Tag Archives: Twitter

Are You a Good Social Listener?

Most of you understand the importance of marketing your business on social media sites, but have you stopped to consider if you’re a good social listener?  Are you watching what people say on your Facebook page? Do you ever read conversations on other Facebook pages … specifically the pages of businesses in your industry? Have you ever taken time to conduct a Twitter search on a topic relevant to your business? Do you ever look to see what topics are trending on Google+ and other social sites? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you’re on your way to becoming a good social listener.

You might think it’s more important to market your business than to listen to social conversations, so let me give you a couple examples how social listening can benefit you.

Solis Quote

Awhile ago I was curious how many people were talking about rainwater harvesting on Twitter. Specifically, I wanted to learn if rain barrels were a relevant and trending topic in regards to water conservation. In Twitter’s search box I typed the words “rain barrel” and found quite a few individuals were talking about it. One particular person stood out from the crowd … an editor for Hort magazine tweeted a request for a rain barrel product to include in the magazine. I immediately emailed a couple photos and a product description of Aquascape’s RainXchange® rain barrel to the editor and she included it in their publication.

Another example of effective social listening pertains to Hometalk, the up-and-coming home-related site for contractors and the DIY crowd. I looked through the site and then hopped over to their Facebook page. That’s where I noticed a pond photo they had shared was getting a lot of positive feedback. The photo was from a project that a homeowner posted on their website and people were lovin’ it … giving it a lot of Likes and Comments on Facebook. I also noticed that the pond was a preformed pond with plastic waterfalls. Not very natural looking. I realized that if people loved that water feature, they would love Aquascape’s water features even more (not meaning to be egotistical, but Aquascape does pride itself on creating very natural-looking water features).

After listening to all the conversation surrounding that preformed pond, I posted several pond photos on Hometalk’s site and was rewarded with immense social activity. Hometalk shared several of our pond photos on their Facebook page, which greatly increased our exposure on both Facebook and Hometalk. I’m happy to say that our website received more referrals from Hometalk than it did from either Twitter or Facebook for the next 2 months! I’m confident this trend will continue.

Social listening is critical to your success on social sites. You don’t want to be viewed as merely a broadcaster. Listen to what your customers are saying and answer their questions. Also take note of what potential customers are saying on other sites and then optimize your presence on those sites to gain additional exposure. You’ll find it’s time well spent!


Using Twitter Lists to Keep Tweets Organized

Twitter is intense. No doubt about it. If you’re following hundreds of people on this microblogging site, it’s near impossible to keep up with the conversations. For example, I follow over 4500 people on our Aquascape account. There’s no way I can read all those tweets in one day and still get the rest of my work done. In fact, in the time it took me just to write this first paragraph, I received over 90 new tweets in my feed. So what’s a girl to do? Use Twitter’s List feature to keep incoming tweets organized (if you don’t know what a “tweet” is, it’s simply what someone types and posts on Twitter).

To access the List feature on Twitter, click on the drop down arrow to the right of the Settings icon and then click on Lists from the menu. You’ll then be taken to your List page where you can create and manage lists. You’ll also be able to find out what lists you’ve been added to by others.

Twitter List

Once you’re on your Lists page, simply click the Create List button to create a new list and add people you follow. In the future, you can continue to add Twitter accounts to this list … or even remove them if need be.

I’ve created a few lists of topics that are important to me and then continue to add folks to these lists when appropriate. For instance, I’ve created a “pondering” list that includes people I’m following in the pond industry. With a quick click on the title of the list I can see what peers in the industry are saying and doing. No need to scroll through thousands of tweets, which would be far too time-consuming.

Twitter Listing

I also like to see what lists Aquascape has been added to … it’s my opinion that if people are adding me to lists, they think I’m posting helpful information. It’s useful to see what type of lists I’ve been added to … there might be a group of people who can provide networking opportunities I hadn’t previously considered. And I might find a few new folks to follow on Twitter.

Twitter List Screenshot

In addition, Twitter shows you lists you’re subscribed to … typically the lists you’ve created. To see what lists you’ve been added to; simply click on the “Member of” link to the left of the Create List button. Anyone on Twitter can add you to a list. If you want to subscribe to a list someone else has created, simply click on the title of that list and you’ll be taken to that list’s page. Then click on the Subscribe button you’ll find on the left hand side. This is a convenient way to follow information important to you without having to follow more individuals on Twitter.

For more information on using Twitter’s List feature, simply check out the List section in the Help Center.




The Nielsen Report: Social Media Statistics that Might Surprise You

Some of the findings in the latest social media report by Nielsen (yes, the same folks who track television viewing) just might surprise you. The information is invaluable as it will help you identify where you need to be online in order to reach your target market.

Nielsen Report

For example, did you know that Facebook now reaches 70% of active internet users? Or that the 50-64 year old age group is growing by 88% on Facebook? Not surprisingly, women are slightly more active on social networking sites than men, with men more likely than their female counterparts to visit LinkedIn and Wikia.

It’s no secret that Facebook is clearly the front runner among internet users, but I was surprised to find that Blogger ranks as the #2 social network site with 50,000 unique visitors (YouTube was not considered as a social networking site in this study, otherwise it would’ve ranked as the second runner up).  Twitter comes in third with just over 23,000 unique visitors. WordPress delivers slightly more than 22,000 unique visitors.

In closing, I’d like to share a few fun statistics from Nielsen’s social media report. When compared to the average adult internet user, active adult social networkers are …

  • 75% more likely to be heavy spenders on music
  • 47% more likely to be heavy spenders on clothing, shoes, and accessories
  • 33% more likely to give their opinion on TV programs
  • 26% more likely to give their opinion on politics and current events
  • 19% more likely to attend a professional sporting event
  • 18% more likely to work out at a gym or health club

Also …

  • 53% of active adult social networkers follow a brand (such as Coca Cola)
  • 32% of active adult social networkers follow a celebrity (such as Lady GaGa)

Social Media is More about the Social and Less about the Media

“I hate the term social media. The word media makes it sound like it’s adverting. And it’s not”
~ Gary Vaynerchuk, best-selling author of “Crush It!” and “The Thank You Economy”


I couldn’t have said it better! Gary Vaynerchuk was one of the presenters at The Art of Marketing seminar I attended last week in Chicago. This guy was on fire! On fire for the customer. On fire for being the best marketer you can be. On fire for sharing his experience with the audience.

One golden nugget that I walked away with from Gary’s presentation (and believe me, there were several) is that if you want to be successful today and tomorrow, you have to care about the end-user.

On your Facebook page, are you constantly (and only) talking about yourself and your company? Do you broadcast your promotions and products incessantly? Social media is more about conversation than it is about broadcasting. And part of conversation is listening! Which are you doing?

Sure, you’re going to tap into Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to promote your business. But spend less time promoting your products and services, and more time opening a window to reveal who you are as a business owner, marketer, employee, human being.

Social media is your opportunity to show your customers important traits like integrity, honesty, character. Think old-fashioned values that grandma taught you when you were just knee-high in britches.

Why is this so important? Because there’s so much competition for business in the world today … and social media just made it easier for everyone to get online and promote their products and services.

When customers are comparing services and products online, what’s going to make you stand out? What’s going to make them choose you over Joe’s Mow and Blow down the street? Old-fashioned values like honesty, trust, and integrity.

Interact with your customers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. Don’t just broadcast. Have a conversation! This means checking your Facebook page every day to listen and respond to questions and comments. This means if someone complains about your product on Facebook, you respond with respect and patience.

Let me close by sharing a story about Gary. He had a potential customer that he really wanted to bring on board. Gary watched what the guy was talking about on Facebook. They guy was a huge Chicago Bears fan and loved Jay Cutler. “Jay Cutler this. Jay Cutler that.” Talked about him all the time. After some time passed, Gary sent him an autographed Jay Cutler Jersey. He spent valuable time getting to know his future customer via social media. Are you taking time becoming acquainted with yours?

Living in the Social World

It seems not a day goes by where you aren’t touched by social media, whether you’re logging onto your Facebook page, reading about Google+ in the news, or voting on Twitter for Simon Cowell’s “The X Factor” show. In fact, just this morning I had a request to join Netlog, a Belgian social media site similar to Facebook. With more social sites popping up each month, how do you know where to spend your online time?

Defining Your Social Strategy
You could easily get lost in the world of social media if you don’t map out a path for yourself. Rather than join every social site known to humankind, it’s best to figure out a strategy that doesn’t overextend your resources; namely, your time.

The first thing you’ll want to do is determine where your customers are hanging out. A recent Nielsen report noted that Facebook currently reaches 70% of active internet users, so chances are … you’ll find a good percentage of your target market on Facebook. But are there other social sites where you should take an active presence?

Aquascape’s Top Social Picks
To help you navigate the sea of social sites, I’ve put together a list of Aquascape’s top social media picks. You’ll need to determine your own list based on your strategy and constraints, but this list can help point you in the right direction.

