A Tale of Two John Lewises

This week UK store John Lewis launched their Christmas TV ad dubbed “the Bear and the Hare”. As so often happens this sparked a deluge of activity on social platform Twitter.

Now, one can be forgiven for assuming that the John Lewis Twitter handle is @johnlewis. It is not. It is @johnlewisretail; @johnlewis is actually an American from Virginia called, yes you guessed it, John Lewis.

So poor @johnlewis has been receiving a myriad messages regarding this ad; Of note however is the poise with which John Lewis is sending tweets to him on to @johnlewisretail.

John Lewis Plc has taken note and will soon be sending a gift to Mr. John Lewis for his patience and help.

John-Lewis_ johnlewisretail_ on_Twitter

8 Simple Rules To Grow Your Twitter Following

I’ve been tweeting for a few years now and these are the 8 most simple rules I use to grow my Twitter following:

1. Focus the mass of your tweets to two or three topics, ideally:

  1. Topics you are passionate about – finding things to say about something you are passionate about is easier than for a topic you have little interest in;
  2. Topics you are knowledgeable about – much like #1 above it becomes easier to find something to say when you have in-depth knowledge about a subject, be it a fresh tweet or a continued discussion.

2. Be prepared to spend time constantly posting tweets & retweeting

There are times that my tweeting frequency has dipped and these periods have always resulted in a lull in new followers and sometimes a loss of followers too. If followers think you’re no longer a part of the community they’ll cut you out, just as happens in similar real-world social situations.

3. Be real – Interact with other tweeple

This is social networking after all so befriend some followers and be authentically social – this makes it more likely that their followers will begin to follow you when they see interaction between you.

4. Be prepared to tweet at odd hours

It may just happen that the bulk of your followers, or the most important of them, happen to live in a different time zone to yours e.g. the majority of my followers are American & I’m in the UK. To feed their appetite for your tweets you will need to tweet at hours that make sense to them. Scheduling tweets can be one solution to this (see #5).

5. Use a social dashboard

Social dashboards, like Hootsuite, make it very easy to manage multiple accounts, searches, lists and to schedule tweets at those odd hours in #4.

6. Set up a list of ‘evergreen’ tweets

I recently found myself quite busy and unable to tweet regularly on one of my accounts – I set up a spreadsheet and put down all the tweets I could think of that were non-timely, about 80 tweets. I then set up a schedule using Hootsuite to have two or three fresh tweets sent out every day for a month. This was useful in maintaining a flow of original material for that account and gave me a good library to fall back on if I face a similar time-crunch in the future.

7. Before retweeting, always follow the link and read the content

This doesn’t apply to those tweeple who you know always post quality material but for anyone else be sure to check the material they’ve linked to, to ensure the quality is up to par for your followers. A bonus is you can customize the tweet for your followers if you know the content.

8. Welcome new followers personally

As much as possible welcome new followers personally – I say as much as possible because when new followers start streaming in it can get difficult to keep up; However this personal attention will pay off when followers begin to cull their lists of people to follow – chances are they’ll remember you over those that didn’t welcome them.

So, these are some simple rules I try to follow with my social interactions – you’ll note that they are not specific to Twitter and can be used for any social network you’re active in.

If you have any tips I’d be happy to hear about them – drop me a comment below.

Happy socializing!

American Idol’s Twitter Hashtag Madness

Season 11 of American Idol has had the strongest Twitter presence, more than any other season. The live show contestants all have Twitter accounts (I’ve written here about the ill-thought out Twitter names) and hashtags are in strong use this year to tie themes together.

All well and good however the hashtags are being over-used, with a detriment to the marketing efforts of the American Idol social media team. Here are a few of the Twitter hashtags :


Out of all of these, and this isn’t a definitive list, the only hashtags required are #idol & #telljimmy.

#AmericanIdol is too long (13 characters) which takes a mighty chunk out of a 140 character limit, especially considering one may want their tweets to be retweeted.

#idol & #telljimmy are just right as #idol pools together everything about American Idol and #telljimmy, being a weekly segment, is ever present throughout the season.

But what are the rest of the hashtags about? Why not tie everything together with the one strong, short hashtag: #idol?

