Friday, April 15, 2011

What makes a GREAT tweet?

Twitter has become such an integral part of social media strategy that its use – good, bad and otherwise – is worth thinking about. So what makes a truly GREAT tweet?

I decided to ask people on Twitter. I asked people I follow, people I’m friends with and people whose Twitter use I appreciate for all kinds of reasons.

I was overwhelmed with the responses – some came in minutes; others in just a few hours.

I got responses from 15 countries from people who have a few thousand followers to those with followers numbering in the six figures. Some came from BNOTs (Big Names on Twitter) and some came from MPFTs (My Personal Favorites on Twitter).

The responses made me say “Aaw,” made me think or just made me laugh. Some answers were brief, some long and all were very thoughtful.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

I feel very blessed to be connected to all of you. Thank you.

Responses to the question: “What one thing makes a GREAT tweet?” sorted by the length of the response (I had to organize them somehow!):

Eric Schwartzman (@ericschwartzman): Brevity

David Meerman Scott (@dmscott): Passion

Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan): Relevance

Shelly Kramer (@ShellyKramer): Personality

A. R. Karthick (@arkarthick): Conciseness...

Amy D. Howell (@HowellMarketing): Link to great content

Dharmesh Shah (@dharmesh): One that is worth retweeting

rogersmithhotel – a k a John Birdsong (@RSHotel): Keep it real and keep it brief

Robin Fray Carey (@robincarey): A great tweet makes you hungry for more

Dave Larson (@TweetSmarter): Caring about the people who will read it

Chris Voss (@CHRISVOSS): A tweet that challenges readers mindset

David Armano (@armano): Attitude, personality, authenticity, brevity

Tim Moore (@TimMoore): Direct, exciting, inviting, link is not spam

Michael Brito (@Britopian): Relevant content that adds value to the conversation

Iggy Pintado (@iggypintado): One that makes you think, feel, respond to and share

Ann Handley (@MarketingProfs): When it's clear it comes from a human and not a machine

Mark Aaron Murnahan (@murnahan): I would have to say bacon. Anything is better with bacon!

Suzanne Vara (@SuzanneVara): One that is helpful and/or provides value to the community

Spike Jones (@spikejones): There is no such thing as a great tweet. Only great statement

Eric Miltsch (@AuctionDirect): Makes me smile, think and/or remember the person who sent it...

Misty Belardo (@mistygirlp): When a tweet is relevant to the people who listen to your stream

Julia Roy (@juliaroy): Positivity and energy around a topic, thought or conversation

Chris Lazuder (@TechZader): One thing that makes a GREAT tweet is brevity; less truly is more

Calvin Lee (@mayhemstudios): Gr8 tweet = 1. useful or helpful 2. Inspirational 3. If it rings true

Adam Vincenzini (@AdamVincenzini): The formula for a GREAT tweet: U.F.O Useful, fresh and original content

Liz Strauss (@ lizstrauss): If you want to be heard, make your tweet about the people you want to listen

Lolly Daskal (@LollyDaskal): A great tweet is one that inspires, encourages, empowers and engages you. It leaves you thinking

Todd Defren (@TDefren): A great tweet inspires either a click, a laugh or a renewed sense of perspective

Paul Steele (@paul_steele): Positive, clarity, humanness and no negativity… Importantly touches many people’s thoughts!

Jay Baer (@jaybaer): A clear point-of-view and a succinct description of benefit (if it includes a link)

Jawar(@jawar): Adding tremendous value to your target audience is one thing that makes a great tweet

Sree Sreenivasan (@sree): The most useful tweets are useful/helpful/timely and closer to 120 characters than 140

Gary Schirr (@ProfessorGary): Simply a controversial idea and a good headline. Engage people on all sides of the issue

Paul Smith (@twitchhiker): A great tweet might inform you, entertain you or educate you - it will always engage you

J.D. Andrews (@earthXplorer): IMHO: The difference between a "good" tweet and a "great" tweet, just like in comedy....timing!

