Twitter Fails, Changes TOS and Outlaws Automated Follow Back

 

Sometimes these social networks seem to have too much time on their hands. Twitter recently changed their terms of service that now disallows automated follow back. Many third party companies had provided an automated follow back service. So if 50 twitter users followed you and automated follow back was setup for your account, these users would be followed backed without any manual action.

Social Oomph users were alerted late last night (July 4th) of the bad news.

Twitter Fail

E-Mail received from Social Oomph

Please note that on July 2nd, 2013, Twitter changed their terms of service and outlawed automated following back of people who followed you first.

Unfortunately we have no choice but to modify our system to comply with Twitter’s new rules.

Hence, from Monday, July 8th, 2013, the manual vetting option of new followers will be automatically enabled on all accounts that currently have the auto-follow option enabled. If you do not manually approve the follow-back, as Twitter now requires, then the follow-back will not take place.

Should Twitter in the future decide to again allow auto-follow-back, we would be more than happy to restore the auto-follow-back service that you have found so useful for such a long time. We’re as dumb-founded by Twitter’s decision as you are.

Twitter Fails

While many Twitter users don’t use this handy tool, those that do will now be forced to manually follow. This is tedious exercise, and a total waste of time. If you only have a small number of users follow you each day then it won’t take you long, but if you have hundreds or thousands of users following each day this is really bad news.

Oh the joy of the following each new follower, one by one, click by click, will be welcomed by so many users. This creates such an inefficient process. Spending any time on this is a waste, but the larger your account the bigger the blow.

If you’re going to follow everyone that follows you than there should be an automated option. Most using this automation had a process to cleanse the bots, eggs, and other unsavory users. So hard to understand why Twitter reached this decision, makes no sense at all. Stop changing the TOS just for the sake of change. You dropped the ball here Twitter. #Fail, #Fail, #Fail.

If you were using a service to automatically auto-follow, let me know how disgusted you feel.

B2B Social Media Locally and Beyond

 

B2B social media and all things Internet have got us all thinking globally. Not a bad thing, but sometimes the good ol’ fashioned local networking is overlooked. And with the diversity of social media platforms, there is at least one that suits every business, even B2Bs. That B2B social media power can be focused on local connections…whether your “local” means regionally like in your city or pertinent to your industry.

B2B Social Media Locally and Beyond

How to use B2B Social Media to build a local following…or stay in touch with an existing network

If your business primarily serves a local community or is part of a tight-knit industry in which relationships are paramount, you know the importance of a web presence. Most of us fully grasp that the Yellow Page ad no longer serves as our primary outreach to local customers.

Many studies reveal the obvious, most local customers use the web before making a purchase…especially customers who are businesses themselves. Here are some traditional B2B networking concepts that are important to growing a business and how to apply that concept to B2B social media engagement.

1. Listening to business owners helps you understand their needs and plans. It helps to define ideal clients.

Traditional: Face-to-face meetings or social events with individual clients or perhaps industry networking events at conferences. If you require clarification or change your research focus based on new information, you meet with clients again.

Social Media: Just a few ideas:

  • Organize Twitter followers (or non-followers of interest) into Twitter lists that identify various segments of your target clients. Then create a stream in a social media management tool like HootSuite to “listen” to what they are talking about. Boost usefulness by adding hashtags, keywords, or other filters to your stream so that you receive fewer, but more relevant posts in the stream. Learn something new? Add a stream or change your stream filters.
  • Use Facebook pages to engage with your clients.
  • Post discussions and polls in LinkedIn groups related to your target clientele…or just read responses to others’ LinkedIn group interactions.
  • Read your competitors’ reviews that their customers posted online. It will tell you a lot about what your potential customers want and don’t want.

2. Presenting your business lets other business owners know what you offer that they or someone they know might need.

Traditional: Joining local service clubs like Rotary International or speaking at the club meetings, using your elevator speech when meeting people, exchanging business cards, follow-up phone calls and e-mails.

Social Media: Engaging your local community can lead to word-of-mouth marketing which leads to more clients. Social media can extend the reach of your networking in your local and industry-specific communities.

