Why your Twitter Username is a Valuable Asset

Many brands nowadays are turning to Twitter to create awareness, engagement and interest around their offering. However, when setting up a Twitter presence, the username you choose is of such great importance. I personally feel that your Twitter username is just as an important asset as your employees or your products or your office, as your Twitter handle is one of the gateways to your online presence.

This makes getting first to your username crucial, as whenever someone mentions you in a Tweet or wants to find you on Twitter, having the correct and relevant username is essential. This is a kind of survival of the fittest in Twitter username terms, as if someone grabs your Twitter handle before you, it’s a social media disaster!

The best example of this has to be one of  the UK’s leading retailers John Lewis, and the problem they’ve had with their Twitter username. John Lewis’ Twitter handle is @JohnLewisRetail, meaning they don’t have the username @JohnLewis. This is held by a man from America…called, ironically John Lewis. His Twitter is @JohnLewis. It was reported back in November that he gets Tweets daily from John Lewis customers praising him or asking him questions about their products, services and stores. However, rather than ignoring them or getting annoyed, he replies to all of them individually pointing them in the direction of @JohnlewisRetail, the account they intended to Tweet to. What a great guy!!!

But this illustrates that John Lewis, the retailer, may have missed a trick and potentially they don’t get as much engagement as they could as many mistake @JohnLewis for them. Whereas, if they have John Lewis, the person’s Twitter username surely it’s easier for people to find and or Tweet them?!

So this I think supports the point that having an appropriate Twitter username is so important and should be seen as a valuable asset for brands.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment. For more digital marketing news and articles please follow this blog and my Twitter @DigitalStuart

Hello World! #FirstTweet – How famous accounts announced themselves on Twitter

FirstTweet-Twitter

Your first tweet when you join Twitter is both a momentous and pressured occasion. What will you say to your audience of no followers? How will you announce yourselves to the Twitter world? For many high profiled celebrities and brands this becomes even more important, so I’m going to explore what some of the most famous accounts said when they joined Twitter. Thanks to Twitter Discovers #FirstTweet function you can easily find this out without having to scroll through thousands of tweets! So here’s a trip down memory lane at the first tweets sent from some of our best loved accounts.

Top 10 Most Followed Accounts

Let’s start with some of the most followed accounts there are on Twitter:

Katy Perry – 68.9M

Justin Bieber – 63.1M

Barack Obama – 58.5M

Taylor Swift – 56.7M

YouTube – 50.4M

Lady Gaga – 46M

Justin Timberlake – 44.7M

Rihanna – 44.5M

Ellen DeGeneres – 42.7M

Britney Spears – 41.7M

Quite the mix of tweets there!

Major Brands

Lots of brands have embraced Twitter, and here’s how they opened their tweet account!

Coca-Cola – 2.95M

Starbucks – 7.6M

Nike – 4.84M

McDonalds – 2.8M

Adidas – 2.01M

IBM – 189K

Microsoft – 6.44M

Google – 10.9M

Intel – 4.17M

Disney – 4.27M

Social Networks

And now here’s some social networks first tweets…on potentially a rival social channel

Twitters…first Twitter – 37.7M

Facebook – yep Facebook on Twitter… – 13.9M

Instagram – 38.6M

Snapchat – 632K

Pinterest – 2.2M

WhatsApp – 2.31M

Vine – 13.8M

LinkedIn – 970K

Favourite Accounts

And here’s some of my favourite accounts too!

BBC Sport – 3.56M

Mashable – 5.22M

Paddy Power – 509K

The Drum – 128K

Very British Problems – 1.2M

The Lad Bible – 1.2M

Stephen Fry – 9.43M

Buzzfeed – 2.2M

Elizabeth Windsor, Queen UK – 1.25M

The Poke – 197K

Uber Facts – 10.6M

Sky Sports Cricket – 279K

Simpsons QOTD – 336K

Match of the Day – 1.25M

The Apprentice – 231K

Lord Sugar – 4.16M

And here’s the first ever tweet sent by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey – 2.95M

Well there’s a quick sneak peek of the first tweets sent out from some of the most influential Twitter accounts there are. One thing that’s quite consistent with them is that a lot set up their accounts around 2008-2009 just as Twitter was taking off, although that was 2-3 years after the first ever tweet was sent. This illustrates that celebs and major brands weren’t as innovative and first movers of social networks back then. However, now they’re some of the first accounts created when a new social network is set up. It has been so interesting seeing what the first things all these accounts said was, and how Twitter has evolved over the years to help us engage with the people and brands we love.

And just for good measure…here’s my first ‘inspiring’ tweet…!

Thanks for reading, and please do share your first tweets with me! For more digital marketing and social media news, please follow this blog and me on Twitter @DigitalStuart.

How social media has changed our lives

For those of you who haven’t heard social media is a pretty big deal. Social media is no longer just a part of our lives and that website we sometimes look at . Rather it now shapes, dictates and influences our lives and what we do. Think about it. When you get a job, make a delicious meal, go on holiday or take a great a pic of a lovely view, what’s the first thing you do? Of course you upload it onto social media. Nowadays if you were to get married, we’d only find out about it via Facebook, not from you calling or texting someone. So we tell people what we’ve been up to now via our social profiles. Which to some degree is a shame, but at the same time is much easier than telling everyone separately. Now you can message everyone through a simple status! We’re becoming a group of people that’s now not afraid to share with others what we’ve been up. In the past I wouldn’t really want someone seeing the food I’ve made, but now I’d love to show people it!

Another way social media is changing our lives is how we interact with brands. Now when you have a compliant, question or enquiry we are less likely to pick up the phone and call the company or send an email. But now we go to social media whether that’s Facebook or Twitter to get the answer. In the past we’d mention a brand in a post and think there’s about a 10% chance they’d reply to us. However now I personally feel if I ask a question on Twitter I expect an answer. I mean if your company got a phone call enquiry you wouldn’t ignore it, so why ignore a tweet.

Social media is also at the forefront in our daily lives when it comes to finding out about what’s going on in the world. We now usually find out the breaking news stories from what’s trending on Twitter rather than on the TV or in the newspaper. This has made us more knowledgeable about the latest current affairs and trends something which we probably weren’t as in tune with if we watched the six o’clock news or picked up the local paper.

So it’s not an underestimation to say social media plays a huge part in our daily lives, and as more networks develop this trend is only going to grow more!

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to comment! For more social media news please follow this blog or me on Twitter @DigitalStuart.

Twitter Intensifies its Rivalry with New Features

Twitter recently announced plans to introduce a few new features for its users to increase the usability and interface of the social networking site. These new features include group messages when sending Direct Messages and the ability to capture, edit and share video content that’s up to 30 seconds in length. So what do these enhanced features mean for Twitters user base and their rivalry with other social networks.

Now being able to send messages to a group of people means Twitter is competing more against other established apps such as Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp. One of drawbacks of Twitter was that their Direct Messaging system wasn’t that useful and was really there just as other social networks have it and because people might use it. I personally don’t really utilise the Direct Messaging feature on Twitter as there are so many other uses like Retweeting, Favouriting and discovering trends that I use it for. For brands having this new update could save them a lot of time when contacting users to tell them something such as they’ve won a prize. Twitter has always been behind when it comes to messaging but now as they’ve placed greater emphasis on it, their competition against the other networks might increase, and see Direct Messages being used more.

Twitter’s new video feature for me is one of the best things they’ve done for some time as it was frustrating recording a video then not being able to upload it onto the network. If you wanted to upload a video to Twitter you’d have to do it via their app Vine, from YouTube or another video streaming site such as Vimeo. But now users can record them, edit to a desired length, then share to their audience. This is a great move for brands who can add more creativity to their content and not feel restricted to just status updates with words or images. Vine is a wonderful tool for 6 second videos on loop, but now being able to record 30 second ones means more can be put into it and edited to something that’s of a higher quality…rather than a rush. The engagement rates for brands will also increase due to the improved content quality and variety in posting, something which us social media people love to monitor. For the rivalry of Twitter this is an essential feature due to Facebook and Instagram now both allowing autoplaying videos, so this feature has never been so crucial for them.

Both these new updates for Twitter illustrate that the social network has got some good plans to keep its competitive edge on the other networks out there, which is needed having recently seen Instagram having more active users than it. For me Twitter has been quite lazy recently as they don’t seem to be evolving as much as other social networks. You look at Instagram for example, they’ve introduced many new features, as have Facebook and Snapchat, but Twitter does seem to be quite reactive. Looking at Twitter now and a year ago, there’s not many changes in terms of functionality. The interface has changed a lot, but the new features are the first for some time.

So the new features Twitter has installed have been a welcome change to users and marketers a like. Let’s hope this is the start of many.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow this blog and me on Twitter @DigitalStuart for more social media and digital marketing news and views.

Ding Dong to Taco Bell’s Social Media Strategy

When you’re about to launch a ground breaking and unique app for your business, you want to create awareness of it don’t you? A great way to do this is obviously through the power of social media, one of the most influential sources of media there is in the modern era. I mean you’d be a fool not to take advantage of the opportunity to promote something like your new app. How would anyone know about it? How would they download it? So, promotion of it is pretty crucial you’d agree. However, not if you’re Taco Bell. When Taco Bell ‘launched’, and I use that term loosely,their new mobile payment and ordering app they decided to take the unique social media strategy of not promoting the app at all, but instead shut down and black out there entire social media network.

So when users went to Taco Bell’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, they weren’t presented with the usually creative content, but instead blacked out screens, such as the one below on their Twitter.

taco bell

For me this is one of the oddest and most innovative social media strategy launches I’ve ever seen. The last thing you’d think about when launching a new app is to not promote it at all. On the contrary, you’d invest more time and money in promoting it. Maybe through promoted posts on all the main social media channels. It’s such a bold move!

However, Taco Bell is one of the most established brands in America, right up there with McDonalds and Starbucks, and with over 12 million followers across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, this strategy isn’t as risky as you might think. When you have market clout like Taco Bell you can afford to do this, as all it takes is a small hint, like the hashtag they used ‘#OnlyInTheApp’ to your massive social media audience and the awareness is there!

You couldn’t imagine a small, lesser known fast food brand doing a similar strategy otherwise that would be social media suicide.

The strategy by Taco Bell was incredibly successful as 90% of the chains 6,000 US stores began accepting mobile orders and payments with 75% of all stores already having processed a mobile order 24 hours after the apps launch.

So overall, I feel that as far as social media strategies go, Taco Bell’s is certainly up there as one of the best and most unique I’ve ever seen. It’ll be interesting to see whether other brands do something similar in the future, I guess they might given the success Taco Bell had.

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to comment. For more social media and digital news, follow me @DigitalStuart.

Why Real-Time Marketing is the Way to Go

Many marketing or social media campaigns are developed in advance to when they’re launched, but recently many brands have used social media to create real-time marketing  (RTM) opportunities.

RTM in the social media context is posting whilst something is going on, such as an event. For example, Cadbury recently did live tweeting on the Brit Awards 2014, with humorous content updates on the winners.  This has seen Cadbury looking to further embrace with RTM in the future, indicating its huge potential and growth.

Therefore, there’s a huge market for this as bands can come up with innovative and creative content whilst events are going on. Simply by using the events hashtag they’re immediately in the feed of the event where they can potentially get noticed. This is a great way to gain new followers, create awareness and engage with the audience.

It also illustrates that the brand is up to date with current events and trends, and thus is tapping into that market, as no -one wants to associate themselves with a brand that’s out of touch with its audience or culture!

It wouldn’t surprise me if in the future more and more brands start to (hash) tag along with events that are going on as a way to sell their products, create brand awareness and engagement. Watch out this evening for that at The Oscars!

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to comment. For more digital marketing and social media news please follow this blog, or me on Twitter @DigitalStuart.

The Marketing Mix Applied to the Digital World – Place

It’s that time once again to explore how the 4P’s can apply to the modern digital world and having already covered Product and Price, today we’re going to look at Place!

E-Commerce

The ‘Place’  element of the marketing mix is simple, where can I buy that product or service. And the biggest development of digital on ‘Place’ is the creation of e-commerce. This enables customers to purchase products or services online via a website, or an app if it’s M-Commerce.  

The internet’s emergence has seen customers benefit from not having to visit a store to make their purchase, instead do it wherever they are. The advantages of this are that it’s much easier, more convenient, quicker and can be cheaper. But also the problem of opening and closing times in stores is no longer an issue and you can shop till you drop 24/7 365 days a year. Also the selection of products and services on offer are much higher with greater choice.

However, with the rise of purchasing online comes the increased competitiveness on the internet with many brands purely online and not having a store. So with many brands competing online businesses have to invest more money and time in their websites. Therefore, they must ensure the design, appearance, usability and navigation of it are highly effective if they’re to compete.

But some businesses are using their online store to complement their bricks and mortar stores to create a bricks and clicks experience. Here you can buy something and then collect it in-store, a click-and-collect strategy. For instance, purchasing a new TV online and then collecting it in-store.

New Channel Structures

The rise of websites and e-commerce has seen new channel structures occurring, namely Disintermediation and Reintermediation.

Disintermediation

This is the process of cutting out intermediaries in the supply chain. For instance, cutting out retail stores and purchasing straight from a website. An example of this is purchasing your PC directly from Dell instead of going to a PC World retail outlet.

Reintermediation

This is the opposite, as here intermediaries are added into the supply chain. For instance, price comparison sites allow you to purchase the product or service via them on behalf of the retailer, and in exchange the site gets a commission on the sale. Thus it’s an affiliate marketing intermediary.

Virtual Organisations

I touched on this earlier, but the rise of e-commerce websites has seen pureplay retailer’s increase too. So as mentioned these providers only sell online and not in stores therefore they have lower overheads. Also the distribution to deliver their products is outsourced to an external provider.

The main costs incurred for a pureplay retailer are the websites design and technical aspects, staff to maintain it, and distribution and warehouse costs. But the great thing for pureplay retailers is they aren’t restricted by geography or time and can supply a greater choice of products both tangible and digital.

So there we have it. The marketing mixes traditional element of ‘Place’ has definitely got a part to play in the digital world as a result of the rise of e-commerce and websites.

Next time it’s the final part of this series of blogs, as we delve into Promotion!

Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment. In the meantime please follow this blog and my Twitter account @DigitalStuart for more digital marketing news.