January 3, 2014

Think Before You Tweet: Worst Tweets of 2013

While gaining more followers, producing more interactions or having people click through to your website can be the end goal for businesses (and personalities), sometimes content can do more harm than good. Case in point, recently the communications manager at IAC, Justine Sacco (@justinesacco) made a tweet that she probably wishes she could take back.




While entertaining for others, this tweet instantly proved to be a detriment to Sacco’s employer, IAC, the parent company of everything from match.com to Vimeo. Their brand was suddenly dragged through the mud by association. And what’s even more puzzling is how a seasoned communications manager might think her posting wouldn’t be highly scrutinized.

But before we burn Sacco at the stake, this isn’t an isolated event. It happens every day. Case is point, take a look at a recent post on “The Worst Media Tweets of 2013.”

So before you tweet, step away from the computer, tablet or mobile phone and think.

March 1, 2013

Social Media as a Business Tool; The Winner is…

It’s a common question we receive from clients on a regular basis here at VOXUS: “What social media outlet is most beneficial for our business?”

The Wall Street Journal recently released results of a survey that tried to shed some light on this question, at least when it comes to small businesses. According the survey, which took into account the opinion of 835 small business owners, 41 percent said LinkedIn could benefit their company in a positive way. Twitter garnered just three percent of the total vote. YouTube got about 16 percent of votes while Facebook took in 14 percent.

Social for business

Picking apart the survey a bit more, it found LinkedIn was used by 30 percent of businesses on a regular basis, Facebook by two percent, Twitter by 14 percent, YouTube by 13 percent, and Google by seven percent.

About 60 percent of respondents said social media sites could positively benefit their company.

Here at VOXUS, we have found LinkedIn to be a beneficial business tool, but so have the others. It really depends on a combination of your target customers, industry, goals, etc.

January 23, 2013

Social Commerce or Just Social Advertising?

The rise of social commerce has been all the rage these days, but a recent report from hip company (insert laugh track here) IBM has poured cold water on this trending topic. Sales directly attributed to social media took a deep dive on Black Friday last year compared to 2011 says an IBM Smarter Commerce benchmark report.

“Shoppers referred from Social Networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube generated .34 percent of all online sales on Black Friday, a decrease of more than 35 percent from 2011,” stated the report. The report also concludes that Twitter drove ZERO SALES on Black Friday.

While social networks have to be responsible for referring some sales, this report missed one key point. Social referrals (aka links to listings on other websites) is NOT social commerce. It’s just commerce driven by advertising or social advertising. And this is extremely difficult to track, and cannot be easily quantified.

Here at VOXUS, we represent in-stream social commerce platform Chirpify. The company offers the ONLY way for commerce to take place on Twitter and Instagram without ever leaving the social media outlets. Tracking its success is relatively simple. Someone tweets or posts a listing and people respond with “buy” or “donate.” No hop to a website followed by entering credit card information, legitimizing with a captcha, etc. Just a response or comment, and you’ve got your digital or physical goods.

So the next time someone mentions social commerce, take it with a grain of salt. It might not really be social commerce.

December 14, 2012

What Does Your Year Look Like? A Twitter Retrospective

I’ve blogged about Google’s year in review, but Twitter is also taking its own spin on the year that was. Twitter recently introduced the 2012 Year on Twitter. They separated the recap into 6 categories: 1) Golden Tweets 2) Pulse of the planet 3) Only on Twitter 4) Trends 5) New voices and 6) Your year on Twitter.

Some of the top tweets? President Obama’s election night “Four more years” victory tweet featuring a photo of him hugging the First Lady remains the most re-tweeted message of the year. Some of the other noteworthy tweets and the subjects they encompass; the Summer Olympics generated 150 million tweets, Election Day prompted more than 31 million and superstorm Sandy generated more than 20 million.

But perhaps the most interesting item to come out of Twitter’s 2012 Year on Twitter is, “Your year on Twitter,” developed by Portland’s own Vizify. Here’s how it works: Visit Vizify’s website, click the “Get Yours Now!” link, and sign in with your Twitter account. Vizify will then produce an infographic that highlights your most talked-about tweets, and how many responses they garnered. They even highlight your top follower or “golden follower” as they call it which is essentially the person that interacted the most with you.

Taking a closer look at this data-driven report, you many notice trends your PR team could hone in on in 2013. For example, you may want to build campaigns around trending topics, or engage with active and applicable media, analysts or potential customers.

On the grander scale, there’s no denying that Twitter reflects the voice of the people. As such, their years in review could be considered more accurate than the ones your local TV stations cobble together subjectively in their news meetings. Here’s to the age of big data where numbers don’t lie.

December 12, 2012

No #Bandwagon to Jump On? Build Your Own.

