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

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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.

We’re Live Now! Is Live Social Streaming the Future

It has been quite a few weeks in the world of social media. First we had the announcement of a new live streaming app called Meerkat and then not too long after that Twitter released its own version, Periscope. So what does live streaming involve. Well you sign in via your Twitter account and then essentially record something live! It’s that simple. When you share the stream it’s posted on your timeline alerting your followers you’re streaming something live and they can choose come and view what’s going on. This gives you a live audience of viewers like you’d have for a TV show.

The competition between Meerkat and Periscope has intensified a lot over the last few weeks as more and more brands and celebrities start to use it. However, when Meerkat launched it was groundbreaking, but annoyingly for them Twitter released their version Periscope just a few days later. So Meerkat’s dominance in the market was there for just a few glittering seconds it seemed. But due to them offering similar features gaining users as quickly as possible is becoming even more so important for them.

So how will social live streaming change the social media landscape. It’s such a novel and unique aspect that’s started to become even more prominent in social media. Gone are the days now where you take a photo or video of an event and then edit it and play or post it a few hours or days afterwards. Now you can bring the audience even closer to what you’re offering. The idea of live streaming is nothing new. TV has been doing it for years and years, and YouTube has streamed live many times. But it’s never been at the average users disposal to do it where they become the broadcaster.

Of course with this live streaming comes copyright and ownership issues. If you’re streaming a concert, or sporting game or an event, you’d need to be careful. But maybe recording something live is still the same as doing it then uploading it after it has happened.

It’ll be interesting to see how the rivalry between the two platforms, Meerkat and Periscope, increases over the coming months and whether one steals a march in the market possibly with new features, offerings or campaigns.

Please let me know your views on live streaming by commenting below. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow this blog and me on Twitter @DigitalStuart for more social media and digital marketing news!

How to get a job in Social Media

If you’ve ever looked at your favourite brand on Twitter and thought that you’d love to update their account and work within social media, then I’m going to provide some useful tips to help you that job! My advice and tips are based on over two years of experience within social media, firstly as a social media intern during my placement year at university, then as a Social Media Manager for a leading charity drinks brand and now as a Community Manager for one of the biggest drinks brands in the world. Although I’m only 24 having worked for over a couple of years, and been in the process twice of searching for a social media role, I’ve gained quite a bit of experience already!

One of the biggest and most obvious things is relevant experience within social media, marketing, PR, media or digital. If you don’t have any experience within these fields you’re likely to not get through the CV screening phase. Even if your role is an editor on a website or marketing assistant or a copywriter, you’ve got essential skills already for a social media role.

One thing that annoys me is people that think anyone can run a social media account for a business. Time after time you’ll see people apply for social media roles based on the fact ‘they use social media everyday’. I mean yes being a social media manager for instance requires that you use social media, but the fact you update your own Twitter account or post pics of food on your Instagram means NOTHING when it comes to applying for a social media role. Some people assume because they spend their entire life on social media, they could quite easily run a multinationals social media channels. But as we know that’s far from the truth.

So experience is so crucial if you want to get into a social media role. If you’ve left college or university and want to get into social media, try to get a social media internship at a small brand or local business. You’re more likely to get a role within a small business if you use social media in your personal life than a larger brand. An internship is a start as this gets you crucial social media skills like coming up with creative content for a brands platform, updating an account and engaging with an audience. My first role was a social media intern. and for the first 4 months it was unpaid, so there’s nothing wrong with that at all. Experience for me is more important than earning money when you have a CV that’s quite empty.

Also having a relevant degree can help you get into a social media role quicker, as you’ve already picked up some skills within that education. So any degree whether that’s Media, Business Management or Journalism is useful for a social media role. This will get you through the CV screening for sure.

it’s very important if you want to get into social media that you have a few social media projects going on in your personal life. This could be anything from your own blog about your hobbies to a Facebook page you run to your own YouTube channel. This shows that you can come up with ideas for content and have experience in both using a social media platform and engaging with an audience. I write this blog as well as running a few fun social media accounts on some of my passions just to get me more experience and learn new things about each platform.

If possible running a website is another wonderful way to help you gain valuable skills for a social media role. This could be a blog or maybe a website to do with anything you love. In order to promote your website you might have social media accounts for it, again fantastic skills and experience that a social media employer will love.

I’d say one of the most important ways to ensure your social media experiences is right for a role is to be up to date with the industry. This might be something very simple like reading digital marketing or social media news sites everyday like Mashable, The Drum or Marketing Week just to get a feel about new platforms and ways social is being utilised by brands and users. One question I’ve been asked a lot in interviews is on what I think are the best channels to use or which channel is growing or how do you see social developing over the next few years. These questions can be answered really well if you are clued up and wired in to the industry and everything happening in and around it. It also illustrates you’re proactive and passionate about the space as well as willing to develop your skills.

So just to recap. The main things you need to do to increase your chances of getting a social media role are; have experience, a relevant degree, an online personality, running a website if possible and keeping up to date with the industry. If you achieve even one of these, you’ll be on your way to that perfect role!

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.

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.

My Marketing and Social Media Predictions for 2015!!!

First of all let me take this moment to wish you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!! In this blog I’m going to highlight some of my predictions for 2015 in the social media and marketing space.

Instagram to Continue its Growth 

I recently wrote how Instagram now has more active users than Twitter and in 2015 I expect the photo sharing app to continue its growth in users. It wouldn’t surprise me if Instagram introduced many new features in the coming months of 2015 in addition to the recent ones. Also Instagram for business will increase as brands look to take advantage of Instagrams growing audience.

Social Advertising Spend

Many brands are now allocating funds for social media usage whether that’s for Promoted Posts on Twitter, Facebook ads, or investing in creative content, I expect more money to be spent on this growing trend. Brands are now spending more money on digital marketing activities such as social media, search or mobile, meaning greater focus is on these areas rather than traditional marketing.

The Rise of Snapchat

2015 should see the mobile app Snapchat increase it’s presence on the social media space. At the moment Snapchat only allows you to send photos but recently they announced plans to introduce a payment system called Snapcash, so more new features could be added to the app. I expect Snapchat to add greater enhanced features such as profile pages, more filters on Snaps and possibly a greater messaging system. Of course these are features that would enhance Snapchat’s service.

Mobile to Grow Even More

Every year we say that mobile will grow in the coming year, and you kind of think how much more can it grow?! But 2015 will once again see brands and consumers presence on mobile increase. This rise will see brands spend more money on mobile whether that’s creating or developing a mobile optimised site, introducing mobile payments or releasing an app, this sector is rising. Additionally, mobile advertising will grow as brands try to secure the screen on smartphones, as apps such as Twitter and Facebook enhance their advertising platforms. Also more people now have smartphones so brands are seeing this opportunity to advertise to a whole new audience as well as offer their products and services online.

Wearable Technology All The Rage

Wearable technology is going to rise even more as the year progresses through releases such as Smartwatches. This could see more watches that now offer users the chance to send texts, access email and other apps…oh…and maybe it’ll tell the time too.

Big Data will be…Big

Gone are the days of looking at data from your customers and ignoring it, but now these figures are becoming even more vital to gain great insights into a brands audience. 2015 will see social media and marketing managers analyse more data than ever to really find out who their audience is and what they like. This will see an increase in brands using analytics tools to see for instance what interests their social media followers are in to, where they are from, who they follow, whether they’re male or female and a whole multitude of other stats. All these demographic, geographic and psychographic insights will enable brands to create content that is more tailored to the audience, thus increasing engagement.

Content is the King of 2015

The marketing term that has been banished round for some time is ‘content’, and how ‘it is king’, and this will continue to be the case in 2015. There’s never been a more valuable time for brands to create and post content whether that’s a photo, a video or a status update which is interesting, shareable, creates awareness, is fun and of high quality. That’s why brands will invest money in developing this content whether that’s in house designers or outsourcing it to agencies.

Real Time Marketing (RTM) is the REAL Deal

More brands are now taking the opportunity to exploit internet trends and popular news stories with creative and humorous content. I’ll take you back to the summer when Apples ‘Bendgate’ was in full flight, and brands quickly jumped on the bandwagon. This is a classic example of a news story creating a massive influx of hilarity and fun from brands. I’ve previously written about how Real Time Marketing is the way to go as it illustrates to a brands audience that they’re current and at the same time keeping an eager eye on what’s going on in the news. I fully see more brands allocating time and money to creating great RTM campaigns in the year to come.

Of course, RTM isn’t always the best strategy to take as if you, and your competitors are all doing it, it doesn’t make it unique anymore. Thus it’s very important to have the first mover advantage of getting there before anymore else and getting something out quickly. However, always be aware that misfortune could happen to anyone…so it was Apple one day, it could easily be you another day…

Storytelling

When we say storytelling we aren’t about to tell you a fariytale…or maybe we are depending on the brand, but this is how brands can differentiate themselves by telling us a story of their brand or campaign. Take for instance John Lewis’ successful Monty the Penguin Christmas advert. This told us the romantic story of Monty and Mabel the penguins and their search for love and to spend Christmas together. These stories add emotion to us as viewers and in some cases make us relate with the narrative…maybe the love side, not being a penguin! Having a great story behind how your brand started or your campaign attracts the audience and creates fantastic social media content!

Personalisation

Brands more than ever are not trying to just post content that is targeted at the masses, but now is aimed at niche and specific people who can then in turn relate to it. The upcoming year will see brands trying to be much more personal with their activities. Obviously this won’t mean posting 100,000 different Twitter status’ for 100,000 followers, but a greater number of posts will target a brands audience. This comes hand in hand with big data and analysing a brands audience, as when they can see who their audience is, personalisation becomes easier.

There’s a lot of Talk about Chat Apps

One thing I’ve noticed over the past year is how much chat apps such as WhatsApp and We Chat have grown, and 2015 won’t see this stop. However, brands haven’t really exploited them yet, maybe because of their nature, but I’d be excited to see how brands in 2015 will use these as the apps audience base grows.

A New Social Network? Is it needed?

There’s always one social network that suddenly grows and takes the social media landscape by storm. 2011 was Google+ (more a drizzle), 2012 it was Pinterest, 2013 was Instagram and 2014 was Snapchat, so who will it be in 2015? There might be a growth in current networks but could an entirely new one come to our attention. But is another social network needed? I mean I work in social media and am amerced in it everyday but even I struggle to follow what’s going on, on my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn and all the others, so how someone that doesn’t work in social media copes I don’t know! I don’t think my life at the moment needs another social network. I’d maybe prefer it to replace a current one. However, if the new network was unique and did something completely different I might find time for it!

So there’s some of my 2015 predictions! I’ll probably be writing a blog post in December to see if any of these happened…or if my mystic meg abilities are totally wrong! if you have any predictions for 2015 please feel free to comment. For more digital marketing news follow this blog, and me on Twitter @DigitalStuart .

Social Networking Sites at a Glance

Here for your enjoyment is a quick glance at some social networking site facts!

Facebook

Launched: 2004

Founders: Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes

Headquarters: Menlo Park, California, USA

Number of users: 1.19 billion (active)

What can you do?: Create a profile, share status updates, photos and videos, create events, post on someone’s Timeline, Like pages, join groups, send messages, hashtag trends

Twitter

Launched: 2006

Founders: Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Evan Williams and Biz Stone

Headquarters: San Francisco, California, USA

Number of users: 500 million (200+ active users)

What can you do?: Create a profile and bio, share status updates (tweets) in 140 characters, follow and be followed by users, follow hashtag trends, retweet, send direct messages

LinkedIn

Launched: 2003

Founders:  Reid Hoffman, Allen Blue, Konstantin Guericke, Eric Ly and Jean-Luc Vaillant

Headquarters: Mountain View, California, USA

Number of users: 259 million

What can you do?: Create an online CV, connect with fellow professionals to increase your network, search for jobs, follow companies, join groups, send messages, search for news stories, update your status

Google+

Launched: 2011

Founders:  Owned by Google; their founders: Larry Page and Sergey Brin

Headquarters: Menlo Park, California, USA

Number of users: 540 million (300+ active users)

What can you do?: Create a profile and bio, add users to your circles, create hangouts, join Google+ pages, join communities, +1 something, share photos and videos, create events, hashtag trends, use Google search, message users

(For the pros and cons of Google+, please see: ‘Google Plus or Google Minus’)

Pinterest

Launched: 2010

Founders: Paul Sciarra, Evan Sharp and Ben Silbermann

Headquarters: San Francisco, California, USA

Number of users: 70 million

What can you do?:  Create a profile, create ‘boards’, ‘pin’ photos of your hobbies and interests on those boards, follow other users boards and repin their posts

Tumblr

Launched: 2007

Founder: David Karp (Owned by Yahoo!)

Headquarters: New York City, USA

Number of users: 216.3 million monthly visitors

What can you do?:  Create a profile, write blog posts, follow and be followed by other users

WordPress

Launched: 2003

Founders: Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little

Headquarters: San Francisco, California, USA

Number of users: 73 million

What can you do?:  Create a profile, write blog posts, follow and be followed by other users

Flickr

Launched: 2004

Founders: Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake (Owned by Yahoo!)

Headquarters: Sunnyvale, California, USA

Number of users: 87 million

What can you do?:  Create a profile, share photos and videos

YouTube

Launched: 2005

Founders: Steve Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim (Owned by Google)

Headquarters: San Bruno, California, USA

Number of users: 1 billion

What can you do?:  Create a profile, share videos, follow other users channels, have others follow your channels

Instagram

Launched: 2010

Founders: Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger (Owned by Facebook)

Headquarters:, Menlo Park, California, USA

Number of users: 150 million

What can you do?: A mobile app that enables you to create a profile bio, share photos, follow and be followed by other users, hashtag trends, send direct messages

Snapchat

Launched: 2011

Founders: Evan Spiegel and Robert Murphy

Headquarters:, Menlo Park, California, USA – (Stanford, California)

Number of users: 350 million

What can you do?:  A mobile app that enables you to create a username, send photos and videos whilst adding text and drawings to them; the snaps are sent like text messages and will be accessible for one to ten seconds

Vine

Launched: 2013

Founders: Dom Hofmann, Rus Yusupov, and Colin Kroll (Owned by Twitter)

Headquarters: San Francisco, California, USA

Number of users: 40 million

What can you do?:  A mobile app that enables you to post short video clips for a maximum of six seconds

So there you have it. That’s a quick overview of the details of all the main social networking sites. Hope you liked all those facts! Please follow my blog for more digital marketing posts or my Twitter account @DigitalStuart

Thanks for reading 🙂