Tag Archives: @mentions

Surprise Prize Pack for Fallon Worldwide’s 10,000th Twitter Follower

Fallon Worldwide rewarded its 10,000th Twitter follower with a surprise prize pack of agency swag.
Fallon 10,000th Twitter prize package.

Fallon put together a rather nice package of swag for its 10,000th Twitter follower … me!

I’m a little slow on this one, but I definitely owe a big thank you to the great Minneapolis ad agency Fallon Worldwide. Out of pure luck, I became @wearefallon’s 10,000 Twitter follower on July 11, 2012 and I received a surprise @mention the next day announcing me as the winner of Fallon prize pack. The surprise is two-fold: 1.) Considering I have a PR & Advertising list on Twitter and I’m a big fan of their work, I was surprised to learn I wasn’t already following Fallon and 2.) I had no idea they were planning to reward their 10,000th follower. Here’s the surprise tweet:

Of course I sent in my address right way. However, I didn’t really know what the prize pack would include. I assumed it would be some pens and a note pad or something. Little did I know, I would have a box of high-quality goodies show up at my doorstep the day before my birthday.

The swag pack included a Lands’ End vest, an aluminum water bottle, ball point pen, journal, bracelet and rather nice coffee table book celebrating 25 years of Fallon’s work. But that’s not all, I even got a signed and framed picture of Pat Fallon to hang on my wall (which I did).

From a social media marketing standpoint, there’s a couple key takeaways here. First, the power of a surprise reward can be just as good as a full-fledged online contest. Sure, you might not get all the consumer information as you might with a sweepstakes (users’ email, mailing address, demographics, etc.), but if you do it right, it can still work for you. After Fallon announced its winner on Twitter, they also posted photos on Facebook and Google+ to get a little more traction. It also helps that Fallon’s 10,000th follower also happens to maintain a blog (I’m now writing about my experience). 

Another takeaway was Fallon’s decision to go big on the prize package. It would have been much easier and cost effective to send me the pen and note pad I was thinking. However, I don’t think I would have gotten too excited about that. By including a book, vest, framed photo and other swag worth around $100, I definitely felt obliged to brag about it on my social networks and, eventually, blog about it.

Again, I thank the good people at Fallon Worldwide for taking time to reward a random Twitter follower. I’m looking forward to wearing my vest this fall and The Work: 25 Years of Fallon compliments my favorite advertising book, Juicing the Orange rather nicely.


Three Years on Twitter: I’ve Come a Long Way.

Twitter

Three years on Twitter and this is the best image I have in my archives. Lame.

According to Tweet Grader, I joined Twitter on Jan. 13, 2009 along with Ben & Jerry’s, Seth MacFarlane and the WNBA World Champion Minnesota Linx. I had heard of Twitter a few months prior to joining and was told  reporters were using it to “alert the news team when they arrived on scene and provide updates of news as it was happening.” Seeing as how I was working for my fraternity at the time that did not really interest me. In my eyes however, Twitter really started to take shape to its current state when 2009 rolled around. I started to notice more friends, news organizations and brands joining Twitter. So, on a slow day at Acacia HQ, I created my Twitter account and @eric_wheeler was hatched (pun intended).

I would love to see my first couple tweets, but I have apparently tweeted too many times and am unable to uncover them. I will be honest though, I think for the first few months or so I never really ‘got’ Twitter. I would occasionally log in and share an interesting article or interact with a few friends I was following, but I never really did much with it.

Things finally clicked for me when I was watching the OU vs. Texas football game in my first semester of grad school at St. Cloud State in Minnesota. Being away from my Oklahoma home and anyone who truly cared about the game I turned to Twitter to see what people were saying. Sure enough, there were several ‘trending topics’ regarding the game and I was able to weigh-in and be apart of an online community based around one of college football’s biggest rivalries.

