Now what?

By Travis on May 20, 2009

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While I am very happy to see the social media activity in Quincy continue to grow at an astounding rate, there’s still some room for growth and additional development. The GREAT thing that has already happened on the Twitter front is that rather than a community of people with no message, a wide variety of non profits, businesses, educational systems, as well as news sources have been very quick to materialize and start utilizing twitter. Here’s why that is so important in my mind. In order to grow a local twitter network it is crucial to have a reason for someone to want to be on twitter. if the network of twitter users are only person a and person b all talking about mundane aspects of their life, there’s a lot of incentive that is created for a person to sign up and become a part of the community. We are fortunate enough to have twitter users among the network that provide a value to a person on twitter. Lists of events that are coming up, breaking news, food specials, there are becoming more and more reasons for someone to first of all want to join twitter…but what’s more important a way for them to get something out of it, as well as begin to appreciate the value of it. We’re doing great on that front.

I would put out a general reminder about the type of content you use for your business or organization. Though it is easy to simply promote yourself by linking to your website. It has potential to grow a bit tiresome to your followers on twitter. It’s important to see twitter as not just a means of advertising, but a means of PR. Don’t quote me, but typically the idea is this; For every four tweets, only one should be a direct and obvious product link. In other words don’t just become a link dropping robot, use twitter to interact with other people, tell the community about things you’re working on, ask questions related to your industry/ area of concentration, strike up conversations.  The point is that you want to be active, it doesn’t really take that much work really. The idea behind social media used for a business or organization is that it gives you a unique ability to form personal connections with those you follow you, or friend you, or whatever the fun catch phrase of the week may be. While it’s great to sell yourself as a business the ability to come across as a authentic company is crucial to be successful and memorable in the eyes of a consumer/follower.

One area where i see room for tremendous growth is the promotion of events. Though local organizations have been doing great stuff with twitter as well as facebook, there is a tool that exists that  could be another source of promotion. it’s called Upcoming by Yahoo (link).  This service allows a user to create an event which is then customized to a user’s zip code. There are some Quincy businesses utilizing this already, however there is a lot of businesses who are not.

My next area of elaboration is the general work flow of social media utilization. If you’re like most people it’s hard to remember to log on to twitter everyday and apply updates. With a resource called tweet later (link) you don’t have to anymore. Tweet later allows you to sign up for free sync a twitter account and pre=schedule tweets. Essentially you have the ability to plan out as many tweets into the future as you want. Total peace of mind that you can go on with your day to day without kicking yourself for missing the opportunity to twitter an upcoming event you are promoting.

Many twitter users think you have to log in to twitter via your web browser every time you want to twitter or check your twitter updates. This is simply not the case. While you CAN do that, life is much easier with a twitter application running on your desktop. I use a free application called Spaz for my twitter account. Spaz is great because all private messages or @replies show up in the stream of tweets, and you also easily have the ability to reply and respond, URL shortening is also built in along with many other popular twitter actions. Spaz is only one solution though,  I’ve just found it to meet my own personal needs, but to each their own.

Don’t forget that if you have an iPhone or a smart phone there is most likely a twitter client available for your phone. Remember in these cases, you always have the ability to stop take two seconds and tweet something that warrants it. You also have the potential to tweet pictures from you have taken from your mobile phones. There aren’t too many people taking advantage of this type of tweeting, but I  really think there are some opportunities for restaurants, news channels, as well as any other tweet that would stand to benefit from a graphical inclusion.

These are just a few of my random thoughts. Overall I am extremely proud of Quincy for getting it’s act together and utilizing the online social tools at our fingertips. There is alot more growing to do, but the progress that has been made in the past two months is astonishing and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

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