Archives For twitter

Short & pithy

Ben Reed —  November 29, 2012 — 1 Comment

I’ve found Twitter a great spot for short, pithy statements. I love the challenge of boiling an extended thought down into 140 characters.

And I love the interaction I have there. For me, it’s been a great hub for ministry and ideas.

But one thing I don’t love is that once a tweet is sent, it’s got a shelf life of ~2 hours. After that, it’s buried under a pile of equally awesome pith. Never to be found again.

“Just repeat the good ones so they’re not buried anymore!” said someone who’s not actually on Twitter. That’s a Twitter no-no. That’s what the spam-bots do, right? Creativity and originality is prized. Not repetition.

But I thought I’d bring back some of my favorites. Partly because it’s good for me to remember the context for why I wrote these. Partly because there are many of you I’m not connected with on Twitter. (you can follow me HERE…if I don’t follow you right back, just message me and I will)

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Quit sharing

Ben Reed —  August 25, 2011 — 4 Comments

Retweeting to get a Retweet in return may be the most base form of fake generosity that social media has spiraled into.

image via PLR Internet Marketing

(if you’re not sure what a Retweet is, get a crash course on verbiage I wrote HERE)

Here’s what happens.  You notice that I have quite a few followers.  You want my followers to like you and follow you and read your blog. So you read my blog post, retweet what I said about it, and sit and wait.  Just hoping that I’ll return the digital favor.

Stop it!

Twisted Generosity

Generosity gives, expecting nothing in return.  True generosity doesn’t scratch your back so you’ll scratch mine.  And when you give expecting a retweet, you rip the generosity right out of the gift.

And you give expecting the return gesture, you completely miss the point of sharing.  The point of sharing is not to bless the writer of the post.   It’s to bless YOUR followers.  The ones who look to you saying, “What new stuff have you found lately?”

Imagine this crazy scenario.  I give you a nice new gift.  Let’s say I give you a new iPad.  But the whole time, I’m looking over my shoulder, wondering if Apple is going to reward me for purchasing an iPad.  And you’re left wondering, “Did he just use me?”

I like what Dale Carnegie says in How to Win Friends and Influence People:

Let’s cease thinking of our accomplishments, our wants. Let’s try to figure out the other person’s good points. Then forget flattery. Give honest, sincere appreciation. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise,” and people will cherish your words and treasure them and repeat them over a lifetime—repeat them years after you have forgotten them.

Instead of looking at social sharing as a way of gaining followers, look at it as a way of blessing those who have chosen to follow you.  Of sharing with the world what you’re learning, who’s influencing you, and what’s shaking your world.  The more generous you can be, the more people will cherish your words and treasure them.  But leave a hint of personal gain in your generosity and your followers will sniff you out.

I’m pursuing a more generous social media.

Will you join me?

 

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I recently got an invitation to attend a lunch with other like-minded leaders in Nashville. I was invited by the organizer of the event, because apparently “this is an event you’ll like.”

And I said, “I’ll be there.”

Was the exact same DM (that’s twitter shorthand for a message sent directly to you) sent to (probably) hundreds of other guys?  Yep.

Was it really just a way of getting a bunch of leaders in the same room to promote what they wanted to talk about?  Yeah. (I know, I know…you told us it wasn’t…but be honest)

If I’d gotten the exact same DM from the sponsoring company, would I have gone? Not a chance. *(this is an important marketing tip for churches and businesses.  If I receive an invitation from your corporate account, 99 times out of 100 I’ll ignore it.  Send it from  your personal account and it’ll get at least a second look)

But do you know why I went?

Because I got a personal invite from a real person.

I felt needed. I felt valued.  I felt that this event would be worth my time and effort to attend.

If the parent company had sent the DM, it would’ve felt pushy.  But coming from the person, it felt…personal.

The takeaway

Instead of sending out fliers for your next church event, encourage people to personally ask their friends.

Instead of buying a spot on a billboard to promote your event, encourage word-of-mouth.

Instead of blasting a mass email, encourage people to invite a few of their closest friends on Facebook.

“Personal” is a stronger, more meaningful “ask” than the mass appeal.

Question: Would you be more likely to attend an event if personally invited by someone you trust?

