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“As a consultant and a person, Nina operates with unvarnished integrity. She’s an honest communicator, knows her material, and puts the needs of her clients above all. Whether you’re a big firm or a small organization, I would give her an unqualified recommendation.” — Sam Richter, Former President James J. Hill Reference Library

Blog Archive

Archive for the ‘Twitter’ Category

The Importance of Optimizing Social Media Profiles

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

It’s obvious that many companies are involved with social media, but the key is making sure that social media is being done the right way.

West Elm has a nice Facebook presence

West Elm does a good job of optimizing social media profiles.

Optimizing social media profiles and engaging with your audience are the main components in successfully handling your social sites. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram seem to continually be the most visually growing social sites, so it’s important to lay out the best way to optimize those sites in order to target the right audience. Aside from including your company’s name, number, website, location and links to other social sites, here are a few ways to better optimize your individual sites and create more engagement within them:

1) Facebook: The more content the better! Always include visuals and video. Make sure that keyword rich titles and descriptions are matching the visuals and videos being uploaded in order to create consistency. Building more engagement with Q/A status and commenting back on comments and reviews are the best ways to show your audience that their engagement matters (remember to tag their names so they receive a notification of your company’s efforts to respond to them).

Twitter is a great way to keep in touch with customers

Here’s a recent tweet from West Elm

2) Twitter: Stay engaged and put out weekly content! It’s important to engage with your Twitter followers by responding to them and even re-tweeting every now and then, but it’s also important to put out content. Featuring products, specials (depending on your company), and tips can be a great way to link back to your official company site or your other company social profiles.

3) Pinterest: More comments, likes and re-pins! More engagement within Pinterest is the best way to showcase your visual products and link back to your company’s official site. Keyword rich titles and descriptions are also important in optimizing your visuals. YouTube videos can also be embedded within Pinterest; it’s a good idea to use the same videos that are uploaded to your Facebook page for consistency!

West Elm is engaging with Pinterest users

West Elm engages with Pinterest users by liking other pins.

4) Instagram: This quickly growing visual site is a GREAT way to showcase your company and give followers an inside look. Getting involved with photo contests and weekly hashtags are great ways to engage with Instagram users and create awareness of your brand. Using consistent keyword hashtags when uploading photos is a good way to keep followers engaged in what is to come next.

West Elm is active with Instagram

West Elm displays “behind the scenes” images on Instagram.

The key to success here is content and consistency. Optimizing social media profiles is a great way to drive traffic to your website, create brand awareness and form loyal bonds with customers. It’s also very important to stay engaged with your audience in order to see successful results.

Happy posting, tweeting, pinning and Instagraming!

Essential Guide for Twitter Self-Serve ads

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

A few months ago Twitter rolled out self-serve advertising for small businesses. Using a promotion from American Express, accounts could sign up to receive  a $100 credit and be among the first to use the service. After a few months and about $500, here’s some essential tips and a quick user’s guide.

The Bottom Line: Twitter Ads for Small Business is a great way for business to grow their follower lists and get important messages in front of more people, in an easy, economical way. I like the service and am continuing it into the unforeseen future (and we’re crazy “measure the value” folks).

Best feature: It’s easy. With only about 5 features in the dashboard, launching Twitter Ads is a snap. If you have a credit card (not sure if it has to be an American Express anymore) and a Twitter account, you can be up and running in about 10 minutes. Just think of the power!

Worst feature: It thinks everything is relevant. It says it uses a “uses a variety of signals” to determine relevancy and then “Promoted Tweets also appear to users similar to an advertising account’s followers. Promoted Tweets will only appear in the timeline of a non-follower if the Tweet is likely to be interesting and relevant to that user.” That’s a lot a control I’ve given up. In short:

1.   It decides who to show it to

2.   It decides what is interesting

But it’s an easy judge. I complained about my hotel: Promoted! I tweeted about a thriller I read: Promoted! I tweeted about kittens: Promoted! I’m tweeting a lot less, now that anything I write could be promoted. Many might argue that it’s a good thing I’m tweeting less, but kittens are just so adorable that I need to talk about them sometimes.

