Beyond The Buzz

We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.

– Ray Bradbury

Is your newsletter being read?

Published July 18th, 2017 in Our Blog | Comments Off on Is your newsletter being read?

nVgdelUDo you have a newsletter for your organization? Often, when I ask companies (or groups) about this, they don’t have one put together. They feel that it’s an outdated method or with an active social media platform, they don’t feel it’s necessary. However, having a good newsletter database helps your company on several levels. 

It allows you to get a better handle on who your audience is. When you have a newsletter sign up, you get to learn exactly who is interested in your products or your company. Depending on what information you ask for, you can learn a lot about the demographic. Location, age, even education level or social media can all be discovered if you handle it correctly. 

The difference between push/pull marketing. In push marketing, a company, group, or organization tosses their information out to an audience in a wide net (similar to fishing) and hopes they might be able to draw in people who are interested in their products. This can be an effective way to reach new people. However, when you have a newsletter sign up on your website, you don’t have to work so hard for it. These people are ASKING for your information. They want to hear more. They are your ideal audience. So instead of pushing, you’ve PULLED them in. A newsletter sign up is the ultimate in PULL marketing. 

A newsletter is your own platform. Though many people today have come to rely heavily (sometimes completely) on social media as their marketing strategy, they need to remember that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchats are all owned and managed by someone else. That means that if you are solely relying on them to get the word out about your company or product, you have to hope THEY are going to allow you to talk about it. It’s their stage. They can, at any time, get rid of your update, picture or even presence on their site. That means THEY are in control of your message. Not you.  A newsletter allows you to talk about whatever you want to or need to without having to worry about someone else’s rules or even political beliefs. 

If your company has a newsletter but hasn’t sent one out in a while, consider breathing new life into it. You can send coupons, updates and even run contests or promotions through your newsletter.  And if you don’t have one, now is a great time to get one started! 

Contact us today if you have any questions about anything in this article or about your own marketing plan. 

Facebook Isn’t Your Friend

Published June 29th, 2016 in Our Blog, Social Media | Comments Off on Facebook Isn’t Your Friend

BeWarned-254x134Note: This article originally appeared on Beyond the Buzz owner Lori Twichell’s personal site, www.loritwichell.com. We felt it important to share it here since so much of what we do involves social media.

So I’m starting off this article with a bit of a warning.  This is my blog and these are my thoughts. You don’t have to agree and it is not my assumption that if you disagree you hate me or you want me to die. Sounds like a really dire warning doesn’t it? But these days, it is, sadly, far more relevant than outlandish.

A few years ago, I was a writer. Only a writer. Not a social media guru or marketing pro. Just made a living writing stories for the masses. At the time, I was working on a radio drama and some members of the cast (all of whom were teens and young people) were on social media and they encouraged me to join. They assured me it would be easier to get together there and have conversations than it was to follow a mass email chain. So I did it. If I recall correctly, one of the people on the staff of the show set up my account (to  my specifications of course!) and voila! I was introduced to Facebook.

At first it was a weird sort of relationship. I sort of forgot it existed and really, I didn’t have a ton of friends on there yet. So I’d go in and check about once a week. That was the extent of it.

And then a couple of my friends moved away. That’s not unusual for me. My  husband is former military after all. But I realized if my friends were on Facebook, I could keep in touch.  I could see their kids grow up.  I could be a part of their lives. And my relationship with Facebook went to the next level. We’ll say it went from randomly  bumping into each other at a social gathering and waving awkwardly across the room to “Hey, want to have coffee sometime?”

From there, I found friends from high school and college and even some from elementary school. Facebook was suddenly looking not so bad! My church started getting online and that really shifted everything. Birthday parties were being planned on Facebook and Bible studies were set up via events. Suddenly my relationship with Facebook became a “Let’s do movie night together!” sort of thing.

And then I started working on Facebook and that is when things really shifted.  I was (still am!) being paid to be there after all. And my favorite movies and TV shows are there and all of my friends are there too. How cool to be paid to work at a place where ALL your friends hang out and the latest happenings are going on! We were together every day all the time.