 

 

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Twitter Spam

Ben Reed —  May 10, 2011 — 2 Comments

Image from BusinessGrow.com

I was followed by a gardening site right after I tweeted about my own garden recently.

Lame?

Maybe not.

The reason I am quick to say that it may not be spam is because they simply followed me.  Didn’t send me a direct message promoting their site, or pushing me to their Facebook account.  They just subtly let me know that they’re out there.  No in-my-face marketing.  And you know what, when I need help, I’ll likely refer back to their site.

Drive-by spammer?

I saw this acted out in real life while driving through my neighborhood.

I saw a professional landscaper stop and help a couple that was trying to get their tiller started.  Apparently they were having a tough time, and this guy knew what he was doing.  He was being generous.  Not to get business.  Not so he could drop off his business card, and subtly drop hints that he was the best landscaper in town.  But just because he had a bit of expertise and a few minutes to help this older couple figure their tiller out.

Social media is the same way.  You’ve got an expertise.  Maybe you’re a landscaper.  Maybe you’re a mom.  Maybe you’re a theologian or a comedian or a runner.  You’ve got some expertise in something.

That’s your angle.

Use that as your platform.  Give away your knowledge, stories, insights, failures, and successes.  Because somebody else wants to know what you know.  Your words will be priceless to them.

And in their time of need, you know where they’ll turn first?

Google.

And when they turn to Google, they’ll find you. You’ll be that guy that drove by at exactly the right time.

So tweet, blog, facebook, and share with the world your expertise.

We need you.

When you begin to see social media (and life as a whole) as a way to be generous with your gifts, passions, and expertise, we all benefit.  You included.

 

 

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Social media as Amuse Bouche

Ben Reed —  April 12, 2011 — 2 Comments

Recently, my wife and I ate at a 5-star restaurant.  It was a fantastic experience.  you can read about it HERE.

For the first time, I started the meal off with an amuse bouche.

I had to Google it.

Amuse bouche is, according to Wikipedia HERE, a small, bite-sized hors d’oeuvres.  Sounds pretty…un-filling, right?

It was.

But that wasn’t the point.

The point was for the chef to show his artistry and skill in combining flavors, textures, and temperature.  It was for him to put his heart and soul into one bite, so that you take that bite and instantly see his skill, care, precision, and love of food.

And I’m pretty sure that social media is quite similar.

Social media as amuse bouche

Communicate more through communicating less. With Twitter, you have 140 characters.  On my blog, I try to keep it less than 500 words.  And that doesn’t mean that you can’t communicate much…it means that you’re required to craft your message to be consumed in one bite.  So that, in one pass, a reader comprehends your message and knows what you’re calling them to.

It’s not intended to be a full meal. Don’t think that you have to flesh out a thesis in social media.  Communicate one message clearly, and be okay with the fact that you’re not going to be able to dispel all arguments in 140 characters.  That can’t be your goal…you don’t buffet-style an amuse bouche.  If the thought takes more time and words to develop, consider spreading the post(s) out over the course of a few weeks.  Think: bite-sized.

Pour your heart and soul into the effort. You only get one shot.  One bite.  One read.  If you don’t capture their attention quickly, they’re gone, moving on to someone who has perfected the craft better than you.  Highlight your artistry and creativity.

Use multiple ingredients that don’t apparently go together. In an amuse bouche, artistry is highlighted when the chef pairs flavors and textures that one wouldn’t naturally pair.  Social media is strong when you challenge people to think differently about each aspect of life, drawing truth from environments and situations that others may overlook.

Do you tend to ingest social media in broad, quick passes?

Do you create social media knowing that this is how it’s consumed?

 

 

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I’ve been on Twitter now for nearly 3 years.  On day 2, I linked them.

So what I said on Twitter, I also said on Facebook.  Why would I not do that…it’s a no-brainer, right?

Killing two birds with one stone.  With one text message, blasting the exact same message on Twitter and Facebook…it seemed that this was a great idea!

But over time, I’ve realized that it wasn’t.  It actually could have damaged my brand if I’d kept them connected much longer.

“Oh…who cares about my ‘brand’?” you ask.

“Everybody that follows you on Twitter and Facebook do.”  If they don’t care about your brand (who you are as a person/organization as represented online), they’ll quit following you.  It’s as simple as that.

