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Posts from May 2009

May 29, 2009

NYT hires and the FTC inspires - May 29, 2009 Week in Review

Many Thanks to Our Sponsors & Advertisers! 

This week's WIR curator is Kathryn Lagden. She tweets as @klagden.

Seen Around the Blogosphere


Heard on Twitter

  • benlucier Cool: Primus Canada launched Calltweet! Call a local number, record a message and a tweet is sent linking to the audio. http://bit.ly/hXceM
  • mitchjoel  "being in a start-up is like being in a recession forever." - great line at #imcmeet.
  • andrew_goodman So many tweets & RT's greet a thoughtfully researched blog post. Folks rarely link anymore, but they sure link on Twitter! #ispagerankbroken
  • chrissychrzan Kokanee redesigns - really hope the kept the hidden Sasquatch on the cans/bottles http://bit.ly/hvGIx


Releases, Announcements and News

May 27, 2009

Correspondent Opportunties at OneDegree

As most of you know, we try to cover events across the country in marketing, PR, communications, social media, etc.  Often, we receive one or two media passes to these events.  And we don't always have enough correspondents on tap to attend.

So, I'm going to start posting opportunities on our new Correspondent Opportunity Page.  You can see what's available and if you're keen, fill in the form.

Tuesday Tweetfest - May 26, 2009

Of course this went out on Tuesday. Tuesday, I tell you!

What our Twitter team has been tweeting recently ...

  • 14 year old girls on why TV is dead ow.ly/8j7B (CF) #
  • YouTube is huge and about to get even bigger: cli.gs/qaRQd5 (LH) #
  • Facebook blows past 300 million uniques: cli.gs/hdJeWe (LH) #
  • Celebrity Twitter Overkill - the sequel to Twouble with Twitters (video) cli.gs/Pr4ph3. Thanks to @ChrisDca (LH) #
  • YouTube launches biz blog, integrates analytics into brand channels cli.gs/9Z27Eb (LH) #
  • Twares: United Airlines offers special fares to Twitter users cli.gs/N2gjba (LH) #
  • Night in front of console more popular than night at movies cli.gs/7JEHVD (LH) #
  • How Facebook, MySpace and YouTube killed eBay cli.gs/QDVAaP (LH) #
  • Twitter coming to television in form of series bit.ly/10VixY (CF) #
  • Website management boring? Gerry McGovern thinks so cli.gs/4S2gnR (LH) #
  • Free tweets may disappear, Twitter co-founders say ow.ly/9phZ (CF) #

Universal and Blended Search - Inside the Marketers' Studio

Editor's Note: This "Inside the Marketers' Studio" post, where we ask savvy marketers for their take on the burning marketing questions of the day, is inspired by a panel on comprehensive visibility challenges at the upcoming Search Engine Strategies Toronto conference.

I often hear questions about search and multiple media indexing – how do we show up in YouTube, does Twitter show up in search results, how can we get our product images to be indexed, etc. With search engines now indexing several forms of content, marketers need to understand how to get ALL of their content indexed.  I asked folks from the leading search engines to share some insights into this emerging and important aspect of SEO and answer the following questions:

  1. As a result of blended search results, what do you think is the most pressing change that  marketers will have to make?
  2. For your particular search engine, what is  the top tip you can offer marketers who want to optimize for your engine?
  3. What  are your top 2 or 3 favourite resources/tools/blogs for marketers who want to  be more effective at search marketing?

They've shared their experiences and insights below - we'd be delighted if you shared YOUR answers in the comments!

First, we asked moderator Mark Grehan for the definition of "universal and blended search" that he used to launch the discussion:

Mike Grehan Mike Grehan, SES Advisory Board &  Global KDM Officer Acronym Media

Google’s (and other search engines)  move to blended results is a natural progression to provide a much richer end user experience. And as Google changes to provide the most relevant results from a number of sources, so the search marketing industry must change with it. Now, we see a move away from the solid bedrock process of SEO to a newer process of digital asset optimization (DAO). This allows us to provide our clients with numerous different ways of connecting with their audience via everything from a pdf document to video as well as other channels such as news, finance and blog results. It’s more about visibility than it is about ranking static web pages.

