The Art of the Business

A blog dedicated to artists who are serious about their business.

What the TwitCleaner can teach you about being a better Twitterer January 29, 2010

Filed under: Marketing with Twitter,social media — Rebecca Coleman @ 12:05 am
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There’s been a big buzz lately about this new service, The TwitCleaner, so last week, I decided to try it for myself. Basically, it is a service that looks at the people you are following, and grades them, and puts them into categories. It then makes suggestions as to who you should unfollow. Weeding the garden, so to speak, trimming the fat, to make you a lean, mean, Twittering machine.

Enough cliches.

When I got my report, the TwitCleaner had divided my less-that-stellar followers into three categories:

Dodgy Behavior, No Activity in Over a Month, and These Accounts Ignore You. Dodgy Behaviour was further broken down into Nothing but Links, Tweeting the Same Links all the Time and Tweeting Identical Tweets all the Time.

Let’s be clear, here: TwitCleaner is a robot. It can’t judge your twitter followers in the same way you do. I have specific reasons for following people. Some, for example, that the TwitCleaner deemed sub-par, are friends of mine, who, for whatever reason, have joined Twitter, and then abandoned it, or gone off to Bali (Hi, Carla!). I will continue to follow them in the hopes that they pick it back up again. There are people that I follow that I know will never in a million years follow me back (Google, a few celebrities), and I’m totally fine with that. Some people that I follow do twitter nothing but links, but because they are a news source, I’m not going to unfollow them. In fact, that’s why I’m following them.

What is interesting to me about the TwitCleaner is the rules they use to deem someone a lousy twitterer. Twittering all links, all the time. Twittering the same link all the time. Twittering the same tweet all the time. These are all characteristics of pushy and annoying sales tactics. They may work in other worlds, but on Twitter, most people that I know who are hard-core Twitterers, will not put up with those kinds of tactics. You will get unfollowed very quickly.

TwitCleaner is free–try it out. Now, if they could come up with some way of judging your followers based on a set of criteria that you set yourself, then it would be beyond brilliant. @TwitCleaner, are you listening?

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YFrog December 16, 2009

Filed under: Marketing with Twitter,photos — Rebecca Coleman @ 7:02 am
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If you are an avid Twitterer, you probably have been know to post photos sometimes.

I use Seesmic for my Twitter client, and it allows me to post photos simply. It will also connect to my webcam, so I can take photos and upload them through that.

But if you are not using this kind of a service, you are probably using something like TwitPic to upload photos to Twitter. Well, there’s a new Twitter-photo-sharing-kid-on-the-block, and his/her name is YFrog.

Here are some of the great things about YFrog:

1. The user interface is really easy, and it doesn’t require you to have an additional account. You simply use your already existing Twitter account.

2. It allows you to upload photos and video (which we all know is where it’s going!)

3. You can use YFrog to take a webcam photo, a 5-second-delayed webcam photo, or a video, and then immediately upload it. It will also post photos from a URL, like your Photobucket or Flikr account.

4. YFrog acts as an archive. In the same way that someone can look at your twitter stream and read your older tweets, people can look at your YFrog photo stream and see your older posted photos and videos.

5. They have developed clients for BlackBerry and IPhone. I have a BlackBerry, and use a service called TwitterBerry to tweet from it. However, the TwitPic option doesn’t work, because the camera is a 3.2 megapixel, and for whatever reason, TwitPic does not shrink down the image. So it takes too long to upload to the web. I am looking forward to testing the YFrog client for my BlackBerry.

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I’m on a Teleclass! July 24, 2009

This week, I did an interview with Jason Drohn, who is an online small business coach. We met through Twitter, and he is an avid blogger. He does a series of teleclasses, and my interview with him is  one of them.

