Other Twitter Topics:      Marketing at Twitter Speed      Multiple Account Layering Strategy      Social Media: Not Just for Kids      Email The Scoopdog Team

Share/Save/Bookmark
Add to Technorati Favorites

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

deliberately(Read time = ~2 minutes) With only 140 characters, body language missing… no context or context of only 1/2 a conversation and no ability to “look your counterpart in the eye”… are you communicating well?  Is the messaging coming across the way you intend?

Double think before you click, or risk suffering the consequences,.

Real time case study:  An electronic firm last week issued news as part of a product line refresh.  Features and functionality were nicely added.  An editor for a European publication covering the story dropped on “creative” headline playing off current television jargon:   “(company name) pimps out new (XXX product name)…”.  No sooner than the story hit, tweets began to fly – exactly as I’m sure the editor wanted.

Inside the client company, angst occurred despite the story content being very positive.  Use of “pimp” in the headline caused many to argue against re-tweets and references. After an email flurry, the more younger marketers quickly pointed out a distinction between use of the word as a verb (ie, “pimping out your ride”) v. use of the word as a noun.  The former is actually a positive reference for “refresh”, “retool”, and/or “re-spin”.

The discussion brought to mind one of the difficulties facing marketers, Agencies and consultants when dealing w/Twitter, in particular.  the real-time nature of communications can often cause fingers to fly across the keyboard ending in “enter” w/out sufficient time for thinking or understanding.

Add now Google’s testing of its Wave (new email platform) application with keystroke-by-keystroke visibility and there will soon be another very misunderstood-prone platform available.

Most of us have experienced receiving email responses predicated on only the first sentence or two… worse, email responses based only on a subject line and zero reading of the actual email body itself. (I confess, I’m guilty here). So, just a word of caution as highlighted by last week’s client experience and a classic case of Twitter misunderstanding. 

Go fast, but slowly.

*****************************************************************************

Welcome! If you like/are interested in B2B Marketing, the Agency-Client Relationship discussion and/or other Marcom mysteries, rss buttonplease subscribe to my RSS feed.

Other Twitter Topics:      Marketing at Twitter Speed      Multiple Account Layering Strategy      Social Media: Not Just for Kids      Email The Scoopdog Team

Share/Save/Bookmark
Add to Technorati Favorites

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

URL(Read time = 3-4 minutes)  So just how much are 8 keystrokes worth in a 140c world?  When you’re the marketer or copywriter or Agency social media guru charged with fitting key messages and a link into Twitter dress, a huge amount, I’ll venture.  Of course, headline writers and desk copy editors have faced down this challenge as any journalist can attest; but for most B2B marketers, it’s Twitter that drives home the need for being crisp, like never before.  Depending on what shorten URL service you now use, significant keystrokes are likely yours for the picking.

In 2008, Mashable did a roundup of URL shortening services and highlighted 90 providers… (yup 90!) of the truncating darlings.  Interestingly, several of today’s “most used” weren’t even then visible (think bit.ly  and BUDurl and ow.ly).   A year later, TopRank’s Lee Odden asked his 10K+ Twitter followers for their vote on favorite shortening service to arrive at a “top 11″ list;  another good read isa cli.gs blog post catalogs the results of a massive (10.2 million) Twitter scrape with analytics on most used domains.

ManyB2B pros will care about analytics, tracking, campaign comparison statistics and customization as outreach social media initiativesevolve… client data-hogs will want to watch re-tweet performance, compare one approach to another using keywords, etc.  If data and tracking isn’t required, just go w/the flow and use whatever embedded services comes w/your Twitter client.  But if you do care, how do you begin to sort thru the choices?  Good news is, experimentation is usually easy and cost free.

Here’s an Evaluation Tick-List We’ve Observed Many Use

Do It Yourself…or Grab a Custom Domain  For some, the ideal of operating yourown shortening service can be attractive.  Lifehacker (8/09) has a nice discussion on this topic, here  ; As well, some of the commercial providers (360liveoak, for one.) have expanded into the custom domain business  such as Ez.com and clients like Travelocity and the Seattle Seahawks. Some companies have ready-made, very short names that could easily be developed for custom short URL use.

Tracking/Statistics/Analytics…or not  What do you want to know, how real-time, what level of analytics.  Or not.  Tackle this as an early part of the decision tree as it will simplify choices. Some providers cater to commercial, enterprise users.  Others take the simple/easy/no-problem path.  Spend time thinking about your needs and take the road most travelled.  Then, don’t hesitate to experiment and change.  Tap into the blog network to stay current.

Twitter Client Support:  Ask the question, what service is supported by the Twitter client you most use?  Below is a snapshot for TweetDeck and Seesmic, two of the more popular desktop clients. URL native support just makes life easier.  For those wanting to dive deep, Twitstat reports on Twitter client metrics.  By knowing what’s most popular, you can get a gauge of provider stability and value. 

 TweetDeck v30.5  – bit.ly is the default.  Can be changed to: tinyurl, is.gd, or twurl from the TD Settings/Services window;  Can manage multiple Twitter accounts; easy links out to: Twitter, Facebook, MySpace.

SeesmicDesktop 0.6.air  – bit.ly is the default.  Can be changed to:  is.gd, snurl.com, digg.com, twurl.nl, or tr.im from the Accounts/Services window; Can manage multiple Twitter accounts; easy links out to Facebook.

