This site showcases the (mostly) digital work of Andrew DiFiore from both Virtual Arts Studios and answerYES Interactive as well as random thoughts and experimental projects too volatile to be contained anywhere else.

 
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    It has been an obvious feature long time coming: Scheduled Posts. Finally, you can do inside Facebook what third-party tools like HootSuite and TweetDeck have done for years. That is, if you can find the feature.

    Rolled out along with page security (admins can now assign roles), Facebook decided to make the scheduler a little hard to find.

    Maybe it is Facebook’s aggressive development cycle but I always get the feeling that half the features are afterthoughts, retrofitted into an architecture designed for something else.

    Now that Facebook is a public company, I imagine the pressure to appeal to advertisers and businesses is going to be greater. A good example is the new Promoted Post which allow brands to set a nominal budget for “sponsored” posts to appear within news feeds (kinda like Twitter’s Promoted Tweet feature).

    Not to worry, I’m sure the design team at Menlo Park will get around to fixing the usability issues… if the marketing team could stop telling the development team to skip the QA team.

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    Cool Tool of the Month: TweetDeck

    A while back on the B2B Marketing Posse blog I wrote about using TweetDeck  (along with Google Alerts) for managing your online reputation (still a good idea by the way) but this Cool Tool does a lot more that just that. It is a social media dashboard that helps manage your online social channels (despite the name, this includes Twitter, Facebook, and others). You can schedule tweets and status updates, trigger email alerts, and organize “life streams” in order of importance so you can easily separate the wheat from the chaff. TweetDeck is available as both a free desktop application and a mobile app.

    At the time of this post, it appears that Twitter is in a bidding war for TweetDeck with UberMedia, a leading developer of popular Twitter API-based apps like Twidroyd.

    {Ed. Note 5/24/11: Twitter acquired TweetDeck for $40 million in a mix of stock and cash, making its creator Iain Dodsworth an instant millionaire.}

    {Ed. Note 12/8/11:  A new “rebranded” TweetDeck was released, dropping support for LinkedIn, Google Buzz, Foursquare and MySpace. TweetDeck switched from using Adobe AIR to native OS for desktops and open-source WebKit for browsers (e.g. Chrome and Safari).}

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    Twitter Marketing Tips

    If you haven’t heard by now Twitter is a microblogging social network and a great way drive qualified leads to your website. In addition to the obvious social media benefits (a topic for another blog post), our clients consistently witness referral rates upwards of 6% per month from Twitter! Moreover, we often see that these referrals on average view more pages and spend more time per visit than those coming from other sources. Leveraging Twitter’s demo and  geographics in a site tracking tool like Google Analytics, you can  effectively qualify each referral and do more of the type of tweets generating the desired behavior (e.g. read a blog post, download whitepaper, fill out contact form, buy products).

    I will do a follow up post about Twitter ROI later but for now, here are some helpful tips on Twitter marketing you can start using today.

    Tweet Best Practices

    • Schedule tweets several times every business day between 6am and 1pm. Statistically, this is the time most business people check Twitter.
    • Tweets should be something useful. Most people are looking for information. Repetition is okay but it should be paraphrased so not to look automated.
    • 1 in every 10 tweets can be promotional in nature. We want to encourage following and retweets. Too many promotional tweets too often and this won’t happen.
    • Use #hashtags relevant to the tweets or business (e.g. #tech or #business). Try to use them in the body text of your tweets to conserve on your 140 characters.
    • Try to keep tweets to 120 characters so people can easily retweet without truncating the original text.
    • If tweet is a call to action, be sure to add a shortlink back to the site (or source). In a pinch, can use services like bit.ly or ow.ly to shorten URLs.

    Things to Tweet About

    • News about your business or organization, including your own success stories.
    • News from reliable sources like a partner’s blog.
    • News about your employees or staff (e.g. the company’s softball team wins).
    • Retweets of anything that might interesting to your followers.
    • TwitPic and TwitVid (or YouTube or eHow or HowCast).
    • Special offers just for Twitter followers (get more followers).

    To manage Twitter as well as all your other social channels from the comfort of your desktop or mobile device, I recommend either TweetDeck or  Hootsuite. Both are free, easy to learn, and easy to use. Great for organizing your tweets as well as your follows and followers.

    Social media moves fast so would love to hear about your experiences with Twitter. What tweets have worked for you? Have a Twitter campaign going on right now you want to share?