#WhyImVotingUkip FAIL

Have you seen the UK Independence Party disaster on Twitter? They created a hashtag to promote UKIP but it didn’t work out… check out some of these tweets, hilarious!

#WhyImVotingUkip Because I’m worried that Muslims will force me to practice Shakira Law, and my breasts are small and humble

#WhyImVotingUkip cause I’m sick of foreigners coming over here, improving our exam results and being our doctors. What selfish ******s.

#WhyImVotingUkip because Michael Jackson made better music when he was white

#WhyImVotingUkip I’m sick of my Israeli mother nagging me to clean my room. Enough is enough, she’s got to go

#WhyImVotingUkip Because I’m worried black people will start breeding with gay people and we’ll create a master race of amazing dancers

#WhyImVotingUKIP Because Im sick of immigrants coming over here and seasoning our bland food.

#WhyImVotingUkip Less Asians means lower grade boundaries

#WhyImVotingUkip Because Mr Sheen left smears on my windows and it says on the bottle that he’s polish.

#WhyImVotingUkip Because a brown baby smiled at me and I didn’t know what to do.

#WhyImVotingUkip cos i’m sick of them coming over here, contributing taxes, doing jobs we don’t want, having skills we don’t have

#WhyImVotingUkip Because I’m sick of foreign food in the supermarket. Why can’t they just stock English food like pasta, curry & rice?

#WhyImVotingUkip Because I thought it was a party who promoted napping in the afternoon

#WhyImVotingUkip Because I’m hoping they’ll repatriate my dad to India via Dubai & I need a new digital camera

#WhyImVotingUkip because, having invaded three-quarters of the Earth’s surface, Britain shouldn’t tolerate the presence of any foreigns.

#WhyImVotingUkip Because I’m sick of them coming over here contributing to the economy and enriching our culture.

#WhyImVotingUkip David Cameron didn’t wish me happy birthday

#WhyImVotingUkip because British jobs should be for British people. Just like African diamonds should be for colonialist European families.

#WhyImVotingUkip maternity leave is just pandering to women,in bongo bongo land they have a baby in the morning and then work in the fields

Not had enough? See more here 

10 Step Random Social Media Strategy

Having been helping out a friend for his new Startup/SME recently, I advised on a few basic tips on social media (emphasis on basic) to get them thinking. So basic I thought I’d post the tips here, for anyone new to social media marketing. Social media has moved on leaps and bounds since I last wrote on the subject. And the pace of innovation cruises on as more sophisticated platforms emerge (FourSquare, mobile apps) and existing platforms develop (Facebook Open Graph), pushing the boundaries.

The Social Media Bandwagon

Image courtesy of Matt Hamm via Flickr

But with so much going on, where do you start? For most, the start, at this moment in time, exists of Facebook, Twitter and Blogging. Each have their values, purposes and challenges, but where do you focus your social media marketing on when starting out? Here is a random thought process which helped this SME think about the potential for developing their Social Media strategy.

1. Twitter is your most prolific business building tool in Social Media Land

Many think Twitter is a real engagement tool to speak to their customers (ie Dell) yet so many others find the B2B benefits far outweigh the B2C. For this particular company, with their new product, Twitter can be a great way to create market interest and awareness. If you’re in this boat, find Twitter users within your industry and look at who they follow – follow these people. They’ll either be customers of the brands, or business partners/competitors. This is a great way to build awareness. You need to get following them for them to follow you and find out about your new product. Follow all the mainstream companies in this industry.Think about what your most important metrics is however – is it purely the number of followers? Retweets? Click throughs? This should influence how you build up your portfolio of followers.

2. Ensure you keep Twitter updated

So if you’ve taken the Twitter route, then keep it updated! The accounts that fail are those that are
  • neglected – you have a thousand followers but forget to post updates
  • boring and useless – you post insomnia fodder, wake up!
  • updated too frequently – those Twitter accounts that post messages every 5 minutes and clutter my incoming Twitter stream…. yes I unfollowed you!
You will lose followers if you subscribe to any of those.

3. Engage.

Twitter is about sharing and conversing; share your own tweets but also retweet interesting, on-topic stuff. Also try and comment on what others are saying.
Why not:
  • relate and respond to your followers; what are they talking about?
  • analyse trending topics – can you add anything of interest to get Retweets or more Followers?
  • tweet about interesting things you’re doing (like taking your product to a location for free giveaways for example)
  • retweet interesting but relevant stuff
  • IF you have a blog, automate Tweets each time you write a post – drive interest back to your blog!