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But then things moved another level  in my relationship with Facebook.  I was connected ALL the time. I got a phone and a tablet – both of which allowed me to be connected constantly. In the mornings, in bed at night…Facebook was always there. And I started documenting  my life in order to share it with Facebook. In a huge line at a sneak preview of a movie? Oh, take a picture and show Facebook! Look at this amazing lunch -I must show Facebook!  I wasn’t reaching out to my friends. I was starting to think of Facebook as another entity.  And I was looking for approval. I wanted Facebook to know how cool my life was. How cool I was.

To be fair, this shift didn’t happen in  a void. Facebook has also spent the last several years reaching out to me and reminding me how important I am to it. (I know how weird that sounds, but bear with me here.) I’d get emails nudging me toward sharing things. I would get notifications on my phone asking  if I was okay or if I enjoyed lunch. They sound creepy, but haven’t any of you seen the “You haven’t posted in a while – we miss you” sorts of ‘nudges’ that they send? I remember being at a restaurant and getting a pop up from Facebook on my phone asking if I’d enjoyed lunch. If I did,  I should share it with people and review the restaurant! Seriously?? That was when I turned off all notifications on my phone and I turned off location services. That creeped me out. A lot.

Somewhere along the line though, Facebook went from some tool that I could use to keep  in touch with my friends to something that was inextricably linked to my life. I didn’t realize how much until the past few weeks.

Not long ago, a very young friend of ours had some troubles with the law. He made some stupid mistakes and got into trouble. He was a teenager. And the news covered the story. And this young man that I know and my family loves deeply was dragged through the mud by Social Justice Warriors (SJW – I know you’ve seen them). People who had never met him and knew nothing about him outside of social media were openly calling for him to be lynched. Beaten. There were calls for violence against him and horrifying things were said. I was literally sick to my stomach and had to tell his mother to stay offline. He was young, stupid, and  he made a horrible mistake.  But the things people were calling for? Out of hand. And I couldn’t wrap my mind around the vitriol and violence against this young man.

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Since then, that vitriol and violence seems to be spilling  over everywhere in comment sections of news stories. I had to stop reading. I focused only on my friends and what they have going on in their lives.  I didn’t look at the Target bathroom stories or the gorilla mom. I knew what I would find and I didn’t want to wallow in that mud or fight that battle.

But then  shootings in Orlando  happened. I have so many friends there (and several of them gay friends that have been to Pulse) and my heart was just sick. I spent hours on Sunday clicking through every news story I could find until I got messages from all of my friends letting me know that they were okay. Then I breathed easy. Thank God my friends were okay.  I used Facebook to tell them how much I love them and how deeply I care about every part of their lives.

But then the facade I’d built around my ‘friendship’ with Facebook began to chip and break away. It wasn’t just the comments anymore. It was status updates. From MY friends.  People calling for justice. Angry. Screaming (on Facebook) via memes and ALL CAPS about their thoughts. And it became too much.  It wasn’t just the comments. It was my whole news feed. Everyone was divided.  Some friends screaming with Bible verses others screaming their hatred of Christians. It became a brawl and I didn’t want to be in the middle of it.

Oh wait – did I not mention I am a Christian? Oh. I am. I don’t see the need to scream that from the mountaintops and shout it in every update. I don’t, by any stretch hide it. Anyone who knows me understands that it is not some sideline for me. It’s part of my DNA. I do talk about it. I pray on Facebook. I post scriptures. It’s not everything I post but it’s by no means hidden either. With regard to my faith,  it has always been my belief that if I am there, living my life and loving people (even through the sin, folks…seriously that’s part of it) then they will see Christ in me. I’m friends with a lot of prominent leaders in gay politics and organizations. They know I’m a Christian. I know they’re gay. We still love each  other. We agree to disagree.

