Category Archives: Twitter

Why Most Marketing Sucks

Being a great marketer in the context of a big corporation really isn’t hard. Most roles in their ever-expanding marketing departments serve a very narrow function – SEO, SEM or just Social Media – and if you simply make sure the pages are live and nothing goes horribly wrong, you’re a success. You have fulfilled your corporate duty and until the day you quit to go do that same narrow function somewhere else, you’re good.  Box checked. All is well.

That box checking is quite simply why most marketing sucks. We leave innovation to someone else to do, typically conceptualized and executed by expensive agencies who have budgets that would make a startup gasp. I realize I’m probably lifting a curtain on the marketing magic but it’s time you knew, and I’m happy to break that marketing code and reveal it.

In that handoff of responsibility for being remarkable, a lot of companies that specialize in marketing automation and nurturing snuck in with a bunch of checklists and convinced everyone that marketing is something anyone can do with a photoshop subscriptions and a Twitter handle. That if you follow their prescriptive success plan, the outcome will be respectable enough to showcase on some powerpoint slide when the quarter ends. Those assholes convinced everyone it’s really quick and easy to do great marketing.

But great marketing is not like a Sham-wow. It is not quick or easy when you actually get it right. It takes personal connection, relationship building, empathy and awareness in the context of great risk and rare reward. See, you can’t automate and outsource to actually make an impact with great marketing. And most of the time, even if you get it right – no one will see it because of the sheer volume of marketing people are attacked with every day.

Social media is the format where this reality is most apparent. Now, when I think about social media that represents me – like my Twitter handle, for example – I have a certain set of values and criteria for things I share. I have a distinct voice – my own. I don’t automate any of my tweets for fear that the content that is shared via that feed won’t represent my opinions and values. I’m not naive enough to think every tweet I read is read by anyone else but tweeting just to tweet isn’t worth it to me. I’d rather say what I believe is right than just say something.

I learned that lesson from Matt Charney . He taught me that voice and opinion are more important than saying anything and the proof is in his following. I mean, I taught the guy to tweet and he has 5x as many followers as I do because he has always had a voice and won’t let anyone intimidate or scare him from sharing it. I will admit, however, that I know it takes really big balls to demand that in a corporate environment. To demand to have a voice and not to mince words but rather to call people on their shit on behalf of an organization.

But more often than not, these companies take the opposite approach to social media and pursue that automated, checklist strategy. I can’t think of many companies that say no to half-assed shit. How often do you, the person they’re hypothetically trying to persuade, realize there’s a real person behind that company with a voice and an opinion? Not often, I’d bet.

For big brands, it’s just too easy to standardize and make everything really fucking boring and for most companies, that’s ok. They’re measuring impressions and followers, not conversions and conversations. They’re focused on the wrong things so the wrong tactics are just fine.

Now, if you’re looking for some check-list to tell you what to do next and how to make marketing remarkable, you missed the entire point.

hate checklists

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How To Use A Hashtag

The purpose of a hashtag is to segment the firehouse of information that comes from a live Twitter feed when you follow more than 10 people. For example, hashtags can help people find career information when the title of the article doesn’t have the keyword “career” in it. Somehow, as Twitter has grown the purpose of the hashtag has been forgotten.

Lets start this with a little quiz. Here are 2 tweets. Pick the hashtag abuse:

A) Breaking News I’m presenting ideas #HRn #Vegas and so is #HRchat it’s kind of like #FoShizzle #hrtechnology look forward ;-)

B) How do you send a power tweet that increases #engagement by 400%? #Blogging

The answer? A.

Is that hashtag abuse? #FoShizzle (offense #1).  Why?

The answer is probably best explained with my hashtag rules

  1. Use hashtags for event names.Use hashtags to tell people you’re tweeting as a part of a live Twitter chat or an event. And yes,  the event name is always the better option for a hashtag over the location name.
  2. Your sentences should make sense. Your sentences still need to make sense while you’re using a hashtag. If the keywords you want to mention really don’t fit in the sentence, put them at the end of the tweet after the link.
  3. #NoHashtagConversations. #writingawholesentencewithnopuntuationandputtingahashtagatthebeginning? I’ve done this. It can be funny for 1 tweet. Do it all the time? Abuse.
  4. No punctuation.  Punctuation in a hashtag? It doesn’t work. The second you throw an apostrophe in, hashtags aren’t searchable by the whole phrase. #that’sright shows up as: #that + plain text: ‘sright
  5. Think general, not specific. Good tag: #jobsearch. Bad tag: #thesissentence. People who are searching Twitter are looking for a type of information, not a specific answer. If they want a specific answer, they’ll Google it.

I’m sure there are more. Add your rules to the list in a comment below. I’ll update the list to reflect all of our rules. Maybe a 10 Commandments of Hashtags? #Blasphemy

Fun Fact: Twitter’s Gone Hollywood

90 million tweets are sent every day. 70% of them are about TV.


You get 168 hours a week to save the world, breathe, all that fun stuff. If you’re in work for 45 hours a week (lets face it, the 40 hour work week is a fantasy) and the average person watches around 25 hours of TV a week, that leaves 98 hours for you to eat, sleep and do all those other things you should be doing to take care of yourself. What are you going to tweet about? TV, of course.

Tweeting about TV probably contributes to the whole “people only tweet about what they’re eating for breakfast and I don’t care” theory but I disagree. So why should you tweet about TV you ask?

It gets you in touch with other fans to make more connections. It’s the same reason I try to participate in at least one Twitter chat every week. I want to be part of the conversation (retweeting at least twice as much as I tweet) and it’s a great way to meet new people with similar interests. Twitter is about making connections after all.

So, TV twitterers. What was the last show you tweeted about? For me, it was the Superbowl (game and commercials).

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Down, Set, Hike: My Dream Job in the NFL

I want to be made into the NFL’s social media manager.

OK, I’ll admit that’s a bad MTV reference but watching the playoffs on Twitter and how @NFL is operating- I want to be their social media ninja.  I’ve worked (and am working) in social media for some really amazing companies but it would be my dream come true to work for the NFL.

As I was thinking about this job, I took a look at their website and social media accounts. My evaluation is that they’re doing something, but not enough, to capitalize on the volume of NFL discussions on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of fans are creating content and tweeting during every game. Looking at the NFL Tiwtter page, you’d never know. The fans participating via social media have no place on and in their social media presence.

All things considered, I think it’s time for a change @NFL and here are the first 5 things I would do.

  1. Twitter: Holy hashtag opportunity! Why don’t they have their social media buttons and #NFL on the homepage? Super fans could get a live feed of the game when they aren’t home to watch while fans who are watching live would  know what to tweet and how to engage with other super fans.
  2. Twitter again: Give the power to the people and RT the fans! I mean, the NFL gets millions of fans purely because of the brand recognition but I’m confident they could double their fans by actually interacting with them.
  3. YouTube: The NFL should run a YouTube campaign where football super fans can make their own Super Bowl commercial. Surprise the fan by featuring the commercial during the Super Bowl. I recommend this because, well, if I see the Saints commercial from last year one more time…
  4. Facebook: They’re not doing a bad job here, at least with promoting the NFL store via Facebook ads, but why not create more interactive content?  This could range from tabs where fans can get live updates to something as simple as polls.
  5. Flickr: Use Flickr to catch behind the scenes images at the games and increase ticket sales. A social media representative (or people) for the NFL should be at every game to take pictures of the crazy fans, the reactions to plays, the players, etc.

That’s just my first 5 things. I have more ideas for widgets, polls, blogs, press conferences etc.

So hey- NFL HR department. Call me.

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How To: Promote Twitter 101

How do you promote Twitter to people who aren’t using Twiiter?


Well, my first thought – not on Twitter.  Here’s the question I got (with slight revisions):

Hey Katrina,

Thanks so much for your time. So,  I am helping a company run their live Tweet from a conference. We are going to hold 3 Tweet Up’s over the course of the day where we will do a ten minute Twitter 101 presentation to help people get started tweeting, join the conference conversation and learn some of the uses for Twitter.

I need to schedule some Tweets to go out during the day about our Tweet Up’s and using the hashtag to join the conversation. I was wondering if you had any suggestions of types of Tweets I should send, frequency (I don’t want to Tweet too much!) or if you had anything that worked really well for you to make an impact and get people to join the conversation.

I’m sure you are swamped so if you can’t respond right away that’s no problem. I just figured I would tap into the expert to get some ideas on best practices.

Thanks so much!

Here’s what I wrote back. Yes, I’m always this direct.

Hi –

Ideas for tweets:

  • Join the (hashtag) Tweetup sponsored by (company name) at (time) in the (place)
  • (Insert two popular twitter names that will be in attendance) will be at our (hashtag) Tweetup- will you?
  • Know someone who needs a Twitter 101 and networking? Come to the (hashtag) Tweetup

Other Ideas:

  • If possible, create some small flyers. Remember, you’re trying to reach people who aren’t Twitter savvy and aren’t sure what to do with the medium so tweets may not be the best way to reach them.
  • Judge frequency based on how many people are tweeting. If there are a lot of tweets, you can tweet as much as you want.
  • As for content, interject your sponsored tweets between RT’s of popular comments from the day. You can find those by following the hashtag at
  • The most important thing to remember: make sure you’re asking questions and using the hashtag! People have to a) know how to find you and b) have something to say.
  • Last important tip, leave room for the RT! That means your tweets should be no longer than 115 characters.

How did I do? What would you add?

Side note: A great tweet/speaking point to go with any Twitter 101

RT @itsgoodell: LinkedIn is your Rolodex. Facebook is your scrapbook. Twitter is your lifestream idea generator. I get it now.

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Twitter Dictionary

If you work in social media, I’m sure you’ve gotten the question: “I signed up for that Twitter thing. Can I get a 101 or a Twitter dictionary?” I tried to search for one and didn’t find anything that broke down the Twitter language and defined its value proposition.

So, here’s my best attempt.

Twitter Translation Dictionary:

  • RT:  Retweet aka sharing information someone has already tweeted and giving them recognition for being the original source.
  • @name: Send a message to someone specifically that anyone can see.
  • DM: A private message sent between two Twitter members. These members must be following each other.
  • via @name: When you aren’t RTing what someone said verbatim but would like to give them credit for writing or finding the content, add this to the end of a tweet.
  • cc @name: Similar to e-mail language- carbon copy.
  • #FollowFriday: Used to make a recommendation to your Twitter followers on, you guessed it, Friday. Be sure to explain why people should follow your recommendations in your tweet. For example, ” #FollowFriday social media experts …”
  • #chatname: An online event just happening on Twitter where people with a common cause meet for 1 hour per week or month. For example, if you’re looking for a job you could follow#jobhuntchat.
  • #randomword: This is similar to keyword tagging on a website and helps people find content and meet people with similar interests.
  • 140: The number of characters you can use in a tweet.

So Why Should You Tweet?:

Now to answer the most common question I get about Twitter: “Why do you want to know what people are drinking or eating? That’s all people tweet about anyway.”

Even if that is all someone tweets about (which it isn’t), consider this scenario.

You’re heading to the same conference as a major influencer in your industry. You follow the person on Twitter and they tweet about their favorite drink, Coca-cola.

How easy is it to grab a coke? How easy is it to start a conversation with someone you barely know? You can start the real life conversation with Twitter. In a networking scenario, the smallest things can make the biggest difference. THAT is why you should be on Twitter.

What would you add? What questions have you been asked about Twitter?

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Laying Down The Law: RT Rules

Yes, I said it.


Now, this is probably common sense but just in case:

  1. Shorten the content of the text before you delete the twitter name of the person who RT’d.  It’s important to give credit where credit is due.
  2. Write for the RT.  Make sure there are at least 15-25 characters unused of your 140 to make space for a RT and your name.
  3. Inject hashtags where possible. Things like “social media profile” could be changed to “#socialmedia profile”
  4. Say thank you or somehow engage with people who RT your content. Ask the next question and continue the conversation.
  5. RT often. Like I said in the Twitter Ratio article, you should be RT’ing 3 times for every 1 tweet you post. Social media is about being social, right?

What would you add? Common sense welcome.

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Twitter Ratio. Wait, What Is That?

Looking for a quick and easy way to increase followers and start conversations? Try a 3:1 Twitter ratio.

  • 3 RT’s of content relevant to your company that you did not author
  • 1 Tweet of your own content.

This can help accomplish a few goals really easily.

  1. Get people’s attention so they  know your company or account exists
  2. Tell people what your company is about
  3. Learn more about hot topics in your industry
  4. Know about industry events
  5. Develop relationships with industry leaders

You’re probably wondering how you’re supposed to find content to retweet. Some of the ways I like to find content:

  • Set up queries for relevant search terms (and company keywords, of course). Don’t limit your search to hashtags either- not everyone uses hashtags.
  • Subscribe to Twitter lists that are relevant to your industry.
  • Set up a Google reader and subscribe to the blogs you read most often.
  • Take the title of the blog posts you’re tweeting and search for it at There, you’ll find other people who are tweeting the same content and you can RT it from them. Remember, you’re trying to let people know you exist. RT and get noticed! For example, I subscribe to Social Media Examiner and I just read “Engage or Die: The Future of Social Media?” I will search the title at Then, I RT other people who have tweeted the article rather than tweeting it myself.

A little math and social media marketing for your Monday.

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