5 Steps to Twitter
An Interview with Social Media Expert Ron Capps
Brought to you by Rob Richards and Robin Araoz Palmer
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Ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to another edition of “Just the Facts”. I am
your host Rob Richards “Good Morning”. Wherever you may be listening I am
excited that you’re here, and I am excited to be bringing you a wonderful show
We’ll be featuring our speaker Ron Capps also known as the “niche” or perhaps
“nitch” professor. We’re gonna talk to Ron about that big big question in just a
couple of minutes.
And today Ron is going to be talking to us about a specific “Social Networking”
site that is making news all around the world and not just through internet
marketing but in all areas of life.
Most of you are probably fairly familiar with social networking and the movement
towards social networking sites on the World Wide Web. MySpace is probably
one of the biggest known social network sites and does still hold the title of being
Yet the growth of MySpace is certainly closing and slowing down quite a bit.
News sources report that MySpace has only grown about 1% since September
Many of you might also be familiar with Facebook. Again, most news sources
would report that Facebook is the fourth most trafficked website in the world.
Lots of fun stuff going on there.
But today were gonna be talking about a third social networking site called
Twitter. The name may be kind of funny. Twitter is extremely popular here in
the United States as well as abroad. CNN news just on October 22nd just about
a week or so ago reported that of the ten fastest growing social networking sites
for September 2008.
Again, this is according to CNN news and Neilson online Twitter is at the number
one spot. Growing at an incredible pace, 343% increase year over year. So
that’s a big big increase, and again we have a wonderful guest to share with you
today Dr. Ron Capps also known as the “nich” or “niche” professor and Ron I do
need you to answer that for me right away so I’ll know whether to refer to you a
“niche” as the Brits might like to say it or nich” as many people here in the states
like to say.
You are a professor. Ron I appreciate you joining us this morning and welcome
to “Just the Facts”. Hello Ron, are you there? Good morning Ron, are you
joining us yet this morning? We’ll try that one more time. Hello Ron.
Professor Ron: Hello
Rob: Hey, there you are. Good morning Ron. Thanks for joining us here on
“Just the Facts”. Did you hear my little lead by the way?
Professor Ron: I did, but apparently you couldn’t here my response, so here we
are and for our British and Canadian friends we will go with it’s the “Niche Prof”.
For all of us Gringos down south of the border in America, we’ll call it the “Nich
Rob: Very good, well we’ll go ahead and appease both sides of the question and
I’ll try to do my best to stick to “niche” or niche” just whatever happens to come
out of my mouth I guess.
Thanks again for joining us today Ron, and I do want to begin with just a couple
of minutes from you, telling us about your own involvement in internet marketing,
and specifically social networking. What makes you the professor Ron? What
makes you the expert?
Professor Ron: Well, I come by the professor with the credentialing Doctorate
in Communication. I also teach at a University. I’ve been online with BBS’s and
so forth back in the days of Archie & Veronica. Which is nothing to be confused
with the comic book, and I’ve had web sites since 1994 when the graphical
browser came into being.
I originally was in “niche” marketing. In particular Jazz and so forth back when
we didn’t have the word “niche” or “nich”, we just said What do you enjoy”? What
are you good at? What can you share with other people? And that’s how that
began back in ‘94. I’ve been active in social media platforms since early in 2006.
Recently a lot of people have been telling other people about my work in that
I’ve been speaking at conferences in that area, and developing a bit of a
following and reputation in social media marketing and social media platforms.
So, essentially that’s my background. A professor of communication who has
taken it online.
Rob: Wonderful, well for our listeners today who are interested in the internet
marketing scene the “niche’ area is certainly an area that needs to have more
focus placed upon it.
Because as you well know Ron, there are a plethora, there is plethora of
consumers out there who have nothing to do, absolutely nothing to do with the
internet marketing scene. But are just out there buying products left and right
using the power of the internet, and as internet marketers understand the power
of the “niche” market, they can get in and grab a piece of that pie. Is that
Professor Ron: That’s definitely true Rob. But more importantly is the internet
involves your online and offline businesses are going to kind of blur together and
the old typical brick and mortar business is having to come online to protect the
marketplace, to monitor their reputation in their area, and to reach out and
develop a cost efficient way to generate clientele. So, were seeing increasingly
a blending and a merger of the two over the last several years.