4. Design a decent Twitter background

Its not hard; its a great way of introducing your product or brand – break open the 140 word limit with a 1000 words! Inform followers on who you are and what you do, make it look as professional as any page on your website. Its another entry point to your brand, treat it like any other page within your website

5. Post your Tweets onto your website

Twitter Birdy

Image courtesy of Matt Hamm via Flickr

That is, the homepage of your site or within a sidebar of your site, using one of the many Twitter to website plugins available. This will automatically show recent Tweets from your Twitter account. Its a great way of getting more followers and to show that you’re actually talking about cool, relevant stuff that your website visitors will want to subscribe to.

6. Facebook takes time to evolve.

I’d concentrate fully on Twitter first as a startup. Facebook interactions are different to Twitter. Facebook ‘fans’ would be admitting to using or being affiliated with your product or brand. The advantage with Facebook is having messages seen in your fan’s timeline, giving additional exposure to their friends.However Facebook users tend to be more protective of becoming fans of brands than Twitter followers are of following Tweeters. I believe Facebook has a more targetted, B2C benefit than Twitter but this conversely takes more time to nurture to fruition. It also depends on the brand and product and how mainstream Vs niche you are.

7. A Blog (weB log) is a great opportunity to build some 1-2-1 interaction with potential and actual customers

Blogging, words and life

Image courtesy of Kristina B via Flickr

Blogs have been around for years. Much longer than since the term was coined in fact. Its a communication tool and a gateway into your company/brand for your customers, both existing and new. Company blogs range from high level corporate noise through to meaningful insights. This is where the likes of ASOS.com really capture the true essence of what I feel a blog, in the social media marketing sense, really is. A blog creates 2-way dialogue. You’re not talking at your customers, you’re conversing with them. You’re talking their language, about things they’re interested in and you make them feel part of your brand. You make them want to contribute, and make them feel they’re part of your community. New customers see this and warm to this. Existing customers want to spend more money with you because they feel an affinity. This is not just blogging, this is emotional entanglement with your brand.

And because of this, who blogs your brand makes the world of difference… don’t leave it to PR, or Marketing, or Customer Services. Leave it to someone who gets your customers, speaks their language, lives your brand and can communicate with the masses… ASOS have a range of bloggers and this helps keep things fresh and relevant… crucial in an overgrowing Internet of blogs, blogs and more blogs.
Create posts which are interesting but importantly, engage the readers – ask a question or get them thinking. For example end your blog post with an outro question like ‘Do you enjoy shopping online? Would you miss shmoosing the malls if high street retailers went online only? Perhaps both can exist side by side?’

8. Reddit and Digg it!

There are numerous social bookmarking websites out there including Reddit and Digg – if you can create some really interesting blog posts, submit them onto the social bookmarking websites. They’re a great way of extending your small reach. Consider social bookmarking websites as the modern day alternative to the yellow pages. Except you can add articles for free, highly targetted around your article to attract customers/site visitors to your brand or product.
Get people you know to sign up for these sites and get them voted for. The higher the voting, the more chance a) they will get clicked/visited and b) they will pass ‘link equity’ back to the blog meaning you’ll enhance your SEO efforts too! Perhaps that’s best left for another article.

9. Youtube videos as brand messages and traffic drivers

If you have videos of anything to do with your products, get them into your own section in Youtube. Not only will these rank well in search engines but embedding these into your website into a relevant page will boost rankings of that page over time – you’re serving useful content to your site visitors and search engines like that.

10. Keyword optimise your profiles

For example your Twitter profile: insert the typical keywords you’re targetting as well as the brand name. These may help your Twitter profile rank. Same goes for Facebook, YouTube and anything else where your profile is publicly visible. There is the notion of covering brand searches with maximum brand exposure – if you could rank your website number 1 for your brand term, your blog number 2, Twitter account number 3, Youtube page number 4 and perhaps Facebook page number 5, where would that leave competitors? Vying for spots in paid ads of course but it would ensure a clean sweep of the key SEO positions!