Here’s why I un-linked Twitter and Facebook

  • People on Facebook get angry. Especially when you post all of the time.  They’ll block you…then start dropping passive/aggressive things like this in a conversation they have with you in person, “Can you believe how often some people post to Facebook?!?”  My response: “Yeah…it’s hard to believe…”  And inside I’m thinking, “If you only knew how much I decided not to post…”
  • People on Twitter (largely) don’t mind how often you post. There’s an over-the-top level where you can wear people out, but I don’t think I’ve reached that level yet.
  • People on Facebook don’t understand Twitter lingo. The whole RT, @replies, and #hashtags don’t translate well into Facebook.
  • Facebook became more personal. For me, it seemed to be more about sharing pictures, stuff that’s happening in my family, and things going on locally here in Clarksville.  I’ve seen more and more trivial things posted on Facebook.  That’s not a slam…just an observation.
  • Twitter became more business/sharing-focused. For me, I began seeing Twitter as a way to share thoughts, ideas, resources, and other sites and articles.

At the end of the day, Twitter is more about sharing and giving.  Facebook is more about connecting people to my personal life.  And, from time to time, those mesh.  But most of the time, I’ll keep my thoughts separate.

What about you…have you connected Twitter and Facebook?

Or decided to un-connect them?

 

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Ever wondered how you can use Facebook or Twitter to drive traffic back to your blog or website?

If this is the question you’re asking, then I hate to burst your bubble, but you’re asking the wrong question.  You’re starting off on the wrong foot with your approach to social media.  Because social media is about giving, not getting.  And when you approach an outpost (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) as a means to an end, social media folks can sniff you out a mile away.  And they’ll quit following you.

But I do think that, utilized well, social media outposts can help drive traffic to your blog.  And providing potential readers/customers (depending on the goal of your site) with information on how to better reach your site can be a great form of customer service.  But how do you use them to effectively drive traffic to your site?

What you should do

  1. Remember: social media is about giving, not getting. Be generous with ideas, quotes, stories, and praise of others.  If you’re using outposts as a means to simply drive traffic flow to your blog or website, your voice becomes a noise that people will tune out.
  2. Post about other things. It’s okay to alert people that you have a new post…but make sure you don’t do that twice (or more) before you update with something other-than your own site.  Don’t be a social media robot, only telling people about your awesome site.  Let us know you’re a real person.
  3. Alert potential readers whether this is a new post or a re-post. Most people don’t mind clicking on a re-post, especially if they haven’t read it already.  But it’s common courtesy to let people know that this post isn’t hot off the press.
  4. Follow-up: if it’s more than 1 day old, it’s not a new post. Social media is rapidly changing and growing.  And if something is more than a day old, it’s hardly considered new.
  5. Use a leading question or statement. Make it a bit provocative.  If all you say is, “New post! Check it out! http://…” then I’m less inclined to click through.  Give me a reason to click the link.
  6. Use a link shortener. It allows you to add in that leading, provocative question, because you’ll have more characters to use.
  7. Read and respond to your followers. Everywhere you post updates, comments, thoughts, and replies, you’re branding yourself.  Because everywhere you do this, you have to login.  And when you leave quality responses, it encourages others to read your posts.
  8. Share.  Share.  Share. Have I mentioned that social media is more about giving than getting?  Your generosity and encouragement encourages the same in others.

What you should not do

  1. Don’t just talk about your site. If all of your updates are links back to your site, it feels like you’re not entering the conversation, but that all you care about is padding your own site’s stats.  It smacks of self-centeredness.  And, like I said above, nobody likes a social media robot.
  2. Don’t post an outpost update more than twice, linking back to the same blog post. It may sound confusing, I know.  But all I mean is that if you post the same link on Facebook or Twitter more than twice, you’re going to drive traffic away from your site.  At least in the long-run.  I think it’s fine to post twice, but if you do it more, you seem to be reaching.
  3. Don’t be a sneaky ninja. Posting two completely different thoughts on Twitter that each link back to the same blog post, causing me to click through twice…not cool, my friend.  Nobody likes being duped.

Have you found that social media outposts drive traffic to your site?

Have you found yourself frustrated by those who publicize their site too much?

 

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I love Twitter and social media.  But just like any other form of media, the pool gets diluted pretty quickly.