301 Redirect Availability: If SEO is important to you, this is a critical feature.  Shortener services can provide two URL options:  301s (permanent links) and 307s/302s (usually the default and only a temporary link).  Which is used impacts search engine performance. It’s important because search engines “credit” 301s to the original, long URL; in contrast, a non-301 redirect is “temporary” and search engines value these less.  For a case study in URL structure, go here

Customization options – think vanity URLs and branding extension here, as one option;  or use of your own domain (only useful if your domain name is short… see above);  Other options include keyword tags, grouping of multiple URLs into campaigns for comparisons, etc.  Marketers love this feature (the ScoopD team included) so it makes our evaluation list though not as critical as other pieces.

Other Considerations

Stability:  Reliability of the URL provider service, ie will the provider be around day-to-day, year over year. One way to evaluate is longevity and funding.

Bulk shortening – Far fetched, perhaps not.  We know of one client who routinely uses a dozen or so URLs for every launch as they are monitoring different vertical audience communities and trying to understand differences in response behavior.  Converting URLs one at a time can be both an irritant as well as just a long process.

Paid or Free – Cost does matter, even if it’s a balance between hard $$ and user time/usability.  For some, cost is a knockout box – but for most B2B companies some level of cost is permissible so long as there’s value associated w/the expense.

How small is small? “h t t p://”  takes 7 characters… add to this the shortener domain (eg, TinyURL.com would take11 more… bit.ly requires 6 (no .com needed)… is.gd takes 5 (again, no .com needed); then add on the obligatory “path” portion in the for of “/xxxx” (what a normal web site would appear as the page name. So, if size really matters, go for something like:   http://is.gd/3Np6h   (18 characters) v. a TinyURL like:   http://tinyurl.com/ya25va5   (26 characters) for a savings sof 8 keystrokes.

Recycling:  Re-use of URLs?  Surely never… but a close reading Terms/Conditions statements found only one service (is.gd) that explicitly said they would not do this (the type was very tiny so could have missed preclusions by other providers).

*****************************************************************************

Welcome! If you like/are interested in B2B Marketing, the Agency-Client Relationship discussion and/or other Marcom mysteries, rss buttonplease subscribe to my RSS feed.

Other Twitter Topics:      Marketing at Twitter Speed          Multiple Account Layering Strategy      Social Media: Not Just for Kids      Email The Scoopdog Team

Share/Save/Bookmark
Add to Technorati Favorites

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

relationsRead time = 3-4 minutes) With the buzz around social networking, I’m struck by how small the conversation seems to be regarding investor community/investor relations. IR pros, in my experience, are among the best at networking and engaging in community conversation. I see the occasional YouTube video annual report… certainly there are several blogs to be found, but in the larger social media conversation, IR seems mostly missing in action.

Yes, IR outreach is by nature cautious… and regulated. There’s concern about disclosure and eDiscovery, in particular. But with the evolution of on-line tools and global, 24/7 investment markets, the social media landscape would seem fertile ground for both messaging and IR communications.

Regulators weighing in: Social media IR relevance moved a giant step closed in July ’08, when the SEC recognition of corporate web content as public disclosure avenues (click here) .  Here also  is one of the better blog posts on that by brian solis.  SEC guidance on the use of Company Websites (Aug 08) is also available, a 41-page report; this addressed 1) when information posted on a company web site is “public” for purposes of Regulation FD, and 2) company information liability. Keeping pace with rapidly changing tools, transparency and regulation clearly presents a large challenge for PR/AR/IR company professionals. Even while companies might find roles for social networks, blogs and digital communities, traditional outlets remain as well as the underlying responsibility for companies to share data consistently and in compliance with regulators and standards.

So… Who’s Doing What? What Can Be Learned from the Pioneers? 

A snapshot of several big brands and how they are engaging on the investor relations front, as well as a research tracking site for a larger picture.

@DellShares  A Dell blog specifically aimed at shareholder conversation and community. Sun Microsystems: Official Investor Communications

Sun has been a loud advocate, wonder if the Oracle buyout will cause a change in direction.  In the past, Sun has offered up a  Compilation of RSS investor feeds; access to events; earnings news releases; breaking news; SEC filings; blog.

eBay blogs on earnings  One of the most innovative approaches. eBay official corporate Twitter account, used in part for promoting earnings calls example from eBay, Friday 3/6/09 by eBay’s own “internal reporter”, Richard Brewer-Hay. During earnings calls, he tweeted live and is empowered to shape the brand while adding perspective and personality.

The Society for New Communications Research tracks 75+ Fortune 500 companies that use corporate blogs and over 20 that link to corporate Twitter accounts.

Some Observations

  •  The line is blurring between traditional IR communications channels and new media channels/web. 
  • Paying attention is good due diligence
  • Social media is not just about Twitter and Facebook. Consider: Seeking Alpha, Wikinvest, StockTwits, 1000s of financial blogs, and the countless emerging services sites
  • Risk of social media exists whether you participate or not
  • New media amplifies an individual’s voice, sometimes louder than the company’s voice.

What else are you thinking; what other experiences or observations do you have?

By the way:  this blog post is not intended to be, in any way, a substitute for specific legal advice, as legal counsel, or in any other way recommendation for company behavior.  The blog post is an evolving discussion around the topic of social media use.
*****************************************************************************

Welcome! If you like/are interested in B2B Marketing, the Agency-Client Relationship discussion and/or other Marcom mysteries, rss buttonplease subscribe to my RSS feed.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.