How I Failed Skyrocket and Agate via Twitter

“I want you to address the community, and attract more people to the Skyrocket side.”

Those were things James Agate desired me focus upon in bringing me on the team.

Aside from my initial excitement in working with James,

 

I thought it was a sound decision from a marketing standpoint.

I devote time and passion toward social media.

Some peers notice.

Just under 1200 Twitter followers is not momentous feat, but I believe I engage the public and my peers in a passionate manner.

But…

I’m transparent in saying to you (and to James), I failed.  I don’t believe (in my own marketing opinion) I’m doing Skyrocket a benefit, operating the Twitter handle.

When I first began managing the handle, we had about 215 followers and now 284.

60 new followers in months of operation?

I don’t think that’s incredibly beneficial.

(However, it depends.  Let’s assume each new follower converts to a client.  Then, it would be advantageous, but that’s not a consistent occurrence here.)

 

Skyrocket Twitter Handle

Was/Is having me operate the Twitter handle good allocation of James’ resources?

Followerwonk offers stats for the last three months, and it looks like overall engagement was positive.

Generally, I reflect a positive trend, but is that what James really wants from the handle?

I’ll assume he wants the following out of the Skyrocket Twitter handle:

-         More traffic to Skyrocket

-         More followers

-         More positive impressions regarding Skyrocket

-         MORE SALES/CLIENTS AS A RESULT OF ITS EXISTENCE (What’s the point of it?)

 

Person vs. Brand Name

Can James and I exact Twitter benefits without a ‘Skyrocket’ handle?

I’d advise we allow ‘people’ harness and exact the branding of Skyrocket, such as leveraging James and I rather than a ‘company’ handle.

Let’s use Followerwonk to take a look at sharing metrics, comparing my Twitter account and Skyrocket’s.

I’m ‘outdoing’ myself, despite Skyrocket’s longer history, though Skyrocket receives more retweets (and URL retweets).

James’ metrics are also better than Skyrocket’s.

***Update****

Thanks Chris Dyson for bringing some misinterpretation to my attention as well as providing me with new ideas on psych and social sharing.

Like me, the brand handle does better in attracting retweets than he, but James and I clearly have better social authority at 46 and 50 respectively as compared to Skyrocket’s 13.

James and I both link to Skyrocket.com from our handles, so is that enough to lead followers to the site?

What’s the largest referral site since I began working for Agate?  It’s Twitter!  Aside from that, James and I get traffic to the site by providing content on outside entities (other than Skyrocket domain).

For our team, headed by a solid writer who hired another writer, displaying our talents through composition is important.

I question, “What IS Skyrocket?”

We provide content and link building.

Most traffic comes from searches and the above, observed referral sites:

What associations are we creating?

There’s always room for more/better associations, but we’re doing a good job thus far in facilitating how people search for Skyrocket services (infographics and guest posting being two, in-house specialties).

Aside from the Twitter handle, I’d advise we “do what we do best.”

We’re currently using the following resources at hand to attract traffic and brand Skyrocket:

-         Guest posts

-         LinkBuilding.tv

-         Skyrocket Google+

 

Anthony the (Ass)et?

“Dude, I’m failing you…”  That was how I started a recent conversation with James.

What value do I provide?  I’m a worker, but more importantly for James and Skyrocket, I need to be an asset to the team, a point of value.

Based on the above metrics, observances, experiences, and intuition, I’ll be used more effectively by tweeting as normal (as Anthony)

with Skyrocket on my picture and handle,

Continuing recruiting personalities, serving as LBTV host,

and guest posting, on behalf of Skyrocket, on a number of blogs.

 

What Did You Do?

Readers, I did try!

Here are a few insights I exacted/implemented working the Skyrocket Twitter handle.

-         Leverage hashtags to better categorize information as well as not ‘bother’ the author.  (I feel we’re doing the author a solid by sharing their work.  We don’t always need to include their handle; unless its important to ‘be seen’ sharing their work (wink, wink))

-         Pay tweet respects, devoting a ‘day of tweeting’ to a personality/brand.

-         Comment on blog posts (as Skyrocket handle) to usher interest to the handle (But one runs into the person vs. brand problem.)

-         Summons personalities on Google+ to usher more interest to both the Skyrocket Google + and Twitter handles.

-         Place peoples’ tweets in a refresh of existing articles, showing good reception and advocacy.

 

How Bout You?

As observed above, the Raven and Koozai worker’s brand themselves and the company with their Twitter handles.

I notice iAcquire doing ‘inbound happy hours.’

