The ultimate beginners guide to Twitter

Are you struggling to get your head around how Twitter works? And how you can get real return for your efforts?

This post started because I was having trouble finding a guide online to Twitter that was current and useful for our clients – so I decided I needed to make one myself.

So here it is…

My beginners guide to Twitter

Here are a few simple steps to improve your Twitter appearance and to amplify your reach and performance. I’ll break it down into a few of what I consider to be the most important areas.

Twitter is well worth the effort in learning how it all works. It looks like the simplest of the social media sites but its complexity will surprise you. Twitter brings great value in communication, access to information and in content promotion and it is an amazing platform for building relationships.

Twitter profile optimisation

If you look at my Twitter page @meetmikemorgan you will see how I have completed the important elements that people are looking for when they visit a page.

Twitter header image

The Ohiwa Harbour scene is the Header Image. The bio image is one of me fishing – a high res shot. The bio is complete and the website link is added.

So, let’s get started on getting your profile optimised…
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The Best of SEO, Content Marketing, Social Media and CRO – 2012

2012 has been an incredible year for those of us who work online or who have an interest in search, social or any of the other variations in web strategy.

SEO in particular has seen upheaval after upheaval and Google has been instrumental in changing the way web marketing works or doesn’t as the case may be.

Anyone close to SEO will have watched as Google rolled out Panda update after Panda update, threw in a Page Layout update, an Exact Match Domain update, sent out link warnings and banished sites to the outer reaches, and generally shook  things up to such an extent that only the foolhardy would even contemplate manipulative techniques, black hat or webspam.

Best of SEO in 2012

2012 was also a year when social media really crossed over to the general business population in a big way. Even here in New Zealand most SMEs made the leap and invested time or money in their social media presence. As always the big players – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Youtube made frequent and significant changes to their platforms. The result of all this flux in social media means that it is essential keep your finger on the social platform pulse the whole time.

The big winners in 2012 were without a doubt content marketing and blogging and this is mostly down to Google’s efforts. The benefits of an integrated approach to content marketing, technical SEO compliance and social media authority have grown significantly as the year has progressed. Any business that is not considering a content based approach in 2013 will struggle to remain competitive online. (There, said it!)

Midge has done a great job this year in finding every week the very best content published on SEO, social media, content strategy and conversion rate optimisation and has delivered in our Weekend Wrap a combination of thought leadership, tutorials, opinion pieces and even some humour.

We hope you have found the posts educational, inspiring and thought provoking – we certainly have!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Weekend Wrap up on the right here – we won’t spam… ever!

And while you are here please feel free to share with the social media buttons at the top – many thanks!

Here is my roundup of the very best of the Weekend Wrap – enjoy!

SEO

The future of SEO in 2013

Start with this great post from Stoked SEO who ask a number of the most influential SEO writers what they think will happen with Google and search in 2013.

Some of our favourite SEO people here: Jon Cooper, Jason Acidre, John Doherty, Julie Joyce, Paddy Moogan, Will Critchlow and more. Great insights!

Breaking Down the Mormon SEO Strategy

This post from Distilled was a bit of a surprise.

Who would have thought that a church would focus on an intensive SEO campaign and that they would be competing for phrases like Jesus, Church or scriptures.

Fascinating stuff and I really like the comment asking about the Mormon Church’s “conversion” rate! 🙂

An Open Discussion on the Current State of Link Building

This post stood out not only for the calibre of the SEO thought leaders taking part in the discussion and the quality of the information but also for the unique structure of the post and its informal concept.

Link building has definitely changed substantially in 2012.

We Can Do Better Than This

This is one of the standout posts of the year.

Jonathon Colman put together this epic piece which challenges many SEO writers to up their game with their content and to be more creative and inspirational with what they are producing and with the conversations they are having online.

2012 Year In Review: Important Shifts In Google SEO

This post by Tom Schmitz on Search Engine Land is a nice summary of some of the more important SEO changes from 2012.

He covers online reputation and trust, Google and webmaster notifications, over-optimisation penalties, Panda, Penguin, Pirate updates and lots more.
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Weekend Wrap 10 – The Google Dance, Content Mistakes, SEO Checklist

In the Weekend Wrap this week we look at one of the big recent Google updates which dictates what content should go where on your pages, a look at the return of the infamous “Google Dance” and what it means to your website, common mistakes people make with their content marketing, some of the most successful companies on Twitter and how they do it and a great post which shows common grammatical and spelling errors online (bet you can find some you make!) .