How to use the Twitter ads dashboard.

1.   Choose your location. This allows you to choose the location of people who might see your tweets, You can choose city, state, or country. In the self-serve dashboard there isn’t a feature yet to determine this on a tweet-by-tweet basis, which will be very handy when it arrives.

2.   Choose your objective: clicks or followers. You can choose either or both, and set a cost per click that you’re willing to pay for each one. You can also set a daily limit. The suggested CPC changes, and sometimes ranges pretty high. As with all CPC, if you’re willing to pay more, it will show more often, more prominently, and you’ll thus achieve a higher click-through-rate. 

3.   Override the promoted Tweets. THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT. As mentioned above, Twitter is still somewhat indiscriminate in choosing what’s important. So you should to go in and tell it what not to show. Every time you tweet something that you don’t want to be promoted, you should go to the ad dashboard and tell it not to promote that tweet. 

4.   Detailed Stats. Use the dashboard to see which tweets have received the most impressions and clicks. If you turn one off quickly it might show very few impressions. 

10 Essential Tips for using Twitter Ads.

1.   Determine your objectives. Like any good marketing plan, determine what you want to get out of it. If you can measure the value of each action, that’s even better because then you have a hard number of whether it’s worth it.

2.   Localize. Choose the location of users most likely to meet your objectives. Promoting a local restaurant? Choose your city only. Are you a national business? Target the US.

3.   Set budgets. Choose a daily budget and a cost per click. Is it really worth $5 for each new follower? If you’re a manufacturer trying to show industry leadership in your field, it might be worth that much to get a new follower who could turn into a lead. We post a lot of job openings and a higher cost per click is worth it to us to get in front of a new crowd.

4.   You don’t have to follow their budget guidelines. If they suggest $14 cost per click, you might decide it’s only worth $1.05. That’s ok, but be ready for lower clickthrough rates and that your account or tweet won’t show as often. It’s likely based on competition, so someone is getting value from it.

5.   Use caution with hashtags. If you’re promoting a tweet and use a hashtag, you’ll be charged if people click on the hashtag. My “#greenmnms” hashtag that refers to “reading the fine print” got 10 clicks, spending about $1 per click. 

6.    Link to your site. You’re trying to promote a special offer, or deeper content that shows your industry knowledge. Ask yourself “will someone want to hire me or buy my product if they read this?”

7.   Don’t link to other sites. You get charged for clicks (which include favorites, replies, retweets), so if you put a link in there, you’re going to get charged for clicking on that link. 

 8.   Make a good landing page. The standard eMarketing mantra holds true. Have a call to action on your landing page, and make sure that the page is a good first impression for visitors who have never been to your website before.

9.   Encode your links. Add a campaign ID or a Google UTM code to each link. This allows you to separate tweets, topics, and campaigns so you can measure and continuously improve.

10.   Don’t “set it and forget it”! Every time you post a tweet, go into the dashboard and make sure you disallow that tweet unless it’s one that will further your objectives. Twitter says that “our algorithms will automatically select your most engaging content and broadcast it to the people you’re trying to reach.” But it’s hard for any algorithm to understand relevancy and nuance.


2012 Olympics – Links to 12 Official Websites, Hashtags and Apps

Thursday, July 26th, 2012



Bob Costas became the lead announcer for the Olympics in 1992 when cell phones were large, bulky and SLOW and expensive. (all have improved, with the exception of the expense – unlimited data plans are ridiculous!).

Jump ahead 20 years, and they’ve become must have accessories for approximately 83% of American adults – of which approximately 50-53% own smart phones according to the Pew Internet Project & Nielsen.  Smart phone adoption rate since the last summer games in ’08 has been astronomical – it’s up from just 19% in 2009!

This will be the first time the games can be real time in the palm of the hands of over half the US population.

Here’s a quick list of official links to bookmark, follow or download (quick!) to keep up on the results from each event:

Important Websites


Twitter Hashtags & Feeds







Apps  (there are 3 available!!)


Like many, I will become absorbed in Olympic mayhem come Friday.  I will be watching the opening ceremonies for sure (can anything top Beijing?), and following old favorites like Phelps & the Williams sisters and watching the newest Olympians take the podium.  No longer do I have to wait for Bob Costas to give me the highlights after the evening news.  My iPhone and iPad are all I need.   Now, if only Twitter can keep up…



How do you plan on following your favorite events & athletes?  Have you found any good ones to add to this list?

Are You ‘Doing Twitter Wrong’?

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

I woke up at 6:15 this morning, with an optimistic outlook on my day. By 6:19, that was all over. Mashable tweeted that a report said marketers are doing Twitter wrong. PANIC!

After getting ready in record time (lie), barely taking time to eat breakfast (lie) or have coffee (are you kidding me?), I rushed to the site to read the article, based on a Buddy Media report, in its entirety. No one wants to wake up one morning and learn they’ve been doing everything wrong. That is no way to start a day.

I’ll highlight some of the report’s main findings, and try my best to make sense of them.

The report says brands…

 Are tweeting too much on the wrong days.

Great. Now even more people are confused about “when to tweet” and “which day is best to send a tweet.” The answer? It depends on your audience and your experience. But the middle of the night is probably not a good time to tweet, and the end of a Friday afternoon might not be ideal unless you’re promoting a local happy hour special or weekend event. Also, many people are afraid to tweet something more than once, but it’s OK to send second-chance tweets if you have audiences in various time zones and you feel the content is important enough.

Aren’t tweeting enough on the weekends.

See below.

Don’t realize that tweets published during “busy hours” (i.e. on weekdays) perform best.

See above.

Not using hashtags enough.

This is a joke, right? Is it me, or does it seem like #every #brand #uses #hashtags #constantly? In fact, I would argue that many are using too many hashtags, or aren’t using them effectively. For example, the use of multiple hashtags in a tweet will likely distract people. They’ll click a hashtag and get lost in a sea of tweets barely (maybe) related to what you’re actually talking about. If you’re sharing a link and also include even one hashtag, you risk followers not clicking the link you want them to, and again, getting lost in hashtag land.

Here are a couple of good example of hashtag use:

One hashtag to connect everyone who joins the conversation.
No hashtag, just a link. Keeping things easy.

And a not so good:

So much going on. Where do I click?!

This is a promoted tweet, meaning Pepsi is actually paying for every interaction: every click of every hashtag and link. Yikes! Even Twitter says using more than two at a time is “probably overkill.”

Then the phrase “tweet spot” was used and I went back to bed.

Minnesota AMA – Mark Schaefer’s Keynote on Influence Marketing

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Yesterday, I had the honor of speaking at the Minnesota AMA Annual Conference, and the pleasure of listening to a great presentation by Mark Schaefer, influence marketing expert and author of Return on Influence, which explores “how brands are identifying and leveraging the world’s most powerful bloggers, tweeters and YouTube celebrities to build product awareness, brand buzz and new sales.”

A constant theme throughout the day’s keynotes and breakout sessions was the growing importance of great content, and Schaefer offered some valuable direction on content creation. In his marketing courses at Rutgers University, he encourages students to create content that is RITE.

  • Relevant
  • Interesting
  • Timely, and
  • Entertaining

For his book, Schaefer interviewed Michael Brito from Edelman Digital about the concept of RITE content, and Brito advises that relevant content is appropriate in terms of audience and platform, and adds value to the conversation. Also, the content must align with the nature of the conversation – are people voicing opinions, asking questions, looking for recommendations?

Brito feels that anyone can create interesting content, providing they can put their own unique spin on whatever it is they write. “How does the subject relate to you – your observations, your experiences, your life, your stories?” asks Brito. “This isn’t narcissism; it’s the soul of originality.”

