Mesh Without Wires

May 5, 2011

Corporate Twitter for B2B: How to Create an Event Archive or Chat Transcript

Filed under: B2B,Corporate Twitter — kseniacoffman @ 12:05 pm
Tags: ,

So you’ve attended, or managed, a conference, or participate in a Twitter chat, and want to save the tweets for archival purposes or to review them later. How do you capture the tweets in a user-friendly format?

With the demise of WTHashtag.com, I’ve been looking for a new tool to create Twitter transcripts. Of course you can use the built-in Twitter search, or http://search.twitter.com/ – but they only go back a few days, and also produce the results in reverse chronological order, so you’ll be reading the tweets backwards – from newest to oldest.

Of course, the answer came via a recommendation on Twitter – the new tool I’m using is TweetReports. The basic search, including generating transcripts, is free. Below is an example on how to filter results for an event hashtag. Same can be applied to Twitter chats, or any other time-based search you want to perform. When you export the results in HTML, they will be sorted from oldest to newest.

How to create Twitter transcript

How to create Twitter event or chat transcript (click to enlarge)

TweetReports appears to use basic Twitter search functionality, so the tweets themselves do not go far back. Therefore you might want to create your transcript within a few days of the event. The resulting HTML export URL continues to be available, but if you want to save the transcripts for posterity (and avoid losing them as happened with WTHashtag), print the HTML page to PDF or save as a Word document.

For other posts on social media, see:

February 19, 2010

Corporate Twitter for B2B: 12 Types of Compelling Content for Your Feed

Filed under: B2B,Corporate Twitter,Social Media — kseniacoffman @ 11:56 am
Tags: , ,

In Part 1 of this series on corporate twitter, I shared insights and ideas for getting started. If you followed the steps, you probably have some ‘early followers’ and a handful of tweets. Sadly, many corporate accounts abandon Twitter at this point, or begin to post very infrequently. The key here is to be consistent and keep your followers engaged. But how do you come up with content for your tweets? For me, getting the 1 to 3 daily tweets that I promised in the email to the company was daunting. I even posted links to new datasheets – lame, I know.

To help you keep your ‘Twitter momentum,’ here are 12 types of content that will be useful to your followers, will keep them engaged, and will draw new followers in (and they may be even paying attention, rather than filtering you out with 3rd party Twitter clients.)

Here’s the list, mostly in order of impact this content will have on your twitter presence. Items 11 and 12 may have most impact if you already have a substantial amount of followers, but it’s never too early to get started.

