Armadillo Studios Inc.

Hootsuite: A Twitter Campaign’s Best Friend

With hundreds of Twitter applications available at the moment, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of promises. As with any technological movement, many apps are popping up to take advantage of businesses and users trying to promote themselves using Twitter. Unfortunately, a majority of these apps are probably useless for most businesses looking to start a twitter campaign, but a few seem to be invaluable. In our opinion, the one Twitter application that every business needs is “Hootsuite”:http://www.hootsuite.com.

Built by Vancouver’s own “Invoke Media”:http://www.invokemedia.com/, Hootsuite is widely regarded as an “indispensable tool for Twitter Power users”:http://www.invokemedia.com/hootsuite-wins-best-app-at-shorty-awards/. After toying with the application for our own Armadillo Studios Twitter campaigns and for our first “two private campaigns”:http://blog.armadillostudios.ca/article/twitter-for-the-calgary-market, we have to agree with that judgment.

Why Use HootSuite?

*Hootsuite* is an online tool that leverages information from your Twitter stream into a similar, yet powerful interface. Hootsuite’s interface is like flying first class to Twitter’s economy class web interface.

While an upgraded interface really doesn’t justify Hootsuite’s power, the real benefit comes from the application’s ability to *add multiple admins to a single account, the integrated tiny-url creator (Ow.ly), to schedule tweets to post on a time delay and to view the metrics on links that you send out*. All the bells and whistles that can really enhance any sized Twitter campaign. Whether it is for a large company, non-profit or for a small-medium sized business.

But in our opinion the two aspects of the Hootsuite application that make it worthwhile are the *Time Delay Posts* and *the ability to view metrics on links*.

Time Delay Posts

The beauty of Twitter is it’s simplicity. You post short snippets throughout the day and your followers (or potential customers) read your tweets. Unfortunately, there are a couple of occasions where the ability to schedule tweets can be a real benefit. Either for maximizing your potential readership or when you know you won’t be online for a certain time period.

For example, say you religiously post a “#FollowFriday”:http://mashable.com/2009/03/06/twitter-followfriday/ recommendation every Friday at 10:00am, but you’ve got a morning meeting this Friday. Hootsuite’s scheduling app allows you to create the tweet on Monday and schedule it to post later that week. Simple as pie.

Now the previous example was a very simple run down of the benefits, but you scheduling of tweet to coincide with a product or site launch can help to focus you on the important tasks rather than worrying about tweeting at the proper time.

Viewing Link Metrics

Embedded in the Hootsuite application is the tiny-url creator “ow.ly”:http://ow.ly/url/shorten-url. Like all tiny-url creators it allows you to take a long link and shorten it to a 10 to character link. *The ow.ly service embedded straight into the posting interface on it’s own, is a fantastic addition to Hootsuite*.

But it gets better.

For all links which use the ow.ly tiny-url, Hootsuite will track the metrics of that link. It will track the amount of followers opening the link over a variety of time periods; providing you with some key information, which can determine what the optimal time to make a post is or what subjects are producing the most interest. Two critical bits of information for any campaign.

Your Campaign’s Best Friend

Without question, Hootsuite is a great addition to any business driven Twitter campaign (or for personal users interested in their own metrics). Rumor around town is that “Invoke is launching a 2.0 version, which includes multiple columns and other bells and whistles”:http://www.techvibes.com/blog/hootsuite-2.0-get-your-beta-invite-here. But in the meantime give Hootsuite a try. We promise you won’t be disappointed.

WestJet Embraces Twitter

Update at the bottom of the article

It is well known that one of the major industries to really embrace the Twitter phenomena is the “Airline Industry”:http://simpliflying.com/2009/three-ways-airline-brands-can-make-money-from-twitter/. The first company to truly leverage Twitter in to a profitable business model was the successful low cost carrier “Jet Blue”:http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/05/travel/05prac.html?hpw. Since then there has been an explosion of carriers trying to reach out to customers and promote a variety of special ‘twitter’ deals. From major carriers such as “United”:http://twitter.com/UnitedAirlines to low cost carriers like “SouthWest Airlines”:http://twitter.com/SouthwestAIr and the aforementioned “JetBlue”:http://twitter.com/jetblue, but until recently none of the Canadian based carriers have leveraged the service.

But as June 28th, Calgary based “WestJet has launched it’s own twitter account with a series of free flight give-aways”:http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/June2009/26/c2375.html. The company which has built it’s reputation on exceeding the service expectations of customers and coupling that low cost fares, is one of the great examples of corporation that can really leverage twitter.

With this press release, it does look like WestJet is kick starting their service with a great campaign by giving away free flights to a random group of initial followers. This is a simple way to create a viral buzz and garner a solid base of followers. It also looks like Westjet is going to send out special tweet deals like their American counterparts have. Which are both great steps for building a great following.

