting the information you need in this day and age. The old exhibition stand is being replaced by webinars and, as in all industries, the new method often is more effective and at much lower cost.

As a networking event I think that Call Centre and Customer Management Expo is tricky. My benchmark for networking is the TMA event which used to be held every year in Brighton. It was the place where everyone would be there – customer and supplier alike – and possibly for the whole event. The Marketing Forum on the cruise ships was very similar with the same industry gurus holding court in the different bars around the ship. If you weren’t there, you weren’t part of the industry. The changing attitudes meant that TMA ended in 2002 after 25 years but the Marketing Forum continues. The Marketing Forum is by invitation only (a free cruise to Jersey on a luxury yacht isn’t offered to everyone). Suppliers pay a hefty price to be involved but the threshold to entry does mean attendees feel honoured and suppliers feel they are getting their money’s worth. The agenda is made up of some heavyweight research and industry topic discussion interspersed with mandatory 1-2-1 meetings with suppliers. If you don’t attend your quota of meetings and treat them seriously you won’t be invited back again. The result is a highly personalised, high energy and highly focused event which is possibly the benchmark for all conferences.

I’ve attended CCExpo in the past as an exhibitor. What always struck me was how the tone of the show changed year on year. The themes people wanted to talk about were different, the calibre of attendee changed and the other people exhibiting was always different. Some years you would groan internally as yet another student or supplier sidled on to your stand wanting to talk. In other years you would be overwhelmed with the number of good quality leads captured. You do still see the same faces as you tour the stands and watch presentations but the continuity is less powerful than it used to be and I think this is representative of most trade shows.

What is interesting is to see the use of social media before during and after the event. Claudia Thorpe, the editor of CCF, the title behind the event has been active with Social Media for many years and has championed a multichannel approach rather than just the printed word. She has created forums and executive groups amongst the readership to try to further engage them. The Call Centre Focus magazine itself is now an electronic online resource – callcentre.co.uk. The resource is active in LinkedIn and Twitter as well as having an extensive web presence. Claudia is a very active and creative community manager who regularly networks herself across all industry events. She was active during the event as @CCFClaudia but also the @callcentrefocus was tweeting throughout. The #ccexpo tag was established and was used by suppliers before and during the event. Suppliers monitored the use of hashtags and interacted with prospects throughout. They also attempted to grow their social media followers and establish their own event related hashtags through on-stand competitions. A category of visitors was identified as VIPs and they were given a set of benefits including a lounge area to relax (an excellent idea) and priority access to some presentations. This was a good compromise on the Marketing Forum model. It identifies potential decision makers and spenders for suppliers in a slightly subtle way and makes the event an easy place to visit. One puzzle that never seems to work is an area set aside and sponsored by a supplier for networking meetings. I haven’t seen this successfully carried off anywhere yet and the area which is designated for some kind of business speed dating becomes another seating area for tired punters.

And my day? I find the event to be an example of trending. Every year there is a hot topic. I remember the years when outsourcing, offshoring, speech analytics, and social media were the hot topics. You could tell by the mix of suppliers exhibiting, the products they were displaying, the themes chosen by speakers, and even the words adorning the stands. The trending theme this year was The Cloud. I try not to see any suppliers throughout the year other than those I already use – I could easily spend a lot of time learning about technology I can’t afford and would not use. I do like to occasionally go and see other sites and learn about their experiences.

I am always surprised at the poor practice of some exhibitors. You’ve paid all the money on a stand and a location and unbelievably you then man it with people who are either intimidating or look like you would be disturbing them. I’ve seen people eating their lunch, texting and reading a paper rather than try and engage with passers-by. One stand was set up with advertising boards either side of a door sized gap and the guy looking after the stall stood right in the gap like some kind of bouncer. It is still disappointing to see the number of very attractive young women on stands who can’t answer questions and immediately pass you to one of the few people who know their subject. The other stereotype appears to be alpha males who also don’t know what they are talking about but have no-one to pass you to –  a little team briefing wouldn’t be too much to do? The best idea this year were the two people in really good police uniform who were able to engage pretty much whoever they wanted in conversation – brilliant… if I could remember which product they represented.

When it comes to Expo I like to go with a problem and visit a few stands and presentations to get a rounded view of it. I also like to meet up with people who may be able to give me some of their knowledge and visit my regular suppliers. This year I wanted to get a better understanding of how a hosted switch could operate in my environment. How would it integrate with my existing technology and what are its weaknesses. By discussing the situation with half a dozen suppliers and seeing a couple of presentations I think I have what I need to see me through until next year.

