Thursday, August 23, 2012

LOFT LIFE: I'll trade you 3 Tweets for 1 blog comment


Remember when you used to while away your free time writing a letter, playing a board game, chatting on the phone, or maybe reading a book? Ah, those were the days.

Forgive me if you are a reader here under 30 or a tech savvy senior even, and this next bit of info is obvious. But those days are gone for a lot of us. 

It’s not that we don’t have choice in how we spend our free time, or even our revenue-producing time, for that matter. We do.

But, it is the age-old dilemma of whether we will choose to be dinosaurs and luddites (The Luddites were a social movement of 19th-century English textile artisans who protested—often by destroying mechanized looms—against the changes produced by the Industrial Revolution...), or whether we will step into the “new world” and learn new things.

Such a dilemma is challenging me lately, namely, “to Tweet or not to Tweet.”
   I have elected to Tweet. That has taken on far greater dimensions than I expected.

Some of you will just say, “I don’t want any part of that waste of time. Others will say, “Duh, why not! How hard can it be?” And, still others, my dear friend, will say, “I don’t want to lose the old-fashioned art of real, personal, communication.

Those may all be valid concerns, but here is my dilemma:

I do marketing, advertising. I claim to have expertise in communications. So doesn’t it “behoove” me to include every efficient, effective form of communication for what I do for my clientele?  I think it does. (Don’t worry, I still know words like behoove. lol)

So lately, I have begun to explore other people’s blogs--younger people--who know the Twitter game, and other social networking, social marketing tools.

Let me tell you, this is VERY time consuming. I can attest that in my practice tries, over the past few days, I have become better and better at this.

Twittering requires spending a lot of time checking and rechecking your Tweets and responses. That is OK, because to do my job, I have to be online most of the time, and the checking is a few seconds, or maybe a couple of minutes if a response is called for.

But, the element of giving exposure on Twitter I didn’t count on, is how reciprocal this communication needs to be.

In other words, if I ask you to read and share my Tweets, and then forward you on to my blog, for instance, I am feeling really obligated to read your stuff and comment as well. Getting my “followers” and “comments” to increase, requires a certain amount of trading with those from whom I am seeing follow me and make comments. This can become as time-consuming as I wish it to be, or maybe more. 

One rule-of-thumb I am learning from other marketers, is that over-Tweeting is a no-no. Whew. That’s a relief. Wouldn’t want to over-Tweet.

Like anything we learn to do, eventually, we get better at it, and learn to discriminate, to select the good input, and leave the fluff. But, in that learning period, there is a lot of information overload. Big time!

I remember where I was when I first looked at a PC and a monitor, and wondered whether I would ever learn to use this new medium effectively. That was in 1981. Today, I can’t imagine life without my MacBook Pro, my IPad and my Kindle, email, texting, and now Tweets. (Haven’t succumbed to a smart phone yet, but I know it is in the cards, because the culture is USING these for things we need to do, like buying things. Is this the mark of the beast some ask?)

Bottom line: I have to learn new media, new networking and marketing techniques, if I expect people to pay me for my expertise. I have to keep up, become savvy about social networking and marketing with these tools. So even though I might prefer relaxing more, leaving technology for a few hours every day, the truth is, it fascinates me to see how quickly these new modes have taken over, and it is amazing to experience their power.

For instance, I Tweeted teasers for my blog (this is my test to see how it works for my clients before I do it wrong on their stuff), and I increased my readership more than SIX times what it has been in ONE DAY. That is incredible to me.

Do you know there are Tweeters who specialize in re-Tweeting? I follow one such person, and she faithfully re-Tweets my posts. 

Amazing. 

In all sales, if you develop third party resources who will multiply your efforts by promoting your services to their networks, you are way ahead of the game.

The downside: I still wonder about negative responses where you multiply complaints. For my clients in small towns, that could become serious. I have avoided creating Facebook pages for them for just this reason. I know I can monitor and moderate these comments, but that requires daily perusal to make things current.

I am still learning. I need to get better at this. I need experts and experienced social media people to tell me what pitfalls to avoid. 

Since there is no dearth of help on these questions for the avid, consistent researcher, I am sure by next month, I will find answers to these. One of the new market niches is obviously people to help us newbies navigate it all.

Please let me know what your thoughts are and your experiences with using social media for business.