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Twitter Tips and Resources – Part 87

Posted on 4 June 2015 | No responses

This is Part 87 of an ever-growing blog series, with each post featuring links to 10 useful, funny and/or provocative articles I’ve come across about how to use twitter more effectively, especially for business (and how NOT to use it).

Here are the latest 10:

  1. “Twitter officially lets you retweet with comments now” by JP Mangalindan (@JPManga on Twitter)
  2. “Why Marketers Should Not Ignore This New Twitter Feature” by Nicole Brown via Social Media Week (@socialmediaweek)
    The new feature: “The social network now allows anyone to send you a Direct Message (DM), even if you don’t follow them… but there’s a caveat: it’s an opt-in feature.”
  3. “The Big List of Twitter Tools: 59 Free Twitter Tools and Apps to Fit Any Need” by Kevan Lee (@kevanlee)
  4. “7 Basic Twitter Marketing Rules We Tend to Always Forget” by Vinness Bilon (@thewebassistant)
  5. “8 Compelling Ways To Tell 140 Character Stories On Twitter” by Kimberly Grimms (@kimberlygrimms)
  6. “7 Ways to Use Twitter Lists to Prevent Information Overload” by Lauren Dugan (@lauren_dugan)
  7. “How to Retweet the Right Way (With a Comment) on Twitter” by Laura Fitton (@pistachio)
  8. “3 Reasons Fake Fans Cause Real Problems for Businesses” by Peter Gasca (@petergasca)
  9. “Twitter Expands Direct Messaging” by Vindu Goel (@vindugoel)
  10. “33 Twitter Tips, In 140 Characters Or Less” by Leslie Belknap (@ethos3_leslie)

For a list of links to Parts 1-86 in this series (which was born on May 19, 2009), see the Twitter category on this blog.

Would you like to recommend any other good twitter resources? I certainly don’t list EVERY article about twitter that I see – I might recommend an article that I disagree with, if I think it contributes something useful to the debate, but I won’t recommend an article that I think is badly written.

Happy tweeting!
Kay Ross
http://twitter.com/kayross

All About Improv, Applied Improv, Creativity, Play, Innovation… Part 2

Posted on 26 April 2015 | No responses

On April 26, 2013, I published a blog post titled “All About Improv, Applied Improv, Creativity, Play, Innovation…”, which included a link to a 16-page list of resources that I’d compiled.

In my travels since then, I’ve come across lots more excellent resources. I’ve read several books and hundreds of articles, watched lots of videos, and cherry-picked what I think are the most relevant, useful and interesting ones.

So here’s my gift to you: my 20-page list, “All About Improv, Applied Improv, Creativity, Play, Innovation… Part 2”, completely free.

All About Improv Part 2

In that document, I’ve sorted the resources into three categories:
Part A: Specifically about Improv and Applied Improvisation
Part B: More generally about Creativity, Play, Innovation…
Part C: Books

Within each category, the items are listed in alphabetical order, by the author’s surname.

If you click on one of the links in the document and find that it doesn’t work, copy and paste the link into your browser – it might work that way.

Participants in the Hong Kong International Improv Festival,  March 2015

Participants in the Hong Kong
International Improv Festival,
March 2015

I’d love to hear from you. Is my list useful to you? And would you like to recommend other resources that I can include in the next edition of the list? Please post a comment, send me an email or tweet me nice at @kayross.

And if you love improv and applied improvisation, please feel free to share the list with anyone you know who might benefit.

 

Twitter Tips and Resources – Part 86

Posted on 20 April 2015 | No responses

This is Part 86 of an ever-growing blog series, with each post featuring links to 10 useful, funny and/or provocative articles I’ve come across about how to use twitter more effectively (and how NOT to use it).

