PYP: Twitter Campaigns – $18,000 a Tweet

For my second Push Your Presence post, I’m going to talk about how to build up Twitter clout and what Twitter can do for your business or online presence.

First of all, what are some of the benefits of Twitter your business?

  • Marketing & branding
  • Customer service and interaction (putting a face to your company:)
  • Source of fun for the business
  • Development of company culture
  • Education for your market.

Earlier this year, I undertook a social media campaign in a team of 4 people to help raise awareness and donations to restore Fats Domino’s white Steinway piano that was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina. Our goal was to help raise the $20,000 required to restore the piano through the use of social media on behalf of the Louisiana Museum Foundation. Luckily, Paul McCartney had already generously donated $2,000, so we were off to a good start. We created a Facebook page, Twitter account (@Fats_Piano), and a Pinterest account for the project, but we soon realized that Twitter was the best channel for the project. Since then, we narrowed our focus to the Twitter campaign, developing a unique personality for the piano and generating a buzz around the restoration project. Eventually, we built up an international following, and one New Orleans expatriate in Australia found out about the cause through our Twitter account and donated $18,000. We were done and closed out the campaign. In the span of a month and a half, we managed to help restore a great piece of rock and roll history.

So what do you need in order to generate a sizable following and successfully brand or market your product or business?

In the world of social media, it’s a well known fact that content is king. But every king needs a queen to truly influence an audience. And the queen of social media is the right strategy to go about pushing content out to a market or audience. The first step to developing your Twitter presence is to know your target market. You have to know who you’re trying to market to and attract in order to build your account towards. Once you know your target market, you will also know who to target to gain those followers. Say that you’re providing a music service. You want followers who love and keep up with music right? So you narrow the genre a bit and target the different Twitter accounts of music bloggers, review sites, and artists that your target market likes. Follow those accounts and tweet at them. When I say tweet at them, I don’t mean spam them with 20 tweets an hour begging for a bump because you’re more special than everyone else. What I mean by tweeting at them is to push some related content their way or write something witty or funny with their handle attached. This way, you’ll have a better chance of them retweeting your comment to an established audience of your target followers. Another good way to get at them is to find some current things that they’re doing and retweet them (assuming you have some followers), offering some more insight on the news. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you might get into a conversation with them and if you do, don’t let it sizzle out – write back more than a thanks (remember how I mentioned content is king?).

A lot of the time, different companies have the same social media manager, working their accounts and responding on their behalf. They do what you think they might do: respond to tweets, push content, and provide instant customer service. Target those movers and shakers, for they usually have their own Twitter account aside from the ones they manage. They know how to do social media and 9 times out of 10, they’ll be happy to help you out. Tweet at them or email them if you can find an address. Start a conversation with them, talk about things relevant to their jobs or the accounts that they manage. If you can, provide some insight about sector that they’re in (I say this assuming that you smartly targeted a SM manager of the same industry that you’re in). If you can start a relationship with them, they’ll grace you with a bump or push for your account.

Remember, the entire time that you’re reaching out to these hubs of your followers, be sure that you’re pushing content. Keep tweeting news or interesting things concerned with your business or field. Find things that are humorous, fascinating, and most of all, related to your marketing goal or product. But don’t spam marketing for your product. When I say related to your product, I want to emphasize a subtle relatedness or fun relatedness. Remember “Can It Blend?” by Blendtec? That SM campaign did a great job of marketing a blender in a fun way to push their presence and also conveyed a point that their blenders are superior in every way that competing blenders can’t liquefy an iPhone. It was refreshingly original and humorous, exactly that you want your tweets to be.

In regards to maintaining your Twitter account, be sure to keep updates consistent. Don’t update sporadically, sometimes leaving your account alone for weeks on end. Instead, pick an interval that works for you: hourly, daily, or weekly, though weekly is stretching it a bit far. The point is to provide content in a consistent and reliable fashion. If you have your product out, it’s a great way to provide customer service. If someone complains or compliments you, respond ASAP. The quicker the better, this way you can show that you really value your customers. And please, under no circumstances start a flame war with someone under your company account. It never ends well for you. Remember that this is social media and everyone can see what’s going on when you start arguing with a customer. Just respond with a brief, courteous message to an angry customer and leave it at that. And if the angry customer actually did you a favor by pointing out an obvious fault, be sure to recognize the value in that.