And Finally

Setting Social Media KPIs

Image courtesy of James Cridland via Flickr

Ensure you have your KPIs in place before you start! Yes I jumped in head first into tips on strategy, but nothing creates a better strategy than defining your goals from the start… be clear, be SMART, be cool – whatever, just ensure you know and understand your KPIs for social media else you’ll be walking the social media landscape without a checkpoint for success.
There are a whole range of social media initiatives, tips, strategies etc which I’ve not covered off, but hopefully this simple list provides a few pointers on where you could be taking things if you’re still thinking of starting out, or are new to the Social Media Marketing concept.
What else would you advise a new company starting out in social media? Add your tips below!
Depesh Mandalia

Time for Twitter?

Like many people out there, many thousands of people, I’ve been using Twitter now for a while and it is getting to that point where it is no longer something ‘fun’ to check up on to see what’s going on, but actually quite a burden and time consuming to keep tabs on! There are some great tools out there like TweetDeck and HootSuite (which I use, more on that later) which help to manage Twitter but it has become quite difficult to find the time.

The reason email is so successful is because you can queue the emails to read later as a recipient; I’m finding this difficult with Twitter. To the extent that I’ve stopped following some good Twitterers like Guy Kawasaki due to the mass of updates they make which makes tracking difficult!

I’m still following Mashable but that’s on the borderline too – where is the line drawn between being useful and being a burden?

When I first joined Twitter, it was great to see short excerpts on what other people were linking to like articles and releases. It is a shame that the most simple of things become difficult. Just look at the number of issues Facebook is having right now. I read a report that the sign-up rate is slowing down and the return rate (i.e. logging back on) is dropping, both signs that people are not interested like they used to be.

And this is when the playing field starts levelling and other, possibly better, innovative players enter the market. Just look at MySpace. Still going strong yet with a fraction of the market it used to have.

So am I still going to use Twitter? Damn right. But perhaps not as often as I’d like or as often as I’d used to.

About those Twitter tools….

TweetDeck – I like to use this to keep tabs of Tweets. It sits on your desktop and alerts you when a Tweet arrives. You can also create vertical windows within the application to keep tabs on conversations. In addition you can also log into your Facebook account though I’ve not found that feature too useful.

HootSuite – A fantastic little tool primarily due to 2 things; you can use its URL shorting service, which gives you access to click-stats and you can monitor/Tweet from more than one Twitter account. Great if you have a personal and business one!

There are loads of other tools out there but hey, here’s 2 for starters!

Depesh

I’m tweeting! Twitter’s growth and possible fall…

Twitter – what is it all about? I’ve been thinking that for the past year. Why waste time sending 140 words or less!

Actually its more of a social notification tool. A great way to receive up to the minute thoughts and opinions on anything out there!

http://search.twitter.com is probably the most useful part of it, since you can search for ‘real-time’ discussions.

If you wanted to search the news as it was written or recorded at a particular point in time, you could search ‘Obama Iraq’ in a search engine to see what was written.

Alternatively you can search Twitter and find out what is being discussed, RIGHT NOW. That’s right now as in your time, as you’re sitting there reading this, not my time, at the time I’m actually writing this. Great thing is the last post I just read is going to be different to the one you will see on the same topic. They are the latest in the long list of discussions (following his speech today on withdrawing from Iraq). A discussion is dynamic.

In summary, Twitter is fantastic for leveraging the here and now, what the online world is thinking or writing about any one thing. Can’t fit it into 140 characters? Not a problem, Twitter compresses long URLs into shorter ones to fit! Google sees the value of this…

For me the next big platform is how Twitter turns this profitable. A subscription service would no doubt alienate most users, advertising may annoy many but who knows? Is Twitter about to take on Google to some level? Google did, after all, make a bid on Twitter which was rejected. A wise decision? Perhaps. One thing is for sure, Google thinks it is important enough to spend time on! Is Google about to launch an app which is the same, but better? Will it try another takeover bid?

For all that’s great about Twitter, I think it needs a big injection of Google (that is, Google’s technology):

We’re sorry, but something went wrong.

We’ve been notified about this issue and we’ll take a look at it shortly.

Sorry? You have probably 10m users and you’re sorry? A simple search repeatedly brought up this error, it is not the first. Twitter just cannot cope with the amount of traffic it generates. This is where Google really could add value. Many don’t think it is right for Google to monopolise, but for me, the simple Web user, I love Google! iGoogle, Google Maps (and mobile), Google Analytics, Trends, Web Optimiser – the list of useful apps Google provides is vast. Yes competition is healthy but if Google continues to provide such fantastic services whilst being arguably number one then I’m all for it!

Depesh