Here are the latest 10:

  1. “50 Tweetable Twitter Tips, Tricks and Facts” by Andy Vale (@AndyVale on twitter)
  2. “Dick Costolo Thinks It’s O.K. to Never Tweet” by Farhad Manjoo (@fmanjoo)
  3. “Twitter for Business: What Smart Marketers Are Doing With Twitter” by Michael Stelzner (@smexaminer)
  4. “Is Social Media Actually Helping Your Company’s Bottom Line?” by Frank Cespedes (@fvcespedes)
  5. “Enlist Twitter for Crowdfunding Success” by Kendall Almerico (@kendallalmerico)
  6. “The Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Tweets” by Julia McCoy (@JuliaEMcCoy)
  7. “Why You Should Never Cross-Post on Social Media” by Ben Donkor (@FR314)
  8. “Why Twitter is (still) a business’ best friend” by Aaron Lee (@AskAaronLee)
  9. “14 Ways to Make Your Twitter Updates More Creative” by Aaron Lee (@AskAaronLee)
  10. “The Do’s and Don’ts of How to Use Hashtags” by Evan LePage (@evanlepage)

For a list of links to Parts 1-85 in this series (which was born on May 19, 2009), see the Twitter category on this blog.

Would you like to recommend any other good twitter resources? I certainly don’t list EVERY article about twitter that I see – I might recommend an article that I disagree with, if I think it contributes something useful to the debate, but I won’t recommend an article that I think is badly written.

Happy tweeting!
Kay Ross
http://twitter.com/kayross

Twitter Tips and Resources – Part 85

Posted on 24 March 2015 | No responses

This is Part 85 of an ever-growing blog series, with each post featuring links to 10 useful, funny and/or provocative articles/lists/blog posts/videos/sites I’ve come across about how to use twitter more effectively (and how NOT to use it).

Here are the latest 10:

  1. ““We Doubled our Twitter Followers” is Not a Measure of Social Media Success” by Matt Rhodes (@mattrhodes on twitter)
  2. “What Is The Tao Of Twitter? Author Mark Schaefer On Twitter’s ROI.” with a video interview (9m 34s) by Steve Farnsworth (@Steveology)
  3. “20 Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Pinterest Features You Didn’t Know Existed (But Totally Should)” by Lindsay Kolowich (@lkolo25)
  4. “Don’t try too hard to please Twitter — and other lessons from The New York Times’ social media desk” by Michael Roston of “The New York Times” (@nytimes)
  5. “10 Twitter Tips For Creating Better Social Media Content” by Peg Fitzpatrick (@PegFitzpatrick)
  6. “Guy Kawasaki: Social Media Sins to Avoid” interview by Tanya Benedicto Klich of “Entrepreneur” (@Entrepreneur) – video, 2m 54s
  7. “How to Get Your First 1,000 Followers on Every Major Social Network” by Kevan Lee (@kevanlee)
  8. “8 Social Media Mistakes That Are Killing Your Brand” by Jayson Demers (@jaysondemers)
  9. “The Unbearable Lightness of Tweeting” by Derek Thompson (@dkthomp)
  10. “Do Follower Counts Really Matter?” by Andrew Hutchinson (@adhutchinson)

For a list of links to Parts 1-84 in this series (which was born on May 19, 2009), see the Twitter category on this blog.

Would you like to recommend any other good twitter resources? I certainly don’t list EVERY article about twitter that I see – I might recommend an article that I disagree with, if I think it contributes something useful to the debate, but I won’t recommend an article that I think is badly written.

Happy tweeting!
Kay Ross
http://twitter.com/kayross

Please Do Not Treat Your Customers Like This

Posted on 27 February 2015 | No responses

Sigh! In the past two days I’ve had three experiences, as a customer, of being treated as a nameless, commoditised piece of data.

thumbsdown
Example 1

On twitter, I followed someone in the USA who is a manager in a company that helps other companies to attract, convert and retain customers.

She immediately sent me an impersonal, automated DM (direct message), saying: “Our case studies show $5000/mo in advertising value for $349/mo – [link to the company's website] You might be interested :)

I replied: “Oh no! Please don’t send a pushy ad about your company as an impersonal automated DM as soon as someone follows you. Not cool. Kay”
[By the way, here's why I hate auto-DMs on twitter.]