What are some other usages of beneficial brand Twitter usage?  I’m just a muse; what do I know?  I felt I had to be honest in relaying these un-twitter-iffic thoughts.

Do I think tech companies, such as Skyrocket, could do well with Twitter?

Perhaps…

But I’m not convinced Twitter is the best use of James’ resources at the moment.

Who can use Twitter effectively?  A long time ago, I wrote a post about the Cadbury UK’s Twitter usage.

Survey their usage.  The handler/s get people excited, engaged, sharing, and composing their own content to share with Cadbury, etc.

That’s how I envision Twitter getting used ongoing and effectively (as a brand asset)

My Skyrocket Twitter usage did not ‘make the cut’ in my professional opinion.  My value to Skyrocket is better implemented elsewhere at this juncture of the brand’s trajectory.

What do YOU think?

14 Comments

  1. avatar
    Patrick Hathaway June 18, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

    Neat post Anthony, nice transparency from Skyrocket too. I remember the first time you tweeted me from the Skyrocket account, and I was like ‘Erm, is that you Anthony?’

    I have recently found myself ignoring brand accounts more and more on Twitter, and following way less of them. I figure it is the people behind the companies that I am actually interested in, so why not just follow them instead?

    I guess I kind of feel that brand accounts work only if there isn’t active and engaging personalities behind the company, as it can become a medium through which you can contact the brand. But in most cases they are nothing more than a glorified RSS-newsfeed (hence the RTs…?)

    • avatar
      James Agate June 18, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

      Good point here Patrick about the RTs… some brand accounts have a use as a RSS feed i.e. Sky News or Investing.com but in a B2B space like ours where we’re not reporting on the news as such I definitely think there is less reason to pay attention to the SR twitter account…

  2. avatar
    Joel June 18, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

    Interesting breakdown, Anthony – but don’t forget the intangibles.

    James, as a “face” of the company, was quite literally a mystery for some time (cartoon avatar and all). That you would be such a visible, active member of the community with such a warm personality curated goodwill for the brand – I’m POSITIVE of that. People will be more at ease hiring you guys out as you have shown your stripes in video and blogs.

    That’s the challenge though – your personality is bigger than SR’s. Where companies like SEER have Reynolds, who towers over and defines the brand below (RCS? Synonymous now..), SR has a less consistent tone. We know you’re great at something – many things! But what does the brand sound like? Care about? Do on the weekends? You get the idea.

    We’d rather tune into you or James because you are the brilliant folks behind the brand. I follow Wil, I don’t care about the SEER handle because I know Wil will share the best stuff.

    I think you’ve done well do far; I think that there are some ways you could always be improving (James, get this guy some better filming equipment!) but it is self aware posts like this that prove your real worth: you’re writing ways nobody else is.

    • avatar
      James Agate June 18, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

      Ha thanks for your comment Joel and new recording equipment is definitely on my shopping list following Anthony’s R2D2 quality recording from his NYTimes video yesterday :-)

      Agreed that ours branding is a little less consistent, I would love to say that is deliberate but in reality it is me/us finding our feet with the branding thing. We do well as a business and have a lot of loyal clients plus a number of supporters who actively recommend us and have helped to propel us forward to where we sit today.

      Discovering what makes our brand really tick is ultimately I guess what we need to determine to kick things to the next next level! Something that Anthony is helping us do with his constant interrogation (helpful questioning) of my motives/motivations/plans/beliefs/hopes/fears etc…

      Who knows maybe we’ll revive the Twitter handle at some point in the future if we are proven wrong but for now it felt like it was energy that wasn’t being pushed in the right direction…

      James

      • avatar
        Joel June 18, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

        James – all wise words I think.

        Skyrocket’s website is the #1 resource I wind up recommending to people because there’s so much quality there and critical thought. I think you’re making good moves as far as branding goes – and I think it’s going to pay off in a big way down the line. Anthony was a great pick up.

        And I’m so glad you said “R2D2″ – I watched the whole thing, but holy hell did it hurt.

  3. avatar
    Gisele Navarro Mendez June 18, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

    [the link to Linkbuilding.tv is pointing to some file on your computer. Ok, now I can move on with my comment.]

    Hey Anthony,

    I think that you’ve done a terrific job in increasing brand awareness, I don’t know about the rest of the world but in my case, you were the one who brought SkyrocketSEO to my attention. In addition to that, what you guys are doing with Linkbuilding.tv is just perfect: our community is quite strong and filled with big brains, and you’re leveraging your existing relationships for leading the conversation about key topics within our industry. And you’re cool as hell. So that’s on the positive side of things.