I started checking Twitter more often to see what was trending. After a while, I realized most of the trending topics were worthless celebrity gossip and (somewhat) amusing hashtags. It was about this time though that I started to gain a personal interest in social media and the fascination behind bringing people from all around the world together through various topics or content. I started following some of the true social media rock stars such as Jeff Bullas, Brian Solis and Lee Odden. I began reading up on any credible articles I could find on social media and digital marketing.

Soon I was searching for articles on my own on sites like PR Daily, Mashable and HubSpot. I would find as many (and still do) articles as I could to share with my followers. My follower count started to rise and soon I had my own niche community of people interested in social media, PR or other creative disciplines. I started my own blog (thanks for reading) and started participating in discussions on other blogs or articles. Before long, I was totally immersed in social media.

Then one morning, I put my ‘slider’ phone through the wash and my life changed again:  I bought an iPhone 4. This allowed me to check updates at anytime. If I had a thought, I could share it. If someone mentioned me in a Tweet, I could reply instantly. I was now constantly connected to what’s happening on Twitter. I would occasionally participate in tweet chats to further educate myself. I began building meaningful relationships and used Twitter as a primary professional networking tool as I began seeking full time employment.

Three years is not really a long time, but I do feel it is with social media. Twitter helped me graduate from Facebook, MySpace and some of the other less professional social networking sites into a whole new world of meaningful online networking. After three years of self/formal education, using Twitter professionally and building a genuine  interest in ‘new’ media, I can now say Twitter has played a positive role in my life. Cheers to three years and another 6,753+ tweets!

How long have you been tweeting? Let me know below or send me a tweet! @eric_wheeler


Top 10 Reasons Why I Don’t Follow You on Twitter

There could be a hundred reasons why I don’t follow someone on Twitter; let’s try to narrow that down to 10…

Top 10 reasons why I don’t follow you on Twitter:

  1. You direct message me with spam. No explanation needed here (though, you could read my previous blog on the manner here). Unless you have something to ask me that you wish to be kept private, don’t DM me. I probably will not click your link; and when I reply back to your “hello, thanks for following” message and don’t get a response in return, I get annoyed and might even stop following you.
  2. All of your tweets are actually just Foursquare “checkins.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Foursquare geek, but I usually turn the Twitter/Facebook syncs off. If I really cared where you are all the time, I would follow you on Foursquare…
  3. You have nothing but @mentions in your Twitter feed. If I check your Twitter feed and you’re just talking to your friends back and forth, I usually don’t follow back. I mostly use Twitter to find content/people I can learn from.
  4. Your tweets are just sent from your Facebook page.
  5. It’s obvious you are just trying to get more followers. The biggest red flag here is using hashtags such as #followback or #500aday. Twitter should not be a popularity contest. Grow up.
  6. Your profile tells me nothing about you. I typically follow like-minded Twitter users–people in PR, marketing, social media, advertising, photography or related fields. So if your profile says something like “Hello world,” I probably won’t follow you. Use your profile as an introduction and sincerely express your interests. Oh, and post an actual website.
  7. Non of your links contain hashtags or otherwise appears you have no idea how to use Twitter.
  8. You have poor grammar. Social media is not an excuse for bad writing.
  9. You do not have an avatar. This is a big one. That default image of an egg is annoying to look at for a reason. People like to follow real people/companies. Take the time to put a profile picture up and I might think you’re a real person.
  10. You follow more than 1,000 users, but have zero tweets. Why are you even on Twitter?

Basically, I am on Twitter to meet people who share similar interests as I do and who I feel I can learn from. Networking is also a major reason I am on Twitter. My ultimate goal of following people who live near me and share similar interests is to eventually meet them in person. Lastly, I don’t really see the point in trying to gain 100,000 followers just to have 100,000 followers. Whether you are an individual or a company, you will benefit from Twitter more from having a tight group of followers who share similar interests than a bunch of random people who are just on Twitter to gain followers.

