A Nuclear Energy Twitter Case Study

ALT="Soulati Media, Hitachi, nuclear energy, Twitter"In the fall of 2015, I agreed to join my long-time colleague, Caren Kagan Evans, CEO of ECI Communications, as the Twitter professional on nuclear energy for the Nuclear Industry Summit 2016. The Twitter handle @2016NIS was brand new for this event; there wasn’t a single tweet or follower, and ECI Communications was hired, as part of an entire event strategy, to ensure that the Twitter stream was active on a daily basis and earning power up to and through the global event. Daunting, eh?

The Summit culminated April 1, 2016 with 1,656 tweets (I have no idea if this is a lot or not!). This story shares my experience as the only person permitted to tweet on behalf of #NIS16. The State Department, Nuclear Energy Institute, and influencers in the nuclear energy sector monitored the stream closely. I felt the pressure, but pummeled through and focused on the task at hand.

The Objective

Twitter was to be the pulpit for the Summit – to inform, share, educate, invite, engage, and coalesce folks under the guise of the Nuclear Industry Summit 2016.

Nuclear Energy Twitter Strategy

  • I had to immerse in the subject matter quickly and identify those who were safe to retweet with positive and neutral content.
  • I had to maintain a neutral balance without injected opinion, and was thoughtful about retweets of events oriented to nuclear energy.
  • I was to be informative and be the announcer for everything on the brand new website ECI Communications created for this specific event. It’s full of several new videos, presentations, exhibitor information, Summit agenda, awards, a Flickr account for all the Summit photography, as well as industry reports and documents.

The Tacticals

I’ve been on Twitter since 2009, I know the ins and outs of launching Twitter streams from scratch; still, this project was global with key government officials from countries around the world as well as other influencers in the sector.

I identified the influencers and slowly began to get my feet wet. Previously, I had no prior knowledge about nuclear energy; thus, I painstakingly reviewed each influencers’ Twitter stream to learn who the players were, what they were tweeting, and whether I could engage enough to get them to follow me back.

At the same time, I had to ramp up knowledge by immersing in articles written by academia, bloggers and journalists to understand a semblance of the issues. To earn confidence that I would tweet pro-nuclear content versus the negative content presented by anti-nuclear folks, I was more careful than ever before about re-tweeting. I opened every link before it was tweeted, and if it was something juicy, I shared it with my team via email. Often the stories were already known, but a few times I was able to share a story that had not surfaced yet.

The topic of nuclear energy is highly controversial. I set up two search streams for ‘nuclear energy’ and ‘energy media’ to identify news of the day. Probably 70 percent of the news in nuclear energy came consistently from Asia and Europe. There is a lot of global activity on this topic as nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear security remain hot-button issues for the entire world. In addition, there are new nations coming into the nuclear age with new plants coming online while European plants are shutting down. It is a fascinating industry, and the general populace in the U.S. is not up to snuff on the facts about nuclear energy.

I bumped into scholars, academia, students, organizations, companies, countries, journalists and bloggers, atomic/solar/wind energy experts, non-profits, governments, and utilities in the Nuclear Industry Summit stream always careful to be gracious, professional, helpful, and cautious.

The First and Last Tweets

The first tweet posted soon after the New Year, and I averaged 22 tweets per day with scheduled tweets every 30 minutes on a daily basis. I monitored the stream all day, never closing out of Hootsuite and often relegated to Twitter.com to look at the streams of my followers to ensure I was in touch with the leaders in the field.

In between the first and last tweets, the stream became the microphone for the entire Nuclear Industry Summit 2016 to amplify everything on the website as well as news releases to promote the event, and to also pitch and engage media. The tweets were helpful in earning traffic to the website; in fact, I’m going to take a guess that prior to the first news release, Twitter was responsible for 85 percent of the website traffic, and it grew daily closer and closer to the Summit.

It was always intended to live tweet at the Summit, and that’s what I did. I sat in all the sessions and used TweetChat.com to set up my ‘studio’ so the hashtag #NIS16 populated in every tweet automatically and also enabled me to track others using the hashtag, too. (If ever you’re tweeting a live event, do check out Tweet Chat.)

At the Summit Expo, I took photos with my iPhone of each exhibit booth. I posted tweets and images for all of the event’s sponsors and added more tweets and images of other exhibitors from around the world.

The final tweets included newly added materials on the website posted after the closing ceremony, as well as information to alert people to the Flickr account and videos.

Key Takeaways

The reason this Twitter strategy was a success is due to my years in social media and my time-seasoned experience (I don’t mean to blow the horn here). Twitter can be extremely tactical for many folks; in fact, Twitter is a highly strategic channel that requires a thoughtful approach to relationship building and engagement. A less-seasoned professional may not have the strategy under their belt to understand the best way to approach a stream being built from 0 to 100 mph in three months.

Prior to marketing automation, this is how we engaged on Twitter – with 1:1 conversation on a consistent basis. People shared appreciatively, and actually read content, too. Those were the basics, and today, this is not being taught.