And she replied: “Blame marketing and advertising lol.”

Fail!

Example 2

I watched the livestreamed video of an interesting event in San Francisco, and wanted to participate in the online chat as part of the event. When I tried to post a question on the livestream page, I found that I had to login, and when I clicked the button to do that, all the instructions were in Chinese. I guess the system could see that I’m in Hong Kong, and therefore automatically assumed that I read/write Chinese. I don’t.

Fail!

Example 3

I received a phone call from the company that provides my mobile phone service. I answered the call, expecting to have a conversation with a real-live human being, and instead heard an obviously automated, recorded message that started: “Dear customer…”.

Fail!

Please don’t treat YOUR customers like that.

Your Customers Are Smarter Than You

Posted on 27 February 2015 | No responses

Have you heard of Sugru? It’s the name of a product, and of the company that makes it. I’m a customer and a fan (and they’re not paying me to say that!). I especially like that the name Sugru is inspired by the Gaelic word for “play”.

Sugru is mouldable, silicone-based glue, kind of like playdough, that turns into rubber after it’s exposed to the air. People use it in all sorts of ingenious ways to fix, adapt and improve their stuff rather than throw it away – on Sugru’s About page, watch the video (only 1m 29s), and scroll down to see examples.

Sugru-knife-e

I used Sugru to make a badly designed knife more comfortable to use

So why am I telling you this?

The folks at Sugru are very smart, yet they concede that they get their best ideas from their customers. Users around the world send emails, photos and videos, and post tweets and Facebook updates, about how they’ve used the product, and how they want it to be improved. They even get to vote on which colours of Sugru should be developed next.

All those stories guide the company’s R&D efforts, and also become compelling, educational and entertaining source material for its content marketing efforts.

The inventor of Sugru and the company’s founder and CEO, Jane Ni Dhulchaointigh, said: “Our customers… do stuff with it that we couldn’t have dreamt of.”

Author Kevin Kelly had a similar message in his book, “New Rules for the New Economy – 10 ways the network economy is changing everything”:
“Expertise now resides in fanatical customers. The world’s best experts on your product or service don’t work for your company. They are your customers, or hobby tribe.”
(Thanks to my friend Stephen Barnes of the Hong Kong Visa Centre for recommending the book.)

So are your customers using your products or services in ways you didn’t expect and couldn’t have dreamt of? Asking for and paying attention to their stories might inspire you to develop some popular new products or services, lead to some profitable new revenue streams for you, and give you some terrific content to share.

Because as I always say, marketing isn’t just about advertising; it’s about understanding your customers’ behaviour, perceptions, motivations, expectations…

And because you’re smarter than me…

I’m asking for your help, so that I can better understand what you (and people like you) really want from someone like me.

Could you please take a couple of minutes to answer four short questions in my survey? No need to give your name or email address.

Thanks!

Twitter Tips and Resources – Part 84

Posted on 21 January 2015 | No responses

This is Part 84 of an ever-growing blog series, with each post featuring links to 10 useful, funny and/or provocative articles/lists/blog posts/videos/sites I’ve come across about how to use twitter more effectively (and how NOT to use it).

Here are the latest 10:

  1. “5 Tweets to Stop Sending Today” by Frances Caballo (@CaballoFrances on twitter), with good tips especially for authors
  2. “Getting Started on Twitter: How to Stand Out From the Crowd” by Lauren Dugan on the SocialTimes blog (@SocialTimes)
  3. “Study: How the top 100 brands use Twitter” by Jeff Bullas (@jeffbullas)
  4. “75 Powerful Ways to Get More Twitter Followers” by Garin Kilpatrick (@Garin) – I vehemently disagree with tip 21
  5. “The Top 50 Content Marketers to Follow on Twitter” by Adrienne Sheares (@SocialMediaDC)
  6. “14 Recent Changes to Twitter, Facebook and More That Social Media Marketers Need to Know” by Courtney Seiter (@courtneyseiter)
  7. “How to Market Your Business on Twitter Like a Pro” by Shawn Hessinger (@Shawn_Hessinger)
  8. “How To Get More Twitter Followers Without Breaking a Sweat” by Andrew Pressault (@AndrewPressault)
  9. “Seriously, Tweeting Doesn’t Have to be Complicated” by Jennifer G. Hanford (@JennGHanford)
  10. “The 2014 Twitter Marketing Strategies We Will Not Be Using in 2015” by Kevin Strasser (@kjstrasser)

For a list of links to Parts 1-83 in this series (which was born on May 19, 2009), see the Twitter category on this blog.

Would you like to recommend any other good twitter resources? I certainly don’t list EVERY article about twitter that I see – I might recommend an article that I disagree with, if I think it contributes something useful to the debate, but I won’t recommend an article that I think is badly written.

Happy tweeting!
Kay Ross
http://twitter.com/kayross

Books That Delighted Me in 2014 (And A Few That Didn’t)

Posted on 31 December 2014 | No responses

Here are some of the non-fiction and fiction books I read, enjoyed and was inspired by in 2014 (they weren’t necessarily published in 2014).

In each category, I’ve listed the books in order of my subjective preference. I’ve also listed some books that I wanted to enjoy but found disappointing.

With thanks to the public library system in Hong Kong (I borrowed lots of books from City Hall Library), and to Flow, my favourite second-hand bookshop, where I bought and recycled some books.

Non-fiction

This category includes books about marketing, branding, customer behaviour, business, personal development, healing, spirituality, psychology, the subconscious, meditation, mindfulness, the nature of reality, improvisation, creativity, storytelling…

  1. “Improvisation for the Spirit – Live a more creative, spontaneous, and courageous life using the tools of improv comedy” by Katie Goodman
    Brilliant and funny! My new favourite book.
  2. “The Art of Possibility” by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander
    Beautiful. Rosamund is a psychotherapist and painter; Benjamin is the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic – together, they offer practical tips, advice and anecdotes that “invite us all to become passionate communicators, leaders, and performers whose lives radiate possibility into the world.”
  3. “Emotional Alchemy – How the mind can heal the heart” by Tara Bennett-Goleman
    Inspiring, helpful, practical.
  4. “How The World Sees You” by Sally Hogshead
    An unconventional look at personality and branding that will help you to understand and market yourself better, and also to understand other people, how they behave, and how to communicate and work effectively with them.
  5. “marketing – a love story – how to matter to your customers” by Bernadette Jiwa
    Delightful, juicy, practical, provocative and unconventional. The marketing book I wish I had written.
  6. “The Antidote – Happiness for people who can’t stand positive thinking” by Oliver Burkeman
    Funny, fascinating and thought-provoking.
  7. “Joyful Wisdom – Embracing Change and Finding Freedom” by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
    I don’t consider myself a Buddhist, but I love the practical methods outlined here, and I enjoy the writer’s honest anecdotes about his personal experiences of and challenges with meditating.
  8. “From Workplace to Playspace – Innovating, Learning, and Changing Through Dynamic Engagement” by Pamela Meyer
    Brilliant! Lots of good stuff about play and improvisation.
  9. “Steering by Starlight – The Science and Magic of Finding Your Destiny” by Martha Beck
    A funny, challenging, no-BS toolkit of stories and exercises.
  10. “Wherever You Go, There You Are – Mindfulness meditation in everyday life” by Jon Kabat-Zinn
    Lovely!
  11. “Uprising – How to build a brand – and change the world – by sparking cultural movements” by Scott Goodson
    About how to communicate the purpose of your business, identify what will inspire people to support your cause, and make it easy for them to do that.
  12. “Chief Culture Officer – How to Create a Living, Breathing Culture” by Grant McCracken, an anthropologist
    About why and how to spot and act on the earliest signals of new cultural trends in society that could spell boom or bust for your company.
  13. “How Hits Happen – Forecasting predictability in a chaotic marketplace” by Winslow Farrell
    About what makes some products, services and ideas take off while others are ignored and forgotten.
  14. “Where Good Ideas Come From – A Natural History of Innovation” by Steven Johnson
    Fascinating! I love the author’s wide-ranging and voracious curiosity.
  15. “The Hidden Brain – How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives” by Shankar Vedantam
    The author, a science correspondent, journeys through neuroscience, psychology and behavioural science to identify and explain our unconscious biases.
  16. “Drunk Tank Pink The Subconscious Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave” by Adam Alter
    In the style of Godin, Gladwell and the authors of Freakonomics, the author shares anecdotes about the subconscious and sometimes surprising drivers of our behaviour. (“Drunk Tank Pink” is the name of a particular shade of pink that has a strange effect on people’s muscular strength.)
  17. “Overcoming Underearning” by Barbara Stanny (Full of practical techniques and exercises – I’m looking forward to studying the book with a mastermind group in 2015.)
  18. “Rip it up – the radically new approach to changing your life” by Richard Wiseman, Britain’s only professor for the Public Understanding of Psychology
    Down-to-earth examples and exercises about how our behaviour and physiology shape our feelings
  19. “Search Inside Yourself” by Chade-Meng Tan
    About Google’s in-house training program about mindfulness.
  20. “The Element – How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything” by Ken Robinson
    Brilliant.
  21. “The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are” by Alan Watts
    Fascinating, mind-blowing, thought-provoking.
  22. “The Holographic Universe” by Michael Talbot
    Mind-bending.
  23. “In An Unspoken Voice – How the body releases trauma and restores goodness” by Peter Levine
    This renowned psychologist explains his life’s work: healing PTSD by using the principles of embodiment.
  24. “Lead with a Story” by Paul Smith
    Worth recommending for its excellent ideas about how and why to use storytelling in business and marketing, but there are many annoying errors and inconsistencies that I wish the editor had spotted and fixed.

Disappointing Non-Fiction

  1. “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain
    As someone who is half-introvert, half-extrovert, I found the book irritating – it seems the author protests too much about why introversion is better than extroversion.
  2. “The Improv Handbook – The ultimate guide to improvising in comedy, theatre, and beyond” by Tom Salinsky and Deborah Francis-White
    The authors share lots of good tips and games, but are annoyingly purist and judgmental about what kind of games they consider acceptable.
  3. “Unconscious Branding” by Douglas van Praet
    I couldn’t finish it because it was annoying – the writer didn’t know how to use hyphens in compound adjectives, or the “not only… but also…” structure. It needed a good editor.
  4. “The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business” by Clayton Christensen, a professor at Harvard Business School
    I couldn’t finish it – too much left-brain, analytical number-crunching for me.

Fiction

  1. “The Signature of All Things” by Elizabeth Gilbert
    A beautifully written, fascinating and unputdownable novel, imagining a 19th-century American woman who becomes a botanist and, independently of Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, researches and writes her own treatise about the theory of evolution and natural selection.
  2. “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd
    A compelling tale, loosely based on the true story of Sarah Grimké, a 19th-century American campaigner against slavery. Lovely! I like all of the author’s other novels too.
  3. “Tapestry of Fortunes” by Elizabeth Berg
    About a group of women, friendship, diving heart-first into change, and love. Beautifully written, like all of Berg’s novels.
  4. “The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared” by Jonas Jonasson
    Playful.
  5. “Jitterbug Perfume” by Tom Robbins
    Delightful storytelling about the power of the sense of smell, spanning centuries of history and many cultures. Thanks to my friend Michele Davis for recommending it.

Disappointing Fiction

  1. “The Other Side of the Story” by Marian Keyes (I wanted to enjoy this novel because it’s set in the world of publishing, but I found it confusing and didn’t finish it – I couldn’t follow who the characters were or their relationships to each other, and didn’t find them worth caring about.)
  2. “Reaper Man” by Terry Pratchett (I’ve enjoyed most of the books in Pratchett’s “Disc World” series, but for me, this one was… meh.)

Dear reader, what was your favourite book of 2014?

Twitter Tips and Resources – Part 83

Posted on 8 December 2014 | 4 responses

This is Part 83 of an ever-growing blog series, with each post featuring links to 10 useful, funny and/or provocative articles/lists/blog posts/videos/sites I’ve come across about how to use twitter more effectively (and how NOT to use it).

Here are the latest 10:

  1. “A Scientific Guide to Writing Great Tweets: How to Get More Clicks, Retweets and Reach” by Courtney Seiter (@courtneyseiter on twitter)
  2. “How To Get More Twitter Followers: 24 Effective Tips To Grow Your Following Fast” by Adam Connell (@adamjayc)
  3. “The one massive opportunity most businesses are missing on Twitter” by Trevor Young (@trevoryoung)
  4. “23 Seldom-Used Ideas for How to Use Twitter Lists” by Kevan Lee (@kevanlee)
  5. “10 Useful Twitter Tips to Promote Your Small Business” by Brad Gerlach (@bradgerlach)
  6. “Why I Unfollowed You on Social Media” by Ann Zuccardy (@annzuccardy)
  7. “How to Get Noticed on Twitter — 15 Tips for Writers” by Carol Tice (@TiceWrites)
  8. “You Are Not Required to Participate on Social Media” by Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller)
  9. “Get More Followers And Increase Engagement With These 7 Counterintuitive Twitter Tips” by Roy Povarchik (@roypovar)
  10. “Why I Won’t Follow You Back” by Mandy Edwards (@memktgservices)

And a bonus for you: “Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Be On Twitter” by me, Kay Ross (@kayross)

For a list of links to Parts 1-82 in this series (which was born on May 19, 2009), see the Twitter category on this blog.

Would you like to recommend any other good twitter resources? I certainly don’t list EVERY article about twitter that I see – I might recommend an article that I disagree with, if I think it contributes something useful to the debate, but I won’t recommend an article that I think is badly written.

Happy tweeting!
Kay Ross
http://twitter.com/kayross

Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Be On Twitter

Posted on 8 December 2014 | 1 response

You shouldn’t be on twitter if:

NoEntrySign

  • You’re not willing to devote time, energy and creativity to it.
  • You’re not willing to respond when people tweet to or about you.
  • You only want to post pushy ads about your business, with links to your own site.
  • You think your company’s twitter account can be managed by a temporary intern.
  • You tweet nothing but a robot-generated list of the titles of, and links to, other people’s blog posts.
  • You think it’s OK to send an automated, impersonal Direct Message to every new follower, saying “Thanks for following. Visit our website at [link]”. (Here’s my blog post about why I hate that: “Death to Auto-DMs on Twitter”)
  • Your twitter page has the “egg” image instead of a photo of you.
  • You post an automated tweet every week that tells us how many new followers and retweets you’ve gained in the past week. (Nobody cares. Really.)
  • You retweet other people’s retweets of your own tweets.
  • You automate everything and post 10 scheduled tweets within a few minutes, then nothing for ages.
  • You haven’t tweeted for over a month.
  • You’ve created a twitter account but you haven’t tweeted at all.
  • Your bio says you’ll sell twitter followers. And oh, you only have 127 followers yourself, and most of them are bots.
  • You link your twitter and Facebook accounts, so that anything you post on Facebook automatically gets posted to twitter too, but it’s too long for twitter and gets cut off half…
  • You use the TrueTwit validation service. (Don’t. Just don’t.)
  • #You #use #a #hashtag #on #every #word.
  • You tweet lots of public @ messages to people, saying “Thanks for following.”
  • You often tweet “I posted a new photo to Facebook”, with a link to Facebook. (Sorry, nobody cares.)
  • You call yourself a guru or “the leader” in your industry.
  • You don’t credit the writer when you post content by someone else. (Here’s my blog post about that: “Crediting the Writer – It’s Just Common Courtesy”)

Twitter enthusiasts, do you have anything to add to this list?

Photo courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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