This week’s photo – had a weekend away at beautiful Ohope Beach and the image comes from the town of  Whakatane which is ten minutes away.  The Lady on the Rock – located at the mouth of  Whakatane’s harbour holds cultural significance as the statue represents Wairaka, the woman who inspired the name Whakatane.

The Lady On The Rock

SEO / Search Engine Optimisation

Google Page Layout Algorithm Update Should Be Easier To Recover From

Google makes it very clear that websites with quality text based content above the fold will pick up extra Google love. So if your designer wants to fill the top of the page with a slideshow you know what to say. What Google wants, Google gets…

Deployment SEO Strategy and Checklist

There are so many potential problem areas in SEO. All someone needs to do is change one piece of code and you find out only when impressions or visitor numbers begin to fall. (we have seen cases where developers have accidentally deleted all metadata from a site!) Here is a useful checklist for ongoing auditing of SEO processes.

From Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land this post looks at the return of the Google Dance. Because Google has been so active this year with Pandas, Penguins, EMDs, Page Layouts, Blog Networks and much more there has been a noticeable return of the sort of monthly search volatility that gained the nickname “the Google Dance”.

 

4 Unmatched Sources To Track Google Algorithm Updates

And while we are all doing the Google Dance it pays to know what tune we are dancing to and what the BPM of the song is. Here are some of the top sources of info on the many changes Google makes on a monthly basis. Check it out.

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Weekend Wrap 6 – Google Fails Test, Technical SEO and Bob Marley

We kick off the Weekend Wrap with Google in the limelight again, the ongoing process of optimisation, a great post on solving SEO technical issues, what we can learn about marketing from Bob Marley and a lot more to stimulate and educate from the week that was!

Enjoy the posts…

This week’s photo – a Spring storm brought big swells at Muriwai Beach last week – only the gulls seem unfazed!

Spring storm at Muriwai Beach

SEO / Search Engine Optimisation

Would Google Fail Its Own Quality Test?

Following hot on the heels of last week’s leaked Google guidelines on page quality this post runs Google’s own site through the test. How do you think Google fared? (this is pretty funny)

The Importance of Ongoing Optimization – Tips Included

When can you say your site is optimised?  The truth is that you should never stop optimising your content – it’s an ongoing process as explained here.

Common Technical SEO Problems and How to Solve Them

I usually shy aware from ‘techy’ posts but this one is worth its weight in gold!   Excellent technical SEO tips, understanding accidental homepage duplication, 301 redirects, soft 404 errors and much more. File this one away for future reference – you never know when you might need it or know someone else who does!

How to create a lightning fast website

As you are probably aware, site speed is one of the many valuable ranking factors Google looks at.   Wordtracker gives a really useful tutorial on how to improve your site page load speed for that small but subtle lift in search results.
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Is Social Media The Next Big Bang?

I am currently engrossed in the most amazing book by Bill Bryson, some of you will probably have read it already – “A Short History of Nearly Everything” for which he won the prestigious Aventis Prize in 2004 for best general science book. It’s a remarkable book and I believe the world would be a better place if it was mandatory in every school library.

I know I would certainly have taken an interest in science if this book was around in my day and had been readily available to break down the mysteries of atoms and photons.

Bill Bryson is a gifted story-teller and he presents the study of science through this book in an articulate, friendly and light-hearted way and more importantly, in a language everyone can understand.

The most curious thing happened when I was reading this book that had a profound effect on me.  Now I’ve only read the first few chapters so far but no matter what page I turned I couldn’t stop thinking about the incredible similarities between The Big Bang Theory and the arrival of Social Media… it’s quite extraordinary.

Night lights of US West Coast

What about this analogy?

The Big Bang Theory and social media both appeared as uncontrollable events, a force majeure, something that took hold at a moment in time and has been spreading ever since.

“It took three minutes for 98 per cent of all the matter there is or ever will be to be produced and voila! The Universe was born.”

I’m not saying that the “coming” of social media technology was conceived and completed in three minutes, but we do know that this phenomena exploded onto mainstream consciousness in a similar fashion and expanded with a parallel intensity … and is still spreading.

Both events appeared with a “hiss and a roar” on a magnitude of universal proportions.

