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Can Tweet Jukebox improve your Twitter marketing?

BlogFeatured-TweetJukeBox Do you wish it was easier to send more tweets in a day? You know that success on Twitter comes from tweeting several times a day but do you find it nigh on impossible to make time to tweet? Then there's the challenge of coming up with something new to say!

Tweet Jukebox helps overcome these problems by providing a regular supply of tweets into your Twitter stream. Once set up, it can tweet away on your behalf, effectively forever.

Twitter works best when you use it to engage with others, by retweeting, replying and initiating conversations. These are most effective when done manually. Automation of some actions, such as tweeting pre-prepared content, can have a place in your Twitter strategy. It can supplement but never replace genuine human interaction.


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How to use Tweet Jukebox

Tweet Jukebox is very easy to use. Sign up with your Twitter account and you can immediately begin building a jukebox - that is, a list of tweets from which the app will pick randomly and post on your behalf.

Each jukebox has its own schedule, where you determine how often a tweet is posted. The frequency and timing of your schedule can be refined for each day of the week.

Add the tweets, set up the schedule, turn the jukebox on and you’re done.

If you don’t want to set up your own jukebox, you can choose from a number of existing jukeboxes containing generic tweets, such as inspirational quotes.

Tweet Jukebox also allows you to set up scheduled tweets, which can repeat over specific time intervals, such as every six hours, once a week or once a year.


Limitations on using Tweet Jukebox for free

I’ve been scheduling tweets for years and when I discovered Tweet Jukebox it looked like a real time-saver, because I could set up a tweet once and then re-use it several times. And all for free!

That came to an end within a short time, as the app introduced professional (paid-for) options. Currently the free version of Tweet Jukebox lets you have two jukeboxes with a total of 300 unique tweets, plus five scheduled tweets. You’re also restricted to tweeting just five times per day.

This shouldn’t be bad news because it should mean further investment in Tweet Jukebox. I’m happy to pay to use it, because the time-savings justify the cost.

Other features of Tweet Jukebox

Is it good practice to post the same tweet more than once? Opinions vary on this. I don’t have a problem with it because each tweet is only seen by a small percentage of your followers. If you have an important message to share, don’t be afraid to tweet it out several times.

There’s a balance to be struck between making your message as visible as possible and not boring people and having them unfollow you. Or worse, mute or block you.

On each jukebox you can specify that a tweet will not be posted again until a certain number of days have passed.

Other useful features include:

  • Adding a picture to a tweet.
  • A visual schedule, giving an at-a-glance view of when your tweets will appear during the week.
  • Stats on recent mentions or retweets by other Twitter users.
  • Ability to move tweets between jukeboxes.
  • Uploading and downloading tweets (paid accounts only).
  • Seeing when a particular tweet was last posted.

I’ve not used all these features yet. End dates on scheduled tweets (paid accounts only) are handy for promotional tweets you don’t want to appear after a particular date.

What I like about Tweet Jukebox

A successful social media strategy depends, in part, on maintaining a consistent stream of high quality content. Scheduling tweets in say Hootsuite or Tweetdeck allows you to create posts in the future, but you need to keep going back to add to the schedule.

Using Tweet Jukebox means you never have to worry about the schedule running out. Get the balance right between the number of tweets and their frequency of posting and you shouldn’t bore your followers even if the jukebox runs unchanged for days or even weeks.

I find scheduled tweets useful for messages I want to share relatively often over a short period of time, such as news about training courses.

I continue to check into Twitter daily and my jukeboxes are regularly tweaked, with some tweets retired and new posts added.

Tweet Jukebox can’t provide Twitter engagement

This app might sound ideal for spammers wanting to spew out a stream of tweets. Which is why the free version is now limited to just five tweets per day.

To get results from Twitter requires more than just tweeting over and over again - it requires real engagement.

Fortunately, it’s impossible to automate genuine human interaction on Twitter - thoughtful retweets, insightful or useful replies, timely thoughts and shares. These are what make the Twitter experience truly valuable. Tweet Jukebox, like other automation apps, is a useful supplement to manual tweeting, but you'll be disappointed if you hope that it can relieve you of needing to log into Twitter more than occasionally.

