Senin, 13 September 2010

3 Social Media Insights From #TechChat With Guy Kawasaki

Whew! We hosted our first #TechChat last Tuesday with our special guest, Guy Kawasaki. More than 500 RSM (really smart marketers) joined us to chat with Guy about social media marketing for the high-tech industry. While the chat moved faster than any chat I’ve ever attended, most of us were able to take away a few key insights about social media marketing.
Here are my favorites:
1. Trial and error leads to strategy.
Because social media is still relatively new territory for most marketers, it makes sense to develop your strategy as you go along. You can’t plan what you don’t know. According to Guy, “I think ’social media planning and strategy’ is an oxymoron. Basically, you try stuff and see what sticks.”
2. It’s all about the numbers.
Let’s be real. Twitter is all about the numbers. The more followers you have, the more opportunities for developing connections you have. According to Guy, “The best way to get good connections is to get more followers. It’s the big law of numbers.”  With more than 250,000 followers, Guy has played that game very, very well.
3. No one’s an expert. We’re all experts.
Again, because Twitter is so new, we all have the opportunity to be experts. Unlike other forms of marketing, we’re all still figuring Twitter out along the way. So seize this opportunity to own it like no one else. Guy says, “No one’s an expert at social media. One of the reasons I love it is we all have a fighting chance to use this thing effectively!”
A big THANK YOU to Guy for these insights, and thanks to everyone for attending. If you missed the inaugural #TechChat, don’t fret. WTHashtag has a transcript, the Isatis Marketing Blog compiled the best Tweets from Guy, and Stanford Smith wrote a great blog entitled, “How to Tweet like a ‘Beat Reporter—#TechChat Edition.”
Ready for more? Join us Tuesday, August 24 from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Eastern standard time) for the second #TechChat. We’ll be chatting with special guest, LaSandra Brill, social media manager at Cisco Systems, about social media for high-tech, B2B marketing. LaSandra is also presenting the new seminar, “Cisco and the Social Web: Our Adoption and Evolution,” on Thursday, August 26 at noon (Eastern standard time).

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Taking Action: 8 Ways to Classify Ideas

A fair amount of writing about brainstorming emphasizes not judging ideas too soon, but eventually ideas must prove themselves worthy of helping you meet your objectives.
A great way to evaluate your ideas is by categorizing them into what Edward de Bono in his book Serious Creativity: Using the Power of Lateral Thinking to Create New Ideas calls End Categories.
Understanding and using these categories will help you to focus, prioritize, take action, or reject the right ideas. The last quarter of your brainstorming agenda should be dedicated to categorizing ideas in these buckets.

1.) Directly Usable

These are your best ideas. You’ve determined they have value and could be used. These babies are worth exploring deeper and finding resources to support.

2.) Good Ideas, But Not For Us

These have value and support your objective, but are not a good fit. Maybe you lack skills or resources, but most often your brand filters eliminate these ideas. In a future round of thinking, you could explore these and ask,  “How could these be modified to be a good fit?” But more than likely, these ideas should be discarded.

3.) Good Idea, But Not for Now (Backburner)

These have value and are a good fit—but are not right at this time. Current resources, capacity, or priorities may not allow you to act on these. Put them on the backburner. Revisit them in a month or a quarter.

4.) Needs More Work

Ideas with potential, but are half-baked. With more work you can transform these into Directly Usable ideas. Get some folks working on these.

5.) Powerful, But Not Usable

These are usually great ideas blocked by some external force. Factors you can’t control that de Bono calls “regulations, environmental concerns, very high risk factors, cannibalizing existing products and so on.”

6.) Interesting, But Unusable

These are some of the most productive ideas. Not because they become usable, but because they spark other usable ideas. They often offer new ways about thinking of things. These are the ideas that start as “Hmmmm?” and spark “A-ha!”

7.) Weak Value

These ideas work and they fit your organization, but they lack value. The return on the effort invested in these may be disappointing. The danger with Weak Value ideas is that sometimes we accept and implement these just to “have something out there.” They support a “something is better than nothing” approach. Don’t fall into this trap. There may be ways to re-work these ideas so that way they work, are a fit, and become high contributors.

8.) Unworkable

These are fundamentally impossible. Not even if you worked hard on them.  They’re duds—and should be rejected. Period.