Social media keeps on expanding…

“In less than a minute the Universe is a million miles across and growing fast.”

In less than six years social media has made a major impact on our lives… and continues to mature and grow on a daily basis.

And what about this from the Book?

“In 1965 Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson were troubled by a persistent background noise, a steady stream of hiss that was relentless and unfocused. It came from every point in the sky, day and night, through every season”.

(Does this remind you of  a small flightless blue bird that has its lodgings in every corner of the world?)

It was eventually discovered that this “persistent background noise” was in fact the edge of the Universe – some 90 trillion miles away!
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Twitter Analytics Tools – A Crowdbooster Review

Management of multiple social media accounts can be a huge drain on your time and resources. Never believe anyone who says social media is free! It ain’t! In this post I will review a Twitter Analytics and scheduling tool called Crowdbooster – no affiliate relationship is involved here so you get nothing but the facts without a pitch. And seeing as this is social – please share with the Tweet, Like, Share type buttons at the top.

Like most people you are probably feeling a little overwhelmed with the sheer number of social media accounts you need to be active on if you are in business.

You are also more than likely finding that tweeting, updating, sharing, liking, +1ing, In-ing (Ha!), pinning, stumbling, tumbling, checking in, digging and every other possible permutation is WEARING you out!

I have written previously about Twitter techniques to engage – this post is about how to cut down on the amount of time spent managing your social media accounts.

Social media analytics

Say hello to the wonderful world of social automation – and before you get up on to your high horse – yes, I can hear the chorus already:

Social is all about the conversation, it is about being in the “now”, it is in real-time… 

I agree, 100%!

And you should never automate conversations in social media, or thank yous, or any other more personalised interactions. Ideally you should check into social media frequently to reply to people… in real time.

However, there are certain aspects of social media which should be automated.

Some of the more mechanical tasks associated with managing your social media can take hours every day if you do these manually.

So, tools to assist with reducing the amount of time you have to spend on social media are a necessity.
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Social Media Marketing Experts Or Amateurs?

Why should you care about social media?

The rapid rise in social media over the last few years has given business owners some pretty exciting tools to connect with their customers.  Social media presents huge opportunities for dialogue in a global market where discussion, sharing information and exchanging ideas contributes to building better and longer lasting relationships with customers.

Who can you trust?

It has also produced a whole new wave of ‘social media marketing experts’ (SMME) or ‘social media managers’ (SMM) willing to be the voice of your business and take control of your social media strategy.

Social media manager with gag

While some SMM’s will prove themselves adept in managing your business campaigns with social cohesion, it still remains intangible for them to become the ‘voice’ of your business.  There has been a lot of debate over this as business owners scream long and loud “You’re crazy if you think I have time to twitter all day”.

With changes in the Internet happening at the speed of light, finding a SMM today is an interesting proposition. There is no code to follow so you need to be sure when casting your eye around to fill this role that you ask the right questions to ensure you get the right answers.  It is essential you confirm they are fully up to date with the increasing speed of changes in the social media landscape…

Beware the amateurs and the damage they can do!

Take a look at how this ‘voice’ of the business went seriously wrong:

You may be willing to hand over the “voice” and reputation of your business to a SMM company who knows nothing about your business.  Within a matter of hours your business is  let loose in the hands of some rookie sitting somewhere in a room full of thirty or forty people in their early 20’s working on commission and claiming to be versed and trained in the art of social media – its bollocks!

Is it a good idea to outsource social media?

How they can even start to get a handle on how your business or any other business operates is beyond me when you are one of hundreds of companies being offered a monthly package with a ‘one size fits all plan.’   You don’t have to look far on any of the social media platforms to recognise some of the accounts they handle and what a dismal job they are doing.

It may seem like an easy option to hand over the tricky job of understanding and using social media to a SMM company.  However, at best you will be ignored, at worst you will effectively damage your online brand and reputation by looking inept!

So… back to square one then?

You can’t afford to ignore the mighty social media giants because you don’t understand how social media works or because you won’t invest the time to learn this stuff.
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Marketing With Twitter! It’s Not All About ROI

Twitter marketing is about giving and sharing information2012 will be the year for businesses of all sizes to seriously acknowledge social media.

Business owners now have an exceptionally powerful and proven marketing tool to add to their portfolio – Twitter!

As we all know Twitter is one of the largest social networks in the world and if you take the time to create and shape a strategy that integrates with your other marketing methods you will certainly reap the benefits.