Rob: Very good, and certainly because of the movement toward the social
media or social networking sites and were gonna be talking about today. But
before we get there I did want to mention also Ron that you do have a site at
www.nicheprof.com that’s n i c h e p r o f .com that our listeners can go to and
get more information about you and some of the services that you provide.
Hey Ron, one of the things that we really want to focus our attention on this
morning is this social media site known as Twitter. Tell me, in fact let’s begin at
the very beginning with Twitter if we could, and speak to me as if I have never
heard of Twitter and just work me up from the basics.
Can you kind of explain in layman’s terms a real simple version for us what
Twitter is just to start with.
Professor Ron: Sure, technically, Twitter is a what they call a micro blog.
Which means it’s a very short message as opposed to a full article or full
message that someone might normally put on a blog at wordpress.com or
If you want to go back and think about the socialization of the culture, whenever
you go into a new town and you’re looking for a new restaurant or something,
you might ask a local that’s lived there for a while, “where’s a good place to find
Italian food?” And they might tell you very quickly go down and try out Romano’s.
Well that is offline what Twitter originally started at online as a way for people to
let people know what’s going on in their lives.
If they were traveling, “does anyone have a suggestion for a restaurant for us to
go to in Chicago?” Does anyone have a solution for a particular problem? And
the messages were kept very short, 140 characters or less, and initially a lot of
people looked at it and said well, where can I really use this? I mean this looks
like a waste of time.
I’m going on and someone’s talking about what their reading, someone’s talking
about hey just took their kids to school and I don’t care about that stuff. You
know, and what happened is over time, people began to migrate to it and they
began to find other uses for it.
And now for example if I’m traveling to a conference or something, I may make a
post about that, if I’m in an airport and I’m going to be there for a couple of hours
I may make a post about that and someone may actually stop by and we’ll talk
about things we’re doing online.
So it’s become a very practical tool. It’s also become a great way of people
being able to reach out for customer service or to get solutions to problems in a
quick manner because you’ve got a ready and willing and qualified community
there frequently that can provide you with information. I have a friend of mine
that was on this certain unnamed cable network back in the Baltimore area and
they had a service issue with they’re wireless access and their cable access at
They’d been left online on the phone for over 40 minutes not being able to talk to
anyone, they went in and they tweeted about it on twitter and then someone was
at their house in half an hour. So there is an immediacy of feedback that twitter
provides and it’s developing some very, very applicable reasons for people to
use it on an ongoing basis.
Ways to share information, this morning I shared several white papers and
reports involving social media that other people might not come across unless I
were to tell them where to go get it for free, which may help them in their
business. So there are ways to use Twitter in a very productive way, and there
are some great tools that we may talk about later that people need to be using
when they work with Twitter.
Rob: Wonderful. Well if I again am a Twitter neophyte Ron, understanding the
power of Twitter, I can see that. Just by the sheer numbers of the volume of
people that are actually using this, I can see the potential I suppose found with
Twitter. If I’m a neophyte though and I’m brand new to this, what are the basics
and what first steps should I take in order to really begin understanding and
Professor Ron: Well I think before you use Twitter or any social platform, you
have to know what your end game is in mind. “Why are you there?” “Why do
you want to be there?” Why do you want to connect with other people?” Is it just
to socialize and have friends? Or is it part of a business plan?
And if it is part of a business plan, before you ever get involved in Twitter or the
other social platforms, you need to think about how you’ re going to become
identified. How do you want to be branded?
For example, in my case it was very simple. I was already branded as “The
Niche Prof” so I merely continued that on all the social platforms I’m on. And you
want to do that to build up an identity and a critical mass. That way as you build
credibility on Twitter or wherever, you’re one in the same person and they come
to know you, like you and trust you.
Where as if you were to be something other than what you are, and maybe not
have the purest of intentions you’ll find that you may not be as successful
working with a place like Twitter.
So of you Twitters something like my grandmother might do when she was
talking to a friend over the back fence. It’s a way to share information, it’s a way
to help them solve their problems and it’s a way to be who you are. But be the
same person on all the platforms so that they come to know you and if they
come to know you like you and trust you on Twitter then they’re also going to be
able to follow you on places like MySpace, or Jaiku or FriendFeed or any of the
other plethora of social networking and media sites that are out there. So that
would be my first suggestion.