The last thing I want to leave you with is that like becoming wealthy, social media presences take time and effort to build. But if you keep it consistent and have the right strategy to build your presence upon, you will end up with a sizable presence and a better company to boot.


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Getting Your Startup Idea Off The Ground

Here’s a problem that I know a lot of you potential innovators face: How do I make my ideas physical? And where do I go to bring in talent to support me in my venture?

A lot of today’s successful upstarts were initially started by engineers and programmers that came up with a brilliant idea and began working on them because they already knew the technical parts on how to build and implement it. But I bet that there are even more great ideas floating around that other unqualified people came up with but never got past putting it on paper because they didn’t know where to go to find a programmer, design artist, or engineer. A lot of these people, like me, are in the business sector and know a very minimal amount of code or none at all. So how do you build the next Twitter or Soundcloud?

Well you can start by doing a little research on what your idea requires to work. Does it need web crawlers to go through the internet and pull information? Does it need a database to store information to be pulled later? Does it need a great user interface or can you get away with the bare minimum? My advice would be to first Google a few related products and discover what makes them tick. If you don’t know what to look for on these websites, it’s okay, you can bookmark those websites and the go on programming forums for actual programmers to pick apart and explain to you. I found stackoverflow useful for answering these questions, and it’s free.

Once you have a basic understanding of what it takes to build your product or service, you’ll need the talent that’s going to make your idea come true. If you’re a college student, you’re a lot luckier than most people because if your school has a computer science department, you’ll have access to a wealth of new talent who have more free-time than working programmers, and a lot of times, more passion than burnt out veterans. But if you’re in a school without a computer science department or what if you’re already out of school, what do you do? Well you could try a couple of websites that host a bounty of programmers, site designers, graphic artists, etc for people to hire. I found odesk to be an extraordinary tool for finding any sort of potential hires to help you build your idea. The people on odesk are reviewed and checked so that it takes a lot of the sketch out of finding a programmer online. However, if you want to find a face-to-face programmer that you can work with everyday, I would suggest finding them in person. I recommend finding a meetup group with a lot of programmers to visit; you might find someone who’s really passionate about your idea or vision just by talking a bit to the group. Another way would be to check out a ‘co-working’ space in your city to find not only programmers, but people of all sorts of occupations who might have advice for you. To do this,  just walk in and find a way to lend a hand, this way you can get to know a local programmer and also find out how other locals are building their businesses. Another seemingly obvious way is to post job descriptions on Craigslist, but this might not turn up a lot of good hits, other than exposing yourself to spammers. Instead, I would suggest going on subreddits to find a local thread for programmers. Finally, a slower method for finding your go-to-guy/girl is to start building up your social media presence, which in turn builds your credibility to these programmers, assuming you’re pushing the right content. This is mainly to draw top, established talent, if that’s what you’re adamant about pulling.

I could go into more detail on other categories, such as finding legal help for patents or marketing people to really push your idea out, but it would make for too long of a post, so instead, I’ll sprinkle them into future posts. Hopefully, this post has inspired some of you on the brink of creating something wonderful to go out and make your idea physical.


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Push Your Presence: Google Analytics

This is the first of my “Push Your Presence” series where I explain certain tools and techniques that you can use to establish and create a presence for your website or business in virtual real estate. And for the first post, I’m going to talk about a free and incredibly useful tool that Google provides to analyze and track the progress of your website.

Google Analytics is a package of tools the search giant provides for free that allows website owners to track incoming traffic to their sites. It can show you where the traffic comes from, which links were used to get to your website, and which pages viewers read the most when they’re on your site. All of this information is then packaged into clean and convenient charts, graphs, and other interactive displays. Analytics can also track social media waves that you create, allowing you to see what viewers used most, such as Google+, Facebook, etc. You can also set goals for your website, which is crucial because every budding site will need certain milestones to measure its success and Analytics provides a way of doing this. On top of all this, Google even gives certain tips on how to retain viewers through this service.

The true beauty of Google Analytics shines through in how you can use these incredible tools to market to and pull viewers. Here’s an example: imagine that you just created your site and you’re eager to push traffic to it and test your market. You picked your target demographics and start throwing up links to your site on a variety of other sites that you think your target viewers visit. Now, you sit back and wait for the people to trickle in. Hopefully people start visiting and traffic really picks up. Enter, Analytics. Using Google Analytics, you start searching out which links people use when coming in and juxtapose them against which viewers stay the longest. As you start seeing trends, you will begin to understand more about your true target viewers. Once you know your market, you can stop wasting time and money targeting websites that don’t bring your target viewers in. Narrowing your focus will help you understand which content your viewers like, subsequently allowing you to shed unnecessary pages as well as ads (if you’ve been marketing). Because Analytics also tracks social media movements, you can also use it to help you infer which social media channels that you want to focus your SM campaigns on. If people “liked” your site more than “+ed” it, consider scaling up your Facebook presence and push content there. Or if they shared certain content more, figure out what sets it apart from the rest and push more of it.

Google also offers a premium Analytics package which targets bigger enterprises with more data, tools, and support for an annual, flat-rate fee.

There are a plethora of other services that Analytics provides, such as advertisement support, but I just wanted to keep this post simple and give you an idea of the potential and power of this great tool.



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Amazon just changed the game again

Slate Magazine just posted a great article after uncovering some information on where Amazon‘s heading after they suddenly stopped trying to fight sales taxes. So basically Amazon, as we all know it, is something that most people can’t live without. I buy everything from Swiss Army Knives to real estate books from them and I can’t imagine having to go to 4 different stores in order to find the random assortment of items that I can easily just click on in Amazon’s site.

So throughout last year, Amazon was under attack by different states, pressured by local businesses, to start forcing people to pay sales taxes on purchases. In response, Amazon vehemently dug in, lawyered up, and plowed about $5 million into a political campaign in Cali to repeal a tax law. Then last fall, Amazon took a complete 180 and stopped fighting the sales taxes and instead, agreed to start collecting sales taxes later this year. So why would Amazon stop fighting? Probably because they had something else in the bag that’s going to disrupt the market, bringing something unimaginable to customers.

Same day delivery. Imagine being able to order something on Amazon in the morning and then get the package later that day, sitting on your doorstep. You didn’t make any sweaty trips to a store in this 100+ heat. Nope, Amazon just plopped the package right at your home, delivering an instant gratification that brick and mortar stores will find hard to replicate. Amazon’s already planning on pouring millions of dollars into new distribution centers with proximity to high-density cities kept in mind. Think about it. Why drive miles out to your local electronic or toy store when you can just press a button and have it within hours at your home? People are becoming increasingly busier and the more time they can save, the more business Amazon gets.

But what does this all mean? It means that the plan that local businesses pushed to get Amazon to pay sales taxes might have backfired. Maybe they forced Amazon into a corner and Amazon decided to fight back, and take out these same local businesses that were before pressured by the online retailer. Perhaps this is what Amazon had in mind all along, knowing that it couldn’t evade the long arm of taxes forever, Amazon played it out as long as possible. Can these small businesses as well as big box retailers adapt? I mean how much do we value face-to-face customer service? Do we value it enough to drive out so that we may interact with people to find something, or would we be more comfortable pressing a button on our phones? I guess we’ll see soon.

You can find the original article here:



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Welcome to my blog

I’m going to focus this blog on discussing certain world affairs, tech news, current events and controversies, certain music that I like, and just overall cool stuff. I know these are varied topics, but that’s what I want to use this bucket of words to communicate. Mostly, I want to use this blog to convey my thoughts and to learn something in the process. People won’t agree with everything that I say and that’s fine. I’m not here to push content that everyone can smile and drink tea to; that would be a really boring blog in my opinion. No, I’m here to share stuff I find interesting and things that deserve attention. So welcome. Welcome to my blog.