5 Ways to Get More Mileage from Your Tweets

Social Content That’s Irresistible to Tweet

Is Twitter really dying? If you’re in marketing and communications, you’ve probably heard the rumor going around for some time. Even the recent elections and Trump’s penchant for 3 a.m. tweets seemingly failed to reignite user growth for Twitter. In fact, it only grew by 2 million users worldwide in its fourth quarter (with no growth in the U.S.) — compare that to the new 72 million users Facebook garnered over the same period.

But it’s no time to fret. Last year, Twitter repositioned itself as a news platform according to its blog. It’s less for sharing baby pictures and more to share current world and industry events. Less to track someone’s birthday, more to track when your favorite artist finally released their latest single.

Seeing Twitter this way changes the game entirely and makes it clear that there is still a place for Twitter in brand awareness and marketing. I recently heard the bright minds behind Andrew and Pete (@andrewandpete) at Social Media Marketing World (SMMW ’17) in San Diego, who understood this nuance and wanted to help everyone create content that was irresistible to the Twitter-verse.

Their high level message was that Twitter is often misused, giving the impression that it’s failing. But it’s not Twitter’s fault. We should stop falling for the usual suspects we think may lead to success. Don’t blog about everything, don’t promote tweets expecting instant ROI, don’t pin just any tweet, don’t hashtag everything, don’t use automation for all your processes — the list goes on.  

The problem with Twitter is that it’s become spammy and automated. It’s a nuisance. In 2017, we’ll have to break through this barrier to effectively use and create re-tweetable content.

Here are 5 ways to get more mileage from your tweets:

  • Focus on Brand Advocacy: It’s important to remember that some people share your content simply because they like you. When fostering brand advocates, do personal things for key followers. This could be done by replying with a personal DM or video message from a brand account. For instance, Indian Motorcycles effectively engaged a customer by reposting a customer’s image and then going as far as paying a month’s bike payment. The customer became a brand ambassador for life. In the end, it’s about questions that lead to conversations, which then foster relationships and sales.
  • Be Emotional: We need to stop using social platforms mechanically and think about the emotions you can evoke purposely. Twitter may be full of bots, but it doesn’t mean you and your followers should be the same. The goal is to avoid being “vanilla” by providing emotionally arousing content — think gifs, images, video, etc. You want your followers to react to your content.
  • Quantify Coolness: Social Currency! Social media heavily revolves around how the retweeter would look like when they repost content. Think about brands like Dos XX, Red Bull or Chubbies, whose entire marketing scheme is more about the message and activity than the product itself. No one posts something they think will paint them in a negative light. So reverse engineer this process and make people feel cool.
  • Align with a Cause: Aligning your brand with a broader cause or message consumers are passionate about could be a boon for sales. Think Dove commercials or Always’ Run Like a Girl campaign for video. On Twitter, Uber took on drunk driving with its #LeaveTheKeys hashtag, which essentially translates to #BookAnUber. But remember, it has to be REAL and RELEVANT to your target demographic.
  • A Compilation of Greatest Hits: Ultimately, all the strategy in the world will be for naught if the caliber of the content is subpar. The more useful, the more shares you are going to get. In essence, every single piece of content should be GREAT! Generating a constant stream of high-value content can sound daunting, but it can be simpler than you think. It doesn’t even have to be about your product or service. Instead, it can focus on helping solve the problems your target consumer demographic is facing or just simply entertain them. Think of all those great memes and one-liners Taco Bell has been behind.

5 Takeaways from the Go-To-Market Leaders Product Marketing Panel

Last Wednesday evening, we had the pleasure of co-hosting the Go-To-Market Leaders San Francisco Meetup and Product Marketing panel with Akoonu. We were joined by TIRO Communications president and founder Patrick Spencer, Slack head of product marketing Harsh Jawharkar, Anaplan vice president of global product marketing Folia Grace and Jasper Wireless director of product marketing Theresa Bui Revon. These panelists discussed the role of product marketing in shaping conversations with prospects and in supporting sales.

Here’s what we learned:

Be a mini CEO. One of the GTM Leaders Product Marketing Panelchallenges of the job of product marketer is that there are no boundaries. It can be anything. The product marketer is the mini CEO of the product. It’s your job to raise awareness of your product and make sure all teams (customer success, sales, quality assurance, product marketing and content marketing) are aligned in their understanding of the product, message and business goals.