Our conversation includes the topics:

  • How organizations who rely on promoting their through the newspaper should be marketing in new media.
  • The secret of promoting video through social media
  • How and why you should be engaging customers through all sorts of mediums – audio, video, text
  • How to sell 1-to-1 through social media
  • How to create ambassadors for your business
  • How your blog should integrate with your social media stream
  • The strategy behind developing a plan for social networking
  • What you shouldn’t do to promote your business with social media
  • What the true cost of social networking is
  • What you need to be careful about concerning brand management
  • The truth on what Twitter marketing is actually about
  • How to find clients and business through Twitter
  • How to cross promote everything – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, etc.

And more!

Click here to listen to the MP3.

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Why you should NOT join Twitter May 27, 2009

Filed under: Marketing with Twitter,Planning — Rebecca Coleman @ 7:23 am
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I was out the other night with my sweetie’s co-workers, helping to celebrate one of their birthdays. It came up that one of the co-workers had just attended a workshop that day on Twitter. I,  of course, Twitter enthusiast that I am, was all over it.

“So, are you going to join??” I asked, thinking, “I have to get her handle so I can follow her.”

“No,” she said. “What’s the point? It’s a lot of noise. I don’t want to know the minutae of people’s lives.”

Hmm… good point. Hard to argue with that.

There is a lot of noise on Twitter. Clearly, having tools like Tweet Deck or HootSuite to deal with thousands of Tweets daily makes a big difference. But there’s a bigger problem, here.

Here are two good reasons NOT to join Twitter:

1. If you don’t have a purpose for Twittering, and you don’t have a plan. I wrote a while back about Oprah joining Twitter, and how anything she touches turns to gold (by which I mean, becomes immensely popular). If you are thinking, “hey, this Twitter thing sounds cool, everyone I know is doing it, I should check it out,” that’s fine, but stop first, and do some research and planning.

What do you want to use Twitter for? It’s most useful application is to drive traffic. So, if you have ablog, vlog, podcast, or Flickr steam, Twitter can be really useful for increasing your stats. It can help to drive traffic to your website. If you have a business, it can help you to promote special deals and sales. But it’s good to have a plan going in–how are you going to use it? When will you tweet? Map this stuff out before you begin.

2. You have the time and energy to put into it. You can’t join Twitter, follow 1,000 in 10 minutes, and expect that you’ve done your job. Social Media is all about making connections. You can Twitter on five minutes a week, but for me, the minimum would be 5-10 minutes, three times a day. Because Twitter is real time, things happen fast, so it’s good to check in more than once every 24-hours. You need to respond to interesting tweets, Re-Tweet stuff you like, and respond to people. If you are doing nothing but putting your own stuff out there, people will quickly loose interest. They want connectivity as well.

There was a big hoo-haa about this Neilson Blog post about Twitter’s recidivism rate. Turns out, only about 40% of the people that will sign up for Twitter this month will continue to post. The other 60% will abandon their accounts (it’s coined a new term: Twitter Quitter). I get it. Twitter’s hard. Not to learn the interface, or to get started, but to learn the nuances of the culture,  takes time. (shameless plug: or you could hire Simon and I to do a workshop for you).

I’m okay with people not jumping on the Twitter bandwagon. I am excited about people who are excited to join for the right reasons, and who are committed enough to keep at it and follow through and to create Tweets with value. Maybe there will be less people twittering about their ham sandwich they had for lunch, and that is never going to be a bad thing.

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The day Twitter went Mainstream April 20, 2009

Filed under: Marketing with Twitter — Rebecca Coleman @ 7:18 am
Tags: , , ,

It was bound to happen sooner or later. With Twitter’s exponential growth (131% in March alone, according to E-Week.com) over the last year or so, all the experts werre pretty much predicting this one: Twitter would eventually go from something people were hearing about, but not nessicarily knowing about, to being a mainstream application.

It just happened, a couple days ago.