  1. Your media coverage: This is the best type of content for your twitter stream. I’m surprised not a lot of corporate twitter accounts make it a priority to tweet out their media coverage, given the amount of time and effort that goes into “getting ink.” Not only the articles mention you, your solution and/or your customers, they also come from an impartial 3rd party. Bonus points if the publication that ran the story has a twitter presence and you can reference them as “via @thisawesomepub.” Double bonus points if the editor or the publication put the article on their twitter stream, so that you can retweet them. (“Look, I’m not trying to self promote, it’s just an RT.”)
  2. Your digital media: Upload and link to your videos on YouTube, photos on Flikr, presentations on SlideShare, and blog posts. People want to know what you are about, and this digital content provides an additional window into your company. Deployment photos work very well; people like to see your gear in action. One of our early tweets was “@firetide:  Cool night-time photo of Firetide wireless video surveillance install http://bit.ly/RqDpQ” (it even got retweeted.) Production values do not need to be outstanding as you are just getting started; there will be room for improvement down the road.
  3. Events you are attending (planning to attend, have attended): Events are a great source of content for Twitter, with the added benefit that you can tweet about various aspects of them over time. When tweeting about / at an event, use the event’s hash tag, so that others can find you in the twittersphere. Bonus points if you have joint activities with other people and companies, and can reference them. For example, we ‘milked’ our joint demo at ASIS 2009 with Exacq, IQinVision and Pivot3 multiple times. This was a good exercise not just in interoperability, but also being able to reference the partners on social media.
  4. Local news coverage: Our deployments tend to get covered in local news if a municipality is launching its public surveillance system. Sadly, the local news crews do not get into the technical nitty-gritty of the project, and rarely even mention that the cameras are connected over wireless, let alone our name. I set up Google alerts around our larger deployments that tend to get covered in the local news. So whenever the system gets covered, I put the link on our twitter stream. Not only I’m linking to a positive story about crime reduction, community benefits, etc, in the eyes of my twitter followers I ‘created’ Firetide coverage by co-opting the story: “Hey, we did this!
  5. Your web updates: If you added new product information, case studies, white papers, webinar replays, put a note on Twitter. Be creative: for example, whenever we add a company to our Technology Partner page, we tweet it out, showcasing our partners, while sending traffic to our web site. You can also post links to press releases: don’t overdo this, and you may need to copyedit the headline into a compelling tweet.
  6. Retweeting others: Follow a few people influential in your industry (these may be publications, editors, analysts, bloggers), and occasionally retweet them if you think that their post or content they are linking to will be useful and relevant to your followers. You may even be followed back by said influencers. Also consider retweeting your partners or any other interesting people you follow; they will appreciate it and may return the favor down the road. Before retweeting, I make sure the content I’m about to link to is not about a competitor, contributed by a competitor, or present our technology / industry in a negative light. (Hey, this is a corporate account, so a certain amount of filtering and spin is permitted). Nor do I retweet links if they lead to ‘premium’ content that you have to pay for, or which may be available only to clients (analyst firms occasionally do that).
  7. Industry news and developments: Set up Google alerts for keywords relevant to your industry. I don’t source a lot of content this way in our core specialty – wireless mesh – since these articles are either about us (see # 1) or about our competitors. However, this can be useful if you want to get associated with a new industry or vertical you want to enter – smart Grid and transportation/ITS for us. So I occasionally tweet articles on these topics.
  8. Replying to others: If you see a question posed by someone you follow, or an interesting topic they are referencing and you have something to say, don’t hesitate to respond with an @ reply. People like to know they are being listened to. If someone follows both you and the recipient, they will see your tweet and maybe even engage in the discussion.
  9. Replying to @ messages directed at you: As a new account, unless you are widely known brand, you may not get any @ messages for a while. But if you do, be sure to respond promptly.
  10. Follow Friday: Twitter denizens recommend their favorite accounts on Fridays. Participate – even though it may seem cheesy at first. This is a way to be ‘nice’ on Twitter, and also show that you are actively listening to the people you are recommending. You can use your lists in conjunction with follow Friday, so each recommendation tweet is themed – be it wireless, physical security, etc.
  11. Asking questions of your network: You may not get a lot of replies if you are just starting out and your follower count is low. But it’s an excellent way to engage with your twitter community, and maybe even get your question answered.
  12. Building and promoting your twitter lists: List functionality has been a great addition to Twitter in many ways (I will cover lists separately). One way to get noticed on twitter is to (1) put people on relevant lists (they will likely notice and appreciate it); (2) promote your lists. Others who are looking to expand their presence on Twitter will be grateful that you put in the work, and it will also establish you as an authority of sorts, especially if your list is comprehensive. If you tweet out your lists, you may even see a few retweets.

What has worked for you? Please comment!

January 28, 2010

Corporate Twitter for B2B: Getting Started

Filed under: Branding — kseniacoffman @ 2:18 pm
Tags: ,

For us, Twitter started relatively innocently – in August ’09, I looked up what competitors were doing on Twitter, and to my dismay found out that most of them were active on Twitter, with hundreds of followers. Afraid that we are missing the “social media boat,” we jumped in.

5 months later, @Firetide has 700+ followers and is one of the most active accounts in physical security and wireless mesh space. On 3 separate occasions, our partners commented on Firetide’s Twitter prowess, which is a bit funny since we’ve been on Twitter for only 5 months. (This goes to show that social media is not rocket science, and you don’t need a social media guru to guide your way).

But getting started from zero may seem daunting. In this post, I will give you tips and advice on how to get started, based on Firetide’s experience.

First, you need to set up your profile – which is easy, but still some accounts miss the basics.

real-time-search-results-firetide

Real-time search results for Firetide - pulled from Twitter. Also note how high our Twitter page ranks in organic search.

  • Name – pick something that is short (you’d be easy to retweet or mention) and as close as possible to the company’s name (side benefit: if someone is bashing your brand on Twitter, which will come up in Google’s real-time search, you can flood the twitterstream with your own tweets and drown out the bashing. See screen capture to the right).
  • Picture – use the company’s logo if this is a corporate profile.
  • Web – link to your web site or company blog
  • Bio – keep to the point. Tip: to make your twitter presence more ‘personable’, mention who’s tweeting, such as “Tweets by @KseniaCoffman” so that people know who is the face behind the tweets; some companies put that on twitter backgrounds.

Once you have set up your account, begin tweeting to see how it feels. But you don’t want to tweet into the void, right? So, how do you get people to follow you?

  • Start by following people/accounts you know in real life – your partners, distributors, and industry folks. Hopefully, they’ll follow you back.
  • Promote your Twitter presence through regular communications channels. Post a link to your twitter page on your web site (home page, contact page); add the link to your email signature and ask your inside sales/support team to add it to their signatures. We include the link in our email blasts and at the end of our webinars, and I see a handful of new followers after each blast or online event.
  • Ask employees to follow the corporate account. Include this request in an email to the company introducing the corporate presence on Twitter (sample letter follows). If you ask nicely and persistently, you’ll get followers – and best of all, these are “freebies”:  you don’t need to follow them back to keep their ‘follow.’ (Apart from giving you ‘free followers’, you’ve just set up a great internal communications tool, especially if you have people in the field or remote offices.)

Below is a sample email introducing your company’s presence on Twitter. Feel free to borrow and re-use.

Hello All:

Firetide is now on Twitter at http://twitter.com/firetide! Below is more info on this effort:

About Twitter

Twitter is a ‘micro-blogging’ platform which allows users to post short text messages (up to 140 characters in length) and converse with other users via their phones or web browsers. Unlike email or text messaging on mobile phones, these conversations take place in the open. The platform is experiencing a phenomenal adoption curve in the US and being used increasingly by media, analysts, editors, as well as our integrator and distributor customers and technology partners. It is free to use with and can deliver many benefits for our communications and marketing objectives.

Key Objectives:

  • Build relationships with relevant audiences; provide leadership and credibility, increasing our visibility as the expert in the space
  • Provide a way for audiences to interact with Firetide to provide feedback, seek help and suggest ideas
  • Monitor mentions on Twitter of ‘Firetide’, ‘wireless mesh’; engage with our critics to resolve problems and correct factual inaccuracies
  • Provide live coverage of events for those who cannot attend

Types and Sources of Content:

Content will comprise a mixture of Firetide communications re-purposed for Twitter, and content produced exclusively for Twitter:

To position Firetide as a filter of business intelligence and industry information, we’ll feature links to:

  • Relevant industry events
  • Industry insights and educational materials
  • Relevant partner news (resellers, distributors, solution partners)

Why is Twitter important?

  • It’s establishing itself as the main source of live update information
  • It is increasingly used by our customers and partners, as well as embraced by industry media and analysts
  • Search engine optimization – because it is updated frequently, Twitter content ranks highly on Google, and will give us additional exposure.

Updates
To keep our followers engaged, updates will be relatively frequent, between 1 to 3 messages per work day. During special events, updates may be more frequent.

Evaluation
To see how well our brand is performing on Twitter, we’ll track mentions of ‘Firetide’ and tone of these messages. We’ll also track click-through on the links in our messages; ‘re-tweets’ of Firetide messages, and overall performance via tools such as Klout or Twitalyzer.

Please help spread the word following Firetide on Twitter and by adding the link http://twitter.com/firetide to your signature.

The initial setup and steps to ”organic” follower growth may be all you need, depending on your company size and clout. But if you want to grow your followers faster than that you’ll have to proactively look for people to follow – so that they follow you back and thus grow your follower number. We’ll look at ‘following’ strategies, as well as how to get good content for Twitter, in the next installment.

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