Using Twitter effectively

Everyone talks about Twitter . . . but how do you turn from one more background noise to a tool that reaps results?

Here’s a great round up of companies that are using Twitter effectively.

If you haven’t already discovered this newsletter, Larry Chase’s Web Digest for Marketers, you should sign up as Larry Chase always has something interesting!

Best Twitter Feeds for Sales Lead Generation

You see a lot of “how-to” articles on ways to use Twitter for marketing. But, what is missing is a list of the best examples showing how Twitter actually is used to sell products and services.

From such a list, you can learn best practices to employ for your own Twitter feed.

Sr. Editor Janet Roberts reviewed over 500 feeds and came up with this list of finalists, written in Twitter style (more or less). First up are the B2C examples, followed by the B2B examples.

Handmark

This mobile-app developer (78,000 followers) uses prolific and quirky tweets to announce and promote product launches and provide some customer support.

Denny’s (Dennys Allnightr)

Restaurant chain’s Allnightr feed caters to late-night dining with evening meal deals timed to launch when the munchies strike, plus regular menu promos.

Visit Chicago

Tourism bureau tweets a wide range of area attractions and events, especially the offbeat, plus tips and ticket deals for discovering Chicagoland.

Dell Outlet

With 1.6 million followers and $3 million in annual sales, Dell’s Twitter outlet is doing something right. It’s the model to follow for content and frequency.

Groupon

The original limited-inventory, fast-expiry group coupon retailer now has a Twitter feed for each city it covers (70+, sampling Vegas here), each one tweeting a daily coupon special.

Wilton Cakes

Bakeware/cake-decorating manufacturer tweets daily product deals, tips, two-fers and trouble-shooting. Also cross-promotes to its Facebook fan page.

Synchronicity Theatre

Broadway, take note: Small but active Atlanta theatre group tweets last-minute deals to put fannies in seats, get noticed, raise funds and build its community profile.

Bloomingdale’s

High-end retailer tweets price-driven daily deals, celebrity visits, store events and fashion news/advice in a zippy, shopper-friendly tone.

Walmart

Daily Tweets get sorted into “departments” (HBA, mp3 downloads, electronics, limited-time or “while supplies last” deals, etc.) but support mainly Web shopping, not printable coupons.

Travelzoo

Cruises for under $50/day, half off at hip NYC boutique hotel, NYC to London for under $100/day. Travelzoo tweets hot deals like these plus travel advisories, tips and quips.

Think before your click.

Social networking sites are now rampant with viruses and spam, according to the New York Times. For Viral Crooks, Social Networks are Prime Targets, is an important read for everyone who uses social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Here are some scary statistics excerpted from that article:

Sophos says that 21 percent of Web users report that they have been a target of malicious programs on social networks. Kaspersky Labs, a Russian security firm, says that on some days, one in 500 links on Twitter point to bad sites that can infect an inadequately protected computer with typical viruses that jam hard drives. Kaspersky says many more links are purely spam, frequently leading to dating sites that pay referral fees for traffic.

The problem lies in the fact that people are much more likely to trust a link they think was sent to them by a friend.

Twitter sites can now be hijacked so that before you know it you’re broadcasting someone else’s message to your contacts.

Bottom line? Think before you click. Ask your contact if you’re not sure. And check your social networking accounts frequently to make sure you’re not inadvertently sending out the wrong kind of message!

YouTube Best Practices

So much of my attention is now focused on YouTube that I’ve launched a new site with my partner in this venture, John Samellas.  www.YouTubeBestPractices.com is a site that discusses how to get the most out of your enhanced YouTube Channel. It provide updates on the special features available only to Google Content Providers like John.

Of course, it also will address integration of YouTube with Twitter, Facebook and other social networking media. It just didn’t fit in the title.

Check it out and let us know what you’d like to see. We’ll be featuring the best (and worst) of YouTube along with tips and suggestions.