Keep your message consistent, but tailor your language. Your message should remain consistent throughout the sales and marketing process, regardless of the vertical you are marketing to. However, it is important to keep in mind that while the message should stay the same, the language should be tailored to match your vertical. The challenge for product marketing is to make sure you use a vocabulary that the customer is used to hearing—while keeping a consistent message.

Ask for feedback from your sales team. Product marketing is not solely about product design, it’s about experience design. And there is no team better than your sales team to understand what customers are doing, how they are doing it, and what they need from you (the product) to do it better. Feedback from your sales team is absolutely crucial to understand how you can tailor your product—and the experience you can give to your customer. Ask your sales team if they see any gaps in what you deliver and what customers are asking for.  And make sure both the marketing and sales teams understand how to tweak your messaging and content, which can be the most challenging part.

Appreciate the partnership between social media and product marketing.
The partnership between social media and product marketing is invaluable. Social media teams have the opportunity to monitor and track conversations in real-time. Conversations on social channels shift at an incredibly rapid pace, and your social media team should be updating product marketing to make sure that their messaging is in line with what’s trending. If your customers are talking about security and you aren’t, that’s a problem. Additionally, social channels can also add value to your customers’ lives beyond the product itself—especially for customer support.

Customer success is key. It can be a challenge to drive revenue from an existing customer. But with customer success, it makes this task a whole lot easier. It’s imperative to deliver value to your customer on an ongoing basis. It’s about understanding what the difficulties are from step 1, to step 2, etc. Customer success should be at the heart of what are you doing. And if your product marketing team isn’t talking to your customer success team, you have a serious deficiency that needs to be addressed.

Making a Social Media Splash at a Conference (When You’re Not the One Attending)

CalebAs we kickoff 2016, many of our clients here at Highwire are already thinking about the major industry events of the year. Our consumer teams have just finished up an exciting Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the digital health practice is preparing for Healthcare and Information Management Society conference (HIMSS) and the security practice is already starting preparations for about the biggest security conference of the year—RSA.

With social media now such an integral part of the corporate identity, it has become an increasingly important tool for making an impact at a trade conference. However, often times those running these social channels aren’t actually ATTENDING the show.

So, how can you make a social splash at a conference when you aren’t physically present?

Before the conference

Do your research

Before anyone steps foot on the conference floor, there is a good amount of groundwork to be done ahead of time to ensure on-site time is well spent. For instance, as the social media manager, your first responsibility is to identify any hashtags that are tied to the show. If you are attending RSA, you’ll want to know which hashtag will be the most popular—will it be #RSA2016 #RSAConf or #2016RSA? Are different target audiences using a particular  one? Make sure you keep an eye out for any shifts  in hashtag usage throughout the show. To do this, there are great social media tools like Hashtagify that can help you monitor for what is trending.

In order to make the show a success, you’ll also need ambassadors on the ground feeding you information and images. Find out which of your team members will be on the conference floor and who will be attending which sessions and connect with them ahead of time. Ask that they send you content throughout the conference—photos, videos, interesting conversation topics—that will help you stay in the conversation although you aren’t physically there. Be sure you have their direct contact information, and give them yours! Remember that these team members are likely busy running around the expo floor, so don’t be afraid to remind them to send you content throughout the event.

If your team is looking to connect with media who are attending the conference, you’ll want to investigate who will be there before the conference starts. Additionally, be sure to follow them on Twitter and other relevant social channels. This will make it easier for you to monitor Twitter and other feeds to see if a reporter is focusing on an area of mutual interest, attending one of your talks, or is looking for commentary from vendors.

Tease out your participation

Make sure you let your followers know that you plan to be at the show, and let them know where they can find you. Share your booth number and the dates and times of any talks your executives may be giving. Are you planning to give away any swag? Hosting a contest? Share this with your followers in a timely manner so that they know what to expect. If you have a regularly scheduled email newsletter that goes out to customers and prospects, make sure to include a mention of your participation in the editions preceding the event.

Social media can also help you make an impact beyond traditional PR and gain you new followers. Find out from your team what your key target verticals are and do some research to see if any potential customers may be at the show. If your sales team is looking to make a connection you can help by engaging with potential customers over social media. Be sure to check the list of conference sponsors before the show begins and connect with your team to see if there is anyone on their target list that you can start to monitor.