Bill Tighe Bill Tighe, Agency Business Development AE, Google Canada

1. As a result of blended search results, what do you think is the most pressing change that marketers will have to make?

With the inclusion of local data, video, images etc it becomes more and more important to participate in your key search result pages.  Video search alone is fast becoming a very large part of how users are searching, and you want to ensure that your video is either uploaded or created in response to this.  Name and describe your video accurately with "search" results in mind and upload it to YouTube.  You may or may not be featured in blended search results but at least you are active and participating in a medium that is growing very very quickly.  The same applies to your local data - ensure that you are represented and have updated the most recent and accurate data of where you are locally (https://www.google.com/local/add/).  "Images" are harder to participate in but it is something that many site and business owners overlook - enrich your site with valuable images that contribute information and context to your site or business (a picture of your store front, products, logo etc).

Always a good idea to keep a firm eye on your competitive and most lucrative search result pages and keep things active, fresh and relevant.  This has always applied to your text ads but as consumers evolve and expect more - so does Google (and its algorithm) and so should you.

Continue reading "Universal and Blended Search - Inside the Marketers' Studio" »

May 26, 2009

June 12 - Art of Sales - Calgary

Continue reading "June 12 - Art of Sales - Calgary" »

June 16 - Art from the Unexpected - Toronto

Manoj Jasra from Shaw Communications on Web Analytics Attribution Strategy at eMetrics Toronto 2009

At the recent eMetrics conference in Toronto, I asked Manoj Jasra, Senior Analyst and Business Specialist at Shaw Communications and author of the popular blog Web Analytics World, to share his thoughts about the importance and benefits of an attribution strategy in a marketer's web analytics tool kit. First though, I asked Manoj for a definition of attribution. He says ...

Attribution is defined as the method of assigning credit to different channels (Paid Search, Emails, Banner Ads, etc…).  It is important to implement an attribution strategy into your web analytics process so that you can better understand the performance of each of these channels and assign your marketing dollars appropriately.  There are numerous web analytics solutions available which allow you to implement attribution allowing you see online sales passed "Bookmarks" or "Direct Traffic".

In the interview, Manoj discusses the benefits of using attribution and how to get started.

For more information, you can check out Manoj's presentation on Campaign Attribution at eMetrics Toronto.

May 25, 2009

Even More Social Media Stats about Canadians

Seems like we're all trying to get a handle on what Canadians think and do vis a vis social networks and social media.  Delvinia throws their hat in the ring with their recent Insights report on the behaviour and attitudes of Canadian consumers when it comes to their digital social needs as well as their attitudes toward sharing information.  Highlights from the Delvinia survey include:

SOCIAL NETWORKING

Canada's view towards Social Networking:

  • 83% of female Canadians aged 18-30 feel digital technology allows for easier social connections, compared to their male counterparts at 76%.
  • Only 6% of NGen and 4% of Gen X report visiting recent media darling, Twitter, in the last month. The same as other, less talked about social networks including Hi5, DIGG and Tagged.
  • There is a significant difference between how frequently Canadians visit social network sites vs. post content. YouTube experiences the greatest difference between views and posts - for example, while 83% of NGen visited YouTube only 6% posted content. While 59% of Boomers visited the site, only 4% posted content.

SHARING INFORMATION

When sharing information online, here's how Canadians felt:

  • No surprise, NGen feel the safest about sharing any type of personal information online but are more comfortable sharing credit card (79%) rather than address and phone number (50%).
  • The majority of NGen and Gen X feel safe about sharing and using credit card information; Boomers & Canadians 65+ are significantly less confident (only 46% of Boomers, 39% of 65+ feel safe).
  • Only the majority of NGen are comfortable sharing demographic information (53%) - the majority of all other generations are neutral or not comfortable sharing information like their age, gender and marital status.
  • Most Canadians would prefer NOT to share their addresses or phone numbers online. NGen is most comfortable (yet only 29% feel safe), while Boomers are least comfortable (only 22% feel safe).