-*Unfortunately, there is a gaping hole that WestJet is not addressing*. Now this is based solely on their press release, but it does seem that they have ignored the important aspect of customer service.-

As noted in a variety of articles and blog posts on the topic of the Airline Industry’s usage of twitter, the truly successful companies such as *JetBlue* and *SouthWest*, have really improved customer relations by utilizing “twitter to quickly respond to customer questions and issues”:http://www.socializedpr.com/jetblue-engages-in-real-conversation-on-twitter/. These companies have used the tool to engage their customer base by answering questions, helping with reservations, and addressing customer service issues. Which in turn has enhanced their corporate image and provided real-time friendly face to the customers.

Below is an example of the success of JetBlue’s campaign:

Morgan and I exchanged a few emails and I learned that Morgan is behind JetBlue’s tweets, and not a bot, and that Morgan is very well informed on social media ethics and aware that corporate use of Twitter can be tricky. *I am impressed that Morgan was watching Twitter closely enough to sense an issue, responded quickly, apologized, and removed the two of us from @JetBlue’s list*. This served as a demonstration of the company’s active participation in the Twitter conversation, its willingness to course-correct, and of the new speed of social media with which corporations have to contend.

Good or Bad, WestJet’s adoption of Twitter is a great step for the full integration of social media into the consciousness of the Canadian Public.

*So Kudos is in order for WestJet*.

*Update*: Shortly after launching the article and linking it on Twitter we received this fantastic response from WestJet.

So we’ll gladly enjoy our fine steaming slice of humble pie and completely applaud WestJet. If anything, this little exchange further shows the importance of not only leveraging twitter to promote your products, but to also use it as a real-time customer relations tool.

Job Seekers Leveraging Twitter

Yesterday afternoon, we had a great interview with Danielle Suchet of CBC Radio One for a segment on *Job Seekers Leveraging Social Media in the Struggling Economy*. We had a wonderful chat with Danielle and a couple of quotes were broadcast during the segment.

If you happened to miss our comments, the CBC Calgary has posted a synopsis of the segment – “Calgary Job Seekers Tweet To Find Work”:http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/story/2009/06/09/calgary-jobs-twitter-social-networking.html?ref=rss. Including a great little snippet of the interview:

Posting links on Twitter *will not eliminate the need for traditional job boards or online listings but it’s an avenue to reach a wider audience*, said Connor Turner, owner of Armadillo Studios, which consults on social networking for small businesses.

“People are using Twitter and Facebook just to get the word out there and show a connection and then drive them back to the original form like their website and the job posting,” he said. “*It’s just an indirect way, a more personal way to get out there and touch people and provide the information that people are looking for*.”

If your curious about our Twitter Consulting services, feel free to have a look at original article – “Twitter For the Calgary Market”:https://www.armadillostudios.ca/twitter-for-the-calgary-market/.

yycPhotobook.com

With the advent of online collaboration, it’s amazing at how fast a simple idea can go from a random thought to online collaboration to web site launch. Take our newly launched “yycPhotobook web site”:http://www.yycphotobook.com as an example.

After being approached by “Duncan Kinney”:http://www.duncankinneyblog.com, of “yycBlogs”:http://www.yycblogs.com fame, to take on the task of designing the layout for the new collaborative/crowsourcing photobook project – “yycPhotobook”:http://www.yycphotobook.com we quickly went to work on establishing a home base for the project. Utilizing a simple black, pink, and white color scheme and inspiration from Italian outfit “loveleft’s”:http://www.loveleft.com/ stunning use of typography, we have created a simple informational site to spread the word to calgary’s growing photography community.

Armadillo Studios will continue to post entries on the progression of the project, from the initial meeting to the development and publication of the project. So check back shortly.

SXSW09: Core Conversation Sunday – Blogging And It’s Future

Sunday morning was a bit of a white wash and continued the tradition of picking panels that were _not the talk of the day_. Including walking to, but not into the “Is Spec Design Evil?”:http://blog.wired.com/business/2009/03/is-crowdsourcin.html and then opting for a bit more downtime.

To combat the losing streak it was decided that attending some “core conversations on blogging”:http://sxsw.com/interactive/talks/core_conversations would be the perfect ailment for the panel woes.

Core Conversations are round table discussions with experts on a variety of topics. The ones chosen for Saturday were “Is the Personal Blog Dead?”:http://www.sxsw.com/interactive/talks/core_conversations?action=show&id=IAP0900456 and “Blogging Skills and Beyond”:http://www.sxsw.com/interactive/talks/core_conversations?action=show&id=IAP0901320. Both were intriguing in regards to the development of a online Personal brand and the evolution of the blog. But the main synopsis of both panels was that *the concept of a Personal Blog has transformed from a daily log of your life into an element of a selection of applications that creates an online personal brand*.

With “growing presence of Twitter”:https://www.armadillostudios.ca/twitter-for-the-calgary-market/, facebook and other online Social Media applications, the blog has changed in the past three years. The entity it was before has now died. Rather now professionals should be utilizing their blogs in conjunction with other applications for networking and to promote their own professional personal brand.

The Blog should be an entity to promote your services and your knowledge in a long format, while professionals should utilize Twitter, LinkedIn and Flickr to connect with people and drive them to the respiratory of your thoughts and ideas which is located on your professional blog.

As a company that specializes in developing personal branding in conjunction with customized blogs, these two sessions where an inspirational take on what has been considered a fading element of the online persona. It was great to see some optimism and some brilliant points.

Twitter For the Calgary Market

The buzz about twitter in Calgary is starting to take off. Over the past few days twitter has been a feature cover story on “FFWD”:http://www.ffwdweekly.com/article/news-views/news/digital-dialogue-3399/, “The Calgary Herald”:http://www.calgaryherald.com/technology/Twitter+giving+life+quips/1356810/story.html , “The MetroNews”:http://www.metronews.ca/calgary/local/article/192234
and started to hit a breaking point with a segment on “CFCN’s evening broadcast”:http://calgary.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20090305/CGY_twitter_calgary_090305/20090305?hub=CalgaryHome. With local media outfits like “CTV”:http://twitter.com/ctvcalgary, “CBC”:http://twitter.com/cbccalgary and the “City of Calgary”:http://twitter.com/cityofcalgary embracing the platform Calgary is about to become overwhelmed by the Twitter movement.

So how can your business take advantage of the wealth of new users based in Calgary?

Tips Before you Start

Your first impression on Twitter is *far more important* than any other first impression online.

When a follow notification is sent to a user, the *first thing people judge is your home page* – the look of your homepage, the types of tweets you’ve published and the ratio of followers to following. This combination of information will provide users with the justification on whether to add you to their following stream.

The thing to remember is that unless “people follow your twitter account, your tweets are going to fall on deaf ears”:http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123638550095558381.html?mod=googlenews_wsj. Noise and tweet pollution are becoming a pet peeve with most users at the moment and as the community grows this is going to become a stronger issue for many. So your first impression is critical to the success of your Twitter venture.

Simple Tips To Get You Started

Our first bit of advise is to take your time with the process. Do not rush into creating an account.

Really think about why you want to use Twitter to connect with potential customers and what you hope to get out this account. Before you start searching and connecting with local Calgary twitters *post 5-7 tweets with valuable information*. Provide users a welcome message, an introduction, a link to features about your company in the local media, maybe even a couple of specials discounts, or even photos of “your storefront on flickr”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/28465177@N00/3245465405/. Just make sure you have some interesting content for people to look at when they first land on your homepage.

The next bit of advice is to *be patient and persistent*. Tweet regularly and engage in conversations with your followers. Don’t expect the community to embrace your business and grow without putting in some effort.

So how can you use your Twitter account to help your business in Calgary?

Twitter Consulting Sessions For The Calgary Market

Members of the Armadillo Studios Team have been early adapters of Twitter. Over the past two years we have been following and watching the trends. With the media attention given to Twitter in the Calgary Market, we’ve decided to share our experience with local businesses to help them make the most out of Twitter and to bring something to the local Calgary Twitter community.

It is because of this that we are offering *Twitter Consultation Sessions*.

These sessions provide the following:

* *1 hour Twitter Consultation Session* with your company to brainstorm the goals for setting up an account.
* We’ll provide training (on etiquette and proper usage), tips on how to find customers and help create a list of specific ideas on how to interact with your potential audience.
* Information regarding the *Latest Tools and Applications* to enhance your businesses’ Twitter Account.
* Customized graphics package for your Twitter Account. (includes a customized *Background Image* with detailed information, *A customized Avatar* and *Matching Layout Color Scheme*)
* A customized *Tip Sheet* for your own reference.
* Tips on how to integrate your Tweets into your Corporate Web Site. (Integration with your current site is an additional cost.)
* Follow-up 20 minute session (2 months later) to see how we can better utilize your account.

A *Twitter Consultation Session* costs $135 (+GST) for the full package. If you are interested in this offer please email us at info@armadillostudios.ca, call us at *403.467.2914* or of course contact us on twitter: “@armadillostudio”:http://twitter.com/armadillostudio

Armadillo Arrives on Twitter

That’s right, “Armadillo Studios is officially on Twitter!”:http://twitter.com/armadillostudio.

It’s not secret, that members of the Armadillo Team have been avid users of “Twitter”:http://www.twitter.com for the past year and a half. So today we finally decided to take the big plunge and create an official Armadillo Studios presence on Twitter.

We will be connecting with some of our other friends through out the industry (Great companies like Stalelife, NonImage, PrairieHippo, louderthan10, Veer, etc.,) and also using this account to spread some of the twitter love around. We also plan to promote our blog posts, our client releases and to also forward on some of our favorite bits of advice from the Twitter-sphere. Essentially spreading the news and also answering any of our clients questions.

So if you have an account, what are you waiting for “start following us!”:http://twitter.com/armadillostudio – @armadillostudio

But Wait! What is Twitter?

Whoops! I guess we got a head of ourselves a bit.

For those unfamiliar, Twitter is one the most popular emerging Social Networking sites on the Internet today. As described on their web site:

Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent messages. People write short updates, often called “tweets” of 140 characters or fewer. These messages are posted to your profile or your blog, sent to your followers, and are searchable on Twitter search.

In essence, Twitter is a great watercolor of ideas. (Thank you Andy for the description) A great way to connect, build relationships and share information.