Anne Deeter Gallaher (@AnneDGallaher): We should be conscious of making tweetworthy soundbites, so it’s something meaningful and memorable

Susie Blackmon (@SusieBlackmon): A great tweet .. is not about 'me' .. elicits responses/conversations .. adds value .. adds interest

Reg Saddler (@zaibatsu): Content is king. A catchy title grabs ’em, but to hold a Twitter audience the old adage still wins out

Ekaterina Walter (@Ekaterina): Relevancy and value-add – share interesting, useful, fresh content and add value with your own comment

Jason Falls (@JasonFalls): The same thing that makes for great content: It informs, entertains or makes my drink come out my nose

Sam Mallikarjunan (@Mallikarjunan): Relatability - what makes a great tweet is when we see it and can see ourselves tweeting the same thing!

Albert Maruggi (@AlbertMaruggi): Maruggi's rule of INK – makes you think or link – and linking is either to a new person or deeper content

Jazz Baker (@ jaycbee ): Current topic is always important, reputable link shortener and connecting with audience you are targeting

Iconic88 (@Iconic88): Extreme kindness. Great tweets should be extremely helpful, emotionally and spiritually, for the next person

Alessandra Colaci (@AlessandraCo): Great tweets are comprised of compelling content that gives useful information and spurs further conversation

Mark Ragan (@MarkRaganCEO): A good tweet provides helpful news and information that establishes you or your brand as an expert in the market

Tommy Clifford (@tommytrc): A great tweet is one that catches me off guard and just makes me genuinely laugh out loud. Off the wall is great!

Debbie Weil (@debbieweil): The tweet provides quick context for 1. an important issue 2. breaking news 3. a timely topic - usually w/ a link

Kevin Purdy (@kevinpurdy): If you can't write a joke or line that makes people smile after seeing 400 other tweets, it better have a good link

Robert Clay (@marketingwizdom): A tweet that stops me in my tracks and links to information of great value. Or a meaningful interaction with someone

Kent Huffman (@KentHuffman): Inside Info + News + Original Thoughts + Useful Links + Conversations + Personality + Humor + RTs = Effective Tweets

Ted Rubin (@TedRubin): Be authentic, be genuine, be interesting. Become known 2b responsive & interested. Keep Tweets to 122 characters or less

Ruhani Rabin (@ruhanirabin): A great tweet consist(s) of elements like ... "Great Content" and "Great Statements" (e.g. quotes, thoughts, creative notes)

Mark Schaefer (@markwschaefer): Great tweets connect people and facilitate relationships by consistently sharing meaningful content and authentic helpfulness

Susan Elaine Cooper (@BuzzEdition): A great tweet should engage the reader with content that inspires a reaction or response, or intrigues the reader to know more

Deirdre Breakenridge (@dbreakenridge): Relevant information makes a great tweet ... you become a valuable resource when you share meaningful content that helps people

Blair Semenoff (@Flipbooks): Typography. It's something Ppl overlook. I make adjustments to almost all my Tweets. If a Tweet looks like shit Ppl dont click

Carrie Wilkerson (@barefoot_exec): 'Great' tweets are in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes an answer to a Q, a quip, a resource or something inspiring. It varies

Aaron Lee (@AskAaronLee): A headline that stands out and different for a blog post. For normal tweets "Hello" because every relationship starts that way :)

Kriselle Laran (@ bullfrogmedia): An appeal for response based on personal connection. A really good tweet is one that will make you want to respond to it in some way

Restaurant Marketing (@JeffreySummers): There's nothing different between a great conversation and a great tweet. Both have to hold meaningful value for the targeted audience

Sean Malarkey (@SeanMalarkey): The author. LOL humor works, short to the point, phrasing the tweet as a question. Depending on the desired outcome – the answer could vary

Jovana Grbic (@ScriptPhD): A great tweet is smart, relevant to a multifaceted person, promulgates information or interest, and ALWAYS offers a platform for engagement