I could have done a better job had I known more about nuclear energy going in. That was the biggest issue I had, but we were hired to showcase the event. Few people understand how beneficial it is to have subject matter expertise when you tweet; yet, specialty experts who do don’t have the social media knowledge. That’s why I vote for ‘a me’ – someone with the how-to knowledge versus the subject matter expertise. When you seek someone with the how-to, they are going to be seasoned in their craft, and the knowledge will come. (We only had three months though, so it wasn’t necessary to be an expert in nuclear energy for this project.)

The field of nuclear energy is nascent on social media. That was a challenge to earn engagement; perhaps as time goes by, the field will begin to use Twitter more profusely, especially as emerging teams and nations want to share their good news.

A Twitter stream planned to promote a global event needs credibility. It is very important to have a handful of ambassadors who can make introductions and invite others to follow and share. It is always nice to have more of that at any time given the challenges of building from ground zero.

After a short several weeks of scouring the topic and industry, I soon realized the global sector was more active than the U.S. domestic sector. I predicted we would have more international attention at the Summit and more international journalists attending the Industry Summit than U.S.-based journalists. I was right; it’s what Twitter told me!

I love Twitter for what it delivers, how it engages, how it introduces relationships and shares knowledge. The biggest key factoid I can share after this career-high experience is that behind every Twitter avatar that is a logo is a person. I was honored to be that guy for this event.

The Return of Social Media Engagement

ALT="Soulati Media, Future and Past"We’ve come full circle. We’re returning to social media engagement. As I daily peruse the social media sphere and the lists of bloggers who still write daily, good for you, I am conscious of one thing in this chaos of disruption.

Human engagement with connectivity remains the number one most important metric of social media.

Says Social Media Explorer today (exact quotes) by Peter Friedman: [Read more…]

10 Steps Using Social Media For Business Development

Institute of Technology and Business Development

Institute of Technology and Business Development (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We all need new business, right? Doesn’t matter if you’re a solo professional, small business of five or larger, everyone has to keep the pipeline full and the leads rolling in.

Digital marketing is absolutely the tier-one method, and I recently met an incredible expert who does it every day exceptionally well. And, the process is highly strategic requiring expertise learned over time and years of testing the methods.

Social media provides another business development methodology that everyone can do and probably does do without knowing it.

The other day, I tweeted, “If you ignore Twitter, it ignores you.” Indeed. When you fall off the ladder into the rabbit hole, it’s hard to jump out. There are a variety of reasons making that hole feel comfortable and safe and most of it has to do with being challenged and trying what’s new and different. While it’s easy to tweet and reshare everyone’s posts all day, what’s the gain besides burn out?

Let’s be more strategic and help fuel your lead generation. And, I’m not talking about inbound marketing right now; I’m talking about good old-fashioned networking.

10 Steps to Fuel Business Development

Step 1: Set Goals

There are four simple goals for using social media for business development:
1. Identify your target list
2. Elevate your personal brand
3. Ask for a meeting
4. Earn the business

Step 2: Track With a Spreadsheet or CRM System

If you’re on a budget and can’t afford a CRM system, then use your QuickBooks or Excel to track lead generation and prospecting. If you’re really on a budget, then perhaps index cards?

Step 3: Develop a Tier-One Target List

Everyone has a wish list of a company with which they’d like to work. Put your list of five or so together. Maybe you select a few out of each category that are different sizes.

For sales teams, this works, too. Select the company with which you most want to do business and get that target list active on a CRM system (but then I don’t need to inform sales how to prospect, right?).

Step 4: Who is the buyer of your services or product?

During the time I was in HubSpot school (I made a major investment in this platform to learn inbound marketing from the big guns), the words “buyer persona” appeared on my radar.

I had to think about the audience most likely to purchase my services and describe them – age, gender, expertise, values they appreciate, and more.

From the list in step one, select the title/role of the person most likely to buy your services or products. Get that title/role into your tracking system.

Step 5: Audit The Company

Here’s where social media comes to play. Using your tiered target list, begin exploring social media activity by the company. Record on your tracking system/CRM each of the channels and which is more powerful for shares and content.

LinkedIn (example). Does the company have a company page? How about a group? Who are the folks who work there? Can you find the title of the person most likely to buy from you? Better yet, take a look at your network; who in your network knows someone at that company to send an introduction on your behalf?

Step 6: Social Sharing

  • Google+. Similar to LinkedIn, check out the business page for your target company on Google+. Perhaps you’ll also find the folks who work there and you can do a search. (Not to mention, you can also do a name search on Google itself, of course!) Begin to +1 posts on Google+ by the company and also reshare it if you think it’s worthy.
  • Twitter. Companies tweet, obviously. Star the company into your Faves List and begin retweeting posts you like from that company. Pay attention to who’s tweeting; it may be an agency and there may also be initials on the posts indicating someone on a team.
  • Blog. Here’s where you can really influence and elevate your identity and brand. Visit the company blog frequently; in fact, subscribe and never miss a post. Read for a week or two (depending on the frequency of blog posts) and get a feel for the topics the company is writing on. All the while, you’re preparing to comment on the blog while resharing it on social media channels.While the blogger for the company may not be on your target list, you can still use the fact that you commented and shared that company’s blog post in your eventual pitch.
  • Your Blog. If you really want to make an impact and impression, invite the person you’re targeting to do a Q&A with you, write a guest post or to link. You can also follow them on the Interwebz; but, do not be a stalker! Use discretion and caution, please!