In his book, Schaefer offers the following ideas to ensure timely content creation:

  • Utilize people and resources to stay on top of developments in your industry
  • Subscribe to blogs, journals and newsletters in your field and read them daily
  • Try to be first to comment (tweet, post or otherwise) on breaking news, developments
  • Make connections between  those developments and implications for your customers

Entertaining content need not be silly, but it should be memorable, says Schaefer. He suggests using photos, video and humor to entice people to read and remember your content. Entertaining content is also more likely to be shared.

Among other memorable takeaways, Schaefer urged AMA attendees to stop thinking of customers and potential customers in terms of B2B or B2C, but rather in terms of P2P – people to people, and to recognize the potential to connect not only with a primary audience, but also the “audiences of that audience.”

Read more from Mark Schaefer at his company website, Schaefer Marketing Solutions.

Coming Soon: Twitter Ads for Small Businesses

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Twitter advertising has been a hot topic this year, with countless big brands signing up to reach the 300+ million users to promote their airlines, luxury cars, sodas and numerous other consumer products. A beta program in which advertisers were vetted and approved, the minimum cost for Twitter ads was $5,000. A month. With a three-month obligation.

That’s pretty steep for many small and even mid-sized businesses, especially to test something out for the first time. Advertising on Twitter was deemed a tactic small businesses with similarly-sized advertising budgets could only dream of.

Until now.

Teaming up with American Express, Twitter recently announced a small business advertising solution, which will roll out in March to the first 10,000 applicants (small business owners who are also AmEx card holders). The self-serve program will allow advertisers to buy and place their own ads, ala Google Adwords.

The small business ads will be similar to the Twitter advertising program that was already available bigger brands and budgets, but actually obtainable, as there won’t be the $5,000 a month, three-month minimum. Small business can finally test Twitter ads with their own budgets, for their own needs. And AmEx will even throw in $100 advertising credit to those lucky enough to be among the first 10,000 to try it out.

There will be two advertising options available: Promoted Accounts and Promoted Tweets. Here’s how they work:

Earn more followers with Promoted Accounts

Great for building a following you can continually engage with, this option would show your business’s Twitter profile as a recommendation to users for “who to follow.” But who sees that recommendations? That’s up to you. That’s right: you can determine who sees the suggestion based on their location, interests or topics they’re discussing on Twitter.

Imagine if you own a business that provides a product or service that someone just tweeted that they wanted / needed. Your profile could be shown as someone they should follow. You might even get to some users before they go to do a Google search for auto repair, new lighting, or real estate agent, etc…
The cost per follower really depends on the competition, but since it’s so low, even big businesses aren’t paying much more than a couple of dollars, so it’s likely much less for small businesses. This option may be best for most small businesses who are still working on building their brand awareness and following.

Spread your message with Promoted Tweets

Let’s say you’ve been fairly active on social media, and are feeling pretty good about your follower base on Twitter. First, good for you! We are aware of the hard work and dedication that goes into building and nurturing a Twitter presence. Now, maybe you don’t want to necessarily pay for followers; that’s fine. There’s still an advertising option for you by way of Promoted Tweets.

Promoted Tweets allow you to share a message (that, if we’ve taught you anything, includes a link back to your website or some sort of call to action you’re hoping for viewers to take) visible in your followers’ streams, as well as the streams of users Twitter finds similar to your followers. So yes, if the message is relevant to them, you could end up with new followers as well.

The main difference with this option is that instead of paying for each new follower you earn from an ad, you pay for engagement. A click to a link, hashtag, or the details pane all count as engagement, as well as a retweet, reply, or favorite.

Sure, it may sound like a lot of options to spend money, but remember, you set your own bids and manage your budgets and again, competition is low, low, low. Big businesses who’ve been utilizing Promoted Tweets have had a minimum cost per engagement of $0.10, but it’s widely suggested to set the CPE bid at least $0.50. Again, that’s big businesses, so small businesses starting out can likely expect to pay much less.

If you’re not able to be among the first 10k for the AmEx trial, be prepared for Twitter to roll out its small business advertising in the coming months.

