In true social media evangelist style, I couldn’t find or see the other attendees when I rocked up to the funky wine bar in St. Pauls, so I tracked them down through twittering from my mobile – twitter tip 1 - always be online even when on the move.
I was joined by 12 other people, a variety of social media enthusiasts from Managing Directors at fellow marketing agencies through to freelance marketers, strategic technologists and law professionals. Our ‘tweet up’ had seemed to attract a wide variety of twitterers who have all been equally captured by the Twitter buzz. Surrounded by iPhones and Androids we started comparing notes about twitter applications, how we measure it, how often we tweet even down to which twitter users annoyed us with their continuous updates and sales techniques. ‘Get a 1000 followers in a day and make $100,000’ we all agreed that in theory whilst that would be nice, ‘it is not relevant or real people and will not, not, NOT generate new business or leads!’ First ‘trending topic’ discussed was that we all need one big application that aggregates entire profiling across the different social networks and allows you to only sign in once to prevent endless log-in repetition.In this way all brand profiling would be interlinked for ease of use and visibility across the board. Question now is who will be the first to create this and what about big brother? So, what is the point of twitter and the now legendary question ‘What are you doing’? Gemma Went, Director, Red Cube Marketing commented: “Twitter and social media in general, has revolutionised the marketing, PR and sales process. Whereas in the past we used to ‘talk at’ our audience, we now ‘talk with’ them as the focus is all about conversation and building relationships. In doing so, it forces us to be transparent and open which can only be a good thing. "Twitter acts as a kind of door opener to people you may not have access to. It allows us to start a conversation with these people online and then move it offline so that we can build the relationship into something more meaningful. In the same way, Twitter can be personally used to gauge a relationship with your favourite celebrity. Before Twitter how else would you have done this? Writing fan mail that would’ve most likely been lost in the midst? Twitter’s essence is the two-way engagement from both parties. This two-way engagement was replicated in real life at our ‘tweet up’. We’d all taken our own advice and scoped out an offline relationship, with the help of a glass of wine and nibbles of course. One thing that did come up was that people really do like to know who they’re talking to and to participate in these networks you need to increase your transparency. Don’t hide behind corporate logos, there was no-one hiding behind their menu last week when they were talking so don’t do it online! Be a spokesperson for your brand, as each voice is key across the social sphere. As with any variety of people you’ll get differing views and opinions, but just as in real life, this is what makes it interactive and fun. It is important to get this right as in the end the collective voice will override. Just like at our tweet up, we were offering a collective voice for the twitter community. Chris Hall, Director, Tigerfish commented: "Twitter, and the whole social media phenomenon, is ultimately about engagement. If you form a well thought out strategy which is based around messaging, target, objectives, and content then you will be able to build and create new relationships with potential prospects and markets. "The Tweet up showed that like-minded people with a common interest can meet up and chat openly about a subject offline and on. The fact that the subject matter was social media is coincidental; it could’ve been about red wine or football. Before the event, none of us knew each other but now we can chat face-to-face, through email, or social media, and in marketing terms, that engagement is priceless. And, what’s the biggest learning? Don’t jump on the bandwagon! Social media can’t be taught, it is not a formula it is an art. You just need to dive straight in there and learn it for yourself and sharing tips with fellow peers helps. Be brave and never complacent. In an economy where everything is changing and being pushed to the limits, we need to all challenge traditional marketing practices with new mediums as it is the innovators not the followers who will gain the most. And, in response to those rumours re twitter dying? If the passion I saw at the tweet-up is anything to go by, this won’t be for a very long time. And my biggest twitter tip? Be interactive, proactive and reactive. About Katie Colbourne Katie Colbourne is Volume Group’s PR & Social Media Executive and focuses her time on driving Volume’s profile through the remit of social media marketing and PR. You can follow her on Twitter under @VolumeGroupKatie also supports client campaigns integrating these mediums into their marketing mix by carrying out extensive, supporting background research. Katie is Assistant-Chairman of Volume’s social media taskforce which has been set up to tackle the world of Social Media and structure how to use social media to help our clients. Prior to this, Katie worked client-side for Toys R Us across the advertising, direct marketing and catalogue departments, working on various DM and PR campaigns, national press media planning and TV commercial messaging. Katie has a CIM Professional Certificate in Marketing and is currently studying for her CIM Professional Diploma in Marketing. About Volume Group LimitedVolume Group Limited provides global business brands with big ideas and bespoke enterprise-scale solutions through its five divisions. By fusing several core competencies together, Volume Group enables clients to run innovative and forward-thinking integrated marketing campaigns, gaining better customer insight and real ROI.Volume Group is a blend of creativity, strategic experience and consulting, unrivalled marketing technology, data intelligence and knowledge management.We believe we’re different because of the breadth of our in-house capabilities and distinct areas of specialities through our divisions:Volume – creative digital applicationsVolume Technologies – bespoke marketing technology applicationseVolvme – knowledge-management solutionsGlobalDM – international data expertiseVee, Combined Media Factory – print, production, online and mobile mediaVolume the agency is now the third-fastest-growing marketing agency and ranked ninth in the B2B Marketing Magazine 2008 Agency Survey. Volume was most recently named 13th in the Top 100 Marketing Agencies outside London, by The Drum, and sits 53rd in Design Week’s 2009 Top 100 Consultancy Survey.www.volume.co.ukwww.twitter.com/VolumeGroup