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Twitter

Unusual Twitter Uses

We all know that Twitter can help grow your business, connect with influencers and fill your sales funnel.

But there’s way more you do on Twitter. How you can use Twitter to get ahead is only limited by your imagination.

Check out these tips to get your brain buzzing.

1. Sneak Into Conferences

Ever been to a conference where you could share your thoughts on Twitter? It’s a growing trend. Academics have latched onto this and realized they can sneak into conferences through the back door by following the conference Twitter feed.

People will usually Tweet conference highlights, so you’ll get the best stuff without spending the time or money attending.

Academic Meghan Duffy explains how she started attending conferences via Twitter:

This summer, because I was moving to Michigan, I wasn’t able to make it to either Evolution or ESA. I was, however, able to follow along with both meetings, by following tweets with the conference hashtags (#evol2012 and #esa2012). Following the tweets from Rosie Redfield’s plenary at Evolution was a particular highlight.

You can do this with business conferences too. All you need to do is find out the conference hashtag, and look out for prolific tweeters who are attending the conference.

Tip from: Meghan Duffy.

2. Ask Anything – And Get Quick Answers from Real People

Google may be the king of search, but that doesn’t mean it will always serve up the answer you need.

When it’s a real person you need help from, Twitter is ideal. Adam Zeis writes:

Twitter is also an amazing tool for getting quick answers to pretty much any questions you may have. I’ve used it for help when making a purchase (choosing between two items), getting opinions on certain topics and settling disputes with friends. Depending on the amount of followers you have, you can easily ask nearly anything and you will instantly receive an answer.

It beats out searching the web for results in many cases, and often nets you answers you wouldn’t be able to find by simply searching.

Tip from Adam Zeis.

3. Connect With Study Buddies

Need to swot up on a new topic? Twitter is a fantastic learning tool. You can find help and support from other learners who are digging into the same subject as you.

Medical student Brittany Chan explains how she began using Twitter as a study booster:

I started using Twitter as a way to waste time when I needed a break from studying. Then something crazy happened. Twitter transformed from a major distraction to a valuable study tool. I began to tweet questions to fellow med students about concepts I didn’t understand, and they responded. Other students would tweet their confusions, and I’d attempt to explain the mechanism of a drug or the purpose of the alanine cycle. Many times, several others would chime in to augment our collective understanding or ask additional questions.

Chan also uses Twitter to keep herself updated on the latest research in her field:

As a medical student and future pediatrician, I follow accounts of official medical associations, such as the AAP (@AmerAcadPeds) and AAMC (@AAMCToday), leading medical journals, including JAMA (@JAMA_current) and The Lancet (@TheLancet), as well as several different kinds of physicians who frequently tweet interesting new articles.

Tips via: Brittany Chan.

4. Discover Job Opportunities – Before They’re Advertised

We’ve written before about how Twitter is great at helping you find hidden opportunities.

You can also use Twitter to discover jobs before they’re even advertised as available. Follow the employees at a business you’d like to join, and you’ll get to see the inner workings of the company.

In an article on using Twitter for job hunting, Simon Caine explains he does this:

I found following existing employees (particularly recruitment officers) much more helpful than following the company’s Twitter account. Individuals are much more likely to respond. Plus it may help you stay one step ahead of the rest of the job market: they’ll often tweet if they’re changing jobs, which let’s you know there’s a vacancy.

I found lots of companies had a list called “staff” where you can find the employees, but you can also search by users’ bios using Google. I’d recommend following the list itself. It saves time and has the advantage that whenever a new member of staff joins the company you will get their tweets automatically (once they’ve been added to the list).

Tip via Simon Caine.

5. Find New Ways of Thinking

Twitter isn’t only great for getting your questions answered. It’s also handy if you want to challenge yourself by answering questions.

Denise Graveline explains how she finds this helpful:

Sometimes, the best way to see something anew is to be questioned about it by someone who’s genuinely curious and doesn’t know you well. My followers on Twitter ask me all sorts of questions–about my blog, about public speaking, about social media, about food and travel and playing guitar–that prompt me to think with care about what I do. It’s a great playback machine.

The free plug-in InboxQ lets you search for questions in your niche.

Tip via Denise Graveline.

Over to You

Do you use Twitter in any out-of-the-box ways? Let us know about them in the comments, below.

Twitter Ideas

The interwebs are greedy. The more great content you create, the more you’re expected to create.

But what happens when the well runs dry? What should you do when you’re parched for ideas?

How can you create awesome content, day after day?

Turn to Twitter, and you’ll find a well of inspiration that’s ever flowing.

Here are three simple techniques you can use.

1. The Andrew Chen Method

Entrepreneur and angel investor Andrew Chen uses a simple three-step formula to help him come up with things to write about.

  1. Tweet an insight, idea, or quote.
  2. See how many people retweet it.
  3. If it catches, then I write a blog post elaborating on the topic.

Sharing an idea in a tweet only takes him a minute or two. If the tweet gets ignored, he’s not lost much at all. But if it’s picked up and retweeted, he knows he’s got a great idea that he should expand upon.

