31 January 2015

3 types of Twitter posting methods for content marketers

When you post in Linkedin, Facebook, or Google+, the post is featured with image snippets, title snippets, and text abstracts.  That is why, the rule in these media platforms is that you post your article in your target community only once.  In Twitter, on the other hand, its 140-character limit and real-time nature make reposting of old tweets tolerable. Because of this, several posting patterns occur in Twitter which are used by content marketers. I shall describe each of these patterns using the military analogy.

1. Police

Police officers normally wear a M1911.  This 0.45 caliber pistol was designed for stopping power, such as during the Moro Rebellion in the Philippines when an ordinary 0.38 pistol is not enough to stop a Muslim amok armed with a kris or kampilan sword.

In a similar way, police twitters posts only the most shareable tweets because of their higher stopping power (the readers are stopped scrolling by the headline).  The number of bullets in their cartridge is usually the number of blog posts that they have.  In Twitter, they copy the title and url of their blog post, put the proper hashtags, and tweet. They do this for each of their blog post starting from the oldest to the newest. As their blog grows, their ammunition also grows.  If they have 100 blog posts, they can tweet each hour for 4 days without repeating themselves.  If they have 500 blog posts, they can tweet each hour for 20 days without repeating themselves.

2. Sniper

Snipers take their time in aiming their shot.  They look for the perfect time--the wind has died down, their target is in vulnerable position, their rifle is loaded, they are concealed in their position, and they fire.  Bang! The bullet whizzes through the air and hits the target's head.

In a similar way, snipers in Twitter study the behavior of their followers and those who follow certain hashtags such as #blogging or #contentmarketing.  Then they weigh the options: should they fire their tweet when the number of twitters is at their peak, hoping to hit more targets with a single bullet? or should they fire their tweet when the number of twitters is low, hoping to hit a few but significant targets due to the longer lifetime of their tweets in their followers' Twitter feed?  Sniper twitters design the right accompanying picture for their tweets--the colors, the fonts, the graphic, and the layout.  They then schedule their post. And minutes or hours later--bang! There goes the tweet. If they failed to get blog visitors with that tweet, they post the same tweet several hours later and pray for a good hit.

3. Soldier

Soldiers were trained to fight in mountains and boondocks (this came from the Tagalog word "bundok") using an M-16 rifle.   This rifle shoots several rounds once you pull the trigger.

In a similar way, soldier twitters tweet about a single blog post several times in different ways.  To do this without trying to appear monotonous, they cull the important statements per paragraph of the blog posts and put these statements in their twitter cartridge.  Each of their tweet consists of one important statement and the blog post url.  If they wrote a blog post of 5 paragraphs, then they can tweet about this blog posts 6 times (one title + 5 important statements) at several hours apart. But once they exhausted their ammunition for the particular blog post, they don't repeat themselves and tweet about the same blog post again.

Conclusions

These are only some general methods that you can use in your Twitter marketing campaigns.  Of course, you can mix and match.  But what is important is that you analyze your twitting habits to determine what kind of twitter marketer you are.  Then you can try out other methods and see if these suit you personality and the needs of your marketing campaign.

26 January 2015

How to interpret and improve your 9 metrics in Twitter Analytics


There are several stats that you can see in analytics.twitter.com.  Let's describe them one by one:

  1. Impressions for a particular tweet (table). This is the total number of people who saw your tweet.  Since Twitter is published in real time, this statistic gives you the instantaneous size of your audience in that one brief moment of fame or infamy. Some tips: Note the time of the day, because your audience size may depend on the time of the day. So make sure that your target audience is awake and tweeting when you tweet, e.g. North America at 8 pm local time. 
  2. Engagements for a particular tweet (table). This is the total number of link clicks, retweets, favorites, and replies for your tweet.   
  3. Engagements rate for a particular tweet (table). This is the total number of engagements divided by the total impressions and the result converted to percentage. This is a good metric for your tweet. Some tips: classify your tweets according to low and high engagements.  What do low engagement tweets have in common?  What do high engagement tweets have in common? Test your theories by using the insight obtained from high engagement tweets.  If you get high engagement most of the time from that point onward, then your theory may be correct.
  4. Engagement rate per day (blue line chart). This is the total number of link clicks, retweets, favorites,and replies for your tweets for each day.
  5. Link clicks per day (purple bar chart). This is the number of times the links in your tweets were clicked for each day.  Some tips: (a) Make sure that your tweets have links to your blog article.  (b) Use a url shortener such as goo.gl.
  6. Retweets per day (green bar chart). This is is the total number of retweets of your tweets for each day. Some tips: (a) Make sure that your tweet is unique, compelling, and timely to convince others to retweet your tweet. (b) Sometimes a good image or infographic attached to your tweet increases the likelihood of retweet.
  7. Favorites per day (orange bar chart).  This is the number of times your tweets were given a star of approval by others for each day. Some tips: Your tweet must resonate with the reader. How you do it is more difficult.  As a rule, make some insights about being human and not just tweet about yourself and your actions--unless you are a movie star.
  8. Replies per day (blue bar chart). This is the number of times people replied to your tweets for each day.  Some tips: start conversations in Twitter by commenting on other people's tweets, within reason, of course. Once people see that you like conversations, they may also try to converse with you, so that the number of replies per day would increase.
  9. Impressions per day (large blue bar chart).  This is the largest chart that you will see.  This chart shows the number of people who saw your tweet for each day. Some tip: Plot the number of tweets that you post per day and see if your chart looks similar to impressions per day.  You may also like to make an xy-scatter plot of the number of impressions per day vs the number of tweets per day.  If the graph is a straight line, then one conclusion that you can make is that the more tweets you make the more impressions you get. But what if your graph is not a straight line even for large tweet data sets?  This is where the fun begins. Maybe there are some things special about some of your tweets? Find these magic ingredients.