If you are still confused why you only have 10 people following you on Twitter, here are some great resources:


Why I Hate Auto-DMs on Twitter

Maybe the most annoying thing with Twitter is getting automatic direct messages (or auto-DMs). Most auto-DMs are spam. Nobody likes spam.

Why I hate auto-DMs on Twitter. Auto direct messages suck.

No caption necessary for this image...

This topic idea came about several months ago when I started following Mark Stevens on Twitter. Stevens (@Mark_MSCO) is a self-proclaimed marketer known for “delivering business insights with blunt truth and unconventional wisdom.” He is the author of a book titled “Your Marketing Sucks.” With a book title like that, I guess that does make him rather blunt. However, without attacking the guy too much, I do want to point out my problem with Mark Stevens. He sent me auto-DM on Twitter shortly after I began following him, which read:

Hi, it’s Mark. Here’s a private business training video I recordedthat will help you declare war on your company: http://bit.ly/aHhiYX

Besides the typo in the message, the auto-DM did not appeal to me the least bit. For one, I do not own a company or work for one, and if I did, why would I want to “declare war” against it? Needless to say, I did not click the link. I just ignored it and gave the guy a break for sending me an auto-DM and trying to be a good social media marketer. However, a few weeks later he sent me another auto-DM:

It’s Mark. Can you subscribe to my YouTube videos? Here’s the link: http://youtube.com/user/BusinessDispatch101

This direct message is even worse. It is far less formal and gives me absolutely no reason to click the link and certainly not a reason to actually subscribe to his YouTube channel. This message also has poor grammar: Yes, I can subscribe to your YouTube videos, but why should I? Noticing how proud he is of his best selling book “Your Marketing Sucks,” I replied with:

Your marketing sucks. I’m not going to subscribe to your YouTube channel without you giving me a reason to. I’m not even going to view it.

Funny thing is, I couldn’t remember his Twitter handle, so to find him on Twitter I typed in “yourmarketingsucks” and found a post from @MissBeckala, which read:

When I follow you, don’t auto-DM me a contest for Twitter with a link pointing to your Facebook page. #YOURmarketingsucks @Mark_MSCO

Apparently this guy has a history of automatic direct messaging people spam. I stopped following @Mark_MSCO and started following @MissBeckala. Also, I retweeted Becky. Why auto-DM anyone at all? This seems a little “old-fashioned” for the fast-moving social media world.

Below are some more rants and suggestions regarding Auto-DMs:

Do you have a good auto-DM story? Please share in the comment section below!


iPhone App Review: Instagram

Great Wall of China taken this summer and edited with Instagram.

Great Wall of China taken this summer with a Nikon D90 and edited with Instagram.

Let’s call this my first iPhone app review. In my very first blog entry I promised to throw in some posts on photography. Living up to that promise, I want to talk about one of my favorite iPhone apps: Instagram. This is the perfect iPhone application for someone who’s into art and wants to share his/her world with others through photos.

Taken from the Instagram website, Instagram is “a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures.” The app definitely lives up to its motto and it is super easy to use. All you do is choose a photo (either by taking one using the app itself or by choosing from your iPhone’s camera roll), apply one of the filters, name the image and you’re done! The app even has the option to apply tilt-shift to make your pictures look miniature or more mysterious by blurring the edges. In short, Instagram is a great way to make otherwise boring or uninspiring photos come to life with simple filters. The photo in my Gravatar at right was manipulated using Instagram and I now use that same image across all my social media platforms (this might be a good time to attribute the photographer: Danielle Morris).

Photo of a bar in Rapid City, S.D. with tilt-shift applied.

Photo of a bar in Rapid City, S.D. with tilt-shift applied.

The Instagram iPhone app also is very much a social media application and even mimics some of the same features as Twitter. Users can create hashtags, use @mentions, add a location and follow other users. With photos of people you follow showing up in a photostream, Instagram is essentially Twitter, but with photos. Another fun aspect of this iPhone app is that you can send your creations out across a number of sites supporting photos. I typically add a location via Foursquare and send the photo to Facebook or Twitter (sometimes both). The photos you see in the sidebar at right are Instagram photos synced to my Flikr photostream.