Diana Adams (@adamsconsulting): The things that separate a good tweet from a great tweet: Great tweets provide valuable, objective information combined with compassion. :))

Jennifer Cisney(@kodakCB): VALUE - tips, useful info, humor, answering a question, news, making a personal connection & showing that you are listening not just talking

Joe Bob Hester (@joebobhester): Completeness. A great tweet delivers a complete message. Even if it includes a link, the tweet tells readers exactly what is being linked to

So, what do you think? Does the collective wisdom of the crowd here cover all the answers to the question? From my perspective of looking at social media strategy I’d love to hear your answer to the question (“What one thing makes a GREAT tweet?) in the Comments area below.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

What is Scoville? Will it Heat up Social Media?

It’s not often I get 11 invites in one day to a new social network. Such was the case this week when among all the other mail for my social media strategy business were 11 invitations to join Scoville.

On clicking through from the invitation visitors to the site are greeted by a gigantic image of a cow’s nose and the message “Remember the best places are just under your nose ….” The About page goes on to say:

Welcome to Scoville #beta,

Our mission is to help our users discover at least one great new place every week. We'll make it extremely simple for you to share the places you really love, the places you believe the community should know about.

We're now opening our private beta to Foursquare users, so if you're passionate about your city and want to share awesomeness around you, join the beta now!

So Scoville is tied to Foursquare, but I wanted to know more. Here’s what I learned:

The site is named after the Scoville Scale – the international scale for measuring the heat of hot peppers. Once signed up your profile is also rated in Scoville units. After an easy sign up through Foursquare I was rated a “Jalepeno (their spelling, not mine): 129 Scoville units.”

#TopTuesday is the main way Scoville hopes to engage its members and attract new ones. How it works: Each week members pick a favorite place to be their #toptuesday pick and the each Tuesday Scoville (presuming you’ve granted Twitter access) sends out a tweet about your #toptuesday pick for and invites others to join Scoville. Any tips you’ve left at the venue are included so your friends can see what you recommend. This means that while you are helping your followers find places you like you’re also driving a Trending Topic (#toptuesday) on Twitter (which won’t hurt Scoville).

Promoting Scoville has been well thought out. For example: Promotional tweets Scoville creates for you when you sign up include:
• The Plain: “Help me unlock New York, Join me on Scoville.”
• The intriguing: “I like it Hot, real Hot! I'm ready to blow the Scoville scale!”
• The fun: “Had some dodgy Indian food, now stuck in the bathroom. Next time I go Scoville”

Unlocking your city is not automatic. In Scoville-language users cannot complete their profile or “Unlock your location” until there are 1,000 users at that location. Reaching that many users will be tough on smaller locations or even bigger ones if users are tagged with the town they live in rather than the larger city they feel affinity to. Smart users will go to the Settings page and change their location to the nearest big city.

At SXSW in March Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley said Foursquare was opening its API to anyone who wanted to build layers on top of Foursquare. Is Scoville going to become one of the first big apps to add an extra layer of value on top of Foursquare?

Perhaps more interestingly, will Scoville mean new opportunities in social media strategy for businesses? What do you think?

Possibly related post:
5 Foursquare Apps You May Not Know

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Is a “Dr. Death” Undermining Your Social Media Efforts?

No matter how well thought out and executed your social media strategy is it may all be for nothing if your business is not paying attention in other areas.

For example, at the gym I try to get to five or six times a week there is an older gentleman who shows up with a gigantic cup of coffee and a pack of cigarettes. During the hour I’m there he seems to take frequent breaks from the treadmill or lifting weights to step outside to drink his coffee and smoke a cigarette.

So, for about 15 minutes at a stretch he’s working to make himself healthier and then he takes a break from that to …. Well, you get the point. Some of us at the gym have dubbed him “Dr. Death.”

It’s the same thing with social media strategies that get undercut by what you and your business do elsewhere. Do you have a Dr. Death or two on your team or among your non-social efforts?