Done well, automated tweets can be effective and they could have a place in your Twitter strategy. I recommend that you take a look at Tweet Jukebox to see what it could do for you.

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Did I get paid to write this app/product review? Click for the policy on endorsements.

Dorset printer tweets its way to new customers

Is it possible to build a service business entirely through social media? That’s the question I wanted to hear Kevin Swindell answer when I met him to discuss his brave new venture—Wyke Print Solutions. I first spotted Wyke Print Solutions on Twitter in 2014 and could see right away that the business was serious about finding success through social media. Through its tweets it demonstrated consistency, quality and engagement—three essential ingredients for developing a trusted presence on the network.

Soon afterwards I met Kevin at a networking event organised by Weymouth & Portland Chamber of Commerce and we ended up on the same table at the Chamber’s Christmas lunch.

I was keen to talk to Kevin about the way he had built up his business using social media and we later met over a pint at the Wyke Smugglers and spent an enjoyable hour of discussion around design, marketing and social media.


The background to Wyke Print Solutions

Like so many of us, Kevin’s self-employed career began with redundancy. His entrepreneurial abilities were already surfacing and he had wanted to experiment with social media on behalf of his employer but was held back.

Once released, he decided to merge his understanding of print, his passion for design and his desire for control. Wyke Print Solutions was the outcome—a printing company without any printers.

Kevin spotted an opportunity to utilise the spare capacity in existing print firms by selling his own design service together with the printed product. When you order from Kevin, he creates the artwork and sources the printer, meaning your product is designed, printed and delivered to your door. And he has a ‘thing’ about quality.

Kevin (left) with another satisfied customer
Kevin (left) with another satisfied customer

Which social channels does Wyke Print Solution use?

New to social media in 2013, Kevin began with Twitter and Facebook. These are still his main social networks.

Initially he linked them, so tweets appeared on Facebook and vice versa, but he soon spotted that this was far from ideal. Because each social network tends to be used differently, and presents content differently, automated sharing of messages can lead to posts that look odd or are confusing.

Kevin makes some use of LinkedIn, has established a presence for Wyke Print Solutions on Google+ and uses Pinterest as a source of inspiration rather than a marketing tool.

Winning business with a hashtag

So how about that question I had—about growing a business entirely with social media? Kevin reckons that about 80% of his business comes from his social media activities, and much of that from Twitter. And much of that is as a result of the #dorsethour hashtag.

Since he began in late 2013, Kevin has built a strong portfolio of clients both in Dorset (including me) and further afield. His international reach includes Belgium, Dubai and the USA. Interestingly, he found it easier to source a printer in Florida through LinkedIn than by using Google search.

So how does he make social media work for him? There are no secrets—you can take a look at what Kevin shares on social media and how he engages with other people. In the end it comes down to those three ingredients I mentioned before: consistency, quality and engagement.

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You can follow Wyke Print Solutions on Twitter and Facebook.

Put more pictures into your tweets

PhotographerIf you want your tweet to get noticed, add a picture. Twitter may have begun as a text-only short messaging system, but for a tweet to stand out today, it really needs the help of a strong visual. Below are the most recent three tweets in my timeline as I write this, all with pictures to catch the reader’s eye. Usefully, they’re all different examples of image use.


For me, the most effective Twitter pictures do more than catch the eye—they add depth to the message, often by providing more information.

The first tweet, from @BBCSouthToday, talks about new plans for Southsea’s South Parade Pier, and the picture of the pier model gives an immediate impression of how the pier will look.

Images overlaid with text are a popular and effective way of getting a message across. But if you do this, it’s important to make sure the text is easy to read. The second tweet from my timeline (which happens to be a promoted tweet or advert) uses an image that’s been darkened, to help the white text stand out.

You can attach up to four pictures to a tweet, creating a montage. The third tweet in my timeline, posted by @Portlandjamjar and retweeted by @NewInnBoutique, uses two photos. A montage works really well with three or four photos giving different perspectives on the same subject.

Take care when choosing your Twitter picture

Twitter displays individual photos in a letterbox format—that is, they are long and thin. Montage photos can become squares. It’s important to consider how your photo will look before posting it.

I often see tweeted images where the subject isn’t clearly visible. Often someone’s head is chopped off, or text is only partially visible, such as in the tweet below, from @high_on_glitter. I don’t want this to happen to the pictures I share.


But does it really matter? The image has done its job just by catching my eye and, in this case, I can guess the words that are missing. And if I really wanted to see all the text, I can click on the image to open it.

What do you think of a Twitter picture where the text or subject is only partially displayed? Is it good or bad?

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Twitter Direct Messages now work harder for your Dorset business

Banner: don't miss the benefit of  changes to Twitter Direct MessagesTwitter has always been a great way for organisations and their users, or customers, to communicate with one another. As of April 2015, this communication became even easier, because Twitter made some small but important changes to its private messaging system. Private messages, or tweets, are called Direct Messages (DMs). Until recently, DMs could only be sent to someone who followed you. So DMs could be a great way for two Twitter users to have a private conversation, but they had to follow one another on Twitter to do this.

The problem here was that people could not easily send private messages, DMs, to businesses. So if, say, you run a restaurant and someone wants to know whether you have a table free tomorrow night, they could send you a public tweet because that’s probably something they’re not bothered about keeping private.

But what if they want to ask the restaurant questions on subjects that they prefer to keep private, such as dietary issues. Or they want to make a comment about poor service and they don’t want to do it in public (not everyone wants to broadcast their complaints). There was no easy way for them to contact you with a private tweet. Well, now there is.


Twitter becomes a much more powerful customer service tool

Before the recent change, for a customer to send a DM to you would require you to follow them. Frankly, that’s unlikely to be the situation. How many businesses follow all their customers? How many follow all their potential customers?

The change to the way DMs work means that now customers can send you a DM without you having to follow them. This is a big step forward in using Twitter for customer service.

However, there is still one action you need to take before customers can DM you. Go into Twitter settings, to the Security and Privacy section, and tick the box that says ‘Receive Direct Messages from anyone’. If you don’t do this, the old rules still apply and only those you follow can send DMs to you.

I recommend that you turn this option on immediately, because it will improve your customer communication.

Screenshot: receive direct message option

You may be wondering why people would send messages to a business via Twitter, rather than by email or telephone. It already happens a lot and this change means we’ll see much more of it.

Other changes to the way DMs function

Another tweak to DMs is that you can choose to leave the ‘Receive DMs from anyone’ option turned off and still have a private conversation with someone you don’t follow.

You have to initiate the DM conversation and because you’ve DMed them, they are permitted to DM you back. You can continue the conversation as long as you like until you choose to ‘End Conversation’. When you do, you remove the ability of that person to continue sending you DMs.

Let’s say you run a B&B and someone wants to discuss potential reservation dates via Twitter. You have not chosen to turn on the ‘Receive DMs from anyone’ option because you don’t want just anyone to DM you, so they start the conversation with a public tweet asking if you have availability on a particular date. They follow you on Twitter, but you don’t follow them back. Screenshot of DM chatYou DM them back, initiating a private conversation. Tweets go back and forth, discussing dates and the like. Once the conversation is over, you can choose to end it, breaking their ability to DM you. Or you might leave the conversation in your Messages box for reference and allow them to send you further DMs.

Once they’ve been and gone, then you might want to end the conversation. Ending it also deletes the tweets from your Messages inbox.

Update: August 2015: In a further enhancement to Direct Messages, Twitter has now lifted the 140 character limit on these private messages. So you can now exchange longer messages with your contacts. The 140 character limit remains for public tweets.

What about Direct Message spam?

By making it possible for anyone to send you a DM, are you opening the door to DM spam? That’s a fair question, and fears of spam will prevent some businesses from accepting DMs from anyone.

It’s possible that DM spam may increase. My advice is to turn the option on and see what happens. If it attracts lots of spam, turn it off again. If DM spam becomes a real problem, I expect Twitter will introduce spam filtering, in the same way that most email systems now block out spam.

If your Dorset business, charity or other organisation wants to take maximum advantage of Twitter as a way of communicating with customers, supporters and users, you’ll welcome these changes to the way DMs work.

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