Finally …

Turn these ideas into action by assigning Action Steps to individual owners for each idea. This makes one person accountable for an idea.
  • Begin exploring the Directly Usable ideas.
  • Take a final look at the Good Idea, Not For Now before putting those into short-term storage.
  • Get folks cracking on Needs More Work ideas.
  • Tinker with your Interesting, But Unusable to see what other ideas they could spark.
  • And make everyone promise not to monkey with the Weak Value or Unworkable ideas
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The Value of Social Media for Businesses [STATS]

Social media plays an important role in our lives and has drastically changed the world in ways more than one; It is now one of our important platforms of communication – we live and breathe it everyday, we rely on them for information and may even feel awkward not checking our Facebook account for notifications for 24 hours.
Whether B2B or B2C, every industry is able to leverage on social media for their business. As people spend more time on social media online, ad dollars into social networking sites have also been increasing. That is why businesses need to always be ahead of the curve. If your competitor is already on board, you have much catching up to do!
And if you were thinking that visitors will first go to your site for information about your company… Omniture proves you wrong as they share the value of what social media brings.
Where Do Consumers Get Information?
  • More people turn to social media websites first for opinions.
    After all, which is more believable? Customers talk about their purchase or a company talking about its own products?
  • Also, company websites are useful and will be
    Valuable information like financial reports for investors, whitepapers, technical information are still more credible coming from companies themselves
What is Social Media Good For?
  • Social media is great for building brand awareness and reputation
    Leverage on the opportunity to build relationships with consumers. After all, we’re talking about social media.
  • Having your business on social media sites improves search engine ranking & generates traffic
  • not as effective for generating leads and sales (but not all the time! Dell generated millions with Twitter.)
How Social Media Complements Marketing Tactics
  • Social media works hand in hand with search engine optimisation (SEO)
    Don’t ignore meta tags that help to identify your content as they will help to drive traffic to your site.
  • More effective in digital marketing than paired with offline marketing
What Are You Waiting For?
Have you had similar results or does your social media effort contradict the findings? Is Facebook or Twitter more effective for your business? Leave a comment below!

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10 Successful Businesses on Twitter