Credit: Flickr

For many industries, there are established, themed days of the year, days of the week, or particular months that a company can relate messages and products to. For wireless folks, there’s Wireless Wednesday on Twitter where tweeters add the #WirelessWednesday to their tweets and jump on the wireless technology and tips train. For networkers, there’s IPv6 day each year on June 6th, a day network professionals and tech journalists devote to examining the latest developments in the IPv6 transition, resulting in a one-day surge in IPv6 articles, social media posts, and even infographics.

Think it’s “tacky” to jump on bandwagon days? Think again. These days are big opportunities for companies to get noticed by the right influencers and potential customers. Jumping on a theme bandwagon increases the chance a company will come up in searches by people looking for content about the day’s theme, boost site traffic from an increase of interest in strategically labeled links, and position a company as a valuable, current, dynamic participant in an industry topic. Plus, since many top publications schedule editorial opportunities around themed days, participating in them can be a clever way to get a company in front of a targeted journalist, especially if a new, creative angle is pitched.

But what if your company doesn’t have a popular industry trend day/week/month? You’re not alone – and you’re ripe to create your own. Recently we had a client with an active social campaign, vocal end-user community, and plenty of collateral for social media, but no established industry-wide day that we could capitalize on and create buzz around. So, we made our own. On the same day every week, we post themed content with a custom hash tag across all social sites. It’s been a huge success: Each week’s post consistently garners the most engagement of any post for the week, we see the highest click-thru and retweets with these posts, our followers have come to expect these posts every week, and with enough time behind this theme, users will start creating their own posts with our customer hash tag. Essentially, we created our own trend. And it’s working.

Here’s some important things to keep in mind if your company works to create its own custom trend:

1. Find the right theme for your niche. Have you noticed that posts on particular topics get more engagement and positive response than others? This may be the right theme for your niche. Niche themes should be broad enough that an entry level customer in the industry would be familiar with whatever term you use, but narrow enough that your key customer base would feel it really speaks to them. Your theme should make followers feel like insiders.

2. Consistency. If you are going to create a themed day, week or month, you must follow through. In order for your theme to become a normalized part of the social media world, you must work to put it in front of your followers’ eyes at the same time every week as expected. There can be no skipping of posting or the theme will lose steam.

3. If you want your customers to join the theme, ask them. The ultimate sign of a successful, from the ground up trend is when industry influencers and customers start proactively using your theme. The best way to get them to do that is simply to ask them! One way to do this is to ask questions on social media sites and ask followers to respond using your theme hash tag. This will spread word of the hash tag to all of their followers.

4. Get your influencers on your side. If you have a list of industry influencers that your company has a good relationship with, ask them to participate. Host a themed Twitter chat with all of your key influencers and ask them to use the theme’s hash tag in all of their tweets. Another idea is to retweet key trade publications’ news that applies to your theme and add your themed hash tag to the tweet.

With a little strategy, consistent work, and a relevant theme, you can lead your industry’s social community. And with enough success, you can sit back and watch others build the buzz for you.

November 2, 2012

I’ll Buy That With a Comment!

We do it literally every day at VOXUS. Launch the latest/greatest tech solution or company. Just this past week, we found ourselves in the midst of a launch that seemed to take the press by storm and captured their imagination more than ever.

What am I talking about? The company is called Chirpify and it’s the first and only platform to buy, sell, donate and give in-stream on Twitter and Instagram. Chirpify initially launched this social commerce platform on Twitter this February. Well, last week, they expanded that footprint by enabling the same in-stream transaction technology for Twitter on get this—Instagram. How do they make the magic happen on Instagram you may ask? Take a look from last week’s press release:

Selling and fundraising with Chirpify on Instagram is easy. Sellers and fundraisers can create a listing directly from within the Instagram app. To sell within Instagram all they need to do is post a photo and set the initial comment to “#InstaSale $amount” and Chirpify will automatically create a listing that people can transact with by commenting back. Fundraisers can list requests for donations by setting the initial comment to “#InstaFund $amount.” Chirpify will post back a comment on the photo that instructs followers how to purchase.

Consumers use Chirpify to securely connect their Instagram and PayPal accounts, and once linked, comment on an Instagram post to transact with “buy” or “donate.” Chirpify then sends a secure download or receipt via email.

Coverage by the press came fast and furious with outlets like Fortune, TechCrunch and Mashable writing glowing reviews of the new service. We’re talking dozens of articles and more than a dozen interviews in just a few days!

Some VOXUS colleagues asked me, “Why so much attention.” Well that’s simple. It falls right in a sweet spot. Chirpify is something new and totally original that both consumers and businesses need, and media seem to be dying to talk about—solutions that actually enable people and businesses to transact, and not just exchange ideas on social media. It doesn’t hurt that it’s so easy to use that some people are simply calling it magic.