You can download the full report on Online Communities and Information Sharing at the Delvinia Insight website.

 

Dominique-Sébastien Forest from Quebecor on Mobile Marketing and Media Trends at eMetrics Toronto 2009

I had the opportunity to have an extended conversation with Dominique-Sébastien Forest - Vice President Digital Media & e-Commerce at Canoe Inc - Quebecor Media following his panel on Mobile Marketing Metrics at the recent eMetrics Toronto conference. Forest shared his thoughts on getting past some of the perceived barriers for marketers in getting started in mobile marketing. Stepping beyond mobile marketing, Forest also discussed 5 key trends driving the future of media.

May 28 - 2010 Boardroom Diaries - Vancouver

June 3 - Web Analytics Wednesday - Toronto

May 21, 2009

Katie Paine from KDPaine & Partners on Measuring Social Media at eMetrics Toronto 2009

I had the opportunity to speak with the charming and direct Katie Delahaye Paine of KDPaine & Partners LLC about social media metrics (yes you CAN measure social media!) as well as which of the 27 different types of conversations that happen in social media are the ones that marketers should care about.

Mitch Joel from Twist Image on Twitter as Market Research Tool at eMetrics Toronto 2009

I had the opportunity to chat with Mitch Joel, President of Twist Image, at the recent eMetrics conference in Toronto. His presentation was on Twitter, Micro Conversations and their Macro Impact. I caught up with him after his talk, and Mitch shared his thoughts on Twitter as a market research tool.

Editor's Note: Congrats to Mitch on his upcoming book Six Pixels of Separation!

Cut the Blah Blah Blah – When Less is the New More

sleeping-at-computerOne of my biggest pet peeves is what I call “blah blah blah" marketing copy.  Here’s an example:

“XYZ provides the ideal combination of advanced technology and expertise to information providers. Our solutions and services lower costs, streamline operations, create efficiencies and generate new revenue for our customers. Our mission is to unlock the true potential of your market and partner with you in growth."

Logically I know I was reading a description of what XZY company does, emotionally all I heard was “Blah Blah Blah”.  I had no idea what this company did. None! 

Be honest - you’ve done it too right? Read something and had absolutely no idea what the product was or why you might benefit from buying it.  You’re probably like most of us, who don’t admit this for fear of looking dumb or uninformed.

Many marketing people I know find it easy to pump out words - they can jump right up and start writing, often on their first day on the job or project. Their words flow onto the page, looping into just the right sized paragraphs. Paragraphs which usually contain an abundance of the latest buzz words.

These words turn into product brochures, web sites, press releases, white papers and blog posts, and prolific marketing writers are praised for their ability to “produce” and “deliver”.  They measure their clicks and downloads and honestly believe they’ve done well.

I beg to differ.

In 1868, writer Mark Twain said

“Anybody can have ideas--the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph.”

In an age where attention spans are shrinking, and 140 character sound bites are all you are allowed on marketing vehicles like Twitter, it is once again time for writing less to become a valued marketing skill.

Writing less actually requires more work, not less,  but here are 10 tips to help you along.

Continue reading "Cut the Blah Blah Blah – When Less is the New More" »

May 20, 2009

Canada-specific SEO and PPC Issues - Inside the Marketers' Studio

Editor's Note: This "Inside the Marketers' Studio" post, where we ask savvy marketers for their take on the burning marketing questions of the day, is inspired by a panel on Canada-specific search issues at the upcoming Search Engine Strategies Toronto conference.