25 January 2015

Distributor Management: Winning Tools in Managing Distributors as Partners by Emilio Macasaet III

A few days ago, I read a tweet from Josiah Go that Emilio Macasaet III is launching his book in Powerbooks, Glorietta 4 this Tuesday, 27 January 2015, 6:00 pm.  His book is entitled, "Distributor Management: Winning Tools in Managing Distributors as Partners".

The following day, I asked the National Bookstore in Katipunan if they have the book.  The lady in the information counter checked her database and asked me to wait.  She went up the spiral staircase.  After a few minutes she was back holding the Distributor Management book.

A. Book Cover Design

I like the book's cover design. The cover photo are chains of silver with a green link.  I think the image is apt since a distributor manager (green) links two things: the company and the distributor.  A weak distributor manager would severe the relations between the company and the distributor. A strong distributor manager would preserve the link between the company and the distributor for many, many years.

I checked the back cover.  It contains his photo in coat and tie.  The green background of his photo matches with the green link in the front cover--very consistent color scheme.

The first two paragraphs of the back cover describes his qualifications to write the book:
Emilio C. Macasaet III is a Partner and the Chief Distribution Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc. He is also the Chairman and CEO of Field Partners Inc., an on-field sales training and coaching company. He conducts various sales seminars, consulting, and training programs in most parts of Asia-Pacific and Middle East.
He obtained his MBA from Ateneo de Manila University and took a Doctor in Business Administration (DBA) program at De La Salle Graduate School of Business wherehe was a former MBA professor in Distribution Management.  Bong also attended an executive program in Marketing Channels at Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Chicago; and other special programs at Singapore Institute of Management (SIM), Singapore, and Burke Institute, USA. Bong partly writes a column in Business World newspaper.
The last paragraph is a recommendation by Josiah L. Go.

B. What is the significance of the book for distributor managers?

In his interview with Josiah Go, Emilio Macasaet III said:
Here’s a test. Ask someone to go to any popular bookstore or to check Amazon.com for a book that offers a fundamental step-by-step guide to effective distributor management. None. I’m now catering to an almost un-served market. This book, “Distributor Management: Winning Tools in Managing Distributors as Partners” aims to help Distributor Managers go back to the basics on how to effectively manage distributors as partners. Operational frameworks and structured procedures are meticulously written to help readers learn and immediately apply the essential elements in managing a distributor partner. I have also included very important templates like the Territory & Distributor Fact Books, Check-Point Meeting forms, Cycle Plans, and basic financial metrics useful in understanding the distributor’s business health. Readers can alter, enhance, or refine the templates to make them useful for their specific needs. 
This is the only book on the subject in the market which already serves as a basic manual to effectively manage a distributor partner. You can actually give this book to a novice salesman with latent talent, and he’d be ready to go. I teach distributor management for various companies in Asia-Pacific and Middle East, and most of them find the structured procedures and templates very useful and immediately applicable. Now, they’re in this book and available in National and Power Bookstores.
This is a nice positioning: Macasaet filled the hole in the distributor management literature.  Hence, if you are distributor manager, you should read the book.