Here are five things that will almost certainly undercut any good you achieve through social media:

1. An incomplete or poorly maintained website: Are all your alt tags complete? Do you have an up-to-date site map? Do you regularly ask a complete stranger to try to get lost on your site to see if you have solved all of your navigation issues? If the answer to any of these is “no” you may have serious issues with search engine optimization and/or people just getting lost on your site.

2. Not using unique landing pages: Each new marketing effort or promotion leads to a unique landing page right? It doesn’t make any sense to be sending people to your site without any way of knowing what’s working to get them there. And then you would, of course, conduct A/B testing by having a pair of dissimilar pages and sending half the traffic to each so that you can see which of those landing pages leads to more people engaging/buying or whatever from your business.

3. Hosting web-irrelevant content: Just because you have a website doesn’t mean it can become a dumping ground for any content you want to “store” on the web. This is a particular problem with companies still posting old-school press releases – the kind with no links. These releases are often seen by search engines as content, but low-value content since they are not connected to anything but the host site. My advice: Host social media releases on your site or don’t host releases at all.

4. Not using your keywords wherever you can: If the clickable text anywhere on your website has any of these phrases “here,” “click here,” “email us,” “contact us” or “for more” you should just walk away from the web now. These clickable phrases have to contain some of your keywords. The fact that you chose certain words to be clickable tells the search engines that they are important to you and your business. This is one of the simplest SEO tactics.

5. Not promoting your social presences sensibly: We’ve all seen those print and TV ads that show a social media icon and invite readers or viewers to “Find us on Facebook” or “Follow us on Twitter.” This is the analog equivalent of using a telephone icon and suggesting people “Find us in the phonebook.” Do your business a favor and put your Facebook, Twitter and other social account names next to those icons.

So, this is just a starter list – it could easily be much longer. The key is this: Your social media strategy is only as good as everything else you are doing around it. If you have a tip or two I’d love to hear them so I can use them (giving you full credit of course) in a future post.

Possibly related posts:

Top 10 Business Social Media Mistakes

5 Signs You may Need Help With Social Media Strategy

10 Ideas to Help Businesses Navigate Social Media

Friday, April 1, 2011

Best April 1 fun on the web

April 1 always brings lots of fun to the web and the day is young and already there are some clear winners. So whether you’re on the web for social media, marketing or just fun, check out …

Lose that mouse and keyboard, but still work in your email: Google introduces a new program to do away with the mouse and the keyboard when you’re in your email. Just a few simple (and not so simple) body movements do the trick. See the video Gmail in Motion.

New invisible, but clickable online advertising is here: All that unused white space on the web is going to waste says marketing guru Seth Godin. Read about it at his blog post Introducing white space links.

Linkedin’s messing with your Contacts: Well, not really. It turns out, according to the professional networking site, you know some pretty interesting, if unusual, people. Once logged in, click on Contacts – Add Connections and choose “People You May Know.” You’ll be surprised to know who you “know.” Check it out at Linkedin

The next big thing in email marketing - Infomercials: As “promoted” by Christopher Penn (@cspenn) and Blue Sky Factory (@blueskyfactory) email is going to make a comeback as the “catch-all” of your internet marketing programs. Check out the video Infomercials in your inbox.

Geeky toys for geeky kids: ThinkGeek suggests that Playmobil has come up with something every future Steve Jobs-worshipping tyke needs: A Playmobil Apple Store (video).

Other great ThinkGeek offerings: Angry Birds Pork Rinds (“A low carb, high protein, high fat snack that tastes like winning”), Star Wars Lightsaber Popsicles (Make awesome lightsaber popsicles, with movie accurate hilts) and The Original Shirt Plate (From the makers of Bowl Pants and Sock Spoon... it “Keep your snacks close by while lounging, working, sleeping or gaming”).

I hope this brings a little smile to your April 1 festivities. And you can return to all your serious web activities (social media, marketing etc) tomorrow.