2. Check You’re Writing in the Right Direction

Spirituality author and storyteller Donald Miller uses Twitter while he’s writing books. He shares ideas from the book to find out whether his readers will appreciate what he’s writing about.

Miller explains:

I recently used Twitter to find out what themes and ideas would stimulate thought. I would tweet an idea I was writing about, and if it got re-tweeted or stimulated conversation, I was more eager to use it in my book.

Here are Donald’s four steps for getting ideas on Twitter:

  1. Tweet a chapter idea and ask if anybody has given the idea any thought. If you hear crickets, skip that chapter.
  2. Got a powerful one-liner? Tweet it and see if it gets re-tweeted. You might turn that one-liner into a complete paragraph or more.
  3. Stuck on an idea? Tweet and ask anybody if they’ve read an interesting article about it. Twitter is a great resource tool.
  4. Use Twitter to summarize an idea. The great thing about 140 characters is it makes you condense your thinking, which is often the essence of good writing.

3. Split Test Headlines

Leo Widrich of Buffer App uses Twitter to split test headline ideas. Here’s the steps he follows:

1.) Find 2 headlines for an article that you think will perform well.
2.) Tweet both of these headlines at roughly the same time, at least 1 hour apart. Here I’ve found that doing the 2 Tweets both in the AM or both in the PM works best – 9am is much more similar to 10am, then say 12pm is to 1pm. So going with clear “morning” or “afternoon” times is crucial.
3.) Compare the data for which headline to settle on.

In one test Widrich conducted, one tweet got twice as many clicks as the other tweet, so he had a clear winner.

Over to You

Have you ever used Twitter to come up with ideas? What techniques do you use?

This is a guest post by Hilary Smith.

Businesses today know the benefits that come with social media. Social networks can do much more than give existing brands new life; they also give brands many more opportunities to build collaborative relationships with consumers like never before.

However, the term “social media” also comes with a lot of baggage. There’s actually a lot more to managing these networks than sharing cat videos and following worldwide trending topics. Brands must understand what social media makes possible for their businesses: engaging with customers, providing quicker feedback, reaching new audiences, and so on.

Unfortunately, many brands treat social media as a short press release — a way to talk about themselves. With so much competition for attention in social media, brands need to consider how they’re effectively showcasing their humanity, as well as how they can help their consumers through these channels.

Delta Airlines, GoPro, and ESPN have slam-dunked social marketing initiatives across a variety of platforms. Read on to learn how three brands put social media to work to great effect…

Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines is a great example of a brand taking advantage of Twitter’s casual but conversational user interface. Delta gained a popular following on the website with mentions of pop culture, holidays, and anecdotes:

delta airlines twitter

The Delta account also frequently responds to individual tweets. Delta’s lighthearted, personable, and often humorous brand strategy on the website stands out and makes users more willing to listen and even engage — Delta adds to the average user’s experience and overall daily enjoyment of the platform.

Your business can follow along Delta’s flight pattern by deciding on a brand persona. In sales and in life, people remember how you make them feel over what you’re actually saying, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Opting for the most professional tone and technical language will likely not get your business the attention it needs on Twitter.

GoPro

Lifestyle video brand GoPro recently ran two campaigns on Facebook:

  1. GoPro’s Everything We Make Sweepstakes was a chance for people who did not yet own a GoPro to win one of every GoPro product.
  2. The Photo & Video of the Day campaign on Facebook was for customers who wanted to share their GoPro adventures.

GoPro then selected content submissions from some of their biggest producers and put the top photos on their Facebook page. Doing this encouraged other GoPro users to like, comment, and share. As a result, their rate of social engagement increased.

gopro contest

Not only did GoPro give their customers a cool way to participate by showing off their purchase, but they’re also able to showcase their excitement in continued use of the product. While the sweepstakes only accepts entries from those who use their product, it’s still a great motivator to encourage people to buy their own GoPro to enter the photo contests!

More than anything, people want to be involved, especially your customers. When it comes to hosting a contest or giveaway, a great way to ensure that your brand gets recognized is by allowing your customers to participate. This goes way beyond just “liking” your Facebook page or commenting on a photo. Encourage your audience to share their experience with your brand, and you might be surprised as to what you get as a result.

ESPN

With over 30,000 hours of curated sports content and several household video marketing campaigns, ESPN is a heavy-hitter on social media. ESPN’s Sports Center brand features prominently among the company’s video content with the “#SCtop10 hashtag,” “This is SportsCenter” commercials, and feature segments under #SCFeatured. These hashtag campaigns make it easy for viewers to find new and favorite content, while the highly popular “This is SportsCenter” spots are entertaining advertising rather than tedious.

this is sports center

ESPN’s Youtube channel is an instance of putting a media platform to work for your brand. Your business can get the most out of Youtube when you give people options. It’s best if you publish your video under your own channel, where it’s easy to find and you can add to your SEO strategy for search engines.

 

Hilary Smith is an online journalist, covering everything from small business news to globalization. In addition to collaborating with the team at TollFreeForwarding.com in infographic research and design, she also loves contributing her knowledge about social media, eCommerce, and business communications on her blog.