To Tweet or Not To Tweet?
Twitter Round Table Part 2
In which we re-visit the participants in our first round table discussion to see exactly how much changed in the four months since our last discussion.
Round Table Participants:
IRL Name: Andy Sowards
IRL Name: Calvin Lee
Twitter Bio: Self-Proclaimed Media Ho, Designer Guy and Twitter Addict. In his spare time, Stunt Doubles for the Hulk and a really Nice Guy! You can even ask @ChrisBrogan http://twitter.com/chrisbrogan
IRL Name: Adam Nollmeyer
Website: http://acmephotography.net/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/acmephoto/
Twitter Bio: Photographer spreading propaganda thru photos that don’t suck. http://flickr.com/acmephoto
IRL Name: Jacob Cass
Twitter Bio: Graphic Designer, Logo Designer, Web Designer, Blogger, Creative Thinker, Uni Student, Freelancer.
@NAPP_News:Ok, since we last spoke in January, tell me what you’ve been up to?
@AndySowards: Well, This has been an extremely busy year for me. Other than hanging out with the family and watching our new baby Sebastian grow like a weed (he’s 5 months old already!), I have really been focusing on growing my freelance Design/Development business this year and keeping up with all the latest trends and social media of course. I have worked on a lot of freelance projects this year, one of the most recent being a Twitter-focused social media web app for sharing URLs and Photos on Twitter and other social networks very easily (http://virl.com). When I am not developing sites and web apps for clients, I am updating my blog and keep churning out design/development posts and nerdy daily links at http://www.andysowards.com.
@MayhemStudios: Since we last spoke, great things: my network of followers has increased dramatically, my credibility and “re-tweetablity” have skyrocketed on Twitter. I’ve met Social Media Rockstar, Chris Brogan twice. I was honored that Chris mentioned me on his blog posts a few times. I’m talking to Guy Kawasaki more often. Guy even sent me some Alltop swag and coffee. I’m getting into more conversations with some of the most popular design bloggers out there.
Since we are talking about swag, numerous companies and business have sent me their products for free as a thank you for adding value to Twitter. I’ve been getting many requests to speak at conferences, events and podcasts. I also continue to contribute to articles and interviews on various design blogs.
@AcmePhoto: I’ve continued to network and have focused on having more “face to face” meetings, lunch, or coffee with local online friends. I might not get a chance to attend all the local “mixers” but people I respect and those who respect me are connected easier online and we skip past ‘getting to know each other” when we actually do lunch or start doing business together. We already know the other person though the meeting is the first one IRL. My wife and I also finalized the development of AcmeBaby v3.0 and have our fist daughter!
@JustCreative: Since January, my social media contacts have nearly tripled in size which I guess is due to the snowballing effect of Twitter – I never knew how powerful Twitter was going to be. I have also started a new blog based around logo design. http://logodesignerblog.com Other than that, I have just been doing what I love doing… designing & blogging.
@NAPP_News: Have your number of followers grown since then? If so, by how much?
@AndySowards: Definitely! I believe that when we spoke back in January I had around 1400 followers on Twitter, and I thought that was a great number back then, but now my follower count is nearly at 8k and I am truly honored to have such a great following!
@MayhemStudios: My followers have grown dramatically, from 2,800 in January, when we first spoke to my current 23,000+ followers, and still growing. I find it incredible how and why so many people are following me. I’m not any more special than anyone else. I’m glad I give value to others.
It just goes to show you, you don’t need any of those programs to auto follow massive new followers. All you need: tweet/retweet useful quality information/content, connect/engage your followers, answer questions and help when possible. It’s about your followers, not you.
@AcmePhoto: My twitter followers have grown and I have followed more people. I have added other parallel industries locally. I am also following (and being followed by) more photographers nationally and globally.
@JustCreative: My follower numbers have nearly tripled in size since January… so from about 5000 to 14,000.
@NAPP_News: What about your web traffic? What has changed for you?
@AndySowards: Traffic has seen steady growth since we talked last, I am very pleased with the traffic so far. A good amount of traffic still comes from my social media efforts on twitter and hope to have numbers in the hundred thousand per month range by the end of this year. Just focusing on putting out great content right now and so far have had positive feedback from the community.
@MayhemStudios: Just like my follower count, my web traffic has also increased dramatically. It went from about 40,000 visits to my current 70,000 visits per month. When checking my Google analytics: Stumble Upon, Google and Twitter are my top 3 referrals to my site.
Twitter is driving large amounts of direct traffic to my site. I’m getting even more comments on my blog posts than before. I believe in order for this to happen, you need to build up your reputation, creditability and have quality content on your blog posts and tweets.
@AcmePhoto: Web traffic continues to come in from facebook, flickr and twitter. The downside is I sometimes don’t blog as much as I should, however I am still maintaining relationships with friends, colleagues, and those who may send me work.
@JustCreative: Web traffic has been on a steady rise, in particular organic search engine results. Traffic from Twitter & Facebook has also been on a steady rise as I gather more and more followers / friends. The snowball effect works a charm so if you don’t have many followers now, just keep it up and your time will come.
@NAPP_News: The economy has changed drastically since our last discussion too. How are you doing?
@AndySowards: This is very true, and thankfully we have done just great and hope the trend continues for us. There have been very few ‘slow’ weeks, this year so far, which are usually typical, as we all know with freelancing. I try to count my blessings every day, but I believe the economy change has created a lot of opportunities for hard working creatives to take advantage of as well.
@MayhemStudios: I’m doing well. The amount of potential clients has increased by leaps and bounds. I’m getting even more inquires since the last time. Companies and businesses are trying to save money in this bad economy. They are turning to smaller studios, one to two person shops and freelancer to do the all work now. I think in a bad economy, smaller business has a better chance of succeeding.
@AcmePhoto: The economy is down, however I’m still making it. I see friends struggle and running a business is always a challenge. I do see more leads coming in from my social networking, so it is paying off. I also know that I have possibilities to help others who need work and are my friends. If you need work from a parallel industry try working a trade or partner to refer clients to each other. Banding together helps make your entire network and community stronger.
@JustCreative: I have actually been quite fortunate do the fact that nearly all of my clients live in the US… and I live Down Under. The economies of scales here mean that I am receiving quite a bonus on my pay cheques though as the US economy gains momentum, my bonus is slowly declining which is a shame but such is life.
@NAPP_News: Do you think SocMed has helped you weather the economy? Helped or hurt?
@AndySowards: SocMed has definitely helped me tremendously. Like I said in the last answer, I believe that SocMed has opened up a lot of opportunities. A Lot of companies (small and large) are turning to social media to find dependable experts in their field to outsource their workload needs to instead of staffing entire teams in house to do the same thing. Basically it is creating some very ‘win win’ situations for both ends of the spectrum. A great tip that has gotten me through the past few months is this: “don’t focus on the economy, focus on your goals”. Which is hard for some, but with so much negative talk about the economy recently it’s easy to let that negativity drag you down. Focus on your goals and be positive, it will help a LOT.
@MayhemStudios: Social media has definitely helped in this bad economy. Twitter is basically free promotion for yourself, even if you don’t really promote. By tweeting/retweeting useful information, helping and engaging in conversation with your followers. You’re promoting without promoting.
It helps to build your brand, your creditability and shows expertise in your field. Which can bring people/traffic to your site.
@JustCreative: Well let’s put it this way, I’ve never paid a cent for advertising.
@NAPP_News: We all know that SocMed “changes at the speed of NOW.” Much of what I planned for the original article was irrelevant by press time and I had to make a lot of changes myself. Anything you care to amend? Is there something that was important in January that isn’t now? Or is there a tactic you used back then that you don’t now?
@AndySowards: Yes SocMed is definitely a fast paced thing to get involved with, but that’s another reason why we love it! There are so many trends that come and go that it is hard to keep track of all of them! Things have popped up since the last time we talked such as the excessive usage of #hash tags and daily occurrences like #FollowFriday. A few differences from then and now that I have noticed that back then people were still using Automatic DM (Direct Message) responses constantly that would send out a generic, and usually cold and sales sounding “Check out my site, or service, or whatever” message to new followers. A lot of people hated Automatic DM’s, for good reason. Some people still use them now, but not nearly as many as I found to have been using them back in January. There are services now that can even block these for you. The reason Auto DMs are bad is because it takes the ‘social’ out of the equation and makes for a terrible first impression of you or your company, It is best to lead in with a warm greeting, that comes from you and not a machine. One thing I have changed personally is that I have been using #hashtags much more frequently and trying to keep twitter searchability in mind when tweeting these days.
@MayhemStudios: Everything has pretty much remained the same. My thoughts before were only follow people in the same industry and people with similar interests. That is still a very good practice. Now I believe, we should follow everyone. You don’t know what you might be missing and/or if that’s the one person with the big deal you have been waiting for.
Twitter has always been about the people, making that connection and building relationships. Everyone may not be in the same industry or have similar interests but it still leads to great conversations.
@AcmePhoto: Sometimes it’s hard to cut through the noise of the “new social media experts” who have only been on twitter 6 months and have 30-40 thousand followers. These people @reply “hey thanks” and seem to be more concerned about stroking their own ego and using twitter as an Instant Messenger. The truth remains that your network is still your network. Prune it if you need to, but sticking to principles of sharing, helping others, being fun and looking for others who have good content will always win in the end.
@JustCreative: By the time I tell you, it will be irrelevant 😉 … but I will say that you should build a strategy around your own business goals, not some one else’s. ie. What works for someone else, may not particularly work for you. My philosophy of using SocMed is to provide quality over quantity… with original Tweets / messages – not the same ol’ stuff that gets retweeted by the hundreds. And remember, do to others as you would like done to you.
@NAPP_News: Twitter has experienced unprecedented growth since our last discussion. How has the influx of new users affected you, if at all?
@AndySowards: Yes Twitter has exploded with growth in the recent months, Its funny to see it mentioned on TV so much now and being used by so many celebrities. I believe that the influx of new users has attributed to the increase of my following, but overall I believe that a large amount of the ‘new’ users are just in it for the celebrity appeal. But I believe that regardless of whether or not the explosion of Twitter growth directly affects you, it is a good thing for all of the users that it is growing. 🙂
@MayhemStudios: The amount of new followers is very overwhelming. It’s hard to connect with everyone on a personal level. I scan through my timeline; see if there is anything I can help people with. I always try my best to answer all questions directed at me.
I use Tweetdeck to manage my followers. I create groups to keep track of the people I do talk with and who I’m interested in. I also check out their updates, to see what is going on with them, to stay connected.
@AcmePhoto: I was bitter for a while with all the “buy my ebook” and “bulk spam adding” tactics on twitter. I could not keep up with adding new followers as soon as they followed me. I actually waited a week to see if the person was suspended or dropped me before adding them back. I added a filter in my email to skip the inbox on new follows, to reduce clutter, which takes more time for me to find the real people. If you follow me and I don’t’ follow back right away, I’d suggest participating by @replying. (Hey @acmephoto “Your clever message here”)
@NAPP_News: I have to completely agree with you (@AcmePhoto) on this one. Back in January, I took pride in the fact that I followed up with every single request that same day. I still get to my requests but I’m much more inclined to follow someone back who engages me in conversation now because I simply do not have the time to wade through all those requests only to find that the person on the other end isn’t telling me anything about who they are. That’s exactly why I went the route I wound up going in with the Layers article. I’m hoping to help stem that trend a little. So yes. Folks, please feel free to “@” reply me too to open up a dialogue! =)
@JustCreative: Exposure is probably the biggest benefit of using SocMed. The more you get talked about, the more potential you have of gaining work (if that is your goal for using SocMed) which is what the majority of people are using SocMed for. You never know where your next client will come from.
@NAPP_News: Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?
@AndySowards: I just want everyone to know that even though we all put SocMed on a pedestal as a tool to help build your business/brand and get you a ton of traffic etc. that the main things to focus on is to be yourself, have fun with it, be creative, share, and be active. If you do those things then you will grow faster, make more connections, and seem way more human to people than if you were to just use it as a tool to ‘get business’, plus you will meet awesome people and have more fun.
On a personal note, I am currently re-designing and re-structuring andysowards.com, http://andysowards.com so stay tuned to see the new changes/features. I also have some great content lined up for the next few months. I am honored to be a part of this post and truly hope my answers help some people succeed in social media!
@MayhemStudios: Twitter is a great way to build relationships; by helping others, participating, interacting, tweeting useful information, retweeting others, being part of the community, replying to questions, having good manners, being nice and sharing part of your life.
@AcmePhoto: With all the “experts” on the Internet, do broaden your horizons and have different circles of friends. If someone is a poser, you’ll figure it out the more you play online. This social media thing is here to stay, so dive in and don’t be afraid to doing it wrong because making mistakes will make you better.
@JustCreative: Link to your profiles / websites in as many places as you can (in appropriate places, such as the end of an article).
Twitter Article Extras:
To Tweet or Not to Tweet?
Twitter Roundtable Discussion, Part 1
Twitter Roundtable Discussion, Part 2
A List of Helpful Sites