Twitter case studies

Posted: April 2, 2014 in Marketing, Social media

Has anyone else noticed a fall in engagement on social media. It’s becoming harder and harder to attract attention in a crowded market that many experts are saying has peaked. My own view is that users are becoming more sophisticated and are gravitating towards experts and influencers who have worked out how to make their feed successful. To combat this we need to look at specific successful case studies.

Engaging with the Twittersphere

For small companies such as Vape-It, who provide liquid and innokin kits as alternatives to smoking, one of the benefits of using Twitter is that it allows them to engage directly with similar organisations and to get Tweet Journalism coverage. For instance, @VapingPress is a Twitter based journal that brings together the trending news, topics, and information concerning vaping. Small companies can improve their image by retweeting from journals, and can learn about their markets by following them. Following a journal like @VapingPress means being intimately connected with other vaping organisations, knowing what they are up to, keeping up-to-date with marketing ideas, and understanding the target audience. As with other social media platforms such as Facebook, using Twitter for marketing is a good example of how the marketing process has become increasingly socially interactive in recent years. Companies no longer tell the audience what the audience would like. Instead, companies engage with an audience on multiple levels in order to listen and learn about what the audience desires.

Sites such as @LiquidVapeUk show how small companies can turn the Twittersphere to their advantage by engaging with it. They follow nearly 2000 sites, and in turn have almost 1000 followers, the most of any vape site in the UK. @Vapeituk in contrast only follow 30, and have just 79 followers.

Using it Wisely

One of the secrets to marketing success on Twitter is celebrity endorsement. Celebrities tend to have millions of followers, who receive every single Tweet that they post. UNICEF India used the celebrity angle with their successful marketing campaign. The UNICEF site would give public thanks to anyone who used the hashtag #Awaazado (Hindi for “speak Up”), and this meant that celebrities raised their own profiles by endorsing the work of UNICEF India, whilst the NGOs message was widely spread around the internet.

Twitter can often seem a bit random. Some people will say that this is why it is so engaging. However, business tends to be measured by results and these are two examples of organisations using Twitter in a very specific and considered way.

This is one of those very important questions that everyone will have an opinion on. Ultimately there is only one important opinion and that is the one from Google itself. Google’s representative on earth is Matt Cutts, so lets get the answer from the horse’s mouth. That’s a phrase, I’m not calling the lovely Matt a horse.

Matt was asked whether there was a version of Google that was publicly available that gave results excluding the influence of links. What a great question. Matt replied that there wasn’t one publicly available but that, of course, Google has one that they looked at and that;

‘… excluding backlink relevancy resulted in ‘much worse’ search quality.’

It couldn’t be much clearer; not worse but much worse. In spite of all the spam, which tends to get most of the focus in the discussion, links improve search quality. I think we can assume that, generally, links are more good than bad and they are still and will remain for the foreseeable future very important.

While it would be fair to say that American Express is no longer the leader in its industry, VISA and MasterCard are clearly the big players, American Express still understands what it takes to reach out to people. The company has a two pronged approach to bringing new customers into the American Express fold while also battling to maintain their existing customers. Given the competitive nature of the credit card industry, retaining customers can be a challenge. It is easy to provide low introductory sign-up rates which entice people from other firms or to sign up initially but when the initial period is over, many will look to move away to another credit card company where they can benefit from the sign-up benefits on offer there.

This is where American Express knows that they have to provide benefits to existing customers that can also play a part in signing up new members as well. The notion of content in marketing usually centres on the written word and content on web pages. This is crucial for many businesses but it is also important to consider the sort of tangible content that can be delivered to users. Any business looking to properly engage and interact with their users should be able to provide them with benefits that they cannot get anywhere else.

American Express has focused on providing exclusive content to many of their users and one of the most successful approaches the firm has had comes from the American Express Unstaged campaign. This is where they stream live gigs by some of the largest names in the music industry. The company gets some of the biggest directors in the world on board to take control of the footage.

In addition to the concert footage being streamed, the company also provides exclusive videos before and after the gig. This provides people with an opportunity to see some of their favourite acts in a way that they would not be able to do so in any other way. The company caused a huge splash when they got Coldplay to play a gig for them in 2011. The show became the biggest single artist event that YouTube had ever shown and American Express was right at the heart of it.

It is also important to understand the importance of YouTube.  It is the second biggest search engine in the world, second only to Google. It is also a place where people hang out, make recommendations and interact with their friends. In many ways, YouTube is the equivalent of Facebook but with added search engine capabilities.

Not only did American Express manage to score themselves some major celebrity endorsements with these gigs, but also the company’s name was displayed all over one of the biggest search engines in the world and it was in the place where millions of people were hanging out. This is the sort of promotion that money can very rarely buy and American Express owned it.

There is a lot being written about content at the moment and people tend to think of it in terms of articles. You have to ask how many more articles can the the Internet take. However, content is more than that. It includes music concerts and films and many brands are now looking for ways in which they can offer this sort of content exclusively to their clients in order to gain attention in the crowded market. Consider this; what if One Direction singles were only available to customers of a specific mobile phone brand? Okay, it may sound implausible and there are credibility issues when brands become too involved with artists. However, if American express can own a Coldplay gig what else might happen?

A male mannequin in a suit

Small and medium-sized enterprises often come up against hurdles when attempting to gain market share, largely due to the high levels of competition seen across all industries. Thanks to the recession and subsequent steps towards recovery, a number of small start-ups have flooded the market, all seeking to expand and become key rivals for larger firms.

Taking Inspiration

While this can often seem like an “us and them” situation, one of the best ways of launching a successful marketing campaign centred around the research of potential customers is to take inspiration from your biggest rival, or from a firm which has enjoyed huge success – take Amazon, for example. Amazon is indisputably one of the most successful multinational corporations in existence at the moment, and a key reason for this is the fact it gives customers exactly what they want.