There were a couple of things that I believe are responsible for pushing it over the edge. The first is that Oprah joined Twitter, and then dedicated a show to the social networking tool. She interviewed Ashton Kutcher, who, along with his wife, Demi Moore, have been on Twitter for quite some time. Anything that Oprah touches turns to gold. A book that is selected by her for her book club is sold out overnight. Products featured on Oprah’s “Favorite Things” episodes see dramatic increases in sales immediately. If Twitter has Oprah’s stamp of approval, the masses will be joining.

Ashton Kutcher is the second reason I believe Twitter can now be considered to be mainstream. During the past week, he engaged in a race with CNN to see who could be the first person on Twitter to make it to 1,000,000 followers. On April 17, Kutcher won that race.

Now, I love Twitter, and I think it’s a fantasic tool. But, honestly, there is a part of me that wants to keep it just among us geeks and nerds. I use Twitter for business, to get the word out, and to connect with people. I don’t use it to celbrity-watch: there are other places where I could do that, if so inclinded. I guess I’m worried about Twitter getting watered down by tons of users who are just on it because it’s popular, or because Oprah’s on it, or because they want to see the photos that Kutcher published of Bruce Willis’ wedding.

I have a new Twitter motto. In Glengarry Glen Ross, the boss, Blake, tells the rookie: “A-B-C. A-always, B-be, C-closing. Always be closing! Always be closing!!” My new Twitter motto is: A-B-G-V: Always Be Giving Value. Because for me, that’s what Twitter is all about.

UPDATE: I just have to share with you a quote from a blog article I just read by Shel Holtz:

I do not care who was here before Oprah. I do not care whom I beat to Twitter, or who beat me. It does not matter. The only thing that matters is whether your tweets are interesting or valuable. If they’re not—at least to me—I will not follow you. If they are, I will. Whether you were here on the day of Twitter’s launch or joined yesterday is irrelevant. Only the quality of your content matters. Period.

Nice. Well put, Shel.

Read the rest of the blog article, I don’t care if you were on Twitter before Oprah.

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State of the Union: Social Networking March 23, 2009

Okay, so I’m no Guy Kawasaki. I’m not even close to Seth Godin.  But some interesting things have happened over the last few weeks, and I wanted to share them with you.

imagesFirst off, Twitter just celebrated its third birthday. Originally used as a device for co-workers in the same office to talk to each other, Twitter began in March, 2006, at a company in San Francisco called Odeo. At last count, Twitter users worldwide are thought to be somewhere in the range of 6 Million.

facebook_badgeSecond, if you are a Facebook user (Facebook is the number 1 social media application in the world, right now), you’ll notice that they have rolled out a new interface. This is partly because Facebook tried to buy Twitter in November last year, and was unsuccessful. So, they have changed their interface to be more Twitter-like.

myspaceThird, I have given a couple of talks on social networking over the last couple of weeks, and I have been asked the question “what about My Space?” My response is always the same: if you are a musician, you should have a My Space page if you are a musician, otherwise….

What does all this tell us? Well, first of all, Facebook would not have tried to buy out Twitter, unless they saw them as some kind of threat. Their current redesign is further proof that they are worried about Twitter’s rapid growth. My Space is a good example of this. In June 0f 2006, My Space was the most popular social networking site on the internet, but it was eclipsed by Facebook in April 2008. My Space is now primarily used by musicians, which I think it is perfect for. Facebook, meanwhile, is sweating over Twitter’s growing popularity.

I have talked to a lot of people about Twitter over the last few weeks. Most people say the same thing–they feel like they should be on Twitter, because it’s so popular, and they hear about it all the time, but I also hear that people are unsure what to do when they join. Often they feel overwhelmed by the amount of noise going on, and are unsure about Twitter’s value to them.

Whenever I get a new follower, I like to check out their Twitter page, and if they seem like someone I have something in common with, I’ll follow them back. I’ve been super busy these last two weeks, so yesterday, I batched the nearly-100 new followers I’d gotten over the last couple of weeks. When I look at someone’s profile to see if I want to follow, I’m looking for a few specific things: a picture, a fully-filled out profile, a website. I will also glance at their last few tweets, and see if any of them present value: links, blog posts, information.