    The thing is… Twitter is a strange animal to domesticate. I’ve had great success at it with different clients because I’m a patient gal who is all in for the 140 characters and short conversations that may lead to nowhere. But I know it can be frustrating to see that what you’re doing doesn’t seem to be working. Personally, I wouldn’t ditch Twitter because you didn’t grow the number of followers as much as you would like, what I would do is to rethink about the reason why you’re on Twitter in the first place. Cadbury does a great job on social but you have to mention that it’s easier for them because a) chocolate, b) really delicious chocolate, and c) they are freakin’ Cadbury. I don’t want to take anything away from them because they are an example for us to follow, but not every business will get to ‘get people excited, engaged, sharing, and composing their own content’ (especially on Twitter).

    When I visit a website and read their copy or their blog posts, I get an idea of who these people are and what they have to say; after that I will visit their social media profiles and THEN I will make a decision based on how they’re doing there (what do they say? how do they say it? are they listening? are they engaging in conversations? do they have a clue of what they’re doing? do they add any real value?) I know that not everyone does that but I’ve talked to some friends and asked them about it and they all check the social media profiles of companies they’re researching, so I guess that there’s a portion of the users who will do that. Lots of people see Twitter as their go-to place to ask questions, get recommendations, complain about stuff, enter competitions, reach out to brands asking for support. It’s a matter of finding the hole where you can contribute to the conversation that it’s already in place and lead future conversations.

    Anyway, this comment is too long so I should stop right now. Play some more with Twitter, and don’t just think of ways of replicating what’s working for others, you should have more fun with it, man.

  4. avatar
    James Agate June 18, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

    Well well well

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75SEy1qu71I

    Just kidding…

    I think it takes the right kind of person to say that something isn’t working rather than going head down and blindly following what I said as if I am never wrong.

    Definitely some valuable points in here Anthony and things that perhaps other brands in this space can use with their own presences on Twitter. I’m not denying the power of social in some spaces but it just wasn’t working for us in the current format, and I think our time is better spent investing in other areas which we know deliver more value for us as a company.

    I talk with new and existing clients daily and most are familiar with us either through blog posts, guest posts, speaking or videos… no mention of, I saw that Skyrocket tweet.

    Granted these individuals probably find all that content through our own Twitter accounts but it is us they are interacting with because we are in a knowledge based industry where it is the people that matter. More so than in a consumer market where you might follow a brand handle that offers coupon codes because you couldn’t really care less about who it is at the company dishing out the 30% off coupon you just want a piece of that action.

    Probably not a great comparison as there are lots of different factors in play here and of course many consumer brands have a great personality on social media.

    But for us, you’re right Anthony Twitter just wasn’t working out. As I said to Joel, maybe we will revisit in the future but christ there would need to be a solid reason for us to do so… especially after this exit!

    Thanks for writing it up.

    James

    • avatar
      Anthony Pensabene June 19, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

      ha. at least you sent Donald…you could have just sent a random batsh*t crazy email..

      good point there with coupon codes. we were exploring the notion of a mascot. I think that would have brought more appeal, zest, and distinction to the handle perhaps, but we would have to test that.

      I believe service-oriented twitter handles are difficult to market on twitter.. like Gisele points out, Cadbury does a good job, but the product kind of lends itself to the engagement. chocolate excites people. link building…not so many, but that’s kind of an excuse. Obviously, there are ways we could keep climbing uphill and making some progress, but like we discussed, right now, is there a better way of using our resources and meeting short/longterm goals, which may not involve the Skyrocket twitter handle? yes.

  5. avatar
    David Cohen June 19, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

    Anthony, respect for publishing such a personal and revealing piece. This isn’t something most people would ever do. I feel like the odds were not in your favor in the context of using Twitter as a channel to grow or build a relatively unknown brand. In my experience, I’ve never really seen that done well, especially in the SEO industry.

    Late last year I did a gap analysis for a larger financial institution- analyzing their Twitter and FB channels against their top 3 competitors. One objective for the gap analysis was to explain to explain the strategy each of their competitors is using to engage people on their respective channels.

    Out of the 4 companies, only 1 had a clear and consistent strategy for their FB and Twitter channels, and it was all about lifestyle, specifically targeting affluent urban professionals in their early 20s to early 40s.

    This brand knew their audience so well and knew why people were ‘following’ them that everything they published on their FB and Twitter channels did 10X better than their competitors, when comparing engagement metrics like applause and amplification.

