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.

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!

The development of social media in companies

Imagine the situation. A company sets up a Twitter account, follows some well-known or relevant accounts, then posts a status saying ‘Hello World, First Tweet’, might then send one saying what they offer and might even send a third one with a link to the website. Then they gradually leave it and let the follower count increase and ‘bang’ you’re now a social company. But of course we all know that just setting up a new social media account doesn’t make you the social strategist of the century.

This attitude to social media has now long gone as companies now realise that just doing that is a recipe for social media failure. It’s been amazing to see that only over the past few years how much social media in companies has changed and the opinion of it has grown dramatically.

I remember attending a social media conference last year full of accountants, lawyers and finance professionals who were absolutely blown away by what they were seeing. How can a Facebook page bring me business or leads? Can people actually ask me questions about my products or services online? The room was awash with so much excitement and surprise of how powerful social media was.I then attended another conference with social media professionals a few weeks later and the difference you can imagine when talking to people was incredible. As there I was hearing stories of companies having 300 people in the social media team which blew MY mind this time.

Social media used to be something that maybe the marketing manager would set up and update on the odd occasion. If they fancied it they might reply to a few comments too. But then we got to the stage of having a specialist social media guy to come in and do it. This might have been an intern. Still not much attention paid to it.

Fast forward a few years and it’s remarkable the amount of planning and detail that now goes into social media. We now have actual social media budgets. Money set aside for social media campaigns whether that’s promoted posts or Facebook ads. We now have people coming up with strategies for social media, and how general marketing campaigns can be supported by social, and how social drives those campaigns to success. Community managers create content calendars weeks in advance to plan out what they’re going to post. They also reply to every comment or mention received, rather than ignoring. We don’t just register the number of followers we have, we now analyse the entire follow base, what their interests are, where they’re based, how they interact with the brand and the engagement rates content gets.

A social media team is now essential for any large company that’s taking social media seriously. The team includes community managers, strategists, analysts, buyers and planners. It’s now a whole department in its own right, just like a marketing, HR or finance department. Social media will no longer just be ‘within marketing’. But now a separate entity on its own. So with a whole team of social media people, the investment in it has grown, something unimaginable a few years back when a marketing manager ran a Twitter account on their own.

The future of social media within companies I think is only going to grow even more. Next you will probably see community managers or strategists for specific networks, such as Twitter strategist or an Instagram community manager. Added to this is companies now allocating more and more funds to social media away from outdoor or traditional media. Why invest in a billboard that will be seen by thousands of people over a day, when a social media campaign can be seen by that amount in a second and millions in total.

So it’ll be very interesting reviewing this blog post in five years time to see where social media within companies has gone. For now though its showing no signs of slowing down!

Thanks for reading and please feel free to share your thoughts. For more digital marketing and social media stories and updates, please follow this blog or 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.

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.