So I’ve come up with some of my own rules for why I won’t follow you back on Twitter.  Don’t be offended.  If we ever run into each other in person, we’d probably be friends.  But my Twitter profile has standards much higher than I do.

Why I won’t follow you on Twitter:

Your picture:

  • has you resting your head on your clenched fist.
  • is of you wearing sunglasses.
  • if of you taking a picture of yourself, and we can see the camera.
  • you don’t have a picture because you haven’t taken the time to upload one.

Your profile:

  • includes “Internet expert”
  • includes “social media expert”
  • includes “Internet social media expert specialist”
  • includes any of the above words in any order

Your Auto-Direct Message

Your followers:

  • You have over 1,000 followers and only 2 updates
  • You have over 1,000 updates and only 2 followers
  • You follow 2,000 people and only 2 follow you back

Your updates:

  • You only update about your own stuff (website, blog, self-promotion, etc).
  • Any of your updates include: “I got thousands of followers using ______…you should try it!”
  • You never reply to anyone
  • You never update. Ever.
  • All you do is reply…to 10 people every update.

Have you ever consciously chosen not to follow somebody back on Twitter?

Why or why not?

 

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Maybe it’s not worth it

Ben Reed —  January 25, 2011 — 4 Comments

The more I delve into social media, the more questions I have.

Here’s what I’m wrestling with today:

Are all of my readers and commenters the same as yours?

If everybody’s drawing water from the same pool, and the pool’s not getting bigger, then we’ll eventually dry the thing up, won’t we?

If everybody is adding water to the same pool, but nobody is coming to take that water away, the pool becomes a cesspool.  Nasty.

Are bloggers creating a cesspool of mind-dump…or a refreshing well of idea swap?

Sometimes, I wonder if the people that ReTweet my updates are the same ones that ReTweet yours.  And whether the folks that comment on my blog are the same ones that comment on yours.  If there are a few thousand people that read blogs, and promote them among themselves, but they never really get outside of that circle, then isn’t it like we’re just scratching each others’ backs?  Spinning our wheels?  Puffing up our own numbers so that we look good…to each other?

Maybe this is a form of effectiveness.  Maybe we’re making an impact in the lives of this pool of social media-ites, and they’re impacting the lives of those they come in contact with on a regular basis.  Maybe.

But maybe we’re ReTweeting and commenting so that somebody will ReTweet and comment on our stuff…so that our numbers will increase, so that we can draw a little more ‘water’ from the pool of bloggers.  So maybe ReTweeting and commenting are just a form of self-service.

I love social media.  I just want to continue to strive for effectiveness, reaching new readers, sharing ideas with folks who are putting them into action, and propelling people to take steps of faith.

Are blogs really making a difference in the world?

Is social media worth the effort?


 

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Why? Why? Why?

Ben Reed —  January 4, 2011 — 5 Comments

I’m going to start posting more consistently on the topic of social media.  Because I use it.  And so do you.

How do I know?

You’re reading this blog right now.

You also likely use other forms of social media (platforms thriving on interaction around user-generated content), like

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Vimeo
  • Ping.fm
  • MySpace
  • Wikipedia
  • Yahoo!Answers
  • FourSquare
  • Gowalla
  • LinkedIn
  • Spoke
  • Google Reader
  • Reddit
  • Digg
  • Flickr
  • StumbleUpon
  • Posterous
  • PostRank

I wish I had all of the answers, but I often find myself with more and more questions when it comes to success in social media:

  • Why do some blog posts take off, and get thousands of hits?
  • Why do others, some of my favorites, fall flat on their face?
  • Why do the seemingly meaningless status updates get the most comments?
  • Why do the posts I take the most time crafting sometimes get no traction, and the ones I put together on a whim go viral?
  • Why do I sometimes get loads of comments and no retweets?
  • Why do I sometimes get loads of retweets and no comments?
  • Why do I think it’s cool to check-in using FourSquare…but nobody else seems to think so?
  • Why do some people I know and connect with off-line quit following me on-line?
  • What’s the next social media trend?
  • What’s next for my blog?

It’s questions like these that I wrestle with.  They keep me moving forward, pursuing continued effectiveness online, and with my local ministry here in Clarksville.  If I’m not moving towards an increasing effectiveness, it’s time for me to quit.

What social media questions are you wrestling with?

How do you measure effectiveness on your social media platforms?

 

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