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Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Twitter tweet tweet

It took me ages to get to grips with Twitter! Yes, I know I am behind the times but will explain! I opened my account over 3 years ago and to tell you the truth there wasn't much going on round here then- Facebook was reigning supreme- and still is! It's only really since January this year that mere mortals are entering into the Twitterverse in Dubai with mixed results.

I just found Twitter a bit strange to start off with! I suppose it is because it is more anonymous than Facebook- plus you are not actually making "friends" with someone- just following reading their words of wisdom/ gobbly de gook!

Anyway I persevered and persevered and have got my head round how it works etc. now... now what I am trying to figure out is the best way to use it here in Dubai for me and my clients. I am trying to establish a dialogue and a rapport- but getting a response is hard. What actually makes people reply to your tweet, retweet or follow you- it seems to be a very mystical equation!

With my clients I am making sure I am tweeting relevant, succinct, interesting tweets and not just promoting the client but also sharing industry news and insights- daily. I reply to every @mention and message politely. I follow tweeters in the same industry and any other relevant regional tweets. Seems to be working and genuine followers are growing steadily- just not much rapport going on. Maybe I am expecting too much- is Twitter a conversation or is it just random strings of 140 characters blasted into cyber space by people just because they can. Are we addicted to writing our own headlines?

Have had some fun and games as well- the wonderful telecom provider here DU got a bit of a manners whallop from me! I could not sign in to their website- pretty basic need for a telecom provider yes? So, I tweeted them-here's what followed:

@ what's up with the self care login page on your website- can't load the page...help would love to pay my bill!

@ Can you load other pages? Meaning, is it only this page?

@ yes I can- it just does not load the login page on Firefox or IE.....please help!

@ Please try it again now, it should be working fine now.

@ Wow yes it is- thanks for fixing- was it just me or a problem with the site?
Next day:

@ We had an issue with the site earlier yesterday but it's resolved :)

@ shouldn't you say thank you for me pointing it out hahahhahah! Thanks for fixing!
@ Definitely thank you :)

This tweetline happened over a 24 hour period- so basically- website was not working- I alerted them to the issue they were unaware of- they fixed it- where was my thank you for pointing out the major problem?? Got it out of them in the end. Maybe I am being pedantic but you can surely see that if you on Twitter as a company you have to interact and be polite too!

I do love the breaking news aspect of Twitter and without going into it, the use of Twitter in the recent uprisings in the Middle East & Africa- the power of it- is amazing. Commercially though does it work? That is yet to be seen in Dubai. Right now I am experimenting with Twitter- that is the beauty of it you can experiment. The immediacy of it is ground breaking but can the region cope?

My Top Ten Twitter Tips for Businesses

1. If you have an account keep it active- if not delete it! Nothing worse than a Twitter account that's not been updated since 2009- makes you company look really bad!

2. Make sure you have access to the account even if your marketing/ PR agency are running it- if you change agency etc. you don't want to lose control over your account.

3. If you are having your posts on Facebook appear automatically on Twitter too- that's great! But you should post just for Twitter too. They are both totally different animals and need to be treated as such. Do special Twitter only posts! Your company should have a Facebook Voice and a Twitter Voice.

4. Check your @mentions and messages daily/ every time you log in. Twitter is a conversation- one client's Twitter account I took over was doing really well- over a 1,000 followers- but they didn't know about the @mentions and messages- so had never replied to any of them- lots of lost business and makes you look ignorant as a company.

5. Don't just follow 1,000s of people as soon as you get going! Be picky- you don't want to look desperate. try and keep a nice ration between followers and following. Nothing looks worse than you having 1 follower but you are following 2355 people! Balance it out and increase who you follow over time. It should be organic!

6. Check who is following you on a daily basis and follow them back if they are relevant to your business. If they are spam bots etc. report them- do everyone a favour. Don't leave them in your followers purely to boost numbers- people can spot them a mile off.

7. Retweet relevant tweets of people/ businesses you ideally want to follow you back- they will hopefully notice that you have retweeted them- check you out and hopefully follow!

8. Time your tweets- don't blast out twenty tweets one after another- you will only annoy people! Filling up their feed. Spread them out few in the morning, few in the evening... if you use a client like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck you can have them timed and sent out when you want.

9. Experiment- see what gets the most reaction- you being funny, talking about sales and promos, retweeting news, giving expert opinion- you will get a flavour for what works best for you- keep it loose though!

10. If someone helps you out- say thanks! Du- take note :)

My Top Ten Favourite Tweeters- mixture of spoof accounts, celebs and news- perfect combo!

1. Elizabeth Windsor @Queen_UK By the Grace of God, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, wife to the DoE, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother (fictional)

2, God @TheTweetOfGod
I am the Lord thy God, Cre8r of the Twitterverse. Thou shalt not follow any gods before Me, nor RT Me in vain. Honor and keep it holy. 

4. Darth Vader @darthvader
Empire, CO

5. Al-Qaeda @alqaeda (spoof of course!!!)

6. Tim Roth @TimRothLieToMe

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