Why make viewers, and fans, remember & use hashtags that are going to have a short lifetime? Some of these only last one show e.g. #ColdplayOnIdol.

Why deprive the main hashtags a top trend ranking by using so many, short-lived hashtags?

Most viewers will be sat watching the show whilst using a pad or their cell phone to tweet – I doubt they appreciate having to type out new hashtags every week on their tiny keypads? Apps like Hootsuite save frequently used hashtags; Even more annoying that a viewer has to knock out a new hashtag and not be able to use one already saved.

Grand effort American Idol but some simple lessons need to be learnt for next year.

American Idol Twitter #Fail

This year’s American Idol, season 11 of the popular singing contest, is the first time in the show’s history that I’ve seen a really big push on using Twitter as the main social media engagement channel with each competitor’s Twitter handle being advertised heavily on screen.

But have they got this aspect of social media marketing right? Ratings suggest not; Even with the contestants’ twitter presence this season of Idol is only averaging about 10% more social activity per episode than in season 10 – considering how much social has grown in the past 12 months that’s a pretty dismal number; 10% should have been the bare minimum bump, without contestants’ own twitter presence being so heavily advertised, surely?

Aside from the fact that American Idol is late to the ‘Twitter for marketing’ party the format used for the Twitter accounts is pretty awful :

first name initial+last name+ai11 so for example Elise Testone’s handle is @atestoneai11

Now, although fans are likely to remember it after a few shows the fact is you want to make it as easy as possible from the word ‘go’! Why make the fans do mental gymnastics when all they want to do is tweet about their Idol?

To make matters worse not all the contestants Twitter handles follow this format e.g. @cavanaghai11 for Hollie Cavanagh – hello, where did the ‘h’ go?! Standardization, even the bad kind, is always necessary.

Secondly, why use only the first initial of the first name? Throughout the season the contestants are primarily addressed by their first names by Ryan Seacrest & the judges and their full names are only used when being introduced.

So why this strange format American Idol Social Media team??

Wouldn’t something like

@Idol11_phillip make more sense than @pphillipsai11;

(I didn’t have to think hard to write their first names for these handles but I’d have to do some research to recall their last names).

American Idol Twitter hashtags


#witnessmyrevival Lucozade ad fail

I’m sat in front of the TV and just saw the ad that starts with the hashtag #witnessmyrevival for the sports drink Lucozade. Trouble is, this is probably the 4th time I’ve seen the ad and I’ve had to make a conscious effort to remember the hashtag. Why? Because the hashtag only appears once, at the very beginning. By the time you’ve watched the ad and made a decision to tweet about it you have no idea what hashtag to use. Sorry Lucozade, that’s a #fail for me.

Rage Against The Machine Twitter / Facebook campaign beats X Factor winner to UK Xmas no.1

This past week saw one of the most exciting races for the coveted UK Xmas #1 slot, a race headed by Rage Against The Machine, a nineties rock/rap band, and the 2009 X-factor winner Joe McElderry.

Using the power of social networking tools Facebook and Twitter, Jon and Tracy Morter started a campaign just over a week ago to steal the #1 away from the X-factor winner. And they won!

Figures show “Killing in the name” by Rage Against The Machine at over 500,000 and Joe McElderry’s “The Climb” at just over 450,000 sales. Considering that Rage Against The Machine is little known today and that the X factor final had over 10 million phone votes cast, more than two-thirds for Joe McElderry, this is no small victory. And let’s not forget that “Killing in the name” was only available as a download.

Reasons aside about why this campaign was run, this is a great example about the power of social media marketing and what can be achieved when a message, carefully crafted, resonates with a group of people. The search term #ratm appeared a number of times this past week in Twitter’s trending top-10 list and the campaign’s facebook fan page got thousands of comments to posts, not to mention a following of almost half-a-million facebook users.

If anyone still thinks social media marketing isn’t serious business, think again.

Twitter and LinkedIn announce ‘status update’ partnership

In an announcement on Monday Twitter and LinkedIn said they are rolling out a service whereby it will be possible sync status updates between the two services. Facebook and Twitter already do this to a degree and it just makes sense that the world’s most popular micro-blogging platform and the world’s most popular professional networking platform should collaborate in this way.

Check out the announcement video from Twitter co-founder Biz Stone and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman –