Thursday, 19 March 2009


I am still on my quest to discover how social media and so called 'organic' marketing can help me. I dived into twitter with both feet, and now I am starting to learn the ground rules. I read a whole heap of guides and blogs to help get me to first base. Some of the information is so blindlingly obvious it escaped me when faced with the prospect of writing my first tweets.

When I first set up I just used the Twitter set up to create my page, but recently updated my page with twitback but twitback took quite a while for limited benefit.

Talking of obvious, the tweets must be 140 characters or less. This can be helped by shortening any weblinks via tinyurl, but if you get 'Tweetdeck' (software to make twittering easier) you can shorten url's really easily at the click of the mouse. The only benefit of going to tinycc is that you can get statistics about how often people click on your link - this is of interest to me as I have shortened the link to my facebook fan page and I can see when people take a look.

They are starting to write a Dummies Guide to Twitter, they are asking for contributions at the moment, but it is still quite a good read. The etiquette section is worth a look. The one thing that comes across is that Tweet as if you are communicating with one person who you want to give great advice to - don't get delusions of grandeur and try talking to your crowd of admirers - and write something worth listening to with humour and warmth.

Another funny bit of advice is don't be arrogant. It looks unimpressive if you follow one person and expect to have a flock of followers. I read this and immediately un-followed a celebrity Mum who crowed about her life and followed no one and contributed nothing. If you are not listening on twitter, I think you are missing out on the fun if not the point.

Work out what your identity is and stay true to it - so if I am trying to have a Mumpreneur following I should stick to a parenting and business start up theme with loads of good advice. That is not to say that the tweets should be devoid of character, far from it. They should be fun to read but not just what has been delightfully termed as 'twitteroeha'.

As a mumpreneur I try and follow like minded tweets, webmum is great and she has a site with some great starting tips on acornpad. It is great to hear what she and others say - I follow Mums (potential customers) and marketeers which really helps, reading all the links that they post.

You can interact in a few ways. You can give direct replies which is seen only by the recipient or you can reply in public by starting with the @ sign, for example to reply to a comment of mine someone could write '@moixx do you know what you are twittering on about?' You can engage in conversations and hopefully generate more interest while being friendly. It is also good manners to Retweet something that you have read, starting with an 'RT @moixx' for example if you are forwarding on a pearl of wisdom that I offered (I live in hope!). Also you can also send a direct message or DM to your followers (and only those who have chosen to be your followers), the benefit of this is you can continue a thread in private that may bore the rest of your followers.

Twitter has a search capacity and directories just like the rest of the web. So you can search for keywords, register yourself on directories such as Twello, you can also join a group or Twibe. You can work out how you are doing with Twittergrader or check your stats.

What is a hashtag? It took me a long while to sort it out! Physically it looks like this # but it is far more loaded. It is a way that posts can be collated and followed. You can search for hashtag themes, there is a inimitable video that will explain it all if you can face listening to it - but it will give you the low down. (maybe I am just too British to appreciate the accent). A great example of one is #followfriday - when you recommend to your followers who is worth following., a tweet could look like: #followfriday @moixx as she tweets inanely

Here are 47 great tips by successful tweeters.

Finally if you really want help and you think there is business potential why not get a Tweetmentor? Nikki Pilkington has a check list of information to help and she has a mentoring programme if you are serious about it - it takes time and before you sign up to it make sure that you are serious about it. As Nikki would say, it is important to market your tweets, so if having read this you want to see if I live up (or down) to expectations find out for yourself!

It is strange to think about being serious about Twitter - a social networking site fronted by a cartoon bird!

Thursday, 5 March 2009


Part of the reason for my blog hiatus was that I failed to get the loan I was hoping for at the rate that I thought was reasonable. Certainly a credit crunch issue! I was turned down by the Co-op, not for an unfeasible business plan, but, because it was too cautious. Well, if I have a cautious business plan that can pay back the capital and turn a profit in the medium term I should be set for the future. I have to remind myself of this, during these torturous months of delays. In fact, with current interest rates it does make sense to plough rainy day savings into the business as I would earn nothing and even at 10% interest on a loan - well, you can work it out I am better off using my savings. I am better off this way - but yes, I have put all my eggs in the business basket!

I have also revisited my original business plan and it seemed so out of step with the credit crunch and the potential for new media marketing. Added to which with the delayed launch of the site I have already spent £800 on fruitless marketing I need to get seriously smart about where I go next. I was chatting things over with my step son, and he was (oh the delicious certainty of youth) pointing out what I should be doing. Well he is one smart cookie and a joy to chat to, and while none of his ideas were not covered in the business plan it suddenly made me look at things from a different perspective. I had been wondering how to incorporate new media marketing and how to harness the potential - but suddenly I think I can see a way to bring everything together in one neat strategy! I am not economising by building new media into the strategy, in fact with the money that I am saving from interest payment I have re-established my original budget for marketing (writing off the spend to date).

I have always been so rude about businesses who just get a website without having an overarching strategy of what it is setting out to achieve, and used to be driven mad by an MD who would not allow me a marketing budget (when I was responsible for marketing) but insisted that we did ad hoc initiatives. The benefit of having a strategy is that you can clarify where you want to go, and then set a (budgeted) course.

I am now in the process of pulling everything together, and I think it is looking realistic and quite exciting. All I need now is a site to work with...

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Quick call a strategy meeting!

The site is going to be delayed again - but this time it really does make me pause and think about priorities. A family member was ill and it shook me out of my mind set that the only thing that mattered was getting the site launched. Well, the delays will mean harder work, running to catch up - but it is not, in this scenario, life or death.
How often do we get so fixated on a problem or issue that we stop seeing the wood for the trees and worse, resort to cliches?
Well I am using this time to gen up on many issues, and this morning I took myself off for a strategy meeting.

Yes, little Pup has a higher IQ than many past colleagues, so I think this is one - nil in favour of taking the long term approach to creating the best ever website the world is about to see!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Instant Media

What are the seven deadly sins of modern communications? My questionnaire highlighted spelling as a bugbear - I now see it everywhere. From that long email thread started by me, with a cheery 'Gi'(instead of Hi) through to howling typos on home pages.

How often have we scanned an email quickly and shot off a reply without really taking in what we are reading. I had a classic example today, where I was trying to correct something, only to find that when I discussed the error that was the only thing noted and not the fact that it was an error. So, an email had been read and the facts had been understood as the exact opposite of what I had intended to convey.

Can I learn from this, I wonder? With my website, how can I set in place protocol for lax speed readers? How will I be able to fulfil customer's wishful thinking, that may not match with the merchandise? I am sure that there is little that I can do. maybe, my new twittering habit will be a great exercise in how to convey information clearly and succinctly. Or maybe I just need to work out how to start a global Chinese whisper (or should that be on-line WikiWhisper?)
So, 'Send three and fourpence, we're going to a dance', anyone?