C. What is the significance of the book for CEOs?

Business is war.  To succeed in war, you not only have to manage your troops, but also those of your allies.  The distributor manager is the general who shall manage your allies.  Leaders of allied troops are not commanded, but only persuaded, i.e. they should be dealt as partners.  To do this effectively, the distributor manager must know everything about the distributor--his sales force, his outlets, his motives, his areas of coverage, etc--not through espionage, but through transparency, for transparency, according to Macasaet, is the one that builds trust.  And this is where the Distributor Fact Books, Check-Point Meeting forms, Cycle Plans, and other metrics come into the picture.  If distributors know that they are being evaluated according to certain set of standards, they can either live up to those standards and demand from the distributor manager those same standards of excellence. or they can opt to cease as distributors and offer their services to another company--even to your competitor.

So if you are the CEO of your company, I suggest that you check out Macasaet's book and give a copies of it to your distributor managers.  Gather them together one weekend of brainstorming sessions and retreat.  Make them answer the end-of-chapter reflection points proposed by Macaset.  Here is an example of tactical reflections at the end of Chapter 1 (p. 13):
  1. As a distributor manager, do I have a clear understanding of my critical roles and responsibilities?  Can I imagine myself in this role?
  2. Do I know my Key Result Areas (KRAs) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)? Have I discussed this with my boss in person?
  3. Do I possess the basic sales, personal, and business competencies which I need to succeed in my job?
And here's are the classic application exercise:
  1. What I will stop doing
  2. What I will start doing
  3. What I will continue doing?
These are similar to what St. Ignatius wrote in his Spiritual Exercises: "What I have done for Christ, what I am doing for Christ, what I ought to do for Christ?" Macasaet also mentioned Thomas a Kempis, the author of Imitation of Christ, in his book.   And given the author's Ignatian background in his MBA at Ateneo de Manila University, it is possible that Macasaet, perhaps unconsciously, adapted the Spiritual Exercises to serve as the framework for the distributor manager's business retreat.

Business is war and St. Ignatius is a man-of-war.  Since Macasaet refers to distributor managers as generals, it may be worth remembering what Sun Tzu said in his Art of War:
It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.
D. How do I get a copy of the book?

The book is available in National Bookstore branches.  The cost is Php 288. If you are free this Tuesday, 27 January 2015, 6:00 pm, you may like to attend the book launching of Emilio Macasaet III's book, Distributor Management, at Powerbooks Greenbelt 4.

A friend asked for a transparent lady's bag for Christmas

So I went to Gateway Mall and searched, until I reached Rustan's Department store.

Rustan's in Gateway Mall is inconspicuous.  From the outside, it looks like a small store with white Christmas lights hanging on the entrance.  But when I went in, it opens up to new caverns, like the Dwarven Mines of Moria.  You see some flight of steps here and there, some walls, but you don't get to see everything all at once, unlike in SM Department Stores.  Perhaps this is really the design given the space available to Rustan's at Gateway: the compartmentalized design makes you focus on each product as if you are the  only person around, making you feel special, far apart from the masses in the malls.

"Sir, where are your lady's bags?" I asked one of the attendants.

"It's on the lower floor," he said.

I went down through an escalator.

When I reached the floor, I met some staff carrying plexiglas display stands--probably for shoes or for jewelry. I looked around.  There were lady's bags made of leather in colors brown, yellow, and green.  I didn't see the brand.  I didn't even check the price.  Where's that bag? I asked myself.

Perhaps, this is the difference between men and women in shopping.  Women tend to wander around and wonder: "Wow! A bag!  How lovely! Will this match my shoes?   Will this go with my dress?"  Men, on the other hand, focus only on the task at hand and forget everything else.

"Sir, I am looking for some transparent lady's bags," I asked one of the attendants.

"We have no transparent lady's bags.  But you may like to check our bags here." He brought me to the luggage bags!

"No," I said. "I am looking for a lady's handbag. Transparent."

"Sorry, Sir," the sales lady said. "We don't have the bag."

I took a leave and left.

On my way out, I spotted some bags near the entrance/exit. Oh, a transparent bag, I said to myself.  I checked it out.  It's a Hello Kitty bag.

"Do you have other designs? I want a transparent bag with no large Hello Kitty painted over it."

"No, sir," the attendant said. "That's all the designs we have at the moment. Are you buying for yourself or for your friend?"

"I am buying for a friend."

"It's a Hello Kitty bag.  Your friend would surely love a Hello Kitty bag."

I checked the specs.  It says that the plastic simulates the strength of a leather--or something to that effect.

"How much is this?"

"Twenty-six fifty."

"Ok. I'll get this."

I went to the cashier area.  Some of the staff at the back are wrapping gifts.

"Do you also wrap gifts?" I asked

"Yes," the cashier said.

"What's the cost for the gift wrapping?"

"It is free, Sir."

"Why?"

"For any item worth at least Php 500, the gift-wrapping is free."

"But my item is less than Php 500."

The cashier checked the price.

"Sir, the price of the bag is Php 2,650."

"Oh, I thought it's just something less than Php 300."

Twenty-six fifty. Yes, that's Php 2,650.  It is interesting how we talk about prices.  If we ask about the price of shoes, we say three-five to mean Php 3,500.  This assumes that the other person already understands the price range of men's shoes.  But when it comes to lady's bags, it's my first time to buy one and I have no idea at all.

"Sorry, I won't buy the bag," I said to the cashier.

"It's ok, sir," she said and smiled.

So goodbye, Hello Kitty bag. Maybe someday I'll have a chance to say hello to you again.

04 January 2015

Why use TweetDeck?

1. Twitter owns TweetDeck

Twitter bought TweetDeck last 25 May 2011.  It has supported Facebook and other applications before, but now has focused only on Twitter.  This makes sense, since Facebook has its own post-scheduling capabilities, which makes TweetDeck unnecessary.  The fact that Twitter owns TweetDeck, you can be sure that TweetDeck will always be in pace with Twitter's developments.  Also, since TweetDeck is focused only on Twitter, you can be assured that your Twitter experience is as wonderful as possible.

2.   TweetDeck columns gives you a bird's eye view of your Twitter activity

When I first saw this feature, I said, "Whoa!" The standard columns are the following:
  • New Tweet
  • Home
  • Notifications
  • Messages
  • Activity
You can't see all these things at once in Twitter.  And the best thing is you can add more columns. Just make sure that your screen is large enough. My screen resolution is 1920 x 1080 px.  With this resolution, you can have about 6 columns.

3. You can add other Twitter accounts to manage

I haven't yet tried this, but I prefer to manage only one account to build my @QuirinoSugonJr Twitter brand. I shut down my @MonksHobbit account.  Actually, it is still there, but I am not anymore using it.

4. You can schedule posts

This is the clincher for me.  This is the reason why I logged in to TweetDeck. As a content marketer, I need to post some tweets extracted from my articles with the tiny url links of the articles and post them at different hours of the day at different days.  This is like fishing with several fishing rods or with one fishing rods with several hooks or just simply with a net.  Whatever the analogy is, the aim is to catch more Tweeter readers from all corners of the world living in different time zones.  Duc in altum. "Cast into the deep," Christ said (Lk 5:4).  Christ made Peter and the Apostles fishers of men.  And so are we in the content marketing and social media business--fishers of men.

5. It's Free

This is all I ask.  There are no stats.  But it is ok: I can see the stats in my Blogger dashboard and in Twitter Analytics. Right now, Google and Facebook are the major referrers to my blogs, with some vistors from Twitter.  I hope this will change with TweetDeck.

Should I consolidate my blogs into one blog?

Or should I make separate blogs for each of my interests? I have been trying to answer these questions again and again. And my blogger friend in FB would always laugh at me and say that she also had too many blogs before; now, she just have one blog. And she advises me to do likewise.

Having many blogs has advantages. A blog with a different name gives you focus. It is as if you are donning a costume and do your specific superhero duties. And you become recognized by your blog's name. Then you don another costume and do another superhero duty. One day you are Superman--super strong, super fast, but super weak when faced with a Kryptonite. The next day you are Batman--intelligent, good-looking, martial arts expert, and billionaire. The costumes by themselves do not give Superman and Batman extraordinary powers; rather, the costumes provide a reminder of their identities as superheroes with specific functions and missions, in the same way as the habits of religious priests and nuns remind them of their chosen habits in life, i.e. how they work and how they pray.

But having many blogs is also tiring. You tend to stretch yourself too thinly like butter, as Bilbo used to say. A man can reasonably blog about one to two hours a day. If he writes in only one blog, then he would already have seven blog posts at the end of the week. But if he has seven blogs, then even if he spends an hour or two a day for writing, he would still end up only one post per blog per week, which is nothing much. And this can be frustrating.

On the other hand, if you have only one blog, then you can devote all your free time to that blog. You can write more posts and enjoy seeing your blog grow.

But because you have only one blog, it cannot anymore be a niche blog. You would then tend to cover as many topics as you can think of. As a result, your blog becomes a porridge that your readers won't have something to hold on to, And this is particularly true for personal blogs: you write about sports, food, movies, politics--things that you would normally post in in Facebook or Twitter updates. The only thing that holds them together is you: you are the one who wrote them. The brand now becomes you yourself. You are brand you.

Right now, I don't have the answer to the question. What works for your blog may not work for those of others. For this blog, I'll try to consolidate my posts again, except for my well-established blogs like Monk's Hobbit and Clifford's Chalk. But doing so also makes me sit in sadness as I watch good blog names finally go to rest.