But this week, I saw a lot of friends talking about their hatred of Christians and how we’re all haters and how WE are the reason there are all of these problems. It wasn’t just one or two. It was a lot. (Ironically, my friends who are leaders in those gay organizations were not on that bandwagon. I did find that interesting.)  I have a lot of questions, thoughts and opinions on that aspect of things. Everyone screaming “stop the hate” and “hate kills” but it’s okay to turn that hatred on me? And many of those friends say “I mean ALL Christians Lori. Not you specifically.”  But I AM a Christian. That IS me. It’s not okay to throw a label on “all gays” or “all races” or all….anything. But it’s okay to say those things about all Christians? I’m a little stunned at that. And it hurts. A lot. These are people I feel I’ve loved deeply and faithfully and well and they are now screaming that Christians need to be dragged through the streets. It hurts me personally. You can message “I didn’t mean you Lori” but….how does that work? Again, I’m working on sorting through my feelings of all of that. It’s a bunny trail. Sorry. Back to the actual topic.

That isn’t Facebook’s fault, really. I know that.  But being so connected on every level to every story EVERYWHERE and being able to get involved in ALL of it – I think that’s becoming a dangerous place for society. Years ago, we only had news on at 6:00 and 11:00. Breaking news came into the day and it was only the major headlines so we all knew what’s happening in the world. There wasn’t a 24 hour a day 7 day a week void that needs to be filled constantly so that the smallest thing happening in another state or another city became breaking news. “Woman yelled at for breastfeeding.”  “Man charged for taking water from hot springs in Yellowstone.” “Pet left in car in heat.”  Those didn’t used to be things that would illicit death threats. And yet now they are. Every day. The smallest thing trends on Facebook and EVERYONE has a right to comment. This can be a great and powerful thing. Some things can’t be hidden now.  What if the Nazi regime had happened during the time of social media and the internet? Would it have gone on so long? I’d like to say no. But I have a friend fighting sex trafficking and rescuing girls and boys EVERY DAY and she’s constantly trying to get the message over the ‘noise’ of what so and so wore out on a date the other night or who tweeted something stupid. So maybe it still would have. It’s hard to say.

Beyond all of that, I realized how much I had invited Facebook into my life. How much time I spent there. How much I shared there. And I’m uncomfortable with it at this point.  I gave Facebook a full and free pass to me, my kids, my schooling, my meals, our vacations…  Facebook isn’t someone in my life. It’s a TOOL to keep in touch with the someones in my life. And I want that. But I really need to step back and see how much access I want Facebook to have to my world. Every update I give, they have on record and keep it. Every picture. Every quote. Every meme. Facebook has my life in their servers. And I think I forgot that for a while. I began to really see Facebook as someone I needed to keep updated about every little thing. But when I stop to think that some random stranger at FB HQ could pull up everything I have ever said and paint their own picture about me, it scared me a bit.

More than that, what am I teaching my kids about what’s okay to share and what isn’t? In working on the film Caged No More, I talked daily  with parents who had no idea what their kids were sharing on Facebook. Class schedules, addresses, meet ups at locations….when it’s on Facebook (or Twitter or Instagram) I don’t care how locked down you are, it’s NATIONAL. INTERNATIONAL. Hackers from anywhere can get that. And you might think that’s over-blowing things. Look at it this way,  if my daughter posts something, she can have it totally  locked down but  her friends can lift it. Oh what? She has it privacy locked? Only her friends can see it? But if a friend really wants to, they can copy/paste it. Put her name on it. And then she is out there whether she wants to be or not.  That’s happened to both her and I.  I don’t know if people stop and think about that part of things enough.
1369379977_94626I’m not leaving Facebook. We aren’t completely breaking up. I still work there.  Whether I like it or not, I own several businesses and have a public persona to maintain on the site in order to keep working in my industry.  I still visit there regularly to see what my friends and loved ones are up to. And I’ll update it with the things that I feel like my friends need to know. Facebook is not going be another person in my house and I’m hopefully going to keep it where it belongs. As a tool.  I just don’t want to live there anymore.