To understand how marketing with Twitter brings business success can be a daunting prospect if you are not familiar with the nuances of Twitter and it definitely pays to get it right.

Unfortunately most companies are missing out on this opportunity simply because they have not taken the time to understand how Twitter can work for their business.

In his book  “The Tao of Twitter” Mark Schaefer says “I have studied, observed and written about hundreds of different success stories through Twitter and the social web and they all have one common formula running through them.  This is truly the path, the way, the Tao of Twitter.”  

He goes on to describe the business benefits of Twitter as being created through three elements  – one of these is “Authentic Helpfulness.”

In the case studies below I demonstrate how all of these connections have occurred through ‘authentic helpfulness’.

In all cases there was never a pitch for business and no sales page to convert leads.

The connections were made through the genuine desire to offer valuable information to educate and help other business owners understand how they too can reach out to find potential business and partnerships using social media.

As Schaefer says “Content is the new currency of the social web and sharing valuable information is the catalyst to forming new relationships and business partnerships”.
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The Social Media Benefits Of Telling Tall Tales!

What are some of your most cherished childhood memories?

…your most loved activities as a child you have grown up with and continued to love as an adult?

Most of the activities and pleasures we love as children change as we mature and become immersed in adulthood and all the trappings of maturity – career, travel, marriage and families of our own to start the cycle over again.

There does however seem to be one aspect of our childhood that never loses it’s appeal – and that is storytelling.

Tall tales bring social media benefits

 

Just think about it for a minute, at any given time you are either listening to a story being told, you are regaling one to a friend or audience, you are reading someone a story or reading one yourself.

Some smart educators and trainers use storytelling to teach new programmes, managers use them in resolving conflicts, addressing issues and facing challenges and many games are based around stories often in an outrageous form with hyperbole gaining the highest points!

Even your best kept secrets destined only for the most private ears – are stories!

Our existence is one big story made up of thousands of tales that weave together the fabric of our lives, chapters that inspire, sadden, excite, rejuvenate, sparkle, enthuse, bring a delightful end to a long day, evoke buried memories and bring joy and laughter into our lives.

Stories can also frighten, agitate, cause discomfort, scare to death, unnerve, disappoint and make you sad.

You will at some time have come across brilliant raconteurs who can recount their anecdotes and experiences with a talent that leaves you feeling the pain or pleasure of their tale, as if it were your own!

You are probably wondering how this relates to the title of this article: ‘The Social Media Benefits Of Telling Tall Tales’ but before I get to this point I want to indulge you just a little bit more.
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Lists on Twitter – Experienced Marketers Use This Small Trick To Get Big Results!

I am a lists person, I love making lists – some would say it was an obsession…

It’s  a common trait that a fellow Aries will instantly recognize.  So I can’t wait to share with you my new favourite list for 2012 – it’s Lists on Twitter – and it has become the crème de la crème of my social media tools.

There are so many reasons why I love this – it keeps all my favourite Twitter users in one place, gives me easy access, saves time, cuts out out all the noise on Twitter I don’t want and it gets me to where I want to be – instantly.

Using lists on Twitter to save time

Lists on Twitter is the most incredibly helpful tool in many ways and once you start using it – you will wonder how you ever got on without it.

As we all know Twitter is a microblogging service and it has become a social media phenomenon with more than 250 million users.

Twitter is changing the way we communicate!  It has rocketed into the mainstream and has vastly modernized the way customers view products and brands, so there is no need to reiterate here the power of this social media giant.

To get to know your way around Twitter and leverage it’s power for your business is not only smart, but to be quite honest – imperative! There is no doubt about it, Twitter is here to stay.  By implementing great Twitter techniques like Lists you can really start to recognize and measure Twitter’s impact and value.

Let’s talk about Twitter lists – you will see how easy this feature is to use.

Twitter gives you the capacity to create up to 20 lists and to follow as many lists as you want that others have created. As an example, you could put your friends in one list, your closest collaborators in another, your social media favourites in another, your gardening friends in one, your best bloggers in another and so on…

The Lists feature enables you to compile a list featuring all your favourite Twitter users. The really cool thing is once you have got your lists established it will provide you with a huge amount of information right at your fingertips for you to read and share.  Just by creating lists you have freed up the time you would have spent hunting around for valuable information from blogs and publications online.

It’s this easy:
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