The one drawback of Instagram is that the actual website is worthless from a user standpoint. Although every Instagram photo published on another site has its own URL, the site contains no way to share the image, comment or rate the photo nor does the site contain links to any other photos. Basically, the site does not support user profiles. This is a little frustrating and disappointing all at the same time. However, I’m sure the developers chose to keep the website simple and maybe they are still laking the infrastructure needed to host the nearly 300,000 photos uploaded each day. This means Instagram is limited only to iPhone users (as well as  iPad and iPod Touch users).

I found a donut shop that had bacon on their donuts!

I found a donut shop that had bacon on their donuts!

Many organizations are using Instagram already and it will be interesting to see what type of marketing campaigns will be launched using the app. I currently follow NPR, the Boston Celtics and MTV just to see what type of images they come up with and to see how they are using Instagram to connect with their audience. Although KVSC-FM does not have an Instagram account set up, I have used the app to create interesting photos to post on the station’s Facebook wall. Organizations with a larger following could easily conduct contests or use the app for awareness efforts of national or worldwide events. How do you see Instagram being used as a marketing tool?


University Axes Homecoming, Social Media Lights Up

SCSU 2010 Homecoming Logo

St. Cloud State University eliminates homecoming.

During a live interview at KVSC 88.1FM, News Director Chris Duffy spoke with St. Cloud State University Student Government President Amanda Bardonner where she revealed the university’s plans to eliminate homecoming. Duffy waited towards the end the interview and caught President Bardonner a little bit off guard. He knew the news was big. Before ending his day, he made sure it was up at kvsc.org.

The next day, I opened up TweetDeck and noticed a heavy amount of mentions for @KVSCnews and in my “KVSC” search results. The story generated over 30 mentions for KVSC on Twitter, which is far greater than the normal one or two tweets per day from the same few listeners. As the director of social media at KVSC, I found it necessary to post the news on the station’s Facebook page as a ‘trending’ story.

The story generated 30 some KVSC-related tweets and 2,000 impressions on the station’s Facebook page, but that’s not my reason for writing. Why I’m writing is because this is the first time I really saw the power of social media at a personal level. After posting the story on the KVSC Facebook page and throwing out a couple retweets for the station, I did the same for my personal accounts.

Being from Oklahoma where homecoming is very important to most schools–even to my small regional university of roughly 2,000 students–I found this news to be quite shocking. Even though I had heard talks of doing “spirit events” throughout the semester instead of homecoming, I really did not think that was a serious notion. So, like many students and alumni, I did my duty to broadcast the news to as many in my social network as possible.

My first action was just a retweet. I then headed over to Facebook to post a link to the KVSC story with my headline of “What can we do to save homecoming at St. Cloud State University?” The story was cross-linked to SCSU’s Facebook page and it got a little bit of attention on my wall and a few people voiced their opinions because of it. I then read an article by the Star Tribune and found a quote I felt summed up my opionion on the matter and headed back to Twitter to post that link:

“I’ve never heard of it [eliminating homecoming]… They must be doing something wrong…” http://j.mp/hzLYUX #scsu

This is where I started seeing the power of social media come to life. This is pretty much where my homecoming rants ended. I was going about this rather passively as I was working on my final comprehensive exam for graduate school. I then received a tweet from @Aeikens who was putting together a story for the St. Cloud Times. We got in touch and before I knew it, I was doing a phone interview with Dave Aeikens (reporter).

I ended up having several quotes in the paper the next day with a block quote on the front page of State & Local. I also ended up on KSTP with my name and picture from my posting on Facebook. Pretty cool. Maybe I’ll go after that sweet social media internship for Charlie Sheen.


Tutorial: The Social Media Contest

How would you do a social media dance contest? I would use YouTube of course!

Feel free to consider this part three of my Twitter tutorial. In this entry however, I will walk you through the steps of a social media contest at KVSC 88.1FM where we incorporate both Facebook and Twitter. So far at KVSC, we have only done concert ticket giveaways as a social media contest. We are planning to do a costume contest during Trivia Weekend to coincide with the theme Superheroes of Trivia. That contest will be on Facebook only and participants will post photos of themselves in their superhero costume on our wall and winners will be chosen by number of likes and comments. That should be fun.

The process is really pretty simple and it gets even easier when you limit the contest to just Twitter (Mashable has a great “how to” on Twitter contests). First, decide what your marketing goals are–create brand awareness, find out more about your customers, increase engagement, etc. Once you decide why you are doing a social media contest, figure out how you want to achieve your goals. At KVSC, our main focus is to increase engagement with our listeners and hopefully drive traffic to our website and to increase overall listenership.

Second, you need a game plan. Now that you know your marketing goals, it’s time to lay down some rules. This is almost too simple for something such as a concert ticket giveaway. For Facebook, just state the rules in a status update. That’s basically it. Remember to tag appropriate pages (in this case KVSC and First Avenue) and provide any additional links. Here’s an example:

KVSC – 88.1FM is giving away ONE pass to ALL CONCERTS at First Avenue & 7th Street Entry for the remainder of 2010! Simply hit the “Like” button at the bottom of this message to win! For and additional entry, visit http://twitter.com/kvsc881fm and retweet the contest message. Visit http://www.kvsc.org/ for full details.

Then do the same on Twitter, only now, you are restricted to 140 characters or less. Also, you may want to add a unique hashtag to monitor and help in promoting some aspect of the contest (or your company, cause, etc). Remember to use @mentions where appropriate:

@kvsc881fm – giving away ONE 40th Anniv. Pass to ALL concerts @Firstavenue for ALL OF 2010! Retweet to win! http://kvsc.org/ #KVSC1st_ave

Be sure to have information on your website with full details and promote in anyway possible. For KVSC, we usually make an on-air push and promote in our monthly e-newsletter. Once you have made your posts and promoted the contest a little bit, sit back and watch. When the deadline comes, compile all the valid entries and draw a winner (or winners) from a hat. Notify the winners and do a simple follow-up to everyone else via another post, and you’re done!

The best thing about social media contests is it’s very easy to measure your success. For Facebook, look at the number of likes, comments and any increase in new people who like your page. For Twitter, count the number of retweets and any other interactions.


Twitter Tutorial: Using @Mentions

Anytime someone tells me they just set up a Twitter account, I get questions about what a hashtag is and how to use @mentions or even what a retweet is. Lets see if we can get some simple definitions out there and how to get the most out of Twitter. We’ll start with @mentions.

@mentions are a way of including another Twitter user in your tweet. They are used either to mention someone in a tweet or to reply to someone else’s tweet. To use an @mention, simply use the at symbol (@) in front of a username on twitter: @eric_wheeler. The under score sign (_) is the only special character allowed in a username, so it’s okay to add a period or other punctuation after an @mention without adding a space. Remember, social media is not an excuse for bad writing.

Since the main purpose here is to mention someone in a tweet (twitter status update), they can be used to create conversations with other Twitter users or to simply recognize someone. One good thing about @mentions is that it pretty much guarantees at least one person will view your tweet and possibly interact with you. Anytime I share a link and think of someone who might have the same interest, I include him/her in the post. This increases the likelihood that someone will retweet (a topic for later) and, thus, increase my total impressions. Increasing impressions will help you in gaining followers.

Now that you know how to use an @mention, get creative in recognizing people in your online community and remember to reply if someone mentions you in a Tweet. We’ll knock out #hashtags in the next post. Using Twitter is not that hard, trust me. If you don’t have a Twitter account or if you’re new to Twitter, the video below is for you:


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