It was a bit of a wake-up call: not that many passed the test. It started me wondering: if someone stumbled over my Twitter page, and judged it on my values, would they follow me? Maybe. Maybe not.

Twitter is young, and there has been a lot of talk about how to take it to the future. Monetization, for example. For me, it’s my goal to use my social networking ability and my skills as a marketer to help people to begin to create a social media marketing plan for themselves or thier business, because this is an area that I see is sadly lacking.

So stay tuned… plans are in the works. And you’ll be the first to know.

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Theatre Tweeple February 11, 2009

I’ve been talking about Twitter for months now. It’s no secret that I am totally and utterly hooked.

I love that it works in real time, and I love all the new contacts that I’ve made through Twitter. And I’m especially excited about all the people I am meeting from all over the world that share my passion for the theatre.

Here are just a few of the people I follow, and am building relationships with (for some pretty cool stuff which we are currently cooking, but not at liberty to disclose!). Check them out, and perhaps you might like to follow them, too. First off, you should join the Theatre group on Twitter, and if you post anything about Theatre, include the hashtag: #Theatre.

Local:

@thenextstagemag: Simon Ogden, The Next Stage blogger

@DanceCentre: The Scotiabank Dance Centre

@pitheatre: Pi Theatre

@RachelPeake: a local writer and Ruby Slippers blogger

@CynnamonS: my fellow publicist and gal-about-town

@TheElectrics: Electric Theatre Co.

@TheatreUBC:

@ShamelessHussy: Both of these are the tweets of Deb Pickman

@bcfilmmaker: Peter D. Marshall, Film Director, blogger and social media enthusiast

@TJBuffoonery: Trilby Jeeves, Bouffon

@SMLois: Lois, Stage Manager at Pacific Theatre, and blogger

@Stevely: Publicist and Commercial Drive blogger

@UQEvents: That great new events listing site

@BronwenRules: Actor and one of my personal fave people

@CatLH: Actor and owner of Biz Books

@ShaneBee: Blogger and owner of LeftRightMinds

@CosmoCanuck: Adam is an actor, blogger and photographer

@MonicaHamburg: blogger, actor, social media

@LeeHVincent: works on Skydive

@StraightArts: the arts section of The Georgia Straight

@jconnellyphoto: Headshot photographer

Canada:

@Luminato: The Toronto Festival

@bfg85: A Toronto actress

@ianmackenzie: Praxis Theatre blogger

@Toronto_Fringe

@LindsayWriter: Lyndsay Price, writer and blogger on Theatrefolk

@KrisJoseph: Actor out of Ottawa

@jcovert: Publicist for the NAC in Ottawa

@a_mandolin: theatre artist, Toronto.

US:

@urbantheatre

@lekogirl

@_dana_

@nickkeenan

@WendyRosenfeld: Theatre critic in Philadelphia

@StoryTolar: Actor in LA, Debra Olson-Tolar

@directorsector

@TravisBedard: Blogger of Midnight Honesty at Noon (Austin)

@pmull: Director and writer (Virgina)

@JessHutchinson, AD of a theatre in Chicago

@OnStageLighting

UK:

@moremattrlessrt: Two Day Productions, Scotland

@actorexpo: London & Edinburgh’s Trade show for actors

@Xuxa2: a UK Actress

@LondonTheatre

@djchadderton: David Chadderton, a theatre writer/reviewer in England

@devioustheatre: a company from Ireland

Australia:
@dramagirl: Kate Foy

And a couple of celebrity  actors, just for fun:

@JohnCleese

@StephenFry

@MrsKutcher (Demi Moore)

@APlusK (Ashton Kutcher)

@JaneFonda (who is currently on Broadway for the first time in decades, and blogging/twittering all about it… Go Jane!)

