Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Using Twitter for Promotional Products

Twitter has a great search engine.  See the grey oblong box?

Twitter is really not about engagement, but about broadcast

If you are thrilled with your Twitter effort and getting lots of clients or really great engagement from your effort, stop now.  This post is not for you.  Or, maybe it is.  You see, there are three Twitters out there.

1.  Fan based - If you are Madonna or Sarah Palin, folks care what you Tweet.  You can respond to their Tweets and they might even respond to you.  Unlikely.  If you are not a celebrity, or at least a minor celebrity in your field, very few are waiting for your next Tweet.

2.  Your group - It is possible to get groups of like minded individuals to correspond by Twitter.  Teens do this.  Some clubs do this.  You may be able to get your clients to work with you this way, but there are better ways, like Yahoo groups, Linkedin groups, even Google+ Circles.

3.  Broadcast media

Take a look at your incoming news stream on Twitter.  How much of it looks like it is intending to engage?  Almost none.  Most of it is intending to entice.  The sender is teasing you to go to their more robust online media:  Website, blog, or YouTube video.  They are very likely Tweeting virtually the same Tweet 5 times a day.  Hoping to find you home. 

The really savvy Twitter campaigners have a bigger goal in mind.  They want to be found on Twitter search.  Check it out!  At the top of your Twitter Home page you will see a small gray box.  I have no idea why it isn't more predominant on the page.  But many people use the Twitter search engine instead of Google search or Bing, or in addition to one of those.

Twitter search is going to get you the moving news on a subject, short very direct headlines and teasers, and a very fast overview on any subject.  Go ahead and try it.  Put in custom pens or mugs or bike bells.  Once you enter a subject, you will get a new feed that is either "top" or "all" depending on your choice.  This is where you want to be found.


But the problem with Twitter is time.  For most important keywords that you might search, those Tweets will only be viewable for a half hour or so.  Therefore, if you want to be found, you need to be Tweeting your message about custom bike bells every hour each day.  How in the world do you do that?

By using an automation tool like Hootsuite.  Through the use of Hootsuite, you can pre plan 50 Tweets at a time, then upload them until they run out, then upload them again in about a minute.  We typically have about 48 tweets per day going out from 6:00 AM to 7:00 PM.  We don't run the same Tweet all day long, but vary them. 

The use of the automation tool on Hootsuite is a bit complicated, especially for Apple users.  I find the best way is to lay out my Tweets is on a Google Docs Spreadsheet.  (Go to Docs.google.com)  They work like an Excel spread sheet.  You lay out your Tweets like the following:

Hootsuite auto loader spread sheet on Google Docs

The left column is the date and time.  It must be done exactly as you see it.  Day/month/year space military time.

The second column is your Tweet content.  Use keywords here and narrow the focus so that you are creating a rifle shot.  The person who clicks on this link should be a seriously interested potential buyer.  If you are regional, you might want to include you city, county, or state so that those in other parts of the country or world are not clicking on your link.

The content should also be alluring.  A Tease.  Words like New, Special, Sale, Save, Wow, Shocking, or seasons, holidays, and such.

The third column includes your short URL for the location or media where they can go to get more info.  You can create the short URL by sending out a Tweet on Hootsuite, which will automatically give you a shortened URL (see below), or by using a tool like http://bit.ly.  You can also place a shortened YouTube URL in that third column.

Once you have created the spread sheet with up to 50 different Tweets, you can download as a comma-separated values (CSV) under the "file" tab.  Once you have this download it is ready to use on the Hootsuite automation tool.

Set up an account at Hootsuite.com  (Trial month free, then $9.99 a month. I am not an affiliate.)  Now add your Twitter account to your Hootsuite tool. Go to the streams page and you will see the following

Hootsuite Streams Page

Note the compose message area.  This is where you can set up new messages.  Once you add the social network to the box on the right, it will give you a character count, so that you know how many you have left.  Leave at least 9 or 10 so there is room for others to Retweet.  Once you begin to write in the compose message space it will expand and you will see a spot to put in your URL, so that it can be shortened.

When you have completed your Tweet and shortened the URL, copy the resulting Tweet and add to your spread sheet.

Automation tool - Note the little blue box with the date on it.  When you click on this you will find a form where you can schedule future Tweets.  You can do this one at a time.  It is tedious.  At the bottom of the form you will see in small letters:  bulk message uploader.  Click on this to reveal the tool.

This is the bulk message uploader (below).  The top space is where you go and locate the CSV file that you downloaded earlier of your Google Doc spread sheet.

The automation tool will be set up with the blue dot mm/dd/yyyy hh:mm selected.  Change to the other one:  dd/mm/yyy hh:mm.  In the third spot, choose the correct social media option (at this point the only choice is probably your Twitter account)

Now push submit.  It takes 30 seconds to a  minute or so to upload.  However, you may get a rebuke instead.  As noted below in the picture, there are several things you cannot due.  The first Tweet must be schuled at least 10 minutes from upload, and all Tweets must be at least 10 minutes apart.  Easy.  I commonly run mine an hour apart.

Next, there can be no duplicates.  This is easy to solve.  Any change will do.  Change a period to an exclamation point.  Change at to @.  Change You to U or Are to R.  Short forms are common on Twitter.

The general set up method I prefer is to have 16 completely different Tweets that I then duplicate three times on a spread sheet.  Then I go to each of the duplicates and make the minor changes.  This gives me 48 unique Tweets. 

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