17 November 2011

My Top 10 Tips for using Twitter.

I started out on Twitter in 2009, and was inspired when I read stories about coffee shops in America taking orders for more coffee on Twitter! Gosh, who wouldn't be inspired to use a medium like that, increased coffee sales was the mantra in my mind whenever I got on there to tweet. The coffee ordering didn't happen, the questions about our products didn't happen and it was only rarely that someone would think of sharing how wonderful they thought our shop was, on Twitter.

Over 2 years on and when I'm on Twitter, just some of the things I'm thinking about are connections, communications, community, information and inspiration and now, we receive orders on Twitter, we get requests to save cake, we get people asking for more information about a product that I might have mentioned, people retweeting our offers and people mentioning how much they love My Coffee Stop.

It's absolutely incredible how Twitter has helped us to grow our business and our connections, raise our profile in the local community and internationally.

We've even had the local papers follow up our tweets and found ourselves on the front page of the news!

I want to share these tips with you, so that you too can experience the positives that Twitter can bring to your business.

This is what I would tell my business contacts and friends, if they were to ask my advice on how to make the best use of Twitter for their business.


1/ Use Twitter to connect through conversation....
Twitter is great for building connections through conversations, it is not a stream of promotional messages from your company to your public. If you are promoting your company on Twitter by posting special offers constantly and not taking part in conversations and responding to other people's interesting tweets, change the way you're doing it now!

2/ Choose who to connect to...  
It's not just about connecting with your customers or potential customers. You can follow your suppliers or potential suppliers, people in the same area of business as you, people that you could perhaps cross promote with, people from different industries, people that inspire you and people all over the world.

3/ Make your timeline interesting...
What does your timeline do for people? If your timeline does something for people, like cheer them up, inspire them, give useful information, points out things of interest locally and if you contribute to conversations and you're responsive to people's comments, then this will encourage mutual connections to form.

4/ Invest time in Twitter...
Are you getting on Twitter every few days, now and then? If you think it's ok to respond in a few days, well, that's not going to crack it. Twitter is swift and it moves, it's called a timeline because it's timely and it's in realtime and that's how people expect you to respond.

Best thing to do for your business, if you seriously want to use Twitter, is to invest in a phone or pad that will notify you of your Twitter mentions or messages and use it to respond.

If you don't respond to mentions or messages on Twitter in a timely fashion, you might as well not be on there, ever!

5/ Be yourself....
When you write about personal things on Twitter, it adds colour and interest to your timeline, maybe don't get too personal, it needs to be professional too. But I find those timelines with a bit of emotion in them, are more interesting than bland tweets. If you're having a problem with something, then the Twitter community is usually very quick to rally round and help. If you've got a question, post it up there and wait for the responses to come in and don't forget to respond back.


1/ Bore Me...
Posting promotional tweets only, is boring and bland. If I'm thinking of following you and all you have are tweets about yourself, I won't be following, sorry!

2/ Ignore Me...
If I mention you, then write something back. Doesn't take much to do that. If you don't answer back and respond, what's the point on being on Twitter? Just broadcasting, with no interaction on Twitter is not the way to play the game. So remember to respond, respond, respond!

3/ Have an egg avatar...
You won't be taken seriously if you have an egg as your picture, to be frank it looks rubbish! Lots of companies post a picture of their logo but I think for Twitter, people want to connect with the personality tweeting first and then the company, so a picture of yourself could be a more effective avatar than your company logo.

4/ Forget the Biog...
Why am I going to follow you if I don't see something about you, to make a quick easy decision. Forget to fill this in and you've missed the opportunity to make a connection to like-minded people. If you love chocolate, say so. If theatre's your thing, mention it. Your biog doesn't have to be completely business centric.

5/Use the original colours for your background...
Spice up your profile page by making sure that you choose your corporate colours, or your favourite ones, or ones that just look darn good! Don't leave the Twitter background, your profile looks uncared for and un-nurtured.

Get some help with Twitter backgrounds, here.

Find out how to get more help with social media, for your business here.

Connect with me on Twitter, here. Tell me you read this blog and I'll connect back to you.

In the meantime happy tweeting! xx

10 November 2011

Google+ Pages and Profiles

Google+ Pages

Creating your own Google+ page is a piece of cake!
1st Google+ Coffee Shop page.
I believe, that we are the first British coffee shop to have a Google+ Page and it is pretty exciting to be working with the dynamic Google+ social media platform, especially as we intend to extend live hangouts, into our shop!

Just waiting for Network Rail to hack through the jungle that has grown up around the back of Enfield Chase Station and then the engineers will be coming to specially install our broadband!