June 15, 2012

Twitter’s “Expanded” Posts Expanding into Facebook’s Territory

This week Twitter announced new “expanded” tweets for a wide variety of select partners including ABC, MSNBC, TIME, BET, Lifetime, TMZ and WWE. Expanded tweets will allow these partners to include a preview of a headline, the author and their Twitter handle, and reply and retweet within the Twitter page itself. Here’s a preview of what these posts will look like:


Though these posts are only currently available to select partner sites, this very well could be a preview of where Twitter as a whole is heading. If Twitter feeds turn into a stream of posts showing popularity, images, headlines, and an article summary, Facebook’s visual, in-depth news feed has competition. As someone who personally can’t keep up with the fast stream of plain text and sea of links on Twitter, the inclusion of images and descriptions keeps my attention and increases my likelihood to click a link.

Which style of post are you more likely to click on: expanded tweets or Facebook news feed?

February 14, 2012

Do You Give A Tweet? Study Finds 1/3 Of Tweets Worth Reading

In the immortal words of Ugly Kid Joe, “I hate every tweet about you.” Well, that’s not quite what the flash in the pan ’90s band said, but if they did write the song “Everything About You” in 2012, the lyrics might go something like that.

That’s the conclusion I came to after reading details of a new study from researchers at Carnegie Mellon, MIT and Georgia Tech. The researchers surveyed  1,443 Twitter users who rated 43,738 tweets during a 19-day period (Dec. 30, 2010 to Jan. 17, 2011) from the accounts of some 21,014 Twitter users they collectively followed.

The results? Only 36% of the tweets those surveyed received were deemed worth reading, 39% were mediocre at best, and 25% of tweets were not worth reading at all. Among those surveyed, Twitter content was deemed “not worth reading” for various reasons. Tweets that were part of someone else’s conversation, or updates around a current mood or activity, were the most strongly disliked, whereas tweets that included questions to followers, information sharing, and self-promotion (such as links to content the writer had created) were liked more often.

According to a Carnegie Mellon press release about the study, they have nine suggested ways for improving tweet content:

  • Old news is no news: Twitter emphasizes real-time information. Followers quickly get bored of even relatively fresh links seen multiple times.
  • Contribute to the story: Add an opinion, a pertinent fact or add to the conversation before hitting “send” on a link or a retweet.
  • Keep it short: Followers appreciate conciseness. Using as few characters as possible also leaves room for longer, more satisfying comments on retweets.
  • Limit Twitter-specific syntax: Overuse of #hashtags, @mentions and abbreviations makes tweets hard to read. But some syntax is helpful; if posing a question, adding a hashtag helps everyone follow along.
  • Keep it to yourself: The cliched “sandwich” tweets about pedestrian, personal details were largely disliked. Reviewers reserved a special hatred for Foursquare location check-ins.
  • Provide context: Tweets that are too short leave readers unable to understand their meaning. Simply linking to a blog or photo, without giving a reason to click on it, was “lame.”
  • Don’t whine: Negative sentiments and complaints were disliked.
  • Be a tease: News or professional organizations that want readers to click on their links need to hook them, not give away all of the news in the tweet itself.
  • For public figures: People often follow you to read professional insights and can be put off by personal gossip or everyday details.

So tweet away my friends. But just know if not thought out, those tweets may fall on deaf tweeters.

* Shameless plug. Read the VOXUS white paper on creative Twitter campaigns here.




February 6, 2012

Put a hashtag on it

If you were one of the more than a hundred million people who tuned into yesterday’s Super Bowl broadcast, it was hard to ignore the introduction of hashtags to ads, encouraging people to interact with various companies on Twitter. While some hashtags made some brand correlation like Bud Light Premium’s #makeitpremium push, others were a stretch like Hulu’s #mushymush. I can get past that because what you are really trying to do with a hashtag is create a platform for your customers to interact with.

But what if that interaction goes sideways and the hashtag  turns into a pun attacking your brand? Gotta hand it to the editors over at Esquire. They took a sampling of the “twitterverse” and found some great puns not utilizing Super Bowl ad specific hashtags as the brands intended. In some cases the hashtags were even used as as a weapon directed specifically at the brands that created them. My personal favorite is Jack in the Box’s #marrybacon campaign that asks the question, “If you love bacon, why don’t you marry it?” The response from one tweeter? “That #marrybacon commercial made me feel like a whore after eating bacon-jalapeno poppers and sliders with bacon on them.”

So the big question is, how do you stop hastags from biting back? You don’t. You simply have to be prepared to get the good, bad and ugly responses.
October 25, 2011

Here a link, there a link… Where to place a link in a tweet

You’re a marketer, PR professional, etc. and you’ve given in to the power of Twitter. But now what? There’s so many questions that you probably have. One of which may be where in a tweet should you place a link in order to get the most click throughs.

I came across this interesting research on the subject from Dan Zarella of inbound marketing software company HubSpot. Zarella analyzed more than 200,000 tweets and caluculated their click through rate or CTR by counting the number of clicks a link received and dividing this by the number of followers that user had.

According to Zarella, the best place to put a tweet is about a quarter way through the tweet. The worst place is right near the beginning, and the second best is right near the end. Check out this heat map that Zarella came up with to better illustrate his findings.