Facebook – If you’re going to dabble in social media, Facebook is the place to be. It continues to be the fastest growing social site and has an average monthly audience of 140 million; almost triple the average monthly audience of its nearest competitor (Blogger). The majority of Aquascape’s Facebook conversations occur with consumers, educating them on the benefits and features of water features, while referring them to installers and retailers.

YouTube – YouTube is the second most popular search engine, following on the heels of Google. Aquascape uploads a new video almost weekly. You can make your own videos using a digital camera. And if you need to edit them before posting, try using Windows Movie Maker, a free program you’ll find on your computer. In order for your videos to rank high in YouTube search results, you want to make sure you add descriptions and keywords to each video that you upload.

Twitter – Twitter is an easy-to-use micro blogging site that now processes 230 million tweets per day (a tweet is similar to a status update on Facebook). Although you can use Twitter however you like; sharing links, photos, news, etc., Aquascape uses Twitter primarily for B2B (business to business) conversations. Keep in mind that Twitter is a great source for research. You can type in a search term such as “water gardening” to see what others are tweeting about this or any other topic. About a year ago I performed a search for “rain barrel” and found an editor looking for examples of rain barrels to include in their publication. I immediately sent info on the RainXchange® Rain Barrel and it was featured in the magazine as a result.

LinkedInLinkedIn is a social networking site geared toward professionals. It’s like your online resume of credentials and recommendations. You can write status updates, connect with other professionals in your industry, join specific networking groups, and more. LinkedIn has some terrific gadgets that allow you to tie your account with other media such as your blog, published articles, videos, and more. LinkedIn is a great spot for connecting with like-minded business people in your community who can refer customers to you, and vice versa.

Blogger and WordPress – Aquascape uses both these sites for blogging. Aquascape Your Landscape resides on Blogger while Social Splash lives at WordPress. If you’re not yet blogging, be sure to read, “To Blog or Not to Blog: It Shouldn’t Be a Question.” Blogging is a great way for optimizing your website with search engines.

Houzz, Flickr, and Pinterest – Photo sharing sites are great for showcasing your landscape projects. Each of these sites has its own unique value proposition and I like to use all three. Consumers can search for professionals on Houzz, view their photos, and then make contact to hire you. Pinterest allows users to “pin” photos from websites they like, adding them to a style board. Others can re-pin the photos, thereby spreading the reach of the photo on Pinterest. It’s a popular site with bloggers and designers and is rapidly gaining traction.

SlideshareSlideshare was primarily set up for sharing PowerPoint presentations. Over time, Slideshare increased its file sharing capability to include PDF files, videos, and more. Users can comment on your presentations and share them on other social media sites, as well.

Watergardening.com – Although this community site is specific to water gardening, it’s still one of our favorites and continues to grow. For those of you who were around when Aquascape launched watergardening.com, you’ll remember that the majority of users were installers and retailers. Today, that’s all changed. With membership nearing 1000 users, you’ll find that the community is primarily made of pond-owning consumers. What’s not to like?

The Social Melting Pot
While the aforementioned sites are where Aquascape devotes most of its social media efforts, this isn’t an entirely inclusive list. There are a few lesser known sites where Aquascape has dabbled, such as www.garden-share.com.  And of course, this social list will grow and change as time goes on.

Social media is fast-moving and I don’t see it slowing down any time in the near future. So what do you do if you’re perplexed over where to begin? Focus on just one or two social sites … you don’t want to become overwhelmed and quit before you even start. Once you get comfortable with one or two, you can branch out and broaden your social reach as time allows. But by all means, do get started! Even if you just use Facebook. Social media is great for sharing your message and hearing what customers are saying about you. You can’t afford to miss the conversation.

Quick Links to Aquascape’s Social Media Pages:                                   


Welcome to Social Splash!

Welcome to Aquascape’s social media blog where you’ll find plenty of information to help you navigate the waters of online social networking. Although this blog is directed primarily toward contractors, retailers, and distributors of Aquascape water gardening products … others will find it useful, too.

Some of you Aquascapers attended my social media class during Pondemonium®, where I promised to start this blog in order to help you navigate the social media seas. But if you didn’t attend the class on August 5th, this blog is still a good starting point for you.

Some of you are just beginning to dip your toes into social media, while others have taken the full plunge, establishing yourselves on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and more! No matter where you currently find yourself on this engaging journey, I’m sure you’ll find something useful in this blog.

So hop on board and ride the growing wave of social media! Oh … and if you’re not sure why you should even bother to get involved with social media, check out the energetic video below from Socialnomics . It pretty much says it all!