Building relationships is key to growing a successful business and this can happen online by remembering that social media is social, even in business. Using social media is not that much different than face-to-face networking.

Being friendly, useful, and genuine will get you further than constantly pitching your products or services. Many great tools abound to help you identify and attract the followers you want to engage with. Here are a few examples:

  • TweetAdder – a free tool that helps you identify Twitter users by geographic location.
  • Tweepi – a free tool that helps you follow the best followers of leaders in your industry. For example, if your business is ship-building, look for influencers in your industry in Tweepi, then use the tools to follow that influencer’s followers.
  • Search the web for local businesses, visit their websites to discover their social media links, and then connect. Remember to engage with their posts to build the relationships that generate qualified leads.
  • Put all your social connection links everywhere including on your email signature, website, business card or use QR codes to provide easy ways to find you online. This gives your prospects the invitation to learn more about your business.

3. Current customers can learn about new products or services.

Traditional: TV or radio ads, billboards, brochures, direct mail, even direct email campaigns might be considered traditional.

Social Media: Whatever community is appropriate for your business use it to the fullest. For example, use a Facebook page to inform your followers about new products. Conduct a contest in Facebook that generates buzz.

Ensure detailed information is available on your LinkedIn company pages including pictures and keyword-based descriptions. Use all your communities to direct attention to your website or other company page. Use great pictures and offer deals to draw interest.

4. Current customers can be your best advertising tool. Reference is the sincerest form of flattery in B2B.

Traditional: A local business owner attending a local golf charity event complains of a big problem keeping him awake at night. One of your past customers mentions that your business helped his business overcome the same problem with amazing results. Whammo! Another customer will be calling you right after the 18th hole.

Social Media: Get those referrals online so many prospects can see them. Select 3-to-5 sites related to general business or your industry to focus gathering customer reviews.

Google+ is a must, as well as general directories like Yelp or the Better Business Bureau. If you sell products on Amazon, get Amazon reviews. If you run a restaurant, list on UrbanSpoon or other foodie site.

Incorporate asking for reviews throughout your sales cycle. Include a request and link on your invoice, follow up with emails for shipped products to ask for reviews, or send “thank you for your business” and include a request a review. Regularly read and follow up on comments. Thank them for good comments, address issues and respond to negative comments.

5. You use your successful business status in the community to support a cause close to your heart. And, in doing so, your exposure and customer base increases.

Traditional: Become a non-profit board member or adviser, sponsor a community event, or volunteer to find opportunities to show your business cares about the local community.

Social Media: Here are a few ideas to help you engage or expand your engagement with your local community or industry to build brand recognition, trust, and respect:

  • Most non-profits have a website or social community network page. Support them by following, liking, and posting. Share their information with your own networks.
  • Seek out causes that are relevant to your business or local community by searching on the web or in social communities, then engage.
  • Check out sixdegrees.org and networkforgood.org to identify opportunities to connect and then create website “fundraising badges” to share with your prospects and clients that your business supports a worthy cause.

 

Local B2B social media is NOT a replacement for being involved in your community for business and personal satisfaction reasons. Rather, social media can keep the conversation going to increase the effectiveness of the face-to-face activities, or help you identify connections you would not ordinarily get an opportunity to make.

For example, while connecting to local businesses on Twitter, I saw a really great profile picture and inquired about the artist who created it. Through that connection, we have been having all sorts of conversations and maybe one day she will ask about my services or refer me.

I have already referred people to her business several times. It will always be important and fun to meet other business owners and potential clients in person, but online connections can be rewarding, too.

Provide online content that solves a problem, gives them insight or is otherwise valuable. Also, remember that etiquette is important online as well as offline. If people reach out to you through social media through commenting on your blog, tweeting to you, liking your Facebook post, responding to your LinkedIn discussion, etc. then you should respond to them in a timely manner.

As many Tweeters say when connecting, “Keep the conversation going!” Connect with Social Business Maven and SEO Buzz. Comment to let us know how you use social media to listen to your clients!