If  I’ve missed anyone, or you’ve joined since this post was published, please add yourself to the comments section below.

And Twitter ON!!

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A Twitter Resource Guide December 1, 2008

Last week, I did an interview with Trilby Jeeves about the basics of Twitter, which is the micro-blogging site that is rapidly taking over the social networking world. Since then, I have come across tons and tons of really great resources on Twitter, and wanted to share them.

First off, though, I feel like I am finally starting to get the hang of this Twitter thing. Funny, because the only thing I really have to compare it to is Facebook, which I immediately and violently took to. But I’ve been on Twitter for about 5-6 months, now, and I feel like I am just getting the hang of it, or, as Trilby says, discovering my “Twitter Voice.”

My experience of Twitter is that it is much more about resource sharing and less about your personal stuff, which Facebook is so good at. There are lots and lots and lots of people on Facebook who just use it for social networking with their friends and family. Some are using it for business as well, but on Twitter, at the end of the day, I think pretty much everyone is on there for business. Some are bloggers, trying to increase traffic to their site, some are out-and-out businesses, but there are far less posts that read like Facebook status lines on Twitter,  I think.

I also think that Twitter is kind of like a tease. For example, I recently twittered about a show I was working on, The Thing About Men. Instead of saying “Going to the opening of a new show, The Thing About Men, (URL),” I wrote “Here’s the thing about men: (URL).” Twitter posts work best when they don’t (as mom always said) give away the cow. A sense of humour helps, too.

So I promised you some resources, right? Okay, here ya go: I’ll repost the few links that I included with the original blog post.

Twellow: is a Twitter search directory.

The Twitter Handbook is a free, downloadable resource for Twitter users.

David Tinney has an excellent blog article called The ABC’s of Using Twitter Effectively.  He talks about things like automatic versus self-written welcome messages, the protocol of using your photo, and what percentage of personal tweets to business you should use.

Twitter Grader is a tool to let you know how successful you are as a Twitterer. It measures how many followers you have, how many people you follow, and how many posts a day you do. Then it somehow puts that together in a score out of 100. Interesting, but could be depressing.

Mr. Tweet billed “your personal networking assistant”, Mr Tweet can help you to find people you should be following that are beyond your current network, or figure out which of your followers you should be following back. Very cool.

Tweet Later: is productivity tools for busy Tweeple. It includes, among other things, a way to send your new followers an automatic welcome message.

Tweet Deck: “aims to evolve the existing functionality of Twitter by taking an abundance of information i.e twitter feeds, and breaking it down into more manageable bite sized pieces.”

Go forth and Tweet…

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What the Tweet?!?? A rookie’s guide to Twitter November 21, 2008

You’ve probably heard of Twitter. It is rapidly becoming extremely popular–some say, even more popular than Facebook. If you’re wondering what all the hoopla is about, and what the point is of joining another huge time-waster, read on!

For this blog post, I interview Trilby Jeeves, actor and instructor of the fine art of “Le Bouffon”. She says of

Trilby Jeeves talks about the Twitter phenomenon

Trilby Jeeves

her Twitter experience:

“I started a few months ago, and was very reticent to get involved. Then slowly I started joining some conversations, and when I got some responses I started getting hooked. Then I started being encouraged for my writing, and I started learning from different people’s blogs, and then I started enjoying helping others, too. I like giving book suggestions, video suggestions, moral support…. It’s all about building trust. You find your voice and the people who like your voice and vice versa. I’m still finding my twitter voice, but its coming. I read someone’s twitter advice which was don’t just try to be clever… be true to you and that’s when the followers come. I still wish there was a better word for “follower”!!”

TAoTB: What is Twitter?
TJ: Twitter is micro-blogging. You have only 140 characters to express or share a thought. For me, it’s an online global networking party, and it’s live–conversations and information are being shared constantly. Because it is global there are always people sharing thoughts, and they can be personal or informational. Maybe the best thing to compare it to is your status line on Facebook. I would like to start a blog and I find this is a great introduction to that world.

