Introducing Jeff Lockwood; Branding Through Twitter.

The best thing about this blog, in some ways, is the fact I get to introduce and/ or work with some really incredible people. Like the recent introduction of Steve Parke, this new member of the Kool-Aid Krew is somebody I have a great deal of respect for, as well as consider a friend. Jeff, like myself, is a former Marketing Manager for BH Bikes and Pivot Cycles. Though Jeff is a great marketing mind and obviously great with words, he can also design and build websites/ web stores and then create the content. He’s more than just a utility player… he’s a one man team. From being a journalist, to a Marketing wanker, to being able to write html in his sleep… he’s kind of a rock star.

Lockwood

 

(Photo stolen from Facebook, via Daniel Limburg.)

Not only is he an avid cyclist, he’s also a connoisseur of the punk genre, and the occasional beer. Possibly his only flaw is the fact that he’s living my dream of living in Belgium with his family and is fully emerged in all things Belgium and cycling. The jerk.

As part of the fun, for me, I get to make the contributors write their own brief bios… forcing them to speak in 3rd person, if at all possible. With that in mind, meet Jeff Lockwod;

Jeff Lockwood was born, raised and educated in the mountains of Pennsylvania. From an early age, he started making jobs out of his hobbies. He graduated from waxing and tuning skis in grade school to becoming a ski lift attendant in high school. In college, he realized he could meet more girls as a ski instructor. Soon after college graduation, he was officially indoctrinated into the bicycle industry by taking a job with Dirt Rag magazine. With the exception of two years when he experimented with work in the general population, he’s worked in various capacities in the bike world: writer, editor, marketing director, online manager, web designer and more.  Lockwood is currently a hired gun, writing articles for various magazines and web sites, and providing marketing services and copywriting for brands within the bike industry. Jeff, his wife and their two daughters currently split their time between Antwerp, Belgium and the spare bedrooms and couches of relatives and friends in Pennsylvania.

I want to envision him in a dark room in a small belgian cottage, nice ale on his desk, wearing a sweater with leather patches on the elbows, and possibly some Descendents playing softly/ loudly in the background.

***

Jeff’s first post is an excellently written introduction to the use of Twitter in brand building. This simple set of guidelines should be read and printed out by marketing Managers/ Brand Managers at companies big and small… trust me. Give it a thorough read… I’m gonna read it a few more times and make a nice checklist to remind myself with.

Branding Through Twitter

Twitter is an extremely useful and effective tool when it comes to helping define and galvanize your brand. On its own*, Twitter allows your brand to post messages in a lightning-fast and concise manner, which makes it very easy to reach a qualified audience.

Using the “conduit” metaphor, I will explain how Twitter postings can have an impact on your brand, organization, company and products…as well as define and strengthen your message. Brief and limited examples as well as possible success metrics are listed within each Conduit in an effort to get some ideas rolling for you.

*Note: Twitter can and should be used in combination with other social media campaigns as well as on- and off-line initiatives to completely capitalize on its robust reach. For the sake of simplicity we’ll keep the focus on basic concepts for this post.

Information Conduit

At the very basic level, Twitter can be used to dispense information about your brand. Postings within the Information Conduit metaphor are “selfish” in the sense that they directly relate to, promote and come from the brand and don’t really reach from farther within than that.

Sample topics:

  • Products
  • Company news
  • Athlete/Team news, info and results
  • Photos and videos

Success Metrics: Aside from retweets, passive information such as this is difficult to quantify. However the branding impressions and informational nature are important.

Promotion Conduit

Very closely related to the Information Conduit metaphor is the Promotion Conduit. The key difference between the two is that postings within the Promotion Conduit do the hard sell rather than passive information from the Information Conduit. Think: Liberal use of “calls to action.”

Sample topics:

  • Product push
  • Special sales
  • Special promotions
  • Special events
  • Explain how a product can be of benefit to a consumer, etc.

Success Metrics:

  • Directly correlated increased sales
  • Retweets
  • @Mentions

Support Conduit

Twitter offers the general public a very direct, very public conduit to air grievances, ask questions and raise issues with your products and brand. Twitter as a Support Conduit allows your brand a two-way channel to support and resolve issues with customers.

Examples:

  • Passively offer followers opportunity to express feelings and experiences with products.
  • Promptly respond to posts describing problems or complaints to solve their problems.
  • Publicly display and promote resolutions to customer concerns. (when applicable)
  • Gain user/customer product use details to advance product development and customer service education.

Success Metrics:

  • Increased posting of queries for help
  • Public thanks or praise of brand

Engagement Conduit

In an effort the give people the opportunity to claim any sort of connection with the your brand, Twitter can be used to interact with people. Thus, people will have a higher degree of identity with the brand, as well as a personal and tangible connection.

Examples:

  • Ask questions of followers.
  • When @YourBrand is mentioned, comment on it. (when applicable)
  • Provide a certain level of commentary on discussions.
  • Create and participate in organic conversations on any variety of topics.
  • Coordinate with other social, online and offline initiatives to increase visibility and engagement across channels. (when applicable)

Success Metrics:

  • Follower number, retweet rate and @mentions are increasing.
  • You’re engaging in ongoing conversation with followers.

Inspiration Conduit

Through creative posting, Twitter can be used to inspire people to want to ride more, be active and trust your brand as a wise and experienced voice in cycling.

Examples:

  • Quotes on/about cycling, strength, determination, etc.
  • Stories and images of winning in or around cycling.
  • Educate customers and potential customers on how your products, company or brand can inspire confidence in performance, reliability and more.
  • Retweets of articles and postings about fitness, mechanical and nutritional tips.

Success Metrics:

  • Follower number, retweet rate and @mentions are increasing.

Entertainment Conduit

It doesn’t have to be all business…or at least appear as all business. People come to Twitter to gather information and to take a quick break from work, studying, training, etc. Lighten things up and keep it interesting.

The best bet to entertain your audience is to offer some light commentary, interesting news and wise use of wit. Keep it light, keep it honest and don’t offend. Audiences will appreciate this more informal voice of your brand.

Success Metrics:

  • Follower number, retweet rate and @mentions are increasing.

Don’t Clog the Conduit

It’s easy to get carried away with Twitter by posting too much too often. Over-posting on Twitter will result in your message and brand becoming diluted. Worse is the fact that your postings will start to annoy followers if they see too much information coming through. Exercise some moderation when it comes to posting frequency.

Success Metrics:

  • Follower number, retweet rate and @mentions are NOT decreasing.

To Whom are You Aiming the Conduit?

We’ll assume you know your audience and how to speak to them. Don’t forget that. In addition to those people, here’s who else is listening:

  • Customers
  • Potential customers
  • Fans
  • Media
  • Other divisions within your organization
  • Your boss
  • Partnering companies/organizations/brands
  • Employees
  • Retailers
  • Distributors
  • Other brand champions
  • Competing brands/organizations/companies

Jeff Lockwood

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