In working with clients on their search engine optimization and paid search programs, I'm often asked questions about Canada-specific search topics that run the gamut from spelling issues (that darn "u") to bilingual challenges. I asked a few marketers who specialize in SEO and PPC to answer the following three questions:

  1. What do you think is the key Canada-specific challenge facing Canadian paid search marketers?
  2. What is the first step they should take to address that challenge?
  3. What are your top 2 or 3 favourite resources/tools/blogs for marketers who want to be more effective at search marketing?

They've shared their experiences and insights below - we'd be delighted if you shared YOUR answers in the comments!

Ari Shomair

Ari-shomairAri Shomair is the Director of Marketing Optimization at henderson bas in Toronto.

1. What do you think is the key Canada-specific challenge facing Canadian paid search marketers?
Although the environment has been improving, there is still “noise” in the Canadian PPC marketplace from click arbitrage businesses. The SEM arbitrage business model is basically to use highly-optimized SEM campaigns to acquire cheap traffic, and then resell that traffic at a profit. You have probably seen click arbitrage sites before; they normally contain a generic image in the top left corner of the screen (e.g. two hands shaking, a picture of a woman smiling), a heading which contains the keyword you searched for (“find credit cards today!”) as well as a list of links with one line descriptions.

Click arbitrage businesses flourished in Canada specifically because many American companies use North American geo-location databases, meaning their ads showed to both Americans and Canadians. Because of this, historically a click arbitrage firm could buy search ads in Canada at lower CPCs than the United States (both due to currency and competition differences), and then resell that traffic to Americans at a profit.

While click arbitrage may seem relatively harmless, it both increases CPC rates on the search engines, as well as sours user experience when clicking search ads. The reason why Canadian businesses specifically should be concerned is many click arbitrage sites are now populated with Canadian ads. In other words, many Canadian businesses are effectively paying click arbitrage firms to bid against them in the SEM marketplace. This occurs because the Canadian business is buying ads on content networks, which are then being served on the arbitrage sites.

Continue reading "Canada-specific SEO and PPC Issues - Inside the Marketers' Studio" »

Aseem Chandra from Omniture on Mobile Channels and Marketing Metrics at eMetrics Toronto 2009

At the recent eMetrics conference in Toronto, I sat down with Aseem Chandra, Sr. Vice President, Product Marketing at Omniture, to discuss his keynote on Optimizing Social Media, Mobile, Video and Multi-channel Data to Engage Customers. Aseem discusses the importance of mobile channels in interacting with your customers as well as the need for CMO's to actually DEFINE their key metrics.

Christine Sonnabend from the US Holocaust Museum on Web Analytics at eMetrics Toronto 2009

At the recent eMetrics conference in Toronto, I spoke with Christine Sonnabend from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum about their web analytics tools. Christine shares info about the USHMM upgraded their web analytics software in order to get more actionable items and insights from web visitors rather than continue to be mired down in the data.

May 19, 2009

Tuesday Tweetfest - May 19, 2009

What our Twitter team has been tweeting recently ...

  • Retailers shift marketing dollars towards social media cli.gs/XVG9PE (LH) #
  • Twitter enables two-way SMS for Rogers and Fido customers in Canada cli.gs/hWZbbb (LH) #
  • URL shortening wars: Twitter ditches TinyURL for bit.ly cli.gs/6JUE85 (LH) #
  • Facebook expands 'Insights' metrics for brand pages cli.gs/LBdZt2 (LH) #
  • YouTube may be solving its ad problem. Slowly. cli.gs/qnbWXB (LH) #
  • RT @cfine: Did you know you can count occurrences of words and phrases on Facebook walls over time - www.facebook.com/lexicon/ #
  • 27 Twitter tools to help you find and manage followers cli.gs/Hypr4p (LH) #
  • Facebook payments system a few weeks away cli.gs/hP4b4B (LH) #
  • Tech Bytes: Twitter - and Reuters - making a play for real-time search ow.ly/6xnX (CF) #
  • eGuiders uses media experts to find quality video on the web cli.gs/LhT4jV (LH) #
  • Facebook could make actual millions with virtual payments cli.gs/TgPdP7 (LH) #
  • Twitter 'porn star name game' risks identity theft: privacy experts ow.ly/700y (CF) #
  • Welcome to the 'weisure' lifestyle - CNN.com ow.ly/7iTr (CF) #

Looking for Social Media Case Studies?

