In my previous article on building a quality Twitter campaign I laid out some rules for acquiring engaged followers, a vital pre-requisite for ensuring your message is read and disseminated beyond your own timeline.
One of those rules was to always look for people who have more followers than they themselves are following.
I've since come to realise that this rule doesn't go far enough. I now believe you should avoid following all but those few incredible voices that you can truly converse with and who are passionately interested in the niche you're carving out.
Once you clear away the noise, you'll find a wealth of conversation awaits with strong brand and topic focus that will help you grow a following of truly engaged and interested followers.
I've been looking at a few different tools for mapping social media presence in the real world. I suspect this could be a useful tool for business, but perhaps not quite yet: while local trends were rolled out in early 2010, there's a lack of location-aware applications that utilise maps and twitter trends that have any other purpose for general use.
Looking at Trendsmap today, I noticed something glaringly out of place in Australia.
Queenslanders don't tweet.
I get it. Twitter's a big deal in social marketing circles. I've come to love it and use it extensively - I get it. It's a great tool for spontaneous communication, for finding interesting people with awesome things to say.
It's not hard to build a following. You can have ten thousand followers in no time - or so the long pages of flashy text that are direct-tweeted into my inbox tell me.
But are those followers worth having? Will they enhance your reputation? And who to follow? All these questions and more, answered in my 7 Rules for gaining quality followers on Twitter:
Almost exactly two years ago, dp dialogue posted a punishing article, raking Optus over the coals for their total lack of social media presence during an unfolding outage that affected thousands.
Since that time Optus, and many other major companies along with them, have completely overhauled their communication strategies.
Social media has become such a prominent method for consumers to discuss brands that it is now the case that you cannot afford to be without a strategy for monitoring and responding to your fans and detractors online.
How did Optus change to reflect the need to address customer service socially?
If there is one hard and fast rule for social media engagement, it's this:
Social media is not your Grandfather's marketing medium. It's not Mad Men. Social media is the over-the-fence conversation, the pub chat, the coffee & cake catch-up.
Real people hate being marketed at. None of us likes TV advertising, we suffer through it to get free content. We don't look at display ads on websites (it's called 'banner blindness') but we put up with the tokyo-city blinkfest to view the sites we like.
Sure, Facebook runs some paid advertising along the side. It's not intrusive, usually contextual and easily ignored. Some apps do push themselves into my newsfeed, but it's easy enough to block that app. Twitter is, for the most part, advertising free.
Today I witnessed a massive two-fer of social media ineptitude, all in the name of trying to turn users into paid advertisers.
I was recently discussing social media with a friend in the antiques business looking for new ways to market online. Having just launched a new online store he was casting about for marketing opportunities to engage a broader range of customers beyond search marketing.
Facebook and twitter immediately came to mind. We eventually came to the conclusion that these channels might provide his business with an opportunity to engage a younger audience, both for the investment and aesthetic value of antiques.
While that's a great answer, one with the opportunity to create a significant market niche, I've had a nagging feeling we missed something critical in our casual dismissal of the typical antiques demographic.
It didn't take much to discover that, as in so many areas, baby boomers are hitting social media big time.