TAoTB: How does it work?
TJ: Once you sign up, you start looking for interesting people to “follow”, namely, people who share similar interests or who have experience from which you would like to learn. You can do this by uploading your email address book and seeing how many people you already know are on Twitter (note: the ‘Search’ feature is disabled on Twitter right now). You can also use a site like Twellow. Once you are following someone, you can look at who else is following him or her or who they are following and link up with them. It’s amazing how quickly your list of followers can grow.

TAoTB: How can Twitter help me to market my arts-based business?

TJ: Through developing relationships online, you have an opportunity to help people, and to have people help you. A lot of artists, actors, writers, and people in the creative world won’t venture into social networking because they are scared it will take them away from their work. Once you have figured out the system, though, you can let it work for you, and it takes up less of your time.  It really is like any networking where everyone shares his or her work, and maybe someone knows someone who could use your service. All Twitter does is increase the possibility of more exposure, both in your own community, and globally. I know that traffic to my own website has increased a lot from Twitter. And people are hearing about “Le Bouffon” in an indirect way, which is also good for me. This could eventually translate to business!

Marketing is traditionally where artists fall short because it isn’t where their interests lie, but the reality is, if you wish to make a living from your art you need to let people know it exists! Setting aside a small amount of daily time to use the social networking tools can open up doors for you. I’ve already made some super interesting contacts. I needed an actor to help with our workshop in Singapore and we found him on Twitter! (He also took us to a great restaurant for seafood!)

TAoTB: What do I need to know to get started?

TJ: Go to www.twitter.com and choose a user name. This is the name you will be known by online, so make sure it has something to do with your business. For example, my Twitter name is TJBuffonery. Or if you are branding your name, use your own name. Once you choose your username and password, you need to set up your profile, which should reflect who you are and what you do, and it’s the place to put your blog, or your website.

Now you can start looking for people to ‘Follow’. You do this by looking at their profile page, and then you click the little grey button beneath their name that says “Follow.” You are now following them, and when they publish a post, or “Tweet”, you will see it when you log on to Twitter. Conversely, anyone who is following you will be able to read your Tweets.

You can now also start posting. But you only have 140 characters for your post so you get good at concise writing. You can ask for advice or help, or respond to someone else’s request, or it’s equally okay to write personal stuff. I think the best Tweeters are those that post a mix of personal and business. If you are a blogger, Twitter is a great place to announce a new blog post or invite people to look at your latest Flickr stream.

Some notes about using Twitter:

  • Although the space is limited in Twitter, most people still use full sentences whenever possible, instead of using shorthand like a text message. For example, you should write “later” instead of “l8tr”
  • When you are posting a URL that you want people to look at, it is common to use a service like Tiny URL or SnipURL to shorten the size of your URL. That way your whole post is not taken up with just the URL.
  • There are two ways to directly message your followers or people you are following on Twitter. One is through Direct Messaging (DM), which is kind of like sending an email–only that person will see the message. The second way is an @ message, where you write something like “Writing a blog post on Twitter for newbies with @rebeccacoleman.” This kind of post will be able to be viewed by anyone following you. It’s a way of introducing people to other people in your network. Also, if you include another person in the post with @ that person will also see the update.

Those are the basics of Twitter, but before you get too into it, you might want to read an online resource that can give you some more detailed rules, like  http://twitterhandbook.com/blog. This article by Jeff Woekler is also great: Seven Secrets of Highly Successful Twitters.

Trilby Jeeves is an actor and instructor of “Le Bouffon.” She is passionate about helping people break through their critical and overworked thoughts to reach the honest depths of instinctive performance. She is an active social networker, and you may follow her on Twitter @tjbuffoonery. Her website is: www.buffooneryworkshops.com


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