Strategizing for Twitter has grown from a nascent practice to an essential business function. The network is a valuable tool for directly connecting with an interested audience, but attention spans for blatant marketing pitches are short. Users want to connect with real people on social media, and the best Twitter authors engage audiences with a sophisticated mix of practicality, promotion and diversion without saturating feeds.
Audie Chamberlain, director of social media marketing for Realtor.com and speaker at PR News’ Digital PR Summit in San Francisco on Feb. 5, offers some insights into how he uses Twitter to inform his audience and benefit his organization.
PR News: How do you keep work and life separate on Twitter?
Audie Chamberlain: I often tell people that any social networking profile is like a garden—and like any good garden, you have to tend it. It's not a “set it and forget it” platform. If you feel you have the time and energy to maintain a double life on Twitter, then go for it. At the end of the day, the lines are getting blurred between what is professional and what is simply life.
PR News: How do realtors strategize for Twitter differently?
Chamberlain: It all starts with listening, and I've seen an evolution over time here. In the early days of Twitter, brokers and agents were what we would call “promotional” on Twitter. So, early on, they were mostly announcing open houses or new listings, new closings, etc. But, as their audiences grew and they began to see the value in direct communications with consumers and colleagues, I've seen folks really adding value to conversations focused on real estate. Realtors have traditionally been gatekeepers of really important information, and Twitter offers them a platform to share that information with a larger audience.
PR News: How do you measure success on Twitter—number of followers, engagement levels, retweets, etc.?
Chamberlain: A couple of things I hear over and over is that Twitter is pointless and social media is complicated. There will be different measures of success based on your goals. But if you take a step back and think at a very high level, success can be measured in two ways (hat tip to Robert Scoble):
1) Are people talking about you or your company?
2) Are those conversations leading to your desired outcome?
Simplifying our world as social media marketers and digital communicators is important because the landscape changes quickly and we constantly have to educate people who may not understand the value of these channels.
Follow Audie Chamberlain: @audiechambrln
Follow Brian Greene: @bwilliamgreene