Growing Twitter Followers by Using Google AdWords

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

A Pro Bono client of ours, Ploughshares, is a non-profit grant-making organization dedicated to the safety and elimination of nuclear weapons. Google has generously awarded Ploughshares a Google Grant, which grants a level of free clicks on Google AdWords for qualified keywords and ad copy, and we have assisted in applying for the grant and watching over it.

After the Tsunami in Japan, Ploughshares President Joe Cirincione was in great demand by the media for his expertise about the issues and risks associated with radiation from the Diiachi nuclear plant at Fukushima. Both Joe and the Ploughshares organization are well known as knowledge experts on nuclear issues. They both have active Twitter feeds where they share their knowledge – as well as that of their grantees.

After the damage to the nuclear plant in Fukushima, we created some additional campaigns in their Google Grant built off keyword searches pertinent to Ploughshare’s expertise and the crisis. One of the campaigns was geared towards growing more followers on Twitter for Joe. This was highly relevant because of his rapid updates about the crisis. The exciting thing about this campaign was that it created a new avenue to grow followers for a Twitter feed. Identifying specific keywords from people looking for analysis and updates about the nuclear situation in Japan, we had results of over a 5% click-through rate, still within the boundaries of the Google Grant. 5% clickthrough rate, in most situations is a very strong result. Over the past month we’ve sent 1,251 people to Joe’s Twitter feed from Google AdWords. And while Joe has been very prominent in the media during this time so he’s likely growing his followers from many channels. We don’t know the full source of followers, but Joe has grown his Twitter audience by over 1,000 followers – nearly 30% growth – in the last month.

What excites us about this is that we’ve been able to assist in identifying a channel to get more Twitter followers. We’ve done this for Facebook – using Google AdWords to grow the fan base, in the same manner.

Promoted Tweets: Twitter rolls out advertising on a CPM basis

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010


Starting April 13, Twitter will roll out the option to buy the top result in the live searches on Twitter. This allows businesses to control the first message seen on a topic, and assures their posts have a prominent voice. There are still a lot of unknowns about the program, but we’ve tried to roll up as much information and analysis as we’ve found. We’ll definitely be a source for strategy and execution of this as it becomes widely available.

How Will It Work?

When a Twitter user searches for something on Twitter, an advertiser can pay to have one of their own posts show up in the top result. A search on Twitter can be through a search box, through clicking on a hashtage or by searching on a name, hashtag, or other keyword. In normal results, the most recent posts that fit that search will show in results. In Promoted Tweets, the advertiser’s chosen post will show first.

What’s In It For YOU?

Some primary uses for Promoted Tweets

  • Reputation. A company can use it to ensure that their side of an issue or scandal is told.
  • Veracity. To dispel rumors.
  • Sales. Promoting offers, deals, or availability of items.
  • Events. Promoting your post at the top of searches for hashtag events, you can ensure that people know you’re a part of it.
  • Loyalty. Promoting yourself as the best at what you do.
  • Authority. Possibly one of the more important uses of this is to establish yourself as the authority on a subject.

What Is The Reach Of Promoted Tweets?

Twitter is looking into a pay-for-performance model by analyzing the "resonance" of a Promoted Tweet. This would factor retweets, replies, and favorites to determine how good the ad is, akin to a quality score on Google AdWords. Those with high resonance will continue to be shown, while those with lower resonance will disappear as a Promoted Tweet, but go into the Tweet trail.

Can Your Competitors Or Haters Damage You?

Steve Helland from Fredlaw has given us some ideas about this could mean legally. More details to follow.

Is It An Open Program?

Right now this is being offered in a closed pilot to a handful of partners including: Best Buy, Bravo, Red Bull, Sony Pictures, Starbucks, and Virgin America. But it will start rolling out throughout the year. When it does, we’ll be on it, and we’re looking into a fast track for our clients.


Twitter Promoted Tweets hold great promise in laser-targeting potential customers at a moment of need, desire, or interest. We expect there will be a lot of money made, and potentially a lot lost as companies learn how to effectively use this new tool. Nina Hale Inc remains committed to working with clients to help strategize and execute online advertising that uses Search or CPC as its underlying model.

Best Articles We’ve Found On This:


New York Times