Lori Twichell is the owner of Beyond the Buzz Marketing, Radiant Lit, and Fiction Addict.  She is a screenwriter, speaker, and business consultant. 

Welcome to the new and improved Beyond the Buzz!

Published May 18th, 2016 in Marketing, Our Blog | Comments Off on Welcome to the new and improved Beyond the Buzz!

It's New Blog Image

Since we launched our business (ten years ago!) we have had the same website. We loved it and didn’t see a reason to mess with something that had gotten us so many compliments, accolades and even customers. But we realized that we were telling our clients to be fresh and stay updated and we weren’t doing that. So we called up our buddies at JV Media Design  and voila! New site! 

As with all kinds of change, we are still shifting and settling into the new look of the place but we like the feel of it  and we hope you do too.

So look around, explore, and let us know what you think! 

 

Actor: Mark Christopher Lawrence

Published November 6th, 2013 in Marketing, Movies, Our Blog, Television | Comments Off on Actor: Mark Christopher Lawrence

23805_1373317646577_8245563_nBeyond the Buzz is proud to announce that we’re now working with Mark Christopher Lawrence. Mark is an exceptional actor whose career has spanned everything from theater to feature films and television. Most of you may recognize him from his role as Big Mike on the NBC television program, Chuck. He has also appeared on many hit television shows like Glee, Heroes, Seinfeld, and My Name is Earl just to name a few.

Mark is also an international headlining comedian who has worked with the likes of Bill Cosby, Jerry Seinfeld, Rodney Dangerfield and Jeff Foxworthy. He’s also headlined clubs and colleges across the U.S. and Canada.

We first met Mark several years ago when we worked with him on some promotions with wounded warriors in San Antonio, TX. Mark is passionate about everything he does and we’re excited to be working with this amazing actor and comedian.

You can see more about Mark at his IMDB page or by visiting his official website.

If you’d like to have Mark come and speak or perform at your company, event, program or church, please email us!

Actor Holt Boggs

Published November 1st, 2013 in Marketing, Movies, Our Blog | Comments Off on Actor Holt Boggs

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We are excited to announce that we are now working with actor Holt Boggs. You’ve probably seen Holt somewhere in one of his many television appearances. He’s been in the NBC show Revolution, TNT’s Dallas and Sons of Anarchy just to name a few.

We first met Holt through his work on the film The Prodigy, a story about what happens when a vicious assassin decides that you need to be his successor. Harrowing and heartrending all at once, The Prodigy was an  honest to goodness edge of your seat thriller and it brought Holt Boggs to the forefront of people’s minds as an actor to watch. Since then, he’s consistently showed off his acting range in a variety of roles that have taken him from horror, to action and most recently, an exciting new role in a family friendly film, The Adventures of Pepper and Paula.

We’re excited to be joining with Holt on this new phase of his career. To keep up on Holt or find out more, visit his IMDB page or his official website.

 

The Dangers of Comparison Marketing

Published September 5th, 2013 in Marketing, Our Blog | Comments Off on The Dangers of Comparison Marketing

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Are you concentrating on your own goals or working on someone else’s? 

One of the most common issues that I encounter when consulting in business or mentoring on a personal basis is comparison. It also happens to be one of the most detrimental things we can deal with in our lives. The internet has created a ripe field for comparing our lives and businesses with others and when that happens, we always come out lacking. Most of the time, it’s apples and oranges. Even in business.

I encourage people to keep an eye on what competitors are doing and to even check out other websites and blogs that they enjoy in order to research. Not replicate.

Each business should have their own identity and so should their social media or marketing plan. Visiting other websites and even physical locations will keep you in the loop on the latest trends and happenings in your industry. The minute you begin to concentrate your time, effort, and resources on what they’re doing and try to replicate it, you’re fighting a losing battle. Before you can look elsewhere for ideas, you need to make sure you’re solid in your own business message.

The healthy steps in using research to create a marketing plan begin within your business.