    Part of what I presented to this client was intended to get them thinking about basic channel strategy- who are you talking to, why are people ‘following’ you [time investment + perceived value], and what’s your ultimate goal for investing in channel growth?

    Thanks for this post, great piece that makes you think about strategy and goals.

    • avatar
      Anthony Pensabene June 19, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

      Thanks for reading, David. Sorry I’m just getting to this now.
      I don’t mind sharing. In addition to Twitter, I think I was able to get some other things going with videos and posts on other entities.
      I do think it’s quite difficult from a creative standpoint to penetrate through with:
      a- a ‘faceless’ brand handle
      b- a tech service-oriented handle

      as I mention to James in comments, it’s an excuse, but hey, to be real, 100 pounds is harder to lift than 50, so I’m just recognizing some other factors that may contribute to success, such as being a mascot rather than a logo or being the handle of a product, such as chocolate, rather than an intangible service.

      I’d love to see more examples of our industry doing well in using it. One of my main objectives is to get James and Skyrocket greater exposure, especially beyond the seo bubble, so I thought using video for:

      - uniqueness (not everyone is doing yet)
      - better impression (people get to see and hear James, the man behind the brand)
      - hopefully better SER placement (because of video box in SER and more property (my youtube channel and james’)

      I actually have some notes written down about a post. I’d like to address a number of SEO brands, and how I would go about x, y, z.. to show that there are more factors involved regardless of being in the same industry and offering similar or identical services.

      For example, I’m not sure it would come to this if Wil had me operating the SEER handle. I have more personalities to play with. I may have assigned a Twitter Editorial calendar for you guys.. so Wil operates on Mon, you on Tues, and so on.. I’d also suggest you all wear SEER shirts and take uniform looking poses, but you all feature your personalities rather than the logo when operating it..

      thanks again for reading and sharing, man

      • avatar
        David Cohen June 19, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

        I agree with the feeling that a de-humanized Twitter handle presents a significant challenge if the goal for that channel is to build a brand or to grow a business.

        Another client was also looking at Twitter as a way to ‘build their brand’ by using it as a way to attract and nurture people into becoming clients. It wasn’t working at all, so they wanted to know why.

        The problem was obvious- of their followers that were actually real humans, 87% of them were industry peers. And 0% of their industry peers buy their products or would ever need to buy their products. Obviously a complete misalignment between audience and channel strategy.

        Using SEOmoz as an example, their Twitter audience is made up of industry peers who are also clients. In that scenario it’s more logical to view Twitter as a potential revenue channel as well. The downside to that is overusing the channel as a way to grow new business by promoting things you’re existing followers/clients already bought the product or are tired of hearing about it.

        Personally, I don’t like viewing social as a direct revenue channel or a way to intentionally try to build a brand because nobody follows a brand on Twitter thinking, “I’m following this brand so I can buy more stuff from them”.

  6. avatar
    Giuseppe Pastore June 20, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

    Anthony, I’ve loved your self-critical approach, but I think you’re looking in the “wrong” direction. In my opinion, for SEO Twitter is an industry social and SkyRocket doesn’t need to make a name in the industry. SEOs know James (and you) and won’t probably follow the company account in any case, since following James is enough and knowing him almost eguals knowing the value (and the services) of SR, as his personal brand is quite strong. SR will remain James Agate’s company unless it becomes bigger and with a number of equally strong personal brands that make it impossible to identify the company in just one person. But also having strong personal brands isn’t something you may like, because people may leave and bring a part of the company brand with them…
    Anyway, I don’t follow any company, if I remember well. I follow people (and sometimes an employee and not the boss…).
    Most of us is on Twitter to read stuff, to share it’s own or to talk with “friends”. If needed a service I might ask James or Anthony and it would be the same.
    Maybe SR should doing branding in a different space, where possible clients are (maybe it is not Twitter)…

    However, I like you both, guys, if it counts :)

  7. avatar
    Giuseppe Pastore June 20, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

    Grrrrrr I always use the wrong email: James can you please edit my email in the previous comment? so to have a face instead of a logo gravatar :(
    thanks, G.

  8. avatar
    Mike Essex June 28, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    Thanks for including the Koozai accounts Anthony. They certainly do work well for us. Over one third of the mentions we receive of “Koozai” on the web are either our employees tweeting or people talking to them. It massively expands the reach far more than a single company account could ever do.

    Although I have to agree that we get more value out of our combined team accounts than we do from the main @koozai account, the main account is still very important. What’s nice is that our employee accounts helped us drive up the main account, presumably because people liked following the team and wanted to see the main feed. It’s all connected :)

Leave a Reply