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A Modern Marketing Post

Series 1 Episode 4: Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest

Let’s talk about Twitter. Some say it’s dying, it’s not important or that they just don’t understand it. Fair enough. When it started out, Twitter or tweeting was limited to 140 characters. Now, it’s still relatively limited but you can retweet other people’s stuff, include links and images and get around that limit.

But what is it? It’s a way to follow — emphasize follow — people, companies or brands for news and information. Say you’re a fan of a baseball team. You follow the Twitter accounts of the reporters who cover the team for local media. When they tweet about a new signing or roster move, you’ll know about it before it’s on TV or in the paper or even on other websites.

That’s the main value of Twitter. Follow industries and businesses like your own and reporters and publications. Or competitors, community organizations, politicians, the local newspaper, TV or radio station. Twitter is a great news source. Hey, when US commandos caught and killed Osama Bin Laden, I saw it on Twitter about an hour before the news appeared anywhere else. That’s for real!

But should you Tweet? The answer is “maybe.” Or maybe the real answer is No… at first. Lemme explain. Twitter is a micro-broadcasting platform, which means you’re sending short messages that are allegedly useful and interesting to… someone. Who? That depends. How do you make sure people — presumably customers and prospects and opinion makers — see your Tweets? That’s why I said the real answer to the question, should you Tweet… is no.

First, find a bunch of accounts to follow. Look for, first of all, those that are relevant to your business, including thought leaders, marketing gurus, companies and people in your industry you admire … that sort of thing. You can also follow, as we said earlier, competitors, community organizations, politicians, your local newspaper, TV or radio stations and their reporters… business reporters, especially. You might need to do a little research… tune into the station, pick up a newspaper… or read ‘em online… so you know who to follow. Some of them — surprise — will follow you back. You’ll also get a sense of what to Tweet — and what not to Tweet, which is about the same as what not to post on Facebook; politics, religion, obscenity …

You’ll also get a sense of what to Tweet — and what not to Tweet, which is about the same as what not to post on Facebook; politics, religion, obscenity … y’know, sexist, racist, homophobic. Use good taste and judgment to ensure that what you’re tweeting reflects your business. Unless you’re an insult comedian … in which case you still have to be careful!

Which is not to say that many people will tweet those things. You’ll see those sorts of things all over Twitter, which is mostly uncensored. And it’s certainly OK to follow and unfollow them. That’s the other big difference between Facebook and Twitter: Twitter is far less personal. Sure, you may want to follow your friends and family, if they’re on Twitter and maybe even follow you back. But Twitter isn’t the place for your cat video and games or post what you had for lunch, though there are exceptions. And sure, follow whomever you like personally, even political and religious accounts if that’s your thing.

It’s not a bad way to start… exploring this brave new world of Twitter with strange and sometimes wonderful characters. 140 characters… plus an image. And we’ll get back to images AND links in a moment.

To continue… explore Twitter and follow and unfollow. Watch out for robots, fake accounts and spammers! You’ll soon figure out who’s who and what’s what. Oh and be sure to install the Twitter app on your phone and tablet. It’s ok to follow and use Twitter on a browser too. No biggie.

Once you get your bearings, you can start tweeting. But not yet. Before you start tweeting, start retweeting.

Find tweets relevant to your business and retweet them. How? You can check to see what’s trending — what’s most popular at any given time. Click the explore button on Twitter and you’ll see what’s hot and happening… Check to see if there’s anything relevant to your business or interests and retweet … with hash tags.

Wait. What? Hashtags are those little tic-tac-toe pound signs that you use to identify subjects you’re tweeting about #insurance #health #Jaguar #whatever

The most important thing to keep in mind for your tweets — when you start actually tweeting yourself, is relevance. No one is following you for your company or professional political opinions, recipes (unless recipes are relevant to your field), cat videos, memes and the rest.

How about SnapChat? Is that for you? Again, the answer is a qualified “maybe.”

Media companies are cutting deals with SnapChat to provide content and their IPO was a pretty hot item (until is sort of belly flopped), but we must apply the same skeptical standard with which we judge every social media platform; “What’s in it for me?” — or in this case — you.

Let’s quote from an article in Forbes, the business magazine: “Snapchat isn’t for everyone and every brand. As with most advertising ventures, the success of your campaigns on a specific platform relies heavily on if that channel is one your target audience engages with consistently.”

Let’s back up a minute and explain what Snapchat is — and isn’t.

Snapchat is a social platform that lets you send photos and text messages that expire, so employers others won’t see what you snap. Most users set their snaps to expire after just a few seconds, but the snaps can also be converted into something called a Story, which can last as long as 24 hours.

A section of the app called Discover lets users find new content from brands. That’s how they make money. Vice, Daily Mail, MTV, Comedy Central and Buzzfeed are among the providers.

But as a small or growing business, is it worth getting on SnapChat? Want a yes or no answer? Ok. Here it is… No.

Let me explain.

You’re a small business … just starting out or trying to keep going and growing. That’s your priority. SnapChat is primarily for Millennials, younger people who may be a bit narcissistic and want to focus on each other. Maybe SnapChat is a great way to reach them, as statistics indicate. But is it the best use of your time?

Unless you are your brand, SnapChat isn’t your priority. Facebook, Twitter — even Instagram —may get the job done for you. And require less of an investment of your precious and increasingly rare time. Pinterest, which we’ll talk about later, is another alternative but unless you have multiple compelling instances of content every day, it’s probably not for you. Your mileage may vary and if you disagree, please let me know. Things change and if I change my assessment, I’ll let ya know.

Instead of jumping onto Snapchat, you’re better off concentrating on Facebook and Twitter, both of which allow posts to be set up in advance, so you can do several days worth in just minutes. Do you know how to do that? Set up your posts in advance? Well… I’m going to explain how in the next episode of Modern Marketing. It’s pretty easy. So, don’t sweat it.

Now Pinterest is another matter.

Think of Pinterest as a giant bulletin board with things pinned to it. But since it’s online, you can “pin” pictures with links on your board. That’s it. Demographically, Pinterest is overwhelmingly female. Unless that’s your target market, Pinterest may not be for you.

That’s all you need to know to get started.

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Modern Marketing Series One

Host: Richard Pachter

Engineer: Brian Campbell-Skyhawk Studios

Introduction: Brit Somers

Music composed and performed by Peter Freudenberger

Modern Marketing written and produced by Richard Pachter

Executive Producer: Pablo Alberti

© 2017 Modent Marketing