Look at your company and ask these questions:

  • What is your overall mission?
  • What message do you want people to have about your business?
  • Who is your audience?
  • What do they need?

Once you have this established and understood about your business, you can create a tagline or mission statement that will help you stay on track for your company’s goals. Then you can research other businesses, take notes on what you like, and apply it to these statements for your own business.

Lori Twichell is the owner of Beyond the Buzz Marketing, Radiant Lit, Fiction Addict, and a contributor to Christian Work at Home Ministries.

Facebook Official Page…Instead of a Website?

Published July 23rd, 2013 in Marketing, Our Blog, Strategies | Comments Off on Facebook Official Page…Instead of a Website?

Recently I had a client mention to me that they had no interest in developing their own website for their company. The reasoning behind this was that they have a Facebook Official Page and that, in their mind, served their purpose. After all, it’s got their logo/branding on it, they interact daily with their customers, and the biggest reason; it’s cheap.

Though I understand all of those points (and trust me, they are valid), when you weigh out the pros and cons, it just doesn’t add up.

Here are a few things to consider.

On Facebook, you’re playing in someone else’s playground with someone else’s rules. In the past year or two, we’ve seen a serious crackdown at Facebook with regard to business pages. Your cover photo can’t reference your website address or give any contact information, it must include minimal (20% of the space) content or copy and contests or promotions are harshly regulated.

Kirk-Cameron-Unstoppable__130721153716Though you have the ability to interact on a personal level with your customer base, Facebook can, at any time, decide not to play nicely with you. Recently Kirk Cameron discovered this when his new film was banned by the social media mogul. For hours on end people were unable to post anything in their status updates about the film, the website or even just the name! Facebook put a serious halt to those marketing efforts. (It’s my suspicion that someone  – or perhaps a group of people “ turned in Cameron’s film for being spam. An automatic system will shut down whatever is being linked to or talked about until Facebook has the chance to go through their records and do their own research.) Now to be honest, it ended up working to the film’s favor. Cameron put his own post out on his own page about it and thanks to the power of grass roots marketing, his fanbase reacted. Not only that, they reacted strongly. Facebook was not only inundated with complaints and concerns about it (and subsequently put the film back into circulation on its pages) but the news media took OFF with the information! Outlets went crazy at the idea that a social media company as huge as Facebook would take action against a film in this manner.

There was a happy ending for Cameron’s story including a mountain of publicity, but unless your fans or clients are as rabidly passionate as his are, yours will likely not have a similar ending. Without a mass outcry like what he was able to get, Facebook could take weeks, months, or years to sort through your page and decide whether your company is worthy or not. It would be easy to see this happening to a business and have them waiting weeks or even months for investigations to be completed.

Facebook is a highly effective and valuable resource when included as a part of a larger marketing plan. So many companies are now using it that without a Facebook page or presence, your business isn’t looked upon as legitimate or real. It’s important to keep all of this in mind when figuring out where and how Facebook fits into your plan.

It’s definitely important to use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social media sites as part of your plan, but don’t rely on any of them as your sole or whole presence online. If so, you’re handing over branding and marketing of your company to a corporation that doesn’t know or care who you are or what you do.

Facebook Newsflash: You’re Not the Customer

Published May 8th, 2013 in Marketing, Our Blog, Social Media | Comments Off on Facebook Newsflash: You’re Not the Customer

If you use Facebook, you’ve probably noticed that you’re often in a race with the site to make sure your privacy settings remain private. It seems like a constant battle to update, make sure you’ve got all the settings the way they  need to be… It can sort of feel like that moment when you’re checking to make sure your skirt isn’t accidentally tucked in  your waistband? C’mon ladies – we’ve all had that moment right? Just me? Okay – let’s move on then.

There’s a good reason for that. When it comes to Facebook, you aren’t the customer. You’re not the client. Or the consumer. In this instance, you’re the product. Think about that for a minute. YOU are what Facebook is trying to sell to make money. That’s why we can sign all the petitions we want and make the protests we want, but in the long run, we’re still gonna end up stuck with Timeline and unchecking those ‘personalize’ boxes in all of our profiles.

You see, Facebook makes money with advertisements and going to the big companies to sell…you. How many people are on Facebook? How often do they click on an ad? How much do they tell everyone what they are doing? How about checking in at a store or a restaurant? That’s what they take to these companies and the companies, in turn, buy advertising that appeals to you.

Last Christmas one of my friends posted a screen cap of the images on his computer. It had my name, my picture, and the message “Lori Twichell likes Starbucks. Why don’t you give her a gift?” Another of my friends posted a link to a funny item she found on Amazon.com. That post stayed at the top of my news feed for weeks. Why did it stay there? Cause Facebook has a deal with Amazon and when my friend posted that link, it alerted something somewhere and Amazon paid for it to stay on my news feed.

It’s frustrating when you consider it that way right? But keeping that in mind can also help you remember what you’re comfortable putting on the site. And it might alleviate some of the stress over “Why aren’t they listening to me?? I don’t WANT timeline!”

Keeping that perspective in mind might also help you be more vigilant about your security settings and what the updates to apps and Facebook mean for your privacy.  It’s also important to remember this on your business pages. Make sure you are aware of what you’re putting out there and that if it’s on Facebook, it belongs to them – not you.

 

 

 

The Difference Between a Home and a Home Office

Published June 8th, 2010 in Archive, Our Blog | Comments Off on The Difference Between a Home and a Home Office

(This post by Lori Twichell originally featured at www.cwahm.com)

Many times when people think about someone who works from home, they don’t picture a professional working environment. Instead, they see us working from our bed or our living room in our jammies and having a much more relaxed schedule than what would happen in a regular office environment. (You can insert your laughter here.) This can give a perception that those of us who work from home are just doing this as a hobby or that we can’t be as professional as someone in a big power office somewhere. It can also serve to undermine their opinion of your ability to do the job. It’s up to us to change that perspective in their minds. Summer’s here. If your house is anything like mine, it’s much harder to do that, but it’s not impossible.

Have you ever had a house eruption? You know, when everything’s quiet and peaceful while you’re working (usually on the phone) and then chaos explodes in the background? Mine usually involve some sort of children screaming and dogs barking all at once. With summer here and all the kids home from school, this is an inevitability in my house. It happened one time when I was on the phone doing business with Dondi Scumaci. If you don’t know who Dondi is, she’s an international speaker and author specializing mentoring women in business. I began profusely and profoundly apologizing for the chaos, certain that I was offending my client. That was my mistake. Not the apology. You see, in that moment, I had shifted from professional Marketing Director to Mom. My client had become a guest in my home (even though she was on the phone) and I was treating her as such.

Dondi advised me to picture myself in a huge office with a big shiny marble desk and a wall of glass windows overlooking a city. This shifted my entire perspective. If my children were to burst into that shiny office with the marble desk, how would I explain it to a client on the phone? I would apologize, sure, but not from the perspective of a mom having a guest in her home. I’d apologize for the chaos in the background in the same way that I would if it were construction or some other noise in an office building that’s beyond my control. Instead of saying “I’m so sorry my kids are home from school and (insert excuses here)…” try “I’m sorry for the noise. My kids are in the office with me today.” You may be surprised at the reception you get.

This also works when you need to share your schedule or pull together a conference call or meeting. You may be carpooling from 2-3 pm every day or fixing lunch for your kids, but clients don’t need to know that. During those times, you have meetings. Or you’ll be out of the office. Don’t worry about sharing the details of why you’re out or you’re unavailable.

So next time you have a house eruption, picture that big shiny office with a view. Who knows? It might even help your stress level!

Lori Twichell is the owner of Beyond the Buzz Marketing . She is also the Marketing Director for Christian Work at Home Moms and JV Media Design. In her spare time, Lori is a managing partner with Radiant Lit and a professional book reviewer for Fiction Addict. Lori and her husband live in San Antonio, Texas with their three kids and two dogs.

