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Twitter

Here’s a not-so-bold prediction: Twitter is in its death throes. It won’t be around in just a few short years. And when this happens, there will be no shortage of pundits who: “saw it all coming”, or perhaps “Twitter is dead – long live Twitter!”

It wouldn’t be the first Social Media death. Consider those who have come (and gone) before: hellotxt, retaggr, timely, booktour, Google wave/reader/orkut/iGoogle, LinkedIn Polls/Answers, and many, many more.

Here’s the argument:

1) Encroachment by messaging apps: Twitter’s functionality is being nibbled away by a number of more compelling competitors. Twitter is not the only game in town anymore.  Direct messaging apps, for example, make it really easy to have point-to-point (or group) conversations. Every message on iMessage, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and others means one less Tweet on Twitter.

2) Encroachment by social apps:  Many Social Media apps have effectively duplicated the status and microblogging functionality that previously was only available on Twitter. LinkedIn and Facebook are most notable; Facebook has even incorporated hashtags and trending topics.  Every status update on Facebook and LinkedIn is one less Tweet on Twitter.

3) Learning curve limits growth: None of these competitors are hampered by Twitter’s arbitrary 140 character limit, nor are they required to learn the arcana of hashtags, DM’s, Retweets, and more.

4) Commercial viability: As a public company, Twitter’s finances and stock price have plummeted from a high of $69, to below $20.  But beyond Wall Street’s valuation, are there other commercial factors that suggest Twitter is teetering?  Here are a few: where are the advertisers, and where is the growth in users? And is the staff complement growing or shrinking? On all of these dimensions, Twitter appears on shaky ground. It was late to the advertising game, and will never catch up to Google and Facebook. The number of monthly average users is no longer growing, and depending on the measure, may actually be shrinking. And there has been significant disruption in the management ranks. And before that, layoffs.

While a counter argument may be made in Twitter’s defence (existing momentum, huge behavioral database, direct connection to media) does Twitter’s condition merit a change of strategy for those who use it? Our recommendations:

  • Seek to capture the Twitter relationships within a CRM, Marketing automation, or email system. While this should be standard practice already, it is also an important defensive move.
  • Broaden the user engagement across different social platforms. If Twitter isn’t the only game in town anymore, then it shouldn’t be your exclusive playing field either.
  • Tighten the purpose of using Twitter. For example, rather than using it as a general purpose social platform, use it exclusively for customer service, media outreach, and risk discovery.

Twitter has successfully extended the “texting” metaphor to the web, and whether it lives or dies as a business, no one can argue its influence.  But again, no one can argue the influence of MySpace either, and look where that platform ended up.

This week’s action plan: Twitter’s instability is just one example of the fluidity (and fragility) of the social space. This week, consider the “impossible”: how would your marketing and engagement plans change if any of your key social platforms shut down?

Marketing Insight: The core issue is not about Twitter or any other specific platform: it is all about two things: ensuring that you have a mechanism to discover the platforms where your target users are spending their time, and then using social as an on-ramp for driving their commitment.  In other words, fish where the fish are.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to www.RandallCraig.com to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
www.RandallCraig.com
:  Professional credentials site
www.108ideaspace
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
www.ProfessionallySpeakingTV.com
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders

 

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An Optimal Twitter Schedule

by Randall Craig on February 28, 2014

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Social Media

Tagged as: , ,

After participating in a recent panel discussion, I was approached by David Shlagbaum, a senior partner in a downtown law firm.  He reminded me of a lunch we shared, where he had asked me how often he should tweet.  I responded “David, do you see that bus outside?”  He did.  “A Twitter schedule is no different than a bus schedule.”

Consider:

  • If the bus comes too early or too late, you’ll annoy those who come on time, and earn a reputation for being unreliable.  People will stop using you.  People will unfollow.
  • If it follows a random route each day, no one will ever use the service, as the passengers have no guarantee the bus will take them to their destination. Thought-leadership is built with on-topic, relevant content.
  • If it comes too infrequently, people will seek alternatives. If it comes too often, it would be too costly to run. Twitter takes time, and there must be a balance between relevance and productivity.

What is the perfect Twitter schedule?  It is the schedule of your target audience.  And whatever that frequency, make sure it is consistent.

This week’s action plan:  Review the schedule of your posts over the last four weeks.  Is there consistency?  Are the tweets written to address the needs of a specific audience?  Or are they all about you?

Bonus Marketing Insights:

  1. If your schedule (and content) is relevant, the number of followers should be growing. Unfollows indicate either irrelevant content or poor scheduling.
  2. It is possible that you are simultaneously annoying those who want a lower frequency AND those who want a higher frequency.  At a certain point consider splitting your Tweeting into two (or more) specialized feeds, to ensure that the topic and frequency match the needs of distinct segments of your target audience.  If you’re not sure about this, ask your followers.
  3. The bus schedule analogy is very powerful.  Those who “travel” at night or on the weekends might be very different than those who use the bus during business hours.  Content for these two audiences might also be very different.
  4. Broadcast tweeting is not the goal of an engaging Twitter strategy:  engagement is.  Responding to questions, addressing concerns, retweeting others’ posts, and building relationships within different networks are critical parts of the mix – and also need to be part of the schedule.

More scheduling resources: download our (no cost) Social Media Planning Calendar.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to www.RandallCraig.com to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
www.RandallCraig.com
:  Professional credentials site
www.108ideaspace
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
www.ProfessionallySpeakingTV.com
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders

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Twitter Strategy, Take Three

by Randall Craig December 20, 2013

“Blogs are like articles that people can comment on.  YouTube is like TV, but with voting.”  But what about Twitter? Many leaders are not yet convinced that Twitter makes sense to them. (Or that Twitter makes sense at all.) What are the arguments for adopting Twitter – at least at some level? Here are five […]

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Twitter Strategy, Take Two

by Randall Craig June 7, 2013

Are you one of the millions who remain mystified about Twitter? While I’ve written about this before (Twitter Strategies), I thought it might be worthwhile to boil it down again, but from a different perspective. Here are five key Twitter activities that might expose a previously hidden opportunity: Monitor: Professional development, risk mitigation, or keeping tabs […]

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Being Real

by Randall Craig May 13, 2013

What’s your reaction when you read a company newsletter, instruction manual, or other corporate communication?  You probably think it sounds plastic, anti-septic, and homogenized.  If so, you’re like most people – they see corporate-speak as fake, and they can sniff it a mile away. The best communicators have always known that effective writing connects at […]

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Crowdsourcing

by Randall Craig July 20, 2012

How often have you run into a creative roadblock? Or you were stumped with a problem that you couldn’t figure out? When this happens, we are usually operating under a conventional wisdom that artificially closes the door to possibility. To break the block, one need only ask for help from ever-widening circles: colleagues, community, and […]

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Seven Social Media Job Search Steps

by Randall Craig March 8, 2012

Even from the most committed employees, one question comes up over and over again: how to use Social Media to find your next job.  It might be couched in different language (How do I develop professional profile/How do I take advantage of Social tools for support, etc), but the question remains.  How can you use […]

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Consistency

by Randall Craig October 12, 2011

How often have you struggled to show up on time for a meeting, only to be kept waiting as others stumbled in 5-10-15 minutes later? Or have you ever tuned in to your favorite TV show, only to find that it was “rescheduled” for some other time? Or travelled to a faraway store, but finding […]

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The Power of a (Broken) Promise

by Randall Craig September 28, 2011

Have you ever been disappointed, frustrated, or annoyed with an experience with a person or organization? In today’s Social Media world, suffering in silence need not be your only option. You can Tweet, Blog, post to Facebook, create a YouTube video, write on a review site or even create your own complaint site. You can […]

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Not Just Marketing

by Randall Craig April 26, 2011

Too often it is the marketers, advertisers, PR folks, and others involved in the sales process who “own” social media within an organization. This isn’t surprising, but it is unfortunate. The development of relationships is critically important in just about every organizational department, and each person’s individual success. Not convinced? Here are a few suggestions […]

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Crisis Communicator

by Randall Craig December 1, 2010

When someone sends a nastygram directly to you via email, it’s easy to deal with them directly: there’s just one person. But in the Social Media world, that nastygram gets broadcast everywhere. And when others start repeating, retweeting, and adding to the message, the problem escalates further. Many organizations – and many individuals – have […]

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Twitter Job Search

by Randall Craig June 23, 2010

Much has been said about Twitter, but how can you use it when you’re trying to sell yourself into your next role? It may be easier than you think; consider these four strategies: 1) Networking: Reach out to your “followers” on Twitter to let them know that you are currently looking for a new role.  […]

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Persona Grata

by Randall Craig June 8, 2010

When you are doing a major presentation, writing a blog, or posting on Twitter, how do you know whether what you say is hitting the mark? And how can you improve the effectiveness of your message? One of the more clever techniques that marketers use for this purpose – and you can too – is […]

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Twitter Strategy (updated)

by Randall Craig September 29, 2009

There are no shortage of discussions about Twitter, which is ironic, as each “Tweet” is at most 140 characters, the length of this sentence. Yet most people wonder how – and even why – this so-called phenomenon is being used. Is there an ROI?  Who has the time? (another 140 characters) If you are just […]

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