 

Written by greencontact

October 4, 2012 at 2:51 pm

First forays in SM


My first steps into the Social world were on a private basis. Having realised that I was already social networking I decided to use the media more frequently just to “acclimatise”.

The easy first steps were to wade into TripAdvisor more and to actually contribute reviews back. This just seemed like good manners to me – if you take information you should contribute equally. To date my reviews have had over 7500 readers – and quite frankly if I can spare some people the horrors and support the gems it makes me feel good.

I decided to raise my LinkedIn profile and get in touch with old colleagues, friends and university peers. This is one of the areas I find the hardest. To me a “friend” is a very specific term. I don’t have thousands of them. What I do have is lots of contacts and acquaintances. Once I got over the name I felt less embarrassed requesting a LinkedIn connection with clients, people I’d met at conferences etc. I have a clear view that my LinkedIn profile is my online CV. People judge me and I judge other people by who I know and I do the same with other people. I still find it difficult to ask for recommendations and don’t particularly like or respect the automatic exchange.

I expanded my Facebook friends and linked my Twitter account in so that I provide content. I still have some reservations about security and posting family pictures but I am getting over what is clearly my “generational” problem. My kids still won’t let me be their friend though!

Twitter and WordPress are my “natural” homes and I think this was a lesson for me. Everyone has their voice and after trying them all, will settle on a primary channel. I find Twitter natural, suits my mobile work and home life, and probably matches my attention span. With Twitter I very quickly saw the lie of the land – the different types of people who use Twitter – there are distinct clusters.

I’ve tried lots of others with different degrees of success – FourSquare (checking in at locations), Waze (collaborative satnav with a bit of Pacman built in), SoundTracking (a life through music), Showyou (watching TV together), Quora and Wikipedia (building and sharing knowledge).

The point is.. its difficult to contemplate a strategy without understanding the problem and the resources available to you.

Written by greencontact

September 7, 2012 at 2:46 pm

We all make Social Media mistakes. What happens next?

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There will always be mistakes – its how you deal with them that matters. I watched a comic situation develop recently due to some crossed wires with a Twitterer. The author was an experienced Twitterer with a resulting Klout score of 55. He’s profuse – by which I mean he often has over 50 tweets a day. He’s also got lots of followers – over 30,000. Most importantly he’s a professional – he’s doing it to make money – and they are always worth watching.

On the day in question I had a look at his communications. He has a newspaper, Linked In connections and an ebook that he is looking to sell. He promoted these throughout the day in different ways – roughly 20% of his tweets were adverts one way or another. About the same proportion were RTs and a further 20% were Interaction with individual twitterers – just chit chat. In the remainder he generated, or doctored RTs to look like, original content, he advertised some other people’s content for them, he grew his network and asked some questions. All text book stuff for someone looking to grow.

My Twitterer was looking for an opportunity to sell and spotted a three-way conversation (involving a celebrity with 500k followers) about comparing TV-driven PR with the cost of Google AdWords. He may easily have a Twitter feed scanner looking for keywords because he was straight in asking whether he could help them with managing their AdWords. One of the participants took umbrage to the interruption. Looking at it in the cold light of day it could have appeared like someone listening to a private conversation and butting in inappropriately. He followed it with a further enquiry about their management of search engines and then a cheeky “let me know if I can quote for you” which prompted a public rebuke along the lines of “this was a private conversation. Stop pretending to join in just to sell to us”. The offended party then followed it up with a tweet saying how rude it was for someone to try and sell to them who didn’t even follow them…which was then retweeted

The nature of Twitter is that all this is happening in public view. 30,000 of his followers are seeing the thread turn sour. The squabbling pair made up. My Twitterer abused him back (wisely dropping the celebrity from the conversation) before apologising and saying the offer wasn’t directed at him. The offended Twitterer apologised, said that he thought it was spam and offered general advice to ease off the selling without getting to know people.

This whole spat illustrates the dangers for even the most skilled practitioner of professional twittering and especially the fine line you need tread in the endeavour to turn social media into hard cash. His approach is to try and turn conversations into book sales, blog visitors with advertising royalties or consulting fees. To make serious money with this strategy you need to be profuse, attract big numbers of followers… and not mind a few casualties.

Written by greencontact

August 3, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Posted in Opinion

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