Twitter – “I just don’t get the point…”

Published May 20th, 2010 in Marketing, Our Blog, Strategies | Comments Off on Twitter – “I just don’t get the point…”

“I just don’t get the point.”

That’s the biggest comment that I hear when I discuss Twitter with people. I’ve gotten into the whole microblogging definition and then the necessary explanation about social media and the benefits, but usually, none of these argument sway people in the least. They still don’t understand the point of Twitter or why it’s become so popular. This surprises me since Twitter is one of the fastest growing social media trends ever seen. According to Twitter’s own numbers, some 50 million tweets are sent every day. FIFTY. MILLION. In 2009, ‘tweeting’ grew 1400%. According to Alexa statistics, Twitter.com is the number twelve site in the world. Obviously someone out there understands it. So why this amazingly fast growing trend?

It’s very simple.Twitter provided the arena for instant connections and conversations with people you don’t know. Now wait. So do a plethora of other social media websites right? What’s so different about Twitter?

Safer Connections: Twitter created an online venue that allows for nearly instant conversations and connections with people who are interested in the same things. Twitter allows you to make connections with anyone about anything. And it does so more safely than Facebook or Myspace. Both Myspace and Facebook require you to be ‘friends’ with someone before you can make a connection with them. If you aren’t already friends, these sites require you to make that connection and call them ‘friends’. Giving someone the title of friend implies a much more intimate connection than what is comfortable for most people. It also gives them access to all of the details of your life that you put into the site. Twitter doesn’t require that. The only ‘bio’ on Twitter is a 140 character ‘micro’ sentence. You choose what you share. In fact, it’s more like real life conversations. Think about it. When you meet someone for the first time, you don’t pull out all of your family photos, your job pictures, your hometown, your spouse’s name and birthday, the names of all your relatives…the list goes on and on. With Twitter, you share only what you want, when you want.

Ice Breaker: At some point in our lives, we’ve all experienced the discomfort of being in a room full of people that we don’t know but with whom we’re expected to make some connection. Then the person in charge of that room pulls out the dreaded ‘ice-breaker’ game, designed to help you make that connection. Twitter is the ultimate ice-breaker. Instead of being forced into uncomfortable conversations, you can choose what you talk about and with whom you connect.

Conversations: Finally, the best part of Twitter is that it feels more like a real conversation. When you’re sitting at lunch with a group of people, think about how the conversation sounds. Everyone interjects their comments, opinions or ideas on the topic being discussed. Sometimes you have a longer ‘rant’ or diatribe, but the meaningful connections happen when there’s a back and forth to the conversation. These virtual connections allow people to easily inject their opinions into a relevant conversation and then create an ongoing dialogue.

Push/Pull Marketing with Twitter: Marketing can always be defined in two ways. Either it’s ‘push’ or ‘pull’. Push marketing entails ‘shoving’ a message to the audience, whether they want it or not. Some examples of this are television advertising (you don’t get to choose which commercials air) or spam email. You are pushing your message to the consumer. Pull marketing involves bringing the audience to you. Whenever someone visits a website or signs up for a mailing list, they are expressing their interest in hearing your message and finding out more. A good push/pull campaign could be a television commercial (push) that intrigues someone enough for them to visit a website (pull).

Twitter is the first fully effective instant use of push/pull marketing. Prior to Twitter, most social media involved push marketing. Blogging revolves around the assumption that an audience wants to read or see what you have to say. Messageboards or bulletin boards are conversations, but they are definitely not instant. Sometimes it can take weeks or months to have a complete conversation.

In short, Twitter changed the face of social media and gave us a new platform for marketing. Last year Twitter had over seventy-five million visitors and statistics show it’s still growing. Maybe now’s the time for you to give it a chance.

Lori Twichell is the owner of Beyond the Buzz Marketing and the Marketing Director for both JV Media Design and Christian Work at Home Moms. She is also a creative managing partner at Radiant Lit and a reviewer at Fiction Addict.