BlackHatClientsDuring the conference

Monitor for any changing trends. Keep a close eye on the conference hashtags and make sure you adjust your social posts according to what is trending. For example, perhaps #BlackHat2015 started out with the most traction, but by the end of the conference conversations may have switched to #BHUSA. Your social content should also make that switch.

Keep your eyes peeled for any breaking news or especially popular conference hashtags. If Twitter is suddenly talking about the researcher who hacked into a satellite, a keynote talk by Alec Baldwin or the Stagefright exploit that rocked Android phones, you don’t want to miss out on chiming in. .

It’s important to engage in social media conversations, not just push out promotional messages. Work with your team on the ground to share interesting topics or their opinions about interesting talks, and connect with reporters who are looking for commentary on any new stories. If your company is giving away free gear, promote to attendees using social media to encourage them to come talk to your team.

Since you are not at the show, staying in close communication with those who are on the ground is extremely important. Be sure to ask the team early and often for photos, quotes and videos that can be shared across your social channels. Visuals can add variety and extra personality to your feed. Remember, don’t be afraid to share photos of your team having fun! Photos of employees sharing a drink, talking with other influencers, or speaking on a stage at industry events frequently outperform your typical corporate content.

Social sharing shouldn’t stop at the official corporate channels either. Encourage members of the team to share, retweet and repost your content! With each share, the life of your content—and its reach—is extended.

After the conference

The booth may go down and the conference hashtags may be dormant, but your work as social media manager is not done. Be sure to share any potential leads you may have uncovered with your team. Most importantly, think about ways that you can extend the life of the great experiences, photos and quotes that you received during the event. Consider whether you may be able to craft a blog post surrounding key findings from the event or develop a series of visual quote cards with interesting takeaways to publish over time.

While it may seem daunting to be tasked with managing social media for an event you’re not attending, it is possible to do so successfully. All it takes is some pre-planning, and lots of team collaboration and communication.

How to Set Yourself Up for Success and Rock Your Reddit AMA

Reddit is a great tool for engaging with a community. With over 195 million users, Reddit provides a platform for users to engage and interact with their community in real time. My favorite Reddit feature? The AMA (subreddit r/IAmA)—especially as part of a PR campaign.

Highwire client OWASP recently hosted an AMA to answer questions about application security and to raise awareness for their conference AppSec USA.

Reddit AMAs can position your company as a passionate industry leader and provide an honest, valuable connection with an engaged audience—whether you are gearing up for a product or company launch, or even an industry event. And you don’t have to be President Obama or Amy Poehler for it to be successful. Redditors host a variety of AMAs ranging from competitive Pokemon players to Six Flags ride operators.

So, how do you determine if a Reddit AMA is a worthy component for your next PR campaign? Here are some things to consider:

Think before you act. Why do you want to host an AMA? This channel isn’t about raising awarCKYlZqYUsAAPo-deness of a brand or product, and redditors don’t care about the new features to your CRM platform. But if you want to elevate a company’s thought leadership and executive voice—and your executive is willing to share his or her thoughts on a hot topic or industry trend without bringing up their brand—your head is in the right place. Research is an important part of this step as well, so you’ll also want to familiarize yourself with Reddit as a platform. Spend time looking at past AMAs to learn what items typically get more “upvotes” than others, or where Redditors tend to lose interest or resort to the site’s characteristic snarkiness. It’s important to understand the language your audience uses and what topics they care most about.

Develop a plan.  Planning for an AMA takes longer than you might think. When developing the plan, outline each step on a detailed timeline that the spokesperson can follow, as there are several things they need to do that you can’t. Your plan should include:

  • – Detailed instructions on how to submit to Reddit’s AMA Calendar (submissions must come directly from spokesperson’s Reddit handle)
  • – How to submit spokesperson proof—proof is a way to verify that your spokesperson is actually who they say they are. An easy way to do this is to have your spokesperson take a picture of themselves holding a piece of paper with their Reddit username, then have them post it to Twitter. See Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston’s proof here.
  • – Promotion timeline with pre-drafted content for social channels
  • – Detailed instructions on how to submit and begin the live AMA

Promote it. Tweet your heart out. Start Twitter promotion and engagement a month in advance wCKYbqykUAAAxqICith a unique hashtag that you know will map back to only your own content (#owaspAMA is what we used for our OWASP AMA). Once the AMA post is live, start driving attention by sharing the direct link to the AMA on social channels. Another way to interact with an even larger audience is to live tweet the top questions and engage with those mentioning your AMA with the hashtag. You can also send “Save the Date” email invitations to encourage attendance. Including an “Add to my calendar” button/link in the email can be helpful to drive attendance.

Extend its life. You hosted an AMA —now what? Depending on its content, you could consider turning the information that was uncovered through the signature Q&A format into a bylined article. However, it can be hard to place repurposed content that’s already been published to social channels, so a better option would be a LinkedIn Pulse post authored by your spokesperson highlighting the top questions and providing more in-depth answers. Recognize the overarching problems Reddit users asked questions about and tie them to larger industry trends. Focus on what items your respected industry colleagues should pay attention to, and what’s troubling users—again without mentioning your brand or product. Use this as an opportunity to provide deeper perspective on trending issues, and keep the AMA alive!

Prepared now? Ready. Set. Reddit!

Simple Tips for Tweet Chat Triumph

SONY DSCSocial media has become a powerful component of PR and communication campaigns for brands big and small.

Twitter, in particular, offers a huge opportunity to gain visibility—companies can share their news, voice their professional opinions and even participate in or host specialized discussions, known as tweet chats or Twitter chats. By simply participating in these chats, brands can gain both social exposure and followers.

As a PR professional, I encourage you to take it one step further by hosting a tweet chat of your own. In doing so, brands can further strengthen their voice within their niche communities and directly engage with other thought leaders in their fields. These chats can be recurring (monthly, quarterly, etc.) or spontaneously tied to client news or events.

Ready to get started? I’ve outlined a few key steps to ensure a successful tweet chat.

Pre-chat prep to ensure a lively conversation

Most of the work that goes into hosting a tweet chat happens before the event actually occurs.

First and foremost, you should pick a chat topic for which your internal thought leader can serve as an expert. Anything too broad could result in too long of a chat session, so a specific angle or subtopic works well. For example, an email marketing company might want to host a chat on the basics of A/B split testing.  

Next, decide if your brand wants to partner with an outside expert or influencer in the field. This tactic will bring higher visibility to the chat and also add an extra layer of legitimacy to the session. Not sure who the right person is for your topic? You can use Twitter itself to find viable influencers and approach them about co-hosting a chat.

Once you have an expert co-host on board (or if you choose to proceed without one), you can get started on the basics. When scheduling the chat, aim for 30-60 minutes. Make sure your date is at least a month out so you have ample time to promote it. Additionally, create a unique hashtag for promotion and participation purposes. The hashtag is how your participants engage with you throughout the chat, so take the time to ensure you come up with something short and memorable.

When these tasks are out of the way, focus on the structure and content of the chat. In addition to the outside expert, determine who on the brand’s side will participate and what role they will have during the chat. One suggestion is to have two people on the brand’s side involved—one operating the brand’s handle, running the chat and posing the questions, and another (the one you are leveraging as the thought leader) on their personal handle, responding to the questions.

For content, draft the questions the moderator will be asking and responses the thought leader will be offering ahead of time (keeping in mind the 140-character rule, including the hashtag). Tweet chats can move quickly, and this trick will help participants stay up to speed. For a one-hour chat, draft around 8-10 questions. If time allows, it’s a best practice to create images that include each question. This makes the chat’s questions prominent in participants’ twitter feed, ensuring questions don’t get lost in the conversation.

Lastly, promote promote promote. Take to Twitter to communicate save-the-date messages. Create a simple image with the basic chat details and hashtag to catch followers’ eyes. Write a promotional blog and post it on your website. Send e-invites to friendly media folks so they can either participate or monitor the chat in real time. Identify individuals who are active in similarly themed chats and directly tweet at them inviting them to your chat.

Managing mid-chat

Once you’ve laid the groundwork, the chat can practically run itself. That said, one piece of advice is to have all participants dial into a conference number a few minutes before the chat is set to begin. This will allow for quick intros of the influencer to the brand participants, and the ability to address any last minute questions. Have everyone stay dialed in with their phones on mute for the duration of the chat; if the need for direct communication between you, the client or the partner expert comes up, you’ll have a means of instant access.

At the top of the chat, the moderator should thank attendees for coming; directly tweet them if you have time, but don’t wait too long to get the ball rolling. Have the moderator pose the first question and allow for the “experts” to weigh in with their pre-scripted responses. Give ample time for chat attendees to ask or respond to questions, and be sure that the moderator favorites and retweets some of the responses in real time. Allow for about 5-7 minutes between each question before asking the next.

Encourage your chat hosts to not just stick to the script but to also offer off-the-cuff responses to some of the questions—they should feed off of the conversation as it flows in order to not sound too groomed.

Post-chat repurposing

Lastly, the value of a tweet chat is not limited to only the 30 or 60 minutes in which it occurs. You can extend its shelf life by using the material to create further content, such as blog posts, infographics or SlideShares highlighting the top takeaways from the chat.

For instance, Highwire client Corvisa recently teamed up with customer service expert Shep Hyken to host a twitter chat, “Today’s Customers: What Do They Really Want?” Afterward, Corvisa repurposed the content of the chat for a recap blog.

If you are ready to engage with your brand’s audience and fellow thought leaders like Corvisa did, get the creative process started by checking out some upcoming chats to see what’s trending in your industry’s social spaces. Whether it’s a first and only or the first of many, tweet chats are a must-try for any brand.

FTC Disclosure Guidelines: What You (and Kim Kardashian) Need to Know

Kim Kardashian Instagram Morning Sickness Post

Image credit: Forbes

A contentious disclosure by Kim Kardashian recently put endorsement transparency and FTC-compliance back on the agenda.

The controversy revolved around an Instagram post in which she claimed to be “so excited and happy” after using Diclegis, an anti-nausea drug, that she was “partnering” with the company “to raise awareness about treating morning sickness.”

Of course, the makers of Diclegis had paid Kim to make the statement. But was the subtle “partnering” disclosure enough?

According to the FTC, the same consumer protection laws against “unfair or deceptive acts or practices” that apply to commercial activities in other media apply online, including activities on social media and in mobile channels.

FTC guidelines state that disclosure needs to occur whenever a company provides a third-party content producer (celebrities included) some form of compensation. This could take the form of money, gifts, and complimentary services.

In addition, the burden is on the brand to ensure the content producer uses the appropriate disclosure. This means the FTC expects a representative from the brand to contact the influencer/blogger with guidance on how to disclose effectively if the blogger has not been clear on the dealings with the brand.

Disclosure can take many forms. At a basic level it is a public acknowledgement that a relationship exists between the content producer and the brand. For example, adding #client to the end of a Tweet, or mentioning a brand’s generous offer of free product at the beginning of a blog featuring the product are both legitimate forms of disclosure.

To make a disclosure clear and conspicuous, advertisers/marketers/communicators should consider:

Placement & Proximity: The placement of the disclosure in the advertisement and its proximity to the claim. For example, it can’t just be added to the bottom of the blog post.

Prominence: It is the communicator’s responsibility to draw attention to the required disclosures. This can be done through ensuring the disclosure is the appropriate format – text size, color – and that it’s not overwhelmed by other content and buried in text.

Distractions: Organizations cannot actively direct attention away from the disclosure, distracting the consumer of the content.

Repetition: Is one disclosure enough? Or does the disclosure need to be repeated to be effective? Consider how audience is consuming the message, and is it possible for them to have missed the disclosure. For example, including “we tweet about our clients” on a PR agency’s profile page isn’t adequate, as most people don’t view tweets on the profile page. Instead, a disclosure needs to be made with each individual tweet.

Language: Is the language of the disclosure understandable to the intended audience? If you are targeting a consumer audience, it should not be framed in technical language or legal speak.

Check out the FTC website for the comprehensive disclosure guide.

Taking these guidelines into consideration, it’s probably safe to say the use of the word “partnering” was too vague and ambiguous. Kim and Diclegis messed up.

When in doubt it’s best for brands (and the influencers they work with) to lean on the side of clarity and transparency.

What does your company’s social media policy say about disclosure and transparency? And when was the last time you circulated it around the organization to remind employees of their disclosure obligations?