Most people seem to have missed the news, but Twitter added in-tweet polling this month. This is an interesting new feature, and one of the biggest changes to the platform in years, but there’s a problem: When viewing a poll in one of the many not-yet-compatible clients, just the text of the question appears. There is no indication that a poll was attached, leading to some weird, out-of-context possibilities.
It can be difficult to start using Twitter, since you must decide who to follow and it will take some time before people follow you back, let alone interact with you. Imagine yourself walking into a room full of interesting people, all having conversations with each other. Do you expect everyone to notice that you have arrived, stop what they’re doing, and greet you warmly? Or do you expect that you will need to find someone interesting and join their conversation?
The most important concept to grasp is the fundamental nature of Twitter: It is an ongoing, global, democratic conversation. It is not a blog, USENET, Facebook or MySpace, or an instant message platform, though it does have certain elements of all of those. Let’s take a look at these elements in a little more depth.
With traditional media and analyst organizations declining in numbers and influence, conference organizers are turning to social media for coverage and attention. If identifying and attracting bloggers is difficult, keeping them happy at an event is doubly so. After three years running the Tech Field Day and a decade attending conferences, trade shows, and other events, I’ve learned a thing or two about that. Here are my suggestions.
It’s tempting for companies to smack the little guys around. After all, it’s easier to bump off some new startup by spreading FUD than it is to challenge the top dog in your industry! But easy pickings should be avoided, especially when it comes to online communication and social media: It’s far easier for a company to lose mindshare by calling attention to the little guys than it is to gain anything from even the most justifiable argument. That’s why I advise my clients always to punch above their weight.
It’s not easy to be a public face for your employer, and doubly so when you’re using social media. Blogs, tweets, and the like value personal authenticity (and shun “corporateness”), forcing vendor bloggers to walk a tightrope. It can be hard to accept this burden, and many a bright young blogger flames out as the reality of the situation settles upon them. Yet some emerge from the trials with a reasonable philosophy and are able to continue.
The Internet is not as friendly as it often seems. Social media, including blogs, Twitter, online review sites, forums, and the rest, are truly democratic. The problem with a democratic medium is that everyone has both an opinion and a platform to express it. Companies love the positive attention they often get, but it’s much harder to deal with the negative. Here is a strategy to deal with not-so-nice comments.
It’s funny how powerful the thoughts of individuals have become. A reasonably popular blog can post an item on a new product and outrank the company that made it in the all-important first page of Google results. Corporate blogs, Twitter accounts, social networking sites, and the rest have sprung up everywhere, all trying to fight it out with “just plain folks” for “social media” mindshare. But most corporate shills fail miserably and are forced to resort to extraordinary means to make their content “go viral.” This is ironic because the secret to getting people to share your tweets, blog posts, videos, updates, etc is really quite simple!
This morning I demonstrated an inept marketing “experiment” by AlterSeekers gone awry for EMC. It involved comment spam on some of the best-known enterprise storage industry insider blogs and EMC cut it off quickly. But this analysis turned up something else rather peculiar: An apparent hack on teen chat site myYearbook to spam video links on Twitter and generate views and buzz. Amazingly, EMC are again involved. Is this another face of this morning’s off-the-rails experiment?
This morning, someone left a comment on a 10 month-old blog post about EMC Corporation’s products over at Gestalt IT. Although the writer, “Brian,” identified himself as “EMC Social Outreach Team”, the short message seemed somewhat spammy, including a bit.ly link to one of that company’s marketing promotions. Further investigation reveals what looks to be an inept social media marketing maneuver by “integrated sales promotions” firm, AlterSeekers. Let’s use it as a case study in how not to do social media marketing.