A colleague of mine (and OneDegree reader!) just emailed me asking about some good social media case studies, preferably Canadian.  I realised that if he is asking, then some others of you might be interested as well.

For Canadian case studies, the inimitable David Jones (@DoctorJones) started a wiki of Web 2.0 and social media examples. In true wiki fashion, examples, links and write-ups are captured by the community; includes examples of both English and French work.

Jones' wiki was inspired by Peter Kim and his Wiki of Social Media Marketing examples.  A list of examples that can be filtered by industry, country and type of social media, Kim's wiki has now expanded to three wikis and contains links to over 1000 examples of social media marketing.

Wikis are only as good as the community that provides the content, so if you have an example, I encourage you to enter it into the wiki.  Be aware though, it's not just a place for for agencies to toot their own horns - so, you know, add value.  The Mountain Equipment Co-op's Big Wild case study page is a great example to follow.

Don Tapscott on the Net Generation in Canada (Part 3 of 3 Part Interview)

In part 2 of my interview with Don Tapscott, Don shares his thoughts on what marketers can do NOW to engage with Net Gen.  Tapscott also speaks about the children of Net Gen - and what he's starting to see as their defining characteristics, particularly as powerful consumers.

May 15, 2009

The one where Internet staples leave us hanging - May 15, 2009 Week in Review

We have a new contributor this week: Paul Bleier makes his debut with his post: Trust Me, Social Media is Here to Stay!. Welcome, Paul!

Many Thanks to Our Sponsors & Advertisers! 

And finally, hope you all have a fabulous Victoria Day Weekend! Remember that drinking and boating injures 8% of marketers every year - be safe out there!

This week's WIR curator is Ben Boudreau. Ben is a 20-something social media addict representing OneDegree on the east coast while blogging and tweeting his way through life.

Seen Around the Blogosphere

Heard on Twitter

@spidervideo: #podcampHFX prep chat has begun thanks to @RyanDeschamps @jonmcginley and @bboudreau

@mynameiskate: Dear Twitter: pls make my life complete & include bios in your fancy new follower notification emails. Some of us aren't just #'s oriented.

From Canadian Marketing Blogs

Releases, Announcements and News

With Susan Boyle out of the way, the internet seems to be returning quite happily to its world of things going wrong and people who complain about it. Too cynical? Check the facts:

1) Twitter scheduled a planned outage for updates. And you know what? We were cool with that since they gave us the pretty rad notification emails – now with actual details about new followers! And fiber!

But when the outage was lifted and the new restrictions on how @user messages are viewed became clear…well…let’s just say that people were not impressed. On the plus side, they came up with rather creative solutions

2) If a Twitter-free world weren’t frightening enough, imagine Google leaving us without instant knowledge! Scary, right? Oh wait – that TOTALLY happened. What’s this world coming to?

This Week's Video Meme

May 14, 2009

Trust Me, Social Media is Here to Stay!

On May 7, 2009, Boyd Neil, Senior Vice President and Director of Hill and Knowlton’s National Corporate Communications Practice moderated a very timely discussion with three panelists as part of the Empire Club of Canada’s lunch ‘n learn experience. Joining Boyd for a very candid discussion on the challenges and opportunities that come with the continued rise of Social Media in business and industry was Peter Aceto, President and CEO of ING Direct, Suzanne Fallender, Manager Corporate Responsibility at Intel Corp and Tom Watson, Senior Writer for Canadian Business Magazine.

Boyd set the foundation for the ensuing discussion by suggesting that because “more people are connected in more ways than ever before,” business leaders have to seriously rethink their approach to engagement and reputation management. He argued that because public trust in companies has declined so drastically over the past few years, social tools such as Twitter, Facebook and Youtube have become the new “anatomy of interaction” for consumers to assemble and organize around both action and dissent. Boyd then went on to suggest that generic brand building strategies need be abandoned in favour of people first strategies which do a much better job of tapping into real conversations that reside in communities of interest. Finally he concluded his opening monologue before turning it over to the panelists by hammering home the message that the “new backbone of influence” is in fact the social network.

Although you're far by Aphrodite

The hour long discussion with the panelists presented differing viewpoints on the subject in addition to some key take home messages for any business toying with the idea of leveraging social media to drive communication strategies. Below are some key messages that I walked away with from being a part of this enlightening discussion.

Alignment with corporate values/culture is extremely important for social media success

Peter Aceto (@CEO_INGDIRECT), one of a handful of twittering CEOs today shared some very candid remarks with Boyd and the panel on how and why he chooses to put the reputation of himself and his company out there 140 characters at a time. According to Peter, social media is not for every organization.

Continue reading "Trust Me, Social Media is Here to Stay!" »

Webinar: Leadership in Difficult Times - The Listeriosis Outbreak and Maple Leaf Foods - May 21, 2009

May 11, 2009

Yes, You CAN Make B2B Sales Happen Using Twitter

Yesterday I sat in on a webinar. Speaker was very good and the points he made was clear and interesting and relevant but I found myself unsatisfied when it was all over. It took me a few hours to figure out why - he didn't show us any examples of "good" and "not so good" and because of that he wasn't as effective as he could have been.

I like examples, especially simple ones that you get right away. My simple mind perhaps? Whatever the reason, because I have been researching successful B2B uses of Twitter lately I thought I would share this example of how Twitter helped at least one company make a sale.

It all started with a tweet (once upon a tweet?) from someone I follow.

first-post-re-cspring2

I hadn't heard of crowdSPRING so I checked them out. Now it turns out that I was a few days away from using their competitor 99Designs (who by the way I had used before with great results), but hey, if my colleague who I respect was using Crowdspring, perhaps they were better yet?

So I replied to him:

2nd-post-re-cspring

And here is where it gets interesting. I did not hear back from him but within 5 minutes I got tweets from both 99designs and crowdSPRING, literally seconds apart. tweets-cspring-99designs

Clearly they had staff running an ongoing search for any mention of their company, and both took the opportunity to try to influence my buying decision - good on them!

Takeaway #1 - every company should be using Twitter to search for opportunities to react to people who are shouting out that they are interested in their products.

It's also interesting that while my tweet clearly referenced 99designs, I shortened crowdSPRING to cspring, which means they were searching, not just for their company name but for at least one variation of it - really smart.

Takeaway #2 - search not just for your exact company name but for variations on it, especially abbreviations.

Lastly, as I read their tweets it also occurred to me that a new skill is required from salespeople - pitch your product in no more than 140 characters, but more on that in a future post.

Both companies reacted quickly and well, and I did end up buying a service from one of them - which one would you have picked?

10 Twitter Tips for Professionals

Bill Sweetman's Twitter Account After the unexpected popularity of my article 10 Facebook Tips for Professionals, I figured I would follow it up with some tips for the micro-blogging platform known as Twitter.

Although Twitter has been around since 2006, it's only recently started to generate interest from the public at large. One of the things I like the most about Twitter is that it is an open platform and the uses for it are limited only by people's imagination. Every day I discover new and creative ways that people are using Twitter, some good, some bad. As with any new medium, there are and will continue to be growing pains as we all figure out what the ground rules are and how best to use this new tool. I, for one, still consider myself to be in my 'kindergarten' years with Twitter, however I have learned a few tips and tricks along the way that I am happy to share with you:

I hereby present my list of 10 Twitter tips for business professionals who want to get the most out of Twitter without making too many newbie mistakes:

  1. Use your real and (length permitting) full name as your Twitter ID and Display Name - Don't start Twittering using some cutesy or cryptic alias; that just makes it hard for people to find you and figure out who you really are. If you can, avoid using an underscore in your Twitter ID: JaneSmith is way more professional than Jane_Smith and is also easier for people who are using mobile devices to type. And capitalize the first letter of your first and last name; it makes them easier to read.