Step 7: Engage and Build Relationship

We who have been on social media longer than five years know how to build relationships with total strangers. It’s what the channels were built on. Today, that ‘raderie is next to nil; yet, people appreciate genuine authenticity with real professionals and people.

Use that concept to build upon the relationship you started. Of course, your goal is to get a meeting and perhaps earn some new business; however, there should be a common interest you can draw upon to build a true and solid foundation.

Step 8: Ask for a Meeting

If you’ve done a great job making small talk, sharing content and following your target list, then it’s time to ask for a meeting. Make it casual under the guise of networking because that’s what it is. No one wants a hard sell, and the recipient of your attention is smart enough to know a sales shakedown when it happens!

Essentially, be you and be real.

Step 9. Stay in Touch

If the meeting doesn’t product the result you wanted, do not fret. Sales pipelines sometimes take months to fill and business also takes time to close. If you drop off the radar, what happens when your prospect wants to find your name and number and can’t because you fell back into the comfy rabbit hole?

Step 10. Smile and Show Me Some Personality

I needed a step 10 to round this out, and maybe it’s the most important step in the bunch. Think about when you get a cold pitch; how’s your demeanor on the phone? Abrupt and impatient, right? Now think about paving the way to a prospect with smiles, laughs, personality, kudos and more. How do you think that person will feel about you with all that in front of the ask? Selling with heart couldn’t be more important, and think of it this way – if you get a “no thank you,” then move on to the next one and pretty soon it’s like riding a bike.

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Savvier Social Media Across The Marketing Blend

Soulati-Media-logo.jpgToday, I write from lovely Louisville, Kentucky on site at the IABC Louisville and the Louisville Digital Association conference.

As an invited speaker, the last four weeks have been nothing but thought about the toughest topic Jason Falls could’ve assigned — how social media integrates across the marketing disciplines.

Woah.

What would you say to that?

Exactly.

Everything I’ve read and each social media experience I’ve had have contributed to the content of the deck I present today, called “Savvier Social Media Across The Marketing Blend.”

It is premature to direct you to SlideShare today, as this post was written and scheduled yesterday. I will, however, upload my deck tomorrow for those who couldn’t attend.

I’ll also give you a sneak peak of what’s inside today’s presentation, if you’re reading this in advance!

Companies on Tap

I share examples of the natural connectivity of social media and how professional bloggers can build relationships with global start ups.

Tools for listening are important; can you spot the creative slide featuring this company? I just may be the first person to insert an advertisement in a presentation deck!

J. Crew provides an amazing look at savvier social media and forms the crux for my in-depth example and case study.

My special thanks to Fashionbi for analytics content to make this deck #RockHot!

Microsoft, The Weather Co., and General Electric are thrown in as examples of companies using big data, social media and organizational development to find their way.

The key takeaways?

  • Look internally.
  • Put every marketing department on the same path from the same start point.
  • Nurture internally so everyone can grow.
  • Don’t isolate product marketing or frontline sales.
  • Focus on social media to feed every marketing discipline.
  • Find your brand’s DNA, to quote General Electric, and get passionate.

There will be more to come from today’s presentation.

I wanted to give you just a hint of what’s been keeping my head down and stress levels high.

 

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Context Marketing Is Newest Social Media Buzz

light-bulb.jpgWhen you put a noun in front of “marketing,” you get a new trend, #RockHot topic and buzzword. I’ve said that in a blog post or two. It was bound to happen sooner or later – content marketing is being dethroned. Instead of content, insert “consumer.”

Consumer is king and content is queen.

We bloggers and content marketers are the royal subjects to none other than the king. In this case, that’s the consumer, our community, our followers, engagers, lurkers, subscribers, and readers.

It is our inherent duty to deliver relevant and remarkable content our king can use. When a consumer shares and comments on the content you create, then you’ve done your duty. You can remain in the monarchy.

I bet you’ve gotten bored with the “content is king” mantra, too. So, it was no surprise that “context” has become the latest trend on the ‘sphere.

What Is Context Marketing?

I am a HubSpot user; aiming for that digital marketing certificate to put a label on my educational investment this year. When you do inbound marketing, you first must know your buyer persona. Who is most likely to purchase your services or product? What are the demographics around them?

With that knowledge, you begin to feed appropriate content that matters to your prospects. Give them what they need at their doorstep.
• Use RSS feeds to deliver relevant blog posts.
• Build your email marketing list and develop solid content in newsletters.
• Engage at a higher level with even higher level professional content.
• Become the authority for your audience with remarkability.

You’re likely already doing context marketing. Now, you just need to be aware of its cognitive definition.

Give consumers what they need, in the best place at the right time.