EBS Marketing’s Top Tips for Making the Most Out of Twitter in 2014

It’s been over eight years since the world-wide popular social media website Twitter was first launched by creators Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone and Noah Glass.

Edit profileWith the recent re-design of the website and the introduction of the football world cup (one of the website’s most talked about events), Twitter is becoming an unstoppable social force.

So with Twitter now a staple in the personal and business world, we at EBS Marketing thought we’d give a quick insight into 2014’s most popular 140-character social media website. Giving you a few tips to make sure that you and your business are doing everything possible to engage, promote and interact online.

Share images

Sharing images on Twitter in the past was often just a passing thought. Perhaps a good idea in practice, the use of photos and images used to involve a lot on the viewer’s part. But now, Twitter images have a completely different impact. Now images show up directly in the timeline, and in turn can have a drastic effect on audience reach. Sharing images with text is a great way to increase your online visibility, as more people are likely to pay attention to your posts.

MCDs new blog image

Favouriting

Favouriting on Twitter has always been a weird one. Mostly used as a means of notification, outreach and quite often, attention seeking, the favourite option for Tweets is used very generously by users. But now with favourites appearing publicly on everyone’s profile tab, perhaps it’s time to start rethinking the endless use of gold stars.

Try using favourites sparingly, and for their intended use.

MCDs Blog Favourites

Create lists

Lists have been a part of Twitter’s infrastructure for a long time now, but have fallen out of favour in recent years. But if used correctly lists can be used to both increase awareness of your brand and to organise your Twitter contacts. Try creating a number of different lists for Twitter users, with an emphasis on getting the attention of influencers and business contacts. Lists can be a great idea for all the networkers out there.

Upload in High-Res

With the new Twitter re-design, a lot has changed. One of the most notable changes has been to user’s profiles. Now dressed up quite similar to Facebook, Twitter now includes a customisable banner image. Whilst this is great news for most, we have seen far too many examples of bad profile pages with horrible, pixelated banner images.

When uploading an image for your banner on Twitter it’s important to remember that the image will be used ‘browser-wide’. This means that the image will fit however large your internet browser is – which is normally at the very least 1000px (pixels) wide. So make sure your photo or image is as high resolution as possible. Twitter recommend a photo which has the dimensions of 1500x500px with a maximum file size of 5MB.

MCDs Blog profile

Pin Your Tweets

One of Twitter’s newer features, pinning your tweets gives users the ability to stick any Tweet of theirs to the top of their public profile. Meaning that when someone visits your page, the pinned tweet will be the first thing they see. Whilst pinned tweets can be a great idea for new updates and info, try pinning something that gives an insight into your company. Try using a pinned tweet as an extension of the short bio on your profile.

We hope this short recap of Twitter in 2014 has in some way been helpful.

For more information about online Marketing, be sure to stay up to date with EBS Marketing on Twitter for SEO, Social Media, and business advice.

Top Eight Online Marketing Mistakes

An effective online marketing campaign can be thrown off course by even one mistake, which is why you must make sure you avoid making any. What are the top eight online marketing mistakes you need to make sure you avoid?

1)      Complacency: You may think that it’s enough to create a social media account and leave it, but it isn’t. You need to maintain online activity to ensure that your campaign succeeds in the long term.

2)      Misunderstanding: What you may find funny or interesting might offend a customer half way across the world. Always make sure that your post is clear and unlikely to offend before you send it off into the World Wide Web.

3)      Errors: It’s so easy to make a typo, miss-label a picture caption, miss a grammatical error etc. on a social media post or blog entry. When you do so, it makes you look unprofessional, which makes you look untrustworthy. Always proof your online marketing content before you put it online.

4)      Timing: With online marketing, the fact that it’s all about brand promotion means that it usually has to be cleared by various people before it goes live. If you have blogged or are tweeting about a breaking story, if you wait then you miss your opportunity to capitalise on that events momentum. Always remember timing in online marketing.

5)      Tone: Tone is pivotal in areas such as blog content. People connect more with content that talks with them on a level that they can identify. A common online marketing mistake is to misread the right tone of voice for the target audience. Cure this with market research!

6)      Relevance. A common mistake with content is that marketing strategies make it too about their company. Google likes content because it is relevant, so you can only create content that is relevant. Blatant adverts tend to turn people off.

7)      Carelessness: If you’re crafting a YouTube video, for example, just before you leave work, it would be so easy to make a simple mistake, because your mind is otherwise occupied. Only work on your online marketing strategy when you are in the right frame of mind to pay attention to detail.

8)      Overzealousness: When a news story hits your Twitter feed that would really work for the message you want to communicate, it can be so tempting to jump on it. Don’t. Stand back and see where it goes, if it takes an unexpected turn it could do more harm than good to your brand.

Why Controversy Can Backfire in Online Marketing

Controversy always seems like such a good idea at the time for an online marketing campaign. However it can seriously backfire. So just why is controversy so bad for an online marketing campaign?

At EBS Marketing we’ve heard that old adage ‘all publicity is good publicity’ a thousand times. However the reality is that it’s a myth and that it can actually be far more negative than you realise.