  2. Make sure you upload a photo of yourself right away - If you don't include a photo of yourself as part of your Twitter account, you will limit the number of followers you will get. And use a real photo, not an illustration, avatar, or your company's logo. People want to have a relationship with you, not an illustration. Choose a recent colour or black and white headshot of yourself, and make sure the photo is tasteful. For best results, the image should be a JPEG sized about 128 by 128 pixels, but remember that it will be displayed in much smaller sizes on different Twitter clients, including small screens on mobile devices, so make sure it is legible even when tiny.

  3. Include a compelling and accurate description of yourself in your Twitter account - People will refer to this when deciding if they want to follow you. Make sure you include pertinent information such as the name of the company you work for, your job title, a brief description of what you do, and a link to your corporate Website or blog. Remember to keep search engines in mind and feature keywords that are relevant to your profession in your description. This will make it easier for new people to find you via Twitter search.

  4. Choose a professional looking Twitter profile design, or create your own - The Twitter account settings allow you to choose from a number of simple design templates for your profile. I recommend that you pick one that best (or at least better) aligns with your professional brand, or tinker with the colour schemes until you get something that works. If you really want to present a slick image, get a custom Twitter background design created for you. There are numerous free and affordable paid Twitter background design services. One of the ones I have used and can recommend is Twitbacks.

  5. Understand the important difference between a public reply and a Direct Message (DM) - When you reply to someone that you are following, using the "@BillSweetman" syntax, everyone following you and them can see your conversation, and a permanent public record is made of the exchange. A Direct Message, using the "D BillSweetman" syntax, is strictly between you and that one other recipient (although in order for this to work both recipient and sender have to be following one another). Confuse the two and you could end up in an embarrassing situation.

  6. Be judicious about Re-Tweeting - Twitter is about sharing, however if all you are doing is continually re-tweeting other people's posts instead of contributing your own original content, this will soon begin to grate on your followers. After all, if your followers really cared about what someone else was Twittering about, they'd follow them.

  7. Watch your P's and Q's - Twitter is a public forum, and your posts are archived forever. While it is always advisable to avoid getting into a war of words with someone, Twitter is the worst possible place to have a dustup since everyone has a ringside seat. Sadly, that hasn't stopped some folks from getting into some very nasty, and very public, Twitter fights. Try to avoid making the same mistake.

  8. Be careful about mixing business with pleasure - Consider creating two separate Twitter accounts, one for business use and one for personal use. If you tie your personal email address and a more 'casual' photo to your personal Twitter account, your friends and family will easily be able to figure out which is the right account to follow.

  9. Follow but don't expect to be followed - While you are free to follow anyone on Twitter that you so choose, don't expect them to follow you back. Not everyone wants to follow hundreds or thousands of people, and just because you followed them doesn't mean they are obliged to follow you, nor should you be upset if they don't.

  10. Don't try to "market" on Twitter; try to "share" instead - Just because Twitter allows you to post promotional messages 24/7 doesn't mean that anyone is interested in that kind of content. If you want to attract and keep followers, focus on contributing items of value. Let them know about something you just heard or discovered. Solicit feedback on a project or ask a question. Sing the praises of a product or person. Recommend other people they should follow. Or provide an update on what you are working on right now. Think sharing, not shouting.

Despite the feverish tone of the recent media hoopla around Twitter, I am very bullish about the future of Twitter. We've hardly scratched the surface of its potential. Twitter was originally dismissed by many as a quirky geek distraction (I admit to being one of those skeptics), but it is rapidly emerging as a flexible communication platform for both business and personal use. I hope my 10 Twitter tips will help you take better advantage of this new medium. And if you want to follow me on Twitter, my Twitter ID is BillSweetman. Good luck, and happy Tweeting!

Image Credit: James McDonald

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