Defining the Metrics of Success, Twitter ed.

I wanted to title this week’s post, “‘I’m such a loser’ and other thoughts about Twitter” because that “losery” feeling descends upon me anytime I check my account. Followers are constantly coming and going; my tweets are unfavourited as easily as they’re favourited; in the end, I just don’t get it. While I’ll readily admit that I’m not the best or most prolific user, it can sometimes be demoralizing to see throw-away accounts gather more followers and traction than I could even imagine. In other words, I love Twitter, it just doesn’t love me back.

Some people will ask, “why do you care?” or “what’s the point of all these ‘likes’ ‘favourites’ and ‘retweets’?”. The simple answer is this: when I generate content whether it’s on this blog or my other social media accounts, I’m doing it so that I can build a community and I seek what so many others seek: engagement.  I want to know that what I’m doing means something, to someone, however remote. It’s not to suggest that I, or anyone, should tie our self-worth to other people or our social media presence, but the fact is that we’re all a part of this social web because we want to be heard. But how do we define success in this realm? Is it the number of followers, favourites, or retweets? We know that high numbers don’t always equal engagement. Is it the attention a tweet, individual, or brand receives? Or is it the magical golden egg known as engagement? Moreover, what does success in the realm of the social web mean for businesses/organization? Is it monetization? How do you translate the success of online campaigns to business initiatives? As you can see, there are many ways to define success which vary from situation to situation, and these goals will evolve as your brand, whether personal or corporate, grows. Your conversations will become more nuanced and represent a greater segment of people, and your voice will become stronger.

At the moment, what I’m trying to do on Twitter is find my space and where I belong. This is a personal mission and I’m doing this by participating more actively in conversations that interest and challenge me, finding clarity in my voice and concision in my thoughts/comments. For me, success is discovering where I fit in but how do I track and measure my progress? At this stage, it’s primarily a numbers game for me, which I suspect this will change over time. Even though it’s not my favourite way of measuring success, currently I define progress through numbers. How many retweets do I receive? When I post a link to my blog, how many people click through to drive site traffic? Which hashtags are most effective and what time should I post?

There are certain methods to improve your Twitter presence, as outlined here, here, and here, but what I think is most important is that you keep going, even when it doesn’t feel like anyone is listening. Just because people aren’t responding immediately doesn’t mean they won’t respond eventually. What you have to accomplish in the meantime is find your own voice, and figure out what you have to say. The social web is a crowded space and it takes awhile to determine where you belong in the conversation, and if you can’t find the space, then create it! All of this takes patience. Read more articles, interact with other users, listen, and adjust. It’s work but it can also be fun.

Here We Go Again

Hello?

Is anyone out there?

I won’t be upset if there isn’t. After all, it has been more than two years since my last post. But if by chance there is a reader sticking around, I want to say hi (!) and thanks.

I have to admit that this – my return to blogging and this blog in particular- has come as a surprise. This site was born as a school assignment and was supposed to end along with the class, slipping in line with countless other abandoned blogs and online projects. But I’ve hesitated to delete this site, periodically coming back to check the traffic and read old posts, and now I’ve worked up the courage to start writing again, this time without the class syllabus to provide structure and guidelines.

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Finding the Balance

By now, most people on the social web are familiar with the hashtag symbol (#), which helps tag keywords in a tweet, allowing others to search for and find that content. Hashtags are simple to use and effective for search optimization, helping to improve keyword searches and connecting users with similar interests. They are important. However, in a bid to push content to more viewers, some users have taken the hashtag to a whole new, and very annoying level, by tagging #every #single #word.

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Our food. Your questions. McDonald’s and harnassing the power of the social web

via McDonalds.com

Whether you love or hate McDonald’s as a restaurant, it is difficult to deny that they’re doing an impressive job with their social media campaign. In addition to a well set-up and regularly maintained website and Facebook page, McDonald’s recently launched a program which allows users to submit questions to the fast-food giant online. According to the description in the header, McDonald’s will answer all questions about their food posted on the site and so far, there’s been a lot of interest.

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Lessons in Social Media: Food Trucks and the Toronto Street Food Project

Over the past few weeks, we’ve explored a number of issues in social media focusing on some of the most popular and available platforms, trying to understand the benefits of each. We’ve examined different social media tools, identifying their contributions to the field of public relations and discussed the merits of programs such as Twitter, Foursquare, and infographics. This week we’ll take a slightly different approach and instead of dissecting one particular platform, we’ll focus on how these technologies come together to build a comprehensive social media program using the Toronto Street Food Project/Toronto Food Trucks as our case study.

via Toronto Food Trucks

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#Whatgoodisit?: Twitter and promoted products

Oh, Twitter- when it began gaining widespread popularity, around 2009/2010, my first thought was, “really? who cares?”.  As it turned out, a lot of people. Soon after I not-so-silently asked that question, everyone started ranting about how great Twitter was. All the organizations, businesses, and public personalities I admired were tweeting. Every website linked me to a Twitter account. The little bird icon began appearing at the bottom of the page, next to the round “f” symbol of Facebook, and the email option for sharing stories. Eventually,  I saw the error of my ways and signed up for an account (@yvonnekli, in case you’re wondering), and now, Twitter and I, well we get along just fine. Then awhile back, I started thinking about what was next for Twitter- how it was going to grow, what it was going to do, and how it was going to continue improving business, because it is a business after all. Turns out, they already had it figured out: promoted accounts and tweets.

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Foursquare and its role in public relations

The idea of somebody or something- an organization, company, etc.- monitoring all my interactions has always been a concern of mine. Ten years ago, the thought of sharing my personal information online was unfathomable. But then came the rise of social media and Facebook, a place where you could find people and all their information because it had been supplied, willingly, by the users themselves. At first, Facebook seemed scary but eventually it intrigued me, and now, I find myself logging in at least once every few days. For me, I was willing to hand over my personal information in order to stay in touch with friends and family around the world, sharing videos and photos, sending messages, and so forth. What this demonstrates is that there is the potential to get users such as myself, who are concerned with privacy, to start using social media. The key, is making it worthwhile. Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, or my blog, I will engage with select forms of social media because it adds value. This however, is not the case for Foursquare, an application that “helps you and your friends make the most of where you are,” at least not for me.

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