 

Daniel Kushner is the Co-Founder of Oktopost, a marketing expert and social media guru. As the former VP of Marketing at innovative high-tech company Nolio, Daniel grew sales with double digit growth year over year. Daniel has been in the field for more than a decade and has successfully led the online marketing departments of various global organizations.

Get Twitter Followers: Execution and Tools

Twitter is a rat race.  Tweets fly by at a frenetic pace, and many experienced on Twitter control from third party applications.  Users come and go, but if you can get past that first month you’re on your way to experience what makes Twitter great.  In the last post, we spoke about building a foundation on TwitterIn today’s post we’ll dive into Twitter Execution and Tools to help gain more followers.

 

Why you need a lot of Twitter Followers 

Twitter is a different animal.  Twitter is a grind.  It is not an immediate gratification network, and because of that many fall off the face.  You really need to enjoy Twitter to be successful on Twitter.  Let’s say you have a 1000 followers that you have deemed quality.  Well, you really don’t have a 1000 followers.  In that 1000 count you could have anywhere to 10-30% that are inactive (no tweeting for more than 30 days). Get Twitter Followers - Follow Us

Just to give you an idea, I currently have 30,223 Followers but 4235 (Tweepi) of those followers have been inactive for more than 30 days.  So 14% of my Followers are inactive.

Another argument for gaining followers is the short shelf life of a tweet.  From my experience, I don’t think most users go to someone’s profile and read their last 50 tweets.  That’s just not the nature of Twitter.  People either see it when it happens or they don’t see your tweet.  If they don’t see it, it won’t be retweeted or mentioned.  More followers gives your tweet a better chance of being viewed.

People have to be looking at Twitter or a third party Twitter application to see your tweet.  If you have 1000 users, some are inactive, and many won’t be on when you’re tweeting.  The window is smaller with fewer followers.

 

Execution – Have a Plan

As with most things in life you need to have a plan.  Twitter is no exception.  If you don’t have a plan, chances are you’ll get frustrated and disinterested.  Your account will fall off the cliff and your time will be wasted.  Below are some tips on following that will increase your follower rate.

In the last post we spoke about how and whom to follow, but I wanted to share a tool that you should be using if you’re not already.

Tweepi is a powerful tool that helps you manage your Twitter account.  Below is a screenshot from the free version of Tweepi (they also have a premium version).  Tweepi uses a checkbox system where you need to check each user, but it can be done fairly quickly.  These tools allow you to focus your efforts on who to follow.

Get Twitter Followers - Tweepi

 

A good rule of thumb is to give people a week to follow you back.  If they don’t follow you back you need to unfollow them.  You need to be consistent and do this weekly.   You can use Tweepi again for this process.

Get Twitter Followers - Tweepi Unfollow

Follow Everyone that Follows You – This can and should be automated.  As you get more people following you on daily basis, and you will, this becomes a chore.  If you don’t automate, you’re bound to drop the ball.  What, follow everyone that follows me?

Here’s my theory on following everyone that follows me.  Twitter is part of Social Media.  With a few exceptions, it’s an open network in that you can send a message to anyone and vice versa.  If someone follows me, I take that as someone reaching out to shake my hand.  Would you walk away from someone reaching out to shake your hand?  (Rhetorical)… So I don’t snub anyone.  I use automation because I just can’t keep up with it manually at this point.  You’re wasting your time if you analyze everyone that follows you, and trying to decide if you should follow.

I use Social Oomph.  They provide an Auto Follow tool that makes the process seamless and efficient.  There is a nominal cost for this, but I’m serious about my Twitter account so money well spent.  They also provide many other features and benefits that tie into Twitter.

I believe you should unfollow inactive users (30 days), eggs, and no profiles.  Once a week I suggest you go into Tweepi and clean out these three types of users.  Following someone that is inactive serves no purpose.  Following someone that doesn’t take the time to put up a photo and/or profile is generally not worth following.

Have fun with Twitter.  Yes, you can make connections on Twitter.  Yes, it can help get people to your blog or site.  Yes, it can help your small or medium business with new and current customers.  Have a plan, execute, and make it happen.  A little patience will go a long way.

Please share if you found the piece of value.  Looking forward to your comments.