TwitterTwitter has been in the spotlight of many since its launch back in 2007.
The credit goes to its versatility in any circumstances. It is currently being used for social, business, news and political purposes.
Not too long ago, a study revealed that 80% of the people use Twitter for Business. But who are the cream of the crop?
We define success not by the number of followers (although it is tempting to do so) but the amount of interaction and engagement it has with its followers. So here are 10 businesses, which we consider successful on Twitter!
1. Whole Foods
What’s on the page?
Providing excellent customer service has been Whole Food’s key goal on Twitter. Regardless if it is about a refund, exchange, query or complaint, @WholeFoods has never failed to address them in a friendly manner. It has also shown how retailers can leverage Twitter to boost their web presence. One Cool Tweet
wholefood tweets
In a sentence?
Fresh food and fresh experience: online and offline.
2. Starbucks
starbucksWhat’s on the page?
Besides the great customer service, Starbucks discusses with people about coffee – the fundamental reason why people are sticking to its brand. Nonetheless, the conversation with followers is not limited to caffeine. Brad, who manages @Starbucks also shares “what he is doing” and chats with followers about everything and anything! A killer way to woo followers’ hearts.
One Cool Tweet
Starbucks Tweet
In a sentence?
Freshly brewed tweets from Brad at Starbucks in Seattle, WA.
3. Pizza Hut
pizza hutWhat’s on the page?
has a way to entice its followers to buy pizzas. It is always associating its pizzas with occasions like a football match or labor day.
The effect? If you’re following their tweets, you’d probably be thinking about Pizza Hut every time there is an event highlighted on your calendar.
One Cool Tweet
Pizza hut tweet
In a sentence?
It tweets you hungry.
4. Mail Chimp
mailchimp-logoWhat’s on the page?
This chimpanzee is not only adorable but intelligent. It is well verse with email marketing and also helps clients answer queries regarding their email system (it’s good!). If you are a follower, you would probably enjoy it’s chimpanzee-like behavior. We all like to see a consistent image being portrayed by brands. Mail Chimp is definitely one that has achieved that level of consistency.
One Cool Tweet
mailchimp tweet
In a sentence?
A chimpanzee tweeting.
5. Dell
dell-logoWhat’s on the page?
If you have been on Twitter long enough, you should have heard of Dell’s prowess on Twitter. @DellOutlet made $3 million in the span of 2 years through this micro-blogging platform, and they did it through sending discount codes to its followers.
If you think it is a tweet bot, you are wrong. Interaction with customers has been a key to its success.
One Cool Tweet
dell tweet
In a sentence?
Dell owns the PC Twitterverse.
6. Zappos
tony_CEOWhat’s on the page?
Zappos sells shoes online and we would probably think that shoes is what CEO Tony Hsieh (the guy behind @Zappos) is tweeting about. But guess what? We would be wrong to think that. Besides its background, you will hardly see words like “Zappos” or “Shoes” anywhere else. Tony does not tweet to sell. Rather, he chose to share his day to day stories, successfully creating a connection with followers.
One Cool Tweet
zappos tweet
In a sentence?
Zappos is in your shoes.
7. Southwest Airline
swatailWhat’s on the page?
Apart from flight promotions and customer service, Southwest uses questions, quizzes and games on Twitter to engage its followers. @Christiday, the person behind @SouthWestAir has done a great job in maintaining the South West image on Twitter.
One Cool Tweet
SW tweet
In a sentence?
Leader in its industry and now on Twitter.
8. Red Bull
redbull_lgWhat’s on the page?
Tweets are mostly on Redbull’s events and interaction with its fans. The drink that gives you wiings (that’s the way they spell it!) has its brand name rooted in the minds of many, especially in the sportsmen’s. Its tweets and awesome background made it stand out from the crowd. Keep it up, Red Bull!
One Cool Tweet
RedBull Tweet
In a sentence?
@Redbull’s tweets gives you wiings.
9. Toyota
What’s on the page?
toyotaNews about Toyota and customer queries flood the page. Why is a car maker on Twitter? The reason is simple. It wants to be part of the Twitter buzz and learn more about you, its customers.
One Cool Tweet
toyota tweet
In a sentence?
The greatest car maker on Twitter
10. Zazzle
What’s on the page?
zazzle-logoZazzle is an online product customization marketplace. Naturally, Twitter is used as one of its tools to create presence. @Zazzle has active communication with its customers and also offers technical help for troubled clients. An extremely friendly business to follow.

One Cool Tweet

zazzle tweet

12 Social Media Tips For Small Businesses

Many small businesses would agree that social media is great channel to target a wide audience. If you choose to, social media doesn’t require a single penny. Instead, time and effort are traded for better brand engagement and viral impact. The journey from learning the various social platforms to using them for business is tough and has certainly deterred many from continuing.
So, whether you’re a social media starter or one that has some experience under your belt, we hope this set of social media tips would provide you with the needed boost toward success.
1. Learn how social media works
Before leveraging on social media for your business, ensure that you master the basics first. To learn how each social platform works, diving straight in is the best method. I believe you would rather commit mistakes under your personal profile than your business’s.
2. Learn from others
As you’re learning how various tools work, you would come across other successful businesses on social media. Learn how they have done it and improvise to suit your style.
3. Create a plan
While it is great to dive straight in to learn social media, it wouldn’t be advisable for you to do the same for execution. The plan need not be a sophisticated one. The key is to be clear about your goals and understand the steps to achieve them.
4. Manage your expectations
Don’t be overly ambitious with the goals you set. While we often witness how big corporations have gained huge followers and fans in a short period of time, a small business, sadly, doesn’t have the same charisma. It takes time and effort to bond with the community.
5. Blog is crucial
A blog provides you with a central topic to share, discuss and connect with your online community. It also helps to generate more traffic to your site and improves your visibility on search engines. Learn more about the different blogging strategies here.
6. Design – looking good
You may not be able to afford the most exquisite design for your office but an eye-catchy design for your blog and social profiles shouldn’t be too costly. Design plays a major role by giving your visitors a positive first impression. It is a worthwhile expenditure. Get a good friend or a college student to fetch a good price.
7. Be extremely active
You would realize that a couple of big corporations love to adopt a cool image. They tend to tweet less and don’t usually respond to @mentions. Do the opposite. Be lively and converse.
8. Watch what you tweet
All business content and zero social interactions make your business social profile look dead – have a balance! Also, be careful of what you tweet. Don’t let your mood get the better of you.
9. Be innovative
Think of ways to break through clutter. For example, we recently covered how a restaurant smartly used Foursquare’s swarm badge to gather 161 people to their restaurant. The tools are dead themselves; make them alive through creativity.
10. Measure performance for free
There isn’t a need to pay to measure your social media performance. Free tools like Google Analytics and SocialMention would do a pretty decent job.
11. Learn and evolve
The digital world is changing rapidly. Keep up with the pace and evolve accordingly.
12. Traditional marketing still rocks
Social media isn’t the foolproof answer to your business’s marketing needs. Keep using coupons, print and guerrilla marketing tactics. They still rock and most likely still contribute to the bulk of your business revenue.

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Tips To Grow Your Small Business [INTERVIEW]

pixmacPixmac is led by CEO Vitezslav Valka (a.k.a Vita) and supported by his dream team.
“We’re a small bunch of motivated people that are building up a site from scratch. We started in 2008 and everyone enjoys the progress we make every month. We’re not afraid of new things and that brings a lot of new ideas.”
Personally, I have learned a lot about business and life from him. So, I thought it might be a good idea to have Vita on this post to share his experience and tips to growing small businesses.

1. In general, what do you think is the greatest challenge for small businesses?

climbingRunning a business is pretty complex at times, the greatest challenge is to remain focused on certain things that help boost your  business significantly. Here are some examples of my key focuses:
a. Conquer part of the world from your living room and beat the big and static competitors.
b. Make friends out of your customers.
c. Keep up with the speed of change
On a side note, one of the greatest advantages that small business has over the big brother is being small. A small team makes your business quick, flexible and adaptable. And when everyone does his/her job well, the success usually comes to you somehow naturally. Don’t push it too hard. Stay alert, watch the world and catch the news coming in. Be friendly and open. And suddenly, you’re successful :)

2. What are Pixmac’s Goals?

3D Golden Ticked Circle- Become one of the TOP 6 stores with stock photos for micro prices
- Have a team of Territory Managers that build and feel the local markets
- Keep the site simple, friendly and have a great customer support
- Invest the money we make back into the product
- My personal: make the most effective and usable photo site in the world
Always remember that you need a team to achieve big goals. As for our strategy, I would like to keep it a secret. :)

3. What are your personal tips to grow a small business?

Green seedling growing out of soil - shallow DOF- Never stop learning new things, reading books and working hard
- Be fair and friendly to your customers, listen to them
- Search for innovations, remove features that nobody use
- Find the thing that makes your product different and love it
- Drink tea, don’t smoke and take your girl for a dinner sometime :)

4. So, more specifically, what are the key ingredients leading to Pixmac’s success?

Crossword - business and successThe Team: Our team members complement each other. Michal Prynych and Martin Talavasek are coding a great engine. Lucie Navratilova is focusing on website testing and support to customers. Martin Vlcko is our search engine guru, and all that is glued together by me. Actually I’m just a glue that sticks everyone’s work together :)
The Satisfaction: Satisfaction doesn’t only come from results and financial rewards. It is also important to work in a happy environment, which is made up of our customers, office employees, territory managers and bloggers.  Life’s too short to focus solely on superficial things. I want to do a great job, be satisfied and keep important people close. Money is a by-product (:
Hopefully, our spirit and personality would shine out of Pixmac.

5. A 140 characters advice for our readers please.

Work with the right people. Don’t forget your family. Think of your time as money in your wallet and invest wisely.

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Quality Tweets + Twitter’s Suggestions = Opportunities

In bid to make the entire Twitter community better connected internally, Twitter has recently rolled out a feature “Suggestions for you”. As the name suggests, this feature recommends people whom you don’t currently follow but may find interesting.
The suggestions, as Twitter stated, are “based on several factors, including people you follow and the people they follow”.
Does the quality of tweets (aka content) affect Twitter’s suggestions? We probably think so.
(Screenshots of Twitter’s “Suggestions for you” feature)
Quality matters
Besides friends we know in person, a user’s quality of tweets is the main reason why we follow someone. And the term quality is highly subjective in this context. Depending on personal preference, its definition could range from jokes, breaking news or marketing insights. Twitter probably understands this and it should be included in its user suggestions algorithm. If these reasoning and assumption are true, it’s advisable to watch what we tweet, especially for brands or anyone who wishes to build presence on Twitter.
For example, user Mike, the freelance web designer, wants to be seen as a creative thinker. He tends to share creative content and also his personal tips and works. Anyone who has an interest in web design tends to follow him.
Now, according to Twitter’s algorithm, Mike could be a candidate suggested to other web design and creative enthusiasts. That could potentially mean millions of impressions and a chance to connect with people who appreciate his tweets. Most importantly, they are probably people who might engage Mike’s service too.
Thus, the equation: Quality Tweets + Twitter’s Suggestions = Opportunities.
Say no to all work and no play
For now, no one is clear how Twitter would pick its suggestions, but we can safely assume that the quality of tweets plays a major role. Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean we should take Twitter so seriously. All work and no fun make us look dead. Have a right mixture of conversations and content tweets to achieve optimal result. Building new and real connections on social sites like Twitter should always be one of your priorities; keep your approach social and genuine. It’s cliche but true.

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5 Twitter Tips To Help Your Business

Twitter has redefined the way we communicate with each other and millions around the world are using it to connect with people, share information and form business partnerships. If you are a business owner, Twitter can help expand your business.
There are, however, right and wrong ways of using Twitter. Businesses who are looking for quick cash would be ignored and cast aside by the community. Business reputation might even be poor within the Twitter community. In order to get the most out of Twitter, you must think about what you can do for others instead of what others can do for you.
Here are five tips when using Twitter:
1. Connect with the right people
What is the point of having 2000 or 20,000 followers when none of them care about what you have to offer? Connecting with the right target audience will help you improve your relationship with them and send qualified traffic to your website.
2. Provide Value
The more value you provide on Twitter, the more you get out of it. People follow you for a reason, so make sure you don’t disappoint.
3. Network with others
Don’t be shy to communicate with others and respond to their updates. Twitter is a networking site. It’s a many-to-many communication service. It’s not just about you! Start talking to the people who interest you and build a relationship from there.
4. Know the limits
If you are a business owner, you should know that what you say on Twitter could help or harm your business. Don’t say anything you don’t want others to hear about in a professional situation. I suggest having a set of guidelines so that anyone in charge of the business profile would know what to do and what to avoid.
5. Listen to your audience
Twitter is up 24/7. That means that you have constant access to what folks need, want and are talking about. By listening to what they have to say on Twitter, you can create new products, improve your existing ones, and find new partners.
Twitter is not for everyone. If you are not willing to spend the time and effort, you are better off not using it at all. Managing a Twitter account properly takes time, and you shouldn’t cut corners in that regard. By providing real value to your followers, you can not only build relationships but also drive thousands of qualified leads to your business for free.

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6 Types of Tweets That Get Retweeted

quote1My favorite way to get RTs is to post quotes from famous people such as Anthony Robbins, Brian Tracy, and other self-help gurus. These tweets are without a doubt the easiest to come up with and at the same time viral because they are likely to be appreciated.
This is how I do it:
“If you don’t set goals for yourself, you are doomed to work to achieve the goals of someone else.” #quote Brian Tracy
Do not make your tweets too long lest there are insufficient characters remaining for others to include you in the retweets.
2. Humorous/Interesting
creative-smileyHumorous tweets could save anyone from boredom or a monotonous day at work. Hence, it could also help you get people interested enough to find out more about you.
Tweets like “10 Weirdest Toilet Papers” are light-hearted and hence easy to pass on.
Find more humorous/interesting tweets at
3. Trending Topics
To capture people’s interest, you should also ride the wave by tweeting content that are or related to popular news. Updates such as “10 Weird Things you didn’t know about Michael Jackson” were retweeted by many after the shocking death of MJ.
Look out for daily trending topics on your Twitter homepage as well!
Twitter Trending Topics
4. Breaking news
People love to get updated on the latest happenings. Breaking news in 140 characters, for one, is always welcomed on Twitter. The death of late MJ in one day became the most talked about news on Twitter, and the launch of the new iphone also became part of many people’s tweets. Tweeting on the latest news automatically makes you more involved on Twitter and part of the most talked about topics.
5. Tips/ How-to tips
new logo small
Tips or how-to tips are valuable to people. If you really want to benefit all your followers, you could have tweets that are not solely under your niche area.
Even if you’re in the Social Media niche, you are not limited to tweeting on your niche area. As long as your tweets are helpful, tweeting on other subjects would also receive positive responses.
6. Questions
question-markQuestions very often attract retweets as well. One day, I was doing a small chat with some friends on Twitter and to invite more opinions, I posted a question to all my followers. On the same day, I received tons of RTs with many asking their own followers for their sentiments. All the tweets had my profile @askaaronlee retweeted, giving me exposure beyond my own group of followers.
7. Creative Tweets
Creative tweets are uncommon and powerful. They are by nature, attention grabbers.
My best creative tweet was:
“Finish this word. Twitter is…? Your response will be RT”
In a short while, everyone posted their replies and the number of RTs was uncountable. Their responses, notably the interesting ones were retweeted by me. Some of the responses were:
“Twitter is interesting”
“Twitter is a waste of time”
“Twitter is connecting”
These are practically the types of tweets that stand out amongst others. They create opportunities for people to connect with you and are simple ways to get you noticed on Twitter. For instance, by doing exactly what I shared with you, I was recommended by #followfriday people as an interesting person (Not that I am bragging). Try them out!

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7 Tips To Improve Your Twitter Marketing

As studies have suggested, 80% of us use Twitter for business purposes and 20% of  our tweets contain a brand name.
The prominence of businesses on Twitter is also confirmed by Co-founder, Biz Stone, when he announced the end of the year launch of paid-account statistic data for businesses.
With more and more people riding the Twitter wave, this post is dedicated to help you improve your Twitter marketing effort.
Accompanied by my 2 cents worth, I have reflected upon what was done by some great business on Twitter. Here’s what I have gathered:
1. Your tweets
Picture 18Tweets are the communication backbone of Twitter. So choose your words carefully before sending out one. Have a balance between work tweets and casual tweets. Casual tweets help you to connect while business tweets help you to promote. The balancing point varies with the strategy that you’ve adopted.
Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh is a good example of a casual twitter. He doesn’t tweet about shoes or business. With more than 1.4 million followers, it is certainly working great for him.
100% business tweeting is definitely a no no. It just shows that you’re a self centered person. Most importantly, make sure they’re of retweet value.
2. Your background
A good background is equivalent to a good impression. Make sure your background suits your corporate image and your tweeting style.
I particularly like Mailchimp’s background because its color and gigantic chimpanzee really bring across the experience I enjoy when using its email services. It is important to maintain consistency in offline marketing, but being able to bring across the same feeling, style and branding impact is equally important in the online marketing realm.
More about image below.
3. Your Avatar
Whether it is a logo or the face of the company, have the same avatar across all profiles and avoid changing it for easy recognition.
Having an avatar that gives followers an inkling of what your company is about would help as well. Take Southwest Airlines for example, just by looking at its avatar tells you that it is in the airline industry.
4. Don’t use auto tweet
autotweetlogoAuto tweet simply shows that you don’t care. It saves time but followers will sooner or later find out that you’re just a tweet bot that is overly obsessed by your own gain.
Oh and none of our great business on Twitter uses that.
It’s part and parcel of being personal.
5. Be Personal
No matter what image you’re trying to portray, communication has to be personal. This is probably one of the more important points. Avoid tweeting in a corporate top down tone, or worse, in a robotic manner.
Use words and smileys like “heh, nah, yeap, hey, :) , :D ” whenever appropriate. Learn the Internet lingo that is part of the online culture.
6. Say Thank You
If someone RT or commented on your tweet, say thank you and try to spark a conversation. Being polite and appreciative is going to bring you far.
Be responsive to tweets even if someone is saying something negative about you. If you have been following our tweets, you will notice that we have never failed to thank you for retweeting our post. :D
Penn Olson's Thank You Tweet
7. Overall Image
Disregard any of the points mentioned above if you think it doesn’t suit your overall corporate image.
You can’t simply combine all the points above without adjustment and achieve success on Twitter. It requires some customization.
If you are a chimpanzee, then act like one (like MailChimp). If you’re selling coffee, use words like “brewing” and “aroma” in your tweets to bring your overall image live on Twitter.

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