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Feb 15

International Association of Business Communicators Las Vegas

The Las Vegas chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators or IABCLV held a social media panel that I participated in talking about the role of microblogging, like the services that Twitter and Facebook provide for business communications. The panel event was one of the most successful for the Las Vegas chapter and was spearhead by Victoria Soares, a member of the IABLV. Mrs. Soares asked several prominent social media professionals that cover business blogging, fashion blogging and I to talk about how blogging and microblogging could help their business.

The first presenter talked about how his blogging and the use of WordPress, a cloud hosted or self hosted blogging platform, could be useful for businesses wanting to start blogging about their services. He discussed that after years of blogging about general business solutions or subjects that are important to him, that the amount of visits he was receiving was adequate. He did not optimize titles or word tags on posts. I have noticed that this persons blog posts do include keywords in the post names or permalinks. This is contrary to the next presenter, but has worked well for the first presenter over the last few years.

The second presenter went over what it meant to work with PR companies when blogging about fashion brands and trends locally in Las Vegas and around the nation. She gave tips to the PR companies in the room about how to work more with bloggers that are excited to give them free press. She then discussed about how PR companies should work with bloggers through sponsored posts and giveaways. This can be helpful to all involved when the proper disclosure is included, but being able to excite the reader by possibly winning something can help followers of the blog and associated social media accounts to the writer or website. Then, I continued the conversation about blogging in a micro format, which is also known as microblogging.

Microblogging is leading headlines around the word at the speed of 140 characters. I’m constantly seeing televised news reports referencing Tweets as their source of direction information from heads of state to Hollywood celebrities. I’ve been microblogging with the Twitter service for over two years. In that time, I have sent over 38,000 Tweets about what’s going on in the day, technology updates, breaking news and a majority of the Tweets are what’s known as retweets of someone else’s Tweet, to help them extend their reach. A recent study has said that only ten percent of the Tweets sent out on Twitter are retweets of other accounts. If I can help like minded people or brands help extend their reach, we usually both benefit. Benefit we have, as I’ve been asked to speak at several conferences including the International Consumer Electronics Show 2010 and in 2011 that were in result from positive communications via social media and microblogging . I’ve been across the country at many events to talk directly with influencers in technology, startup companies and travel including hospitality about how to work with bloggers and microbloggers. I’ve assembled my notes below that were used at the social media panel organized by the IABCLV and hopefully they can help you and your brand.

What is Microblogging?
Microblogging is a short form of blogging, in the sense that it allows you to publish brief sentences.

With Twitter, the 140 character limit is the great equalizer for bloggers, regular people with ideas, PR professionals, journalists and businesses.
Microblogs can incorporate small elements of content even as an echo from a larger and longer form blog. Typically, when blog posts are finished, an automatic post is sent out via a third party service through that person or company’s Twitter stream or Facebook Fan page with a link back to a much longer blog post. There are extension services for Twitter to make posts longer, but these are not wholly useful for businesses as those posts make it difficult for fans of that brand to retweet the message.

Types of Video & Picture Services.
There are video and picture microblogging services such as
- TwitVid
- TwitPic
- Pikchur
- Flickr
- Instagram
among others. The reason for mentioning these are that TwitVid, TwitPic, Pikchur and Flickr offer word tagging.

Why and how to use word tagging?
Word tagging associates media with what the picture is about.

What is Flickr?
Flickr offers the capability to organize photos into photo sets, galleries and add additional tags.

Why use Flickr?
The organization of the photos into sets and galleries for businesses helps with search engine optimization of photos related to possible campaigns companies are promoting, such as new products.

Why use Youtube?
YouTube is seen as a platform for videos with millions of users that can also be used for micro video blogging. Even though users are able to upload videos longer than 15 minutes in most cases, about 80% of people that watch videos on the service start losing the bulk of interest in videos after a minute and a half. If there are events that I think could be helped with micro videos, I’ll upload one or two that are less than 30 seconds.

How does Youtube link to microblogging?
What’s great about YouTube is that it links into your Twitter and Facebook accounts among others to send out a link to once the videos are published.

How does Youtube help with adding new Twitter followers?
Recently, if someone was to share a YouTube video from your channel through Twitter, YouTube asks that user if you want to also follow them on Twitter. So that means if a business wants to launch a video series on YouTube, they should link the accounts and the result over a period of time would be additional Twitter followers.

How to catch attention of PR companies?
When I use Twitter to work with PR companies, journalists, online or TV personalities, I have found that one of the best ways to catch their attention, especially if that person is fond of utilizing Twitter is to retweet a few posts of theirs that somehow fit with my audience.

How to RT news outlets to start conversing.
It can be a stretch sometimes in working in a retweet from someone I’m looking to directly converse with, but more often than not, retweeting even large news outlets and brands catch their attention. This can result in a follow back, if you have already followed them, they may retweet you in the future if your post fits their audience and that personality or brand may include you in a Twitter list.

What are some ways to use micro blogging for brands?
With the real-time web you can use micro blogging to communicate in these ways.
- Give brand a live personality
- Offer exclusive entry to peers
- Promote Products and price offs
- Drive awareness to something of interest to a larger community
- Update many customers all at once
- Building a brand channel of brand and product discovery, Trends and insights and breaking news
- Brands are vulnerable if they don’t have a strong real-time community
- Find out where the crowd is.
- Cooperate with other enthusiasts
- Don’t start something already popular (compliment the user experience with microblogging)
- Don’t copy - Find your own style
- Don’t separate your fans (by starting many separate microblogging accounts it would separate the fans)
- Basically fish where the fish are, but make sure it’s at the right time.

What is a Twitter list?
Twitter lists can now be automatically defined personally curated or a mix of both that results in groups of a maximum of 500 accounts per list and each account on Twitter gets access to create 20 lists.

Why create a twitter list?
I have found that a mix of automatically defined and personally curated Twitter lists can have the greatest impact in sort the people that I’m following and to expand my reach.

Automation to Twitter lists?
Formulists is a company that can help with the creation of Twitter lists. They have a limited number of available sign ups per day. You use your Twitter account to sign in and to start creating the automatic lists.

In some instances being added to Twitter lists is a bigger win for you personally and or as a brand as your Tweets will only have to compete with a maximum of 500 other Titter accounts.

Are tools beneficial for corporate microblogging?
Using tools to do things automatically, especially on Twitter should be done with caution. Some experimentation on a test account before launching on a corporate account should be done. The use of too much automatic microblogging tools for Twitter and Facebook will result in the loss of overall engagement by a large margin.

Service for corporate microblogging?
HootSuite is one tool marketer’s use to pre-load microblogging posts for their brand. Please have man power dedicated to listening and engaging for a brand and for personal accounts.

How to respond to a microblog question.
When responding to people or brands asking you as a personal or brand account, try to include the question from the other person or brand. This helps people when they are scanning your posts on Twitter or Facebook to see what the general conversation is going so they can join in.

What are threaded conversations?
Facebook has what’s known as threaded conversations and there’s no doubt most have seen other people’s responses above or below yours. Threaded conversations can be achieved on Twitter through the use of third party tools such as the list below.

What third party Twitter client tools for threaded conversations?
- Twitterific
- TweetDeck
- HootSuite
for the iPhone and iPod touch.

Facebook microblogging differences.
Facebook microblogging is very different as a whole. You are allowed greater flexibility in posting around 430 characters of text. If you include a link on a Facebook post, most of the time Facebook will visit that link and pull a graphic to load in under your post. If you use the desktop version of Facebook, you can include links to other Facebook pages or people by using the @ symbol before typing in the name.

What can you upload to Facebook?
You can upload
- photos
- video
- text
directly to Facebook servers, whereas on Twitter, you are only able to upload
- links
If you want to upload any other content such as photos or video, you would have to use services I mentioned earlier.

Facebook Fan pages twitter lists?
Facebook Fan pages have something similar to Twitter lists. Facebook Fan pages can fan any other public Fan page and those are added to the “likes” section.

Microblogging for Designers and Developers
In addition to posting links to sites, snaps of design ideas and lines of code, you can also pose questions to the community, making the site more than just an excuse for showing off — it’s also got the potential to be a valuable resource.

What is Quora? Why use Quora?
Quora is a question and answer service that a lot of the high tech professionals that work at Twitter, Facebook and other technology startups communicate with people in the open to help everyone.

Mobile Internet will 3X by end of year.
According to Sterling Market Intelligence and Opus Research, the number of users through mobile Internet will triple, from 32 million today will 110 million people in 2011.

Why is Twitter successful?
The viral success of Twitter and its clones, ahead of this trend and encourages the establishment of other communities formed by people on the move and intercom minute.

Microblogging should definitely be utilized in your business and the above information will get you started. Remember to retweet people that interact with your brand to increase brand loyalty. Try adding these loyal people to your Twitter lists. Finally, a social media policy for your business can be important to succeed with so many options for employees to choose from. Or as some companies have found, no policy and the use of common sense is the best and easiest way to go. Either way, get out there and start engaging. You will never know your impact unless you get started blogging or microblogging.

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