Before you just put a name up, or just say “Hey it’s me”. Come up with a name
or brand that you want to use consistently across everything. And it may in fact
be your name. In my case, I have a couple of accounts, one for the “Niche Prof”
and one for the school of social marketing that we’re opening. So that becomes
your own call and your own choice that way, but it is a critical thing before you
ever post anything, so that you don’t build up friends, loose friends then try to
redo it again.
Rob: Right. Wonderful recommendation there on keeping in mind that
everything having to do with business is really all about people, and once we
make ourselves known and available to other people we need to be transparent
before them and establish that brand.
That was a very important comment as well. So once we’ve kind of planned
things out, once we have an end product in mind as far as using Twitter or any
other social media or networking sites, specifically for Twitter though, what do we
need to do logistically in order to begin Tweeting I think you referred to it as?
Professor Ron: Well what I would recommend they do Rob is they find
particular people they already know, maybe that they are already friends with or
that they respect or even more importantly someone they would like to know and
have been trying to get to know for the last year or two but can’t seem to get past
the gatekeeper known as the executive assistant or administrative assistant and
see if that person’s got a Twitter account.
And if so, make a request to follow them, and in some cases they will follow you
back and in other cases you will at least be able to monitor what they are posting
to find out more about them, the things that they are involved in and the things
that they find interesting.
And as you gradually add followers and friends to your account you’ll find that
people will begin to see you out there, they’ll see the comments you’re posting
on other people’s threads and they may in turn request to follow you. So that
would be the first step. Find people you already know or you would like to know
and reach out and start following them.
Rob: Now Ron, when you use this phrase follow I know you understand that,
give our listeners though a brief synopsis of what that’s all about when you follow
Professor Ron: Ok, what you would do is for example if someone were to come
into my Twitter account at twitter.com/nicheprof they would see a numerical
count of the number of people that I am reading their threads, their messages,
their postings, those are the people I’, “following”. They would also see a
number count of the number of people that are following me. In other words,
they are basically like a newsletter or newspaper subscription.
They are saying they want to know what I say about certain things whenever it’s
put up and so it automatically streams into their Twitter page or Twitter feed so
that, let’s say for example if you’re following five people, you would receive all
comments those five people posted publically.
And they may not be addressed to you, they may be about things in general,
they may be about the election, they may be about a new product, it may be
about what’s going on in their lives, but you begin to get to know them as a real
person and then gradually you expand the number of people you’re following to
find other people that have like interests.
For example, Ron Hudson recently posted the “50 Most Influential Men” and “50
Most Influential Women” in social media and so I made it a point if I was not
already connected with them or following them to go into his list and begin
following anyone that was listed there that I was not already connected to.
Because I want to know what their doing in the world of social media and social
marketing and that’s a good, quick, easy way to do it. So as they post things, it
comes into my account and I’m able to read it. Does that make sense?
Rob: Yea. It sure does. That’s a great explanation of that whole idea of
following. Now if I understand this correctly then the people who are following
me are going to be getting a glimpse at all of the posts that I make to any
So I can see the ramifications from that in that you’re gonna have these people
following you, basically reading your comments and getting to know you better.
So how can I go about then growing my following? What’s the best way for me
to say grow the list of people who are interested in what I have to say or share?
Professor Ron: Well a lot of people like to see that you’re interested in them
because they are their own favorite subject. So I would suggest that you go on
in to my Twitter profile or your own Twitter profile in your case Rob, that the
listeners go to they look at the people that we are presently following because
that should give some indication that we find merit in what those people are
And then my suggestion would be that if your listener wants to, they begin to
pattern following some of those same people. Not necessarily all of them, but
look through and pick and choose the ones you find might most closely line up
with your interests and the things you want to do. I suggest people do the same
thing whenever their working with any social platform.
Be it MySpace, Facebook or whatever, but certainly with Twitter. But the caveat
is don’t get carried away. If you see that I’m following 635 people don’t go in
automatically and start to click on all 635 because you’ll find yourself in hot
water, potentially with Twitter for doing that. You would be what they call a
You’re not really giving anything back to the community, you’re just siphoning
things off. Think of it as a barnacle on a ship hull. So you want to try to find a
balance between the number of people that you’re following and the number of
people that follow you. Now you’ll find the number of people that follow you may
actually go up just because you’re following them.
For example some people set their twitter profile so they will automatically follow
you if you begin following them. Now not everyone does it that way. But you’ll
see that your follower count goes up as your following count goes up. Does that
Rob: Yea, that sure does. That sure does. So let’s say now that I’ve signed up
That I’ve gone through the basics to establish my account, I’ve established my
purpose in establishing my Twitter presence kind of having an end view of what
it’s all about and I’ve begun following others and fancy that, others have begun
following me, how can I as an internet marketer then Ron, best use Twitter to
meet my bottom line needs? How can I help it to sell products, or to promote
Professor Ron: Well, I’m a little different than some other people out here in
that I believe that the selling of product directly via Twitter is a by-product. It’s an
incidental, no pun intended on my products. Twitter is a place that people are
gonna come to know you, like you and trust you.
Once they know you, like you, and trust you they will begin to seek your advice,
and at that point you’re beginning to earn the ability to recommend products and
so forth and maybe occasionally to imbed an affiliate link or to a particular page
or product for them. Where I see some people falling famously on their face and
then complaining it doesn’t work is they view Twitter as a place just to post
affiliate links and to try to move product.
And if so, they are there for the wrong reason and they won’t be there for the
long term. So I don’t recommend that more than a very small percent of your
posts be a direct recommendation of a product that you stand to make financial
gain from because people will tend to view that more negatively and kind of hype
and not really of that much value to the community as a whole.
Rob: What you’re sharing I think right now Ron is very similar to what many
people would say about building their own email list as well. The person who
just simply pounds their list multiple times even during one day with products to
buy and affiliate links to click on is going to ultimately be making fewer sales than
the person who takes the time, establishes relationships with the people on their
lists, providing them with helps and encouragement and aids, tools and many
other things that can help them in their business always looking to give instead of
just take, take, take. Right?
Professor Ron: Right, I mean, you’ve gotta remember this is a social network
so you’ve gotta socialize. It isn’t a pound them over the face, beat them over the
head and make them buy this network. They get enough of that everyday.
That’s not saying that you can’t recommend a product and it’s not saying
occasionally you can’t market a product.
My friend Willie Crawford sometimes will be very effective at promoting a
particular affiliate product or something. Usually, related to something that
people on Twitter are interested in. Such as a product related to Twitter or
another social media platform. But Willie doesn’t hit them over the head with
that everyday. I’ve done the same thing. Occasionally I will talk about a free
report or something going on.
For example when I did my 61st birthday, I put a post there and yes they could go
buy products there if they want, but they didn’t have to. Likewise recently I
presented a presentation at a conference and it was extremely well received so I
managed to stream the conference on BlogTalkRadio by the way live and do a
recording of it and I made a copy of the recording available as well as a copy of
my PowerPoint for free to anyone who was interested in social marketing. And if
the listeners of that would like to obtain it for free you’ve already given
nicheprof.com and it would be just /school, s c h o o l.
The only cost involved is you have to give a name and an email address so I
know where you can download the file and just download it and learn from it and
that’s being sociable. There is no money involved.
Rob: Great. Well I think the fact, the bottom line of keeping the social network
focused on the social aspect is a great encouragement or recommendation as
well. And one of the things that we often use as we build relationships with
others Ron is the ability to joint venture.
Basically to share one another’s influence with others whether we’re promoting
our own product or perhaps somebody else’s. How might a person Ron use
Twitter in order to gain some nice joint venture partners?
Professor Ron: Well one of the ways they can do it is by the potential JV
partners becoming familiar with you. The second way is by using some of the
other tools that are out there such as TwitWall which is a new tool. As a way to
connect with Twitters.
And by using a tool like TwitWall you are able to embed it with videos, you’re
able to embed it with in your case you could take your BlogTalkRadio shows and
put the widget down in the TwitWall and you could Twitter a blog post as well as
links to whatever and a copy of the BlogTalkRadio broadcast right there.
It would then in turn make a link as a post automatically to your Twitter account
so that people on Twitter could go listen to your show or obtain information about
a product you were talking about. And then you take the link from your TwitWall
and then you also use it with other services like Ