41 Reasons To Love Twitter

I love Twitter.

Although it can be noisy and overwhelming at times, I’m on Twitter all day long. It’s a big part of both my personal and professional life.

Lately, Twitter has been under fire from Wall Street because they’re struggling to attract new users to the platform. Although I know many fellow Twitter addicts, I also know an equal number of people who have absolutely no interest in it.

I can understand why they have no interest. It does indeed take some effort to learn, and a fair amount of discipline to keep it organized, but you can get a TON of value out of Twitter if you do it right. 

I’m sure I’ll add more to this list over time, but as of today, here are the top 41 reasons why I love Twitter…

  1. Get the latest news
  2. Follow live events
  3. Make new connections
  4. Strengthen existing relationships
  5. Stay in touch with old friends
  6. Read
  7. Learn
  8. Develop new skills
  9. Build referral relationships
  10. Generate sales opportunities
  11. Community management
  12. Competitor research
  13. Build your personal brand
  14. Build your business brand
  15. Foster customer loyalty
  16. Enable employee advocacy
  17. Follow politics
  18. Learn what’s happening in your city, your province/state, your country
  19. Compliment
  20. Complain
  21. Be inspired
  22. Get motivated
  23. Get healthy
  24. Pursue your hobbies
  25. Discover new music
  26. Discover new books
  27. Discover new recipes
  28. Discover new podcasts
  29. Watch jaw-dropping GoPro videos of crazy extreme athletes
  30. Interact with people live-streaming their POV
  31. Follow celebrity antics
  32. Hear the latest buzz about movies or TV
  33. Keep in touch with the latest in technology and gadgets
  34. Feast your eyes on incredible photography
  35. Experience other cultures
  36. Laugh
  37. Be sarcastic
  38. Be clever
  39. Be kind
  40. Be happy
  41. Be helpful

How about you? What are your favourite reasons for using Twitter?

If I missed any good ones, please let me know in the comments!

Update: Feb. 23rd, 1:47pm

LOL! My Mom just emailed me to say that I forgot to add “procrastinate” to the list. So true! #busted

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My, How Marketing Has Changed

Digital Marketing - How It Has Changed

I’m no super expert on Digital Marketing, but I do enjoy following the trends. I’m amazed at how much the mix of necessary tactics has changed in only a few short years.

The past (recent history):

  • Direct mail
  • Trade shows
  • Cold calling
  • Print ads
  • Email marketing
  • Website / SEO
  • SEM
  • PR
  • Referral marketing
  • Media buying
  • Social media
  • (What have I forgotten?)

New:

  • Some of the above (less cold calling, less print, less tradeshow spend)
  • Social selling
  • Employee advocacy
  • Influencer marketing
  • User-generated content
  • Customer engagement
  • Community management
  • #Hashtag optimization (shameless plug => @topicurious)
  • Content marketing (blog, video, infographics, eBooks, etc.)
  • Marketing automation
  • Big data
  • Personalization
  • Growthhacking
  • Mobile
  • UX
  • C-Level personal branding
  • Human-to-Human (#H2H via @BryanKramer)
  • Return-on-Relationships (#RonR via @TedRubin)
  • (What have I forgotten? => help me expand this list by commenting)

There is still no silver bullet. A smart mix of tactics is still required, but the mix is very different than it used to be.

Too Many Social Networks, Not Enough Time

Too many social networks

 

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Foursquare, and YouTube. That’s the list of social networks that I spend “some” time on.

Wow, when I write them all down like that, it looks like a rather long list. Oh, boy. I’m going to be in trouble when my wife and my boss see this. I can hear them now. “Geez, Craig… don’t you ever work??”

To be clear, I do spend an hour (or so ~wink~) per day on social networks for work purposes (marketing, sales, research, learning, networking, etc).

I also spend probably an equal amount of time per day surfing social media to follow my personal interests and connect with friends and family.

If only I had more time

The interesting thing, and the inspiration for this post, is that I SHOULD be spending MORE time on social networks! I know, that sounds ridiculous to those closest to me, but perfectly reasonable to others.

Here’s the thing: There are too many social networks and not enough time.

How do people do it??

To get the most out of a social network, and to maximize your effectiveness as a social media marketer, you have to dedicate an enormous amount of time to search for, find, and then “follow”, “friend”, “circle”, or “connect” with a lot of people who share things you’re interested in.

I don’t know about you, but I just don’t have time to do that on ALL the social networks.

Social media can be overwhelming

I use Facebook on a daily basis because that’s where all my extended family and close friends are. Actually, I don’t really like FB anymore, but I have no choice since most of those people I want to interact with there aren’t in my other networks.

I use Twitter a lot, not only for marketing, but also to find and follow the latest and greatest information on dozens of business topics, personal interests, and of course current events. I also use it to network in a more public forum where you can connect with people you wouldn’t normally be able to.

Since I love photography I spend a few minutes most days on Instagram, “liking” probably 50% of the pics I see from the talented and creative people I follow.

And finally, I end up spending some time on YouTube because I love watching short videos that are fun, compelling, heartwarming, amazing, or informative. I suppose YouTube isn’t really a social network, but I lump it in there because it’s so tightly integrated.

So in summary, I’m actively building a following and networking on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. That’s all I have time for.

Need to spend more time on LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest

The problem is that from a marketing perspective (both personal and in business), I NEED to be spending more time on LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest. And ideally without negatively impacting the time that I’m already spending on the other networks.

Alright, I admit that I could probably spend less time looking at awesome pictures and fun video, and I do sometimes reluctantly get sucked into looking at too many “shares” from my friends on Facebook, but that time only amounts to 10-15 minutes a day, and quite frankly I think it’s really important to follow your interests and stay connected with your friends and family.

Is Google+ the Future?

Google+ is actually a really interesting technology. I see it sort of like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram all in one. Google+ apparently has the 2nd largest active user base behind Facebook, and mark my words, they’ll figure out how to unseat Mr. Zuckerberg from the social networking throne. They didn’t become a gazillion dollar company by accident.

LinkedIn works

Same thing with LinkedIn. The Groups functionality is a really great way to connect, network, and build relationships with birds of a feather. More importantly for marketers and salespeople, although there are conflicting opinions on this, LinkedIn is arguably the most effective network for generating leads and driving revenue for your B2B business. B2C is a bit different. I might be wrong, but I think Facebook takes the cake there.

Pinterest is underrated

And then there’s Pinterest. It’s been long considered the social network for women who are interested in fashion, travel destinations, or home interior design. Not entirely true. While it’s a fact that at least 60%-70% of Pinterest users are female, there is a vast sea of amazing imagery on topics that guys are interested in too. Most men just haven’t taken the time to give it a chance.

More importantly, Pinterest (if used in the right way; and that’s a blog post for another day) can be a really effective way to market either your B2C or your B2B business. 50% of the humans on the Internet are primarily “visuals”. What better networks than Pinterest or Instagram, or YouTube to market your business?

So, knowing all that, in order to improve my personal and business marketing efforts, I really need to spend more time on LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.

What about You?

As a Marketer, are there any social networks that you’re neglecting? I’m curious. Which social networks do you feel you need to spend more time on?

Are You a #HashtagAddict?

Hashtag search, best hashtag for, best hashtags

Love them or hate them, they’re here to stayHashtag search, best hashtag for, best hashtags

Hashtags are a very interesting topic lately. Some people love them, some people hate them, many are indifferent, and still others don’t really understand them.

One thing is for certain though… they’ve become mainstream. Even non-Twitter users can’t get away from them. You see them on TV shows, news stories, print ads… almost everywhere these days.

Many people think that hashtags are just a part of Twitter, but there are actually quite a few social networks that support them:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • Instagram
  • Flickr
  • YouTube
  • Tumblr
  • and several other smaller, lesser known networks.

#hashtag as a “punchline”

Okay, let’s get this one out of the way early… “random punchlines”. It’s common to see people using hashtags for this purpose when trying to be clever or funny. For example: #sotasty, #makingshithappen, #lovethisplace. These tags are basically useless because nobody else is tweeting in those channels, but they do help to get your point across.

That said, there are some popular punchline hashtags that are used all the time, so there’s a constant stream of tweets in them. Examples: #FAIL, #YOLO, #FTW, #ICYMI. If you’re not sure what these mean, send me a note. I’ll fill you in.

I try to avoid using punchline hashtags because I think they’re a waste of 140-character real estate, but sometimes I can’t resist. I do like to include a #Fail now and again, when I feel the need to complain about a company that has let me down.

What are the GOOD uses of #hashtags?

There are many many other GOOD and useful ways that hashtags are being used:

  • Breaking news and current events
  • Corporate conferences and tradeshows
  • Branding of products and services
  • Television shows (SocialTV)
  • Promotion of books, movies, music, and other media
  • General topics of interest
  • Trending topics (local or global)
  • Advocacy groups
  • Social communities (“birds of a feather”)
  • Twitter “Chats” on various topics (#blogchat, etc.)
  • etc, etc, etc.

It is undeniable that hashtags are very useful for finding up-to-the-minute information on a particular topic. They’re great for finding and joining social conversations and communities, expanding your digital reach, and for building your brand.

Why Bother?

As I’ve said, I’m a #HashtagAddict, and I think they’re very useful for 3 major reasons:

  1. They’re a great source of focused and relevant information on a topic.
  2. They help to filter out the noise of random crap on Twitter.
  3. If used properly in your tweets, they help to expand your reach and grow your follower base faster.

Which #hashtags do I follow?

I check in on quite a number of hashtag communities on a regular basis. Here are some of my favorites:

Local:
  • #toronto
  • #BikeTO
Politics and News:
  • #TOpoli
  • #ONpoli
  • #CDNpoli
  • #news
  • #CBCnews

Interests:

  • #craftbeer
  • #wine
  • #f1
  • #photography
  • #bokeh
  • #TFC (the local footy squad)
  • #(insert name of this week’s golf tournament)

Business:

  • #startup
  • #leanstartup
  • #entrepreneur or #entrepreneurship
  • #marketingautomation
  • #marketing
  • #NetSuite
  • #Pardot
  • #ERP
  • #CRM
  • #emailmarketing

Marketing:

  • #smm
  • #socialmedia
  • #b2b

Twitter Chats:

  • #blogchat
  • #smchat
  • #mmchat

What hashtags do you personally find useful or interesting? Please suggest some good ones in the comments area!

Twitter Lists: Make your “Social” Life Easier

How to use Twitter Lists

Is Your Twitter Inbox Overwhelming?

If you’re like me and you follow a lot of people on Twitter, your Home stream (or Twitter inbox, as it were) can be overwhelming.  Kind of like drinking through a firehose, really.

I’ve been using Twitter for just about 3 years now.  At first, I started out as a consumer of information, more than a publisher.  Since I like to learn, I found a wealth of information in the Twitterverse on many topics that I’m interested in.

So, I started following a lot of people.  It wasn’t long before my Twitter inbox became overwhelming.

Then I Discovered Twitter Lists

When I figured out that you can have up to 20 “Lists” in your Twitter account, my Twitter inbox became much more under control.

Now, I rarely actually look at my Home stream.  I’m constantly flipping between lists, depending on what I feel like reading.  And, every single new Tweep that I follow… I immediately add them into 1 of my 20 lists.

Very organized of me, I know. 😉

Wondering What Lists to Setup?

If you’re interested, here are my lists: http://bit.ly/L54afM   You should be able to see the actual tweets that are being published by the people I follow in each of the lists.

Some days when I’m feeling thirsty I might want to see what people are saying about Beer or Wine.

Some days I feel like seeing what people are saying about my favourite sports on TV.

Sometimes I just feel like looking at amazing pictures from Photographers I follow.

Other days, when I’m feeling keen, I like to read up on the latest in Sales, Marketing, or Business.

I also use Twitter as my source for News.  I love how you can read the very latest developments in a news topic from people right at the scene.

I also have a few “Private” lists that you can’t see.  One of them is a list of close friends and acquaintances, whose tweets I don’t want to miss in a sea of other tweets.  I call that list “CantMiss-P”.

There’s also a list called, “CantMiss-W”.  I use that one to keep a shortlist stream of tweets that I cannot miss in my professional life.

Make your “Social” Life Easier

So, if you want to make Twitter a more enjoyable and useful experience for yourself, try Lists.

If you’re already using Lists, what are some other good ones I might want to try? (comments welcome…)