Create your own business page.
Visit our business page on Google+, you'll easily be able to set up your own business page, just click on the create your own page button. Believe me, you will not need to watch a video tutorial, or read through some instructions, Google has made it all very intuitive and user-friendly.

Once you've set up your own page there's a little button on the left saying 'Get Started' and that will help you to create a Google+ badge for your website and other stuff.

Google+ Profiles

How to connect with the people you already know!

There's no official way to import your personal Facebook contacts into Google+ but there is an unofficial way! Just follow these step by step instructions, here.

Find out which of your Twitter connections are on Google+ by using Find People on Plus.

This amazing website can even help you to find people by location, job, interests and type of posts, it's very powerful and is an excellent tool for gathering your connections onto Google+ and making relevant new connections.

Getting added into other people's circles

How do you get yourself added by other people? Just by interacting, posting and being there. If you don't post, if you don't respond to notifications, if you don't publish, then your name won't get seen and your profile, will be keeping a low profile! Keeping active, posting, adding people to your circles and reacting is the best way to generate new contacts and that goes for just about any of the social media platforms, to varying degrees.

Another good way to get more people to add you to their circles, is by putting a link to your google+ profile and/or page, on your website, at the end of emails, on other social media sites and on your business card and other printed literature.

Don't forget to promote your Google+ business page by putting that as a link on your Google+ profile too.

You can create a short and easy to use link of your Google+ profile by going here.

Keep up with me on Google+ by looking at my profile and putting me in your circles and keep up with
My Coffee Stop, by putting our page into your circles.

Please feel free to put a link to your Google+ profile and/or page in the comments section of this blog and mention what circle/s you reckon people should put you in.

Happy Google plussing. xx

2 November 2011

If You're Going to Google+

If you're going to  Google+, read this first!

Facebook/Twitter Hybrid

As one of the first British people on Google+  before it opened to the public, you'd think that I'd been playing around with Google+ for a few months now but funnily enough, although I had entered my profile and cautiously invited a few other contacts, I hadn't really played around with it until just over a week ago.....


And what fun I have been having! More alive than Facebook, the responses from posters on Google+ are more proactive and you can write longer posts than Twitter, it's an effective hybrid of the two that has developed into a completely new and effective tool for connecting with people globally and locally, on a personal or business level. Not only that but you can have realtime video and audio contact with up to 10 people at once on Google+ Hangouts! Think what that could mean for your social or business life!


Google+ has only just recently opened its doors for business users to come on board, which means that if you have a business account with Google Apps, you can, without being blocked by Google+ extend the social media activity, for your company, to include the Google+ platform!

If you want to take advantage of Google+ for your business and you haven't got an account with Google Apps, I suggest you get one and go from there. You can get Google Apps free here

Please note that, if you have already created a good personal profile on Google+ and you want to build on that but you have a business that is already registered on Google Apps, it is better for you to stick with your personal profile, at the moment. You can wait until Google+ release their migration tool for this purpose, which is expected in the next few weeks.

Get These Links

Whether using Google+ for business, for personal, or for both, make sure you download these brilliant apps from the Chrome Web Store.

1/ Use Google Chrome as your browser, as you will then be able to access some powerful apps that will increase the pleasure and ease of use, of Google+. Get it here.

If you need to transfer your favourites from Internet Explorer, or Fire Fox to Chrome, then read this article.

2/ One of the most exciting and powerful features of Google+ is the ability to 'Hangout'. You really need...a camera, headphones and microphone and to try it for yourself! This is where you go to try Google Hangouts!

3/ To control what circles show up in your stream and other nifty tricks download, PLUS MINUS

4/ To add extra buttons for easier replies download, REPLIES AND MORE

5/ To stop animated images with the escape key, download GIF STOPPER

6/ To integrate Google+ with the Chrome Browser, download SURPLUS

Many thanks to the generous and very helpful Mike Downes, for these links! Might I suggest you add him to your Circles, he is extremely knowledgeable and helpful with it.

What Next?

Google+ is only fun and effective, if you actually have some people in your circles.

So how can you work on getting people into your circles and on getting yourself into other people's circles?

How can you get Twitter followers onto Google+?

How can you find people by location?

How can you create a short and easy to use link to put on the signature of your emails and elsewhere to connect with Google+?

I'll be answering these questions and more, in my next post.

 Keep googling and feel free to add me, Karen Mercer to your circles!

Also, please post questions, ideas and other suggestions, so that we can keep sharing our knowledge.

Thanks for reading. xxx