When using Amazon, customers have to create a user profile which stores details of past purchases and a “wish list” of desirable items. Amazon then gains information about their customers and is therefore well-placed to make tempting recommendations in future, thus increasing the company’s chance of making future successful sales and boosting profits.

Adapting for the Small Scale

Although this marketing technology may not be viable for smaller businesses, either due to cost or ease of implementation, there are several ways to adapt a strategy on a smaller scale. Using social networking, for example Facebook or Twitter, to research the most popular items you stock in the eyes of your consumer base allows you to then order in similar items or increase the range on offer.

Similarly, asking customers to compile a “wish list” of items they would like you to stock demonstrates both a willingness to make changes based on the desires of your customers and a determination to go the extra mile in meeting customer satisfaction targets. In turn, this builds a reputation for loyalty which is a valuable tool in any marketing campaign – new customers will be attracted to your business and additionally existing customers will be more likely to return.

Social networking is a great way of researching potential customers when embarking upon a new marketing campaign thanks to the large-scale accessibility and speed of the platform. By encouraging customers to “like” your Facebook page or “follow” your Twitter account, your business can gain insights into the wants and needs of a widespread consumer base as well as getting your name out there.

Sometimes it seems that the large companies with the marketing clout have all the advantages, but one of the effects of social media is to create a much more level playing field on which switched on small companies can get ahead of larger competitors by being smart and listening to potential as well as existing customers.

Is a degree worth having?

Posted: August 20, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

Everything I know about SEO and White Hat Linking has been self taught. I was reading an article about University degrees on Recruiting Lens and it made me wonder how useful many degrees are in the real world. I think I have learned at least as much useful knowledge under my own steam and I’m glad not to have a student debt around my neck.

Some degrees are essential. If you want to be a doctor, engineer or nuclear physicist then the correct education and grades are essential. That’s fine and it makes complete sense. However, there are a whole host of degrees where the benefits are questionable; both in terms of the learning involved and also the salaries available to those who gain them.

Staffordshire University offers a degree course called David Beckham Studies and, yes, it is all about Becks. Occidental College in California offers a course called The Phallus and Plymouth and Melbourne Universities have teamed up to offer a degree in Surfing Studies. These courses are patently ridiculous, but there are more widely subscribed to courses that are also questionable.

Degrees in philosophy and sociology seem often to be taken by people who aren’t sure what career they want to follow. Many companies place a weighting on technical degrees in the fields of science and mathematics when they are evaluating a candidate.

Media studies and sports science are both degree subjects with a poor reputation. Students can leave with a degree in these subjects and tens of thousands of student debt and find themselves in a basic job competing with people without a degree (and without the debt).

Often graduates will say that it’s not just about the academic qualification. Going through a university course is about the experience, both the social experience but also the discipline. Taking a degree teaches you to set out an argument and write a thesis. Having a degree boosts your confidence.

Others argue that these are benefits that can be gained in other ways in a fraction of the time and the cost.

Recently students have been advised not to dumb down their CVs in order to get a job. Apparently many have been changing their educational record to avoid appearing overqualified so that they have a better chance of getting a job in the current tough market. However, getting the wrong job can affect your future career path in a negative way.

In London more that 20% of students from London South Bank and the University of East London were reported jobless six months after leaving university in latest figures.

The right degree is undoubtedly an asset for certain jobs, but take the wrong degree and you can end up carrying a significant student loan debt for no real benefit.


I particularly like advice about understanding psychology. People use social media to develop their personality online. It’s important to understand that.

Originally posted on BizBrag - SEO & Social Media Blog:

Social networking and chat conceptIt doesn’t matter how great your social media campaign is if no one sees it; frankly, it doesn’t matter how great your social media campaign is if it is only reaching the same five or ten people. You need to get your content seen by as many people as you can.

To that end, here are some tips to get your content out there:

View original 1,078 more words

With the marketing budgets of big companies ever-growing there is an increasing gap between what an established big player and a new or small company can afford to spend on their marketing campaigns. Arguably, however, there has never been a better time to be a small company trying to break into or sustain a position in a market place – nowadays its not all about the money that you have but also the time and creativity that you can add to the marketing of your product or service.

When looking to make an impression with a web site or social media you need to devote time and energy if your budget is lacking. Volumes of content, tweets, links, videos will work surprisingly well against the costly development of super web site designed by expensive agencies. It’s all about the noise that you can create about your brand and product.
New technology is key.

Up until a few years ago any videos or filming needed to be professionally produced or it just looked really poor and reflected badly on the company. But with the rise in the Smartphone’s recording abilities, viral marketing and guerrilla marketing means that people no longer expect that incredibly polished production for certain elements of the marketing mix. Work with this and create a campaign that actively differentiates you from the big players through the use of clips and films from Smartphones.

Be a little crazy

Another key way to make your brand stand out is to draw attention to it by doing something completely different – something a little bit crazy – think of a different use for your product and create a campaign surrounding it. BlendTec took this approach as a smaller manufacturer struggling to compete on marketing with the likes of Magimix and Cuisinart. They developed their “Will it blend?” which was a series of films developing the idea of extreme blending. Not much budget needed but it was unique and gained millions of views as a result.

Is there a version of this strategy for your business?

Keep going

It may seem never ending but keep the word out there – continually updating your feeds into the social media sites will keep you brand recognition growing. Look at Flikr and Pinterest accounts to spread the image of your products that little bit further. And do lots of research, for every service or product out there, there will be a chat room, a forum or a community interested – you just need to find them and engage with them.