It can seem so tempting to use controversy in an online marketing campaign; after all the success of these campaigns often depends on things like how much ties they are retweeted and  how many times they are liked on Facebook and controversy is  bound to bring these to your online marketing campaign.

However the truth is that whilst they will bring online attention to you in the short, term, controversial online marketing campaigns have a tendency to linger and damage the reputation of the brand in the long term.

This is because of the nature of Google. You need to have an online marketing campaign rank on Google for it to be truly effective; after all these days people use Google to find you and if you’re not on there then chances are that your campaign won’t get the chance to be effective if it doesn’t rank on page one for your search term because they’ll never see it.

So this would make it seem like a good idea to have a controversial marketing campaign as it is more likely to have a presence on Google meaning that more people will see it.  However the reality is that all people will see is the negative press that your campaign has generated; and these negative links will linger for a long time, damaging your brand in the long term.

Take the McDonald’s Twitter campaign #CheersToSochi for example. It was done to highlight the fast food giant’s sponsoring of the Winter Olympics in the Russian resort town of Sochi. It seemed like a smart move however McDonald’s knew that it would be controversial.

However Russia’s attitude to LGBT rights has meant that people objected to the Winter Olympics being held in Russia. LGBT rights activists high jacked the hashtag and caused an online nightmare. It’s also generated a headache for page one for their search term.

It can always seem like a good idea to use controversy to make an online marketing campaign shine but you know that it’s going to backfire. If you do try to use this online marketing technique remember that you really are playing with fire.

Nostalgia as Online Marketing Device

In the world of online marketing the industry often goes by the mantra that newer is always better. By the very definition of the fact that marketing has been moved online, they are embracing this rule.

However in the opinion of EBS Marketing newer isn’t always necessarily better. We aren’t talking about the tools we use for online marketing here; we’re talking about marketing content.

Today (Thursday 2nd January), it has been announced that a whole host of classic video games from the 70’s and 80’s have been put online into an  internet archive ready and waiting for people to play.

On its own this isn’t news that the online marketing community would necessarily be interested in. However it is part of a larger trend of the consumer public looking towards the past for its entertainment and inspiration.

Look at the last decade in fashion for example. How many of the trends that graced the catwalks and high streets found their origins in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s? Look at TV. How many shows have looked to past genres and decades to become a success?

Marketing in recent years has also taken advantage of this too. Look at the popular 118 118 ads that ran through Big Brother for example. They took advantage of a popular 70’s image and played on it to capture people’s attention.

This is why nostalgia works as a powerful marketing technique. It plays on people’s individual pasts, their memories. It uses fond memories of happier times. It plays on this to associate those happy memories with the product in question.

So it makes sense that this should be moved online. We’ve seen in the past decade that nostalgia orientated marketing techniques are powerful. It’s these adverts that the rest of the world discuss around the water cooler the next morning. We’ve also seen the power of online marketing. The whole world is moving online, it’s where the potential and opportunity is.

So it makes sense to marry them to create something even better. Innovation as a concept is based around this principle. People take what is already there and improve it, make it better, so that the advantages of the old way are highlighted, not left to fall to the wayside.

This is why the nostalgic online marketing technique works. It takes what we love, what has worked in the past and reinvents it. It takes what we love and repackages it. It really proves that it pays to rely on what you know.

The Beyoncé Technique: Not So New After All

Last month the world of marketing was shocked by Beyoncé. Out of the blue she suddenly decided to release an album. No promotion, just a release of 14 new tracks and 17 new videos.

Since that day in December many in the industry have taken to hailing Beyoncé as a genius. The album has sold tremendously well. Indeed at the EBS Marketing blog we’ve explored and analysed what went into this marketing ploy.

However what people seem to be forgetting is that the technique the singer employed is hardly new. It may be new in the album business, but the idea that you can surprise people and make money is one that has been used as a key part of various marketing strategies for years.

We see this in business throughout the years. We see it in media, we see it in entertainment. We see it in various sectors of society. Apple is probably one of the clearest examples of the use of secrecy in marketing. They actively punish people who give away product details before their release.

Another example is popular TV shows. Execs will do anything to keep the various shock plot twists that feature in their programmes a secret. You hear about people being fired all the time for giving away top secrets. It’s a constant battle.

What Beyoncé has done isn’t to teach us something new. It has rather been to remind us of what we already know, to reteach us the value of secrecy in online marketing.

So what is it that makes secrecy such as powerful online marketing technique? We often spend so much time and money on building up hype on online platforms that it seems to go against everything online marketing stands for.

However with a quality product, it doesn’t. That’s the key. Beyoncé’s method worked because she is Beyoncé. Apple’s products sell because they are Apple. You have to have a reputation for delivering quality and you have to follow through on it.

From here the product does the work for you. The shock value of the surprise from a person or company with a reputation gets the ball rolling. The product itself keeps said ball rolling. People turn to social media sites and blogging sites and do the marketing for you. It’s like your outsourcing the online marketing to the customer itself.

This reminds us at EBS Marketing that the tactic of keeping details a secret is one that has to employed carefully. It has to be calculated. If the secret isn’t going to make big news, then there’s no point in keeping it a secret in the first place.