Geek Speak: Tanya Roberts, Twitter for Business workshops
Tanya Roberts is gearing up to show people with zero social-media experience how to use Twitter. The East Vancouver resident plans to put on series of Twitter for Business workshops with local social-media evangelist Monica Hamburg.
Born in Ontario and about to turn 27, Roberts is the founder and marketing director of Bluefinch Creative. Her firm, started in 2008, works with small businesses on their online presence and marketing strategy. Roberts is also currently employed by Wax-it Histology Services, a contract research company based on the University of British Columbia’s Point Grey campus, for which she does marketing and business development work.
Roberts and Hamburg’s first Twitter workshop, aimed at beginners, is scheduled for January 22, 2011. They also intend to offer intermediate and advanced workshops.
The Georgia Straight reached Roberts by phone during a walk in the Commercial Drive area.
How do you teach someone how to use Twitter?
That’s a very complex question. Okay, I’ll start with the basics. What I like to say is, “Engage, engage, engage,” and I can’t stress that enough. I approach Twitter like a conversation. So, think of a giant networking event. Would you walk up to someone, shake their hand, and start trying to sell them into your Amway scheme? Probably not, right? That’s not the best social etiquette.
So, you wouldn’t, in the same token, sit in a corner and talk to yourself. I like to follow the same common courtesies that you’d show someone in a normal social interaction. So, be interested, not interesting. I mean, there’s a mix of both of that obviously, needless to say. But the point is you want to be social. It’s called social media for a reason.
So, I like to follow the—I call it the three-pronged approach: the “know me, like me, pay me” model. You want to get to know people first and have them hopefully like you, and then eventually you get to the “pay me” part, which of course should be subtle. No one wants to talk to someone who’s too pitchy. But I find that people generally come to you if they need something. If they know you and like you, they’ll want to work with you, and that’s the way it’s always been.
Does every business need a Twitter account?
You know, it depends on their goals. I would like to say that everyone does need a Twitter account, but some businesses might not. Their target market might not be on Twitter. So, again, it comes down to your goals. Are you trying to build brand awareness? Are you trying to reach a target market you haven’t reached before? Again, it all comes down to goals—and having measurable goals and a solid strategy before you come in. You can be on Twitter just to be on Twitter, but again you have to have those goals and a way to measure them.
What’s one tip you might offer in one of your workshops?
Setting up Google Analytics properly and keeping an eye on that and noticing the traffic you’re driving from Twitter. I find, in general, Twitter traffic, they spend twice as long on my website versus someone from Google or another source. They’re very interested in what you have to say. That’s one small tip, without giving it all away.
How do you deal with social-media overload?
What I suggest to companies is, “If you have an hour a day, then you can get on Twitter and you can manage it.” So, if you don’t have the time, obviously there’s no point in being on there because you’re not going to be contributing. Again, make sure you have the time first.
You don’t have to be on there eight hours a day. I mean, one hour a day should be fine, as long as you’re engaging and you’re talking to people and you’ve got some activity going there. I don’t find it overwhelming. But I’ve met so many amazing people, and I guess you could say I’m addicted to it.
What’s one trend in social media that you think people should watch out for?
You know, I wish I had a crystal ball to give me an idea of all the trends. If I had that, I’d go out and buy a lottery ticket. What it comes down to is technology’s changing every single day. There’s a big push right now for location-based technology....I think there’s been a lot of push for privacy lately and safety.
What do you think of Twitter’s move toward introducing ads in people’s Twitter streams?
I have mixed feelings on that. If people are giving permission and they’ve been asked to tweet out that stuff and that’s their own decision, then sure, why not? But it kind of goes against the whole idea of Twitter as a credible source for information. So, I think it goes against that a bit. I don’t think it’s the best idea. But to be determined. It depends how they execute it.
Every Friday, Geek Speak catches up with someone in Vancouver’s technology sector, video-game industry, or social-media scene. Who should we interview next? Tell Stephen Hui on Twitter at twitter.com/stephenhui.