The case in the defence of Twitter

A client recently remarked “let me know when you get a sale from Twitter”.  In other words, “I bet I’ll never see the day we get a sale as a result of Twitter!”

A statement said many a time I would wager.  My answer, said smiling: “No, you probably won’t if you just use Twitter on its own, but use it as part of an integrated marketing plan and yes, you probably WILL see sales as a result of it.”

A great deal of our time as a marketing consultancy is spent working with clients on their marketing planning, and crucially the implementation of those plans.  We ensure all marketing activity is tied together with a common message.  We write blogs, newsletters, press articles, tweets, website copy – all focused on key marketing messages unique to our clients.  It’s the combination of all these activities, carried out regularly, timely but regularly, which is enabling our clients to become seen as experts in each of their fields.

Crucially, the information they are imparting on their target audience is being seen in a variety of areas.  Websites are great as long as people are getting to them, LinkedIn is great for networking and discussions, and Google+ is growing and will be great.

What Twitter does is allow you to ‘speak’ to a huge number of people, at no cost, and with little time.  Just make sure you apply a bit of thought to ensure your message is ‘on plan’ and you create a call to action (eg website links) and you have an effective marketing tool.

In a recent statistic I read (I know stats are what you want them to be but…) ‘80% of business decision makers now prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement.’  By using the platforms social media provides, your company information can be seen this way.  Social media writing can easily be incorporated with Facebook, Twitter and other outlets, driving valuable inbound links for SEO.

I feel privileged to be involved in providing intelligent content marketing to clients who recognise what marketing actually should be, which consistent, ongoing, valuable information to customers is.  With the right marketing planning and delivery, customers will ultimately reward with their business and loyalty.

Yes, marketing is still what it always was – creating messages, identifying prospective customers and trying to influence their behaviour.  These days, it’s just being delivered in a different, I would say smarter way, and across different platforms, even Twitter.

Contact Appletree  ( and let us know if you have or haven’t seen sales from your social media plan – and yes, that does include Twitter!


A five step plan for social media

Chantal Cornelius, Appletree MarketingMy thanks go to Graham Jones, Internet Psychologist, for the inspiration for this blog. I heard Graham speak at a Ladies and Gentlemen That Lunch networking meeting earlier this year, when he shared with us his five step plan for social media, which looks something like this.

  1. Plan – have a strategy, decide exactly what you want to achieve, set targets and goals. For instance, do you want to use social media to find new contacts, or build your reputation?  Are you using it primarily to keep abreast of industry news, or to share your advice with other people? How many contacts do you want to connect with?
  2. Blog – adding content should be your primary activity and the more the better. At the time of writing this blog, we’re posting on it twice a week. We’ll be going back up to three posts each week in the New Year. If you’re just starting out with a blog, aim to post once a week and build up from there.
  3. Integrate – connect your blog to every social media outlet important to your market, but especially Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Each time we publish a post on this blog, a tweet goes out automatically; we keep tweeting that tweet until another blog is posted. Our blogs also go onto our Facebook page.
  4. Monitor – constantly be aware of your readership and what they are doing with your content. We use Tweet Deck to see who is talking about us on Twitter and who is retweeting us. Tools like Google Alerts will also tell you who is talking about you.
  5. Respond – reply to the engagement you receive and use that to help develop your future plans. Reply to direct messages through Twitter and get into conversations with your followers – it can lead to work and ideas for new products and services. Respond to comments on your blog, LinkedIn and Facebook for the same reasons.

Many people start using social media without really thinking about where they’re going with it. That’s a bit like starting out on a journey without actually knowing where you’re going. Without a destination to head to, you’ll just end up driving round and round in circles, wasting your time. Follow Graham’s five step plan and you’ll save yourself lots of time and effort, while making the most of this active marketing tool.

You can read more of Graham’s words of wisdom at

How should you use #ff effectively in Twitter?


For those who don’t already know, #ff is a hashtag that stands for ‘follow friday’. It is a fun gimmick that adds to the sociability element of Twitter, typically used on a Friday to allow tweeps (Twitter users) to recommend certain followers for others to follow.

Not only is it a way of recommending or being recommended, it is the altruistic part that appeals to many. “Wow, so-and-so must really like what I’ve been saying this week to want to #ff me!”

And that’s the crux. It should really only be used on tweeps who have been socially active on Twitter, by those who have been socially interacting with each other. If there has been a repartie between two followers over the past few minutes, hours, days, week or whatever, using #ff is another way of showing your appreciation for that communication, regardless of the outcome.

But then there are those that abuse the #ff – those that fill up their Twitter streams with great long lists of @usernames and the obligatory #ff at the beginning or end. Either it is because they feel compelled to #ff a series of people to be seen as participating properly on Twitter (which they are not), or it is a way of gaining notice to themselves (which is does, but for the wrong reasons).

If you want to #ff someone, it should be because you really want to, because there has been some successful interaction between each other. You feel this person is worth knowing, and others should know them too. You’ve enjoyed your conversations, or even the content of their Tweets, and it is worth advertising the fact that they deserve more publicity and recognition.

Therefore, when you #ff someone, add a reason why. Not only does it make your #ff recommendation more personal, it shows you really care about what you’ve just done, and there is a proper reason for your action. Twitter is so full of rubbish and inane performances, when someone does a Twitter application properly it really stands out and is more likely to be noted (and appreciated).

10 top tips for Twitter


These tips were compiled for a social networking seminar given last week, so I’m sharing them with you:

1. Write quality tweets

It’s extremely important to write good content. If people read contributions that are relevant, educational, entertaining and useful, they are more likely to follow you. Build up your audience from worth-while tweets and try to write in full; not everybody can read text-speech easily.

2. Share content

Retweet (RT) anything you think is valuable; it’s both sociable and polite, as well as increasing the tweet’s exposure. If you want your tweets to be retweeted, write them in no more than 120 characters to accommodate your username at the beginning. Remember to acknowledge anybody that retweets yours.

3. Be sociable

Join in conversations if you’ve something good to say. Don’t just lurk in the shadows watching the world go by; make yourself more visible by contributing and people will answer and maybe even follow you. After all, Twitter is a ‘social’ networking site.

4. Monitor mentions

It’s natural to want to know if your username has been tweeted, especially as a reply to your tweets. There are various methods of monitoring this, and this phenomenon can be used for other usernames, keywords and hashtags as part of your marketing research; perhaps for a competitor, a particular service or product, a location or an event.

5. Keep to your subject

Focus on your niche or area of expertise, don’t stray into tittle-tattle or irrelevance. As you gain in experience then you’ll know how to cross over the lines, as that’s part of being sociable, but never lose sight of why you’re social networking or who you or your company are.

6. Maintain your profile

It’s important to complete your biography with a weblink and a suitable up-to-date picture. The picture ideally should be the same which you use throughout all your social networking sites to aid recognition. The bio should be succinct and contain all the relevant keywords necessary to promote your business or cause, and maybe your weblink should go to a specific landing page for your Twitter followers.

7. Be consistent

I read somewhere that the optimum number of tweets a day should be 13. This is better than tweeting furiously one day and then do nothing for the next few days. Automate your tweets to space them out through the day, and pop in now and again to acknowledge any responses and to add in extras that are relevant.

8. Get more web traffic

You can automatically feed your blog into Twitter to increase its audience, and vice versa: your latest tweets can be recorded on a blog widget on your sidebar. The more exposure you give your website’s and blog’s URLs, especially with incentivised calls to action, the more people will visit and hopefully interact. All this increased activity will heighten your SEO levels.

9. Don’t sell

Twitter is a social networking site, so don’t adopt the hard sell, or you will be blocked by other users. The idea is to make and form relationships with your followers, so that they learn more about you and you about them. Make yourself useful by tweeting linked information that would be interesting for your followers, which hopefully will be retweeted to a larger audience.

10. Find and follow

Use the friends follow pages to find new contacts. Follow someone you admire and then follow who they follow; some of them might follow you back, particularly if you have good quality tweets. The more followers you have, the larger audience your tweets will have, which makes you more attractive. You could also use to find more corporate followers if that helps you with your marketing research.