Twitter – how to start relationships

Remember being a gauche teenager going to your first college parties? The network that you’d relied on in school suddenly disappeared and  figuring out how to make new friends and having some fun came at the price of a few uncomfortable moments; trapped in the kitchen with the engineering student who’d learned Monty Python’s Philosopher’s song as his (only) conversation gambit, doing the breaststroke in the punch bowl, dancing like it’s 1999 (and it was only ’91) and someone videoing the evidence.

Getting started in Twitter can be the same. Twitter fledgelings can find it pretty difficult to gauge what to say, when and importantly how to strike up and warm those  hesitant friendships.

Like anything else, you get back what you put in. That’s not to say that your behavior is a cynical modus to some ulterior objective… well not all the time. Here are a few simple ways to invite someone to start a social media relationship using Twitter as the jumping off point, without coming over all desperate and angsty.

  • Follow them, visit their profile and look at who they are following and what interests them. (not in a stalkery way)
  • Retweet something that you find valuable from their  twitter stream
  • If they included a link to a blog post; visit and perhaps comment, subscribe, retweet, add to your blog roll social bookmark or forward to your networks if it has value to them.
  • Direct message them with an observation or something which you think will be of value to them in the context of their recent posts/tweets.
  • Listen and then listen some more
  • Use #hashtags and find tweeters with similar interests, from election coverage to music lovers

And the best way of all – be engaging with your own content, make it interesting, humorous,  quirky, useful… but most of all relax and be yourself.

Foursquare, all words and no actions!

I truly felt Foursquare Mayorship had finally arrived in the UK today and with style! I had a crown, a cake, and magazine to read (wired naturally) and a coffee!!  Now I don’t expect to get this treatment in the other three places I am Mayor of, namely because one is a child’s play park, AND not to mention this Mayorship is actually of my own work and I’m the only one checking in, BUT the appreciation of my custom is humbly received!

A year after Foursquare launched, we are still only talking about it, and everyone seems to be saying the same thing- we are all just talking about it. Now I’m a big advocate of words, I love words but you can’t beat good old fashion action any day of the week. We all know the Foursquare chat but where’s the Foursquare action?

Searching SM sites this morning, I find so many people talking about Foursquare, there’s tons of Twitter hashtags and mentions and yet still we in Europe have no real take up. Why is everyone still just talking about it?

While Social Media is still widely unused by the masses, we know it works, it’s revolutionised marketing, advertising and PR with things moving more digital and online. Are people just fed up about another SM avenue they are being instructed to walk down? Are they still playing catch up? Are we ahead of our time?

Being someone who loves Social Media and is happy to be in the percentage of people who check their twitter/facebook and pings off emails while the morning coffee is percolating ( yeah I’m old school on coffee) I feel a little frustrated it’s not gone maninstream yet.

I feel a bit like Tom Hanks in the film Big, excitedly presenting his designed toy to the management team at the end of the movie. He’s designed this great toy with children in mind and the bad guy puts his hand up and says “I don’t get it”, stopping Tom Hanks in his tracks completely. He tries to explain it but the bad guy remains persistent, “I just don’t get it” he shrugs, a little wickedly.

This little excerpt of a great 80’s movie lends itself well to the Foursquare theory for me.

What is not to get? Foursquare is not an expense, its a little time, a little correct direction by a good SM company and you’re off. Are businesses and retailers just being spoil sports?  Ruining our Social Media fun? Getting us back for the SM invasion? Are they rebelling against Social Media and its apparent takeover of the world?  Is there a secret anti Foursquare club with secret handshakes?? Or are they just lazy and don’t want to put in the effort?

Why can’t businesses and retailers be thankful? Embrace the great things social media is designing for their businesses and just say ‘This is awesome, thanks!’  However, this girl loves a challenge, and this time next year….

C’mon venues – Wake up and hand out the free coffees!

Yes! Another day, another Mayorship in the bag for me! But honestly, who cares?

It’s a sad but true fact, those of us using Foursquare are diligently checking into venues attaining Mayorships, unlocking ‘Local’, ‘Bender’ and ‘Super’ badges, for nothing! Currently no venue is fully utilising it. With a reputed 1 million check-ins a day and growing, I can’t help but wonder why businesses are missing the opportunities to attract and reward customers that are practically being served up on a plate for them (see what I did there?)!  Are we, the user, ahead of our time?

Or is it as simple as, they just don’t get it? Just like they don’t get those funny things called Twitter and Facebook. It’s just something those crazy kids are doing.  The genius of Foursquare is that the Venue owner has little to do apart from creating a reward, the users, simply by checking in, control the game and the Venue gets all this beautiful free SM publicity. I’m using cafe’s as an example but Foursquare is not limited to cafe’s, I believe if your business has customers, there’s an opportunity there.

In the US, where it’s taken off (surprise surprise), venues have special offers for their Foursquare customers. It may be a discount on the specials or a free coffee. The customer checking in most becomes the Mayor of the venue.  Mayors are due special rewards and so have a slight kudos, people want to become Mayors. People are visiting venues to become its Mayor. Essentially it’s a loyalty scheme disguised as a game – Genius!

Despite its current reign in the ranks of Social Media it took years for Facebook to become mainstream, and then along comes Twitter and people are still sceptical about that. So, my concern is this, I am currently Mayor of FOUR different venues in Edinburgh, when are venues going to realise that Foursquare is here, and hand me my free coffee??

Karlie MacGregor (@KarlieMacG)

The race for local

Facebook have announced a location based dimension to go live next month. With the supping up of Foursquare and apps like Tripit telling LinkedIn users who is going to where, local is at the center of online and mobile development.

Search has been embracing local for a few years now. The success of Google’s local business offering heralded a move towards location being more than a mention in your footer. Adwords location based distribution, natural search local results in SERPs based on IP and the rest.

Social media is increasingly broadening out the offering towards location – a real dimension. It’s an interesting blurring of lines (more blurring) between the onscreen and the offscreen.

Add augmented reality into the mix and the future is Minority Report.

So who am I?

Going to a big meeting and know that your name is going to be Googled is almost every day. Knowing that what will be returned in the SERPs under your name will be the escapades of some other <<Insert monkier here>>, who seems to be leading a much (really much) more colourful life than you can be a bit tricker.

SPOCK to the rescue. Nothing to do with Vulcan mind melds and almost prehensile ears, but Single Point of Contact through Keyword. By creating an account you can lay claim to those pages that are yours and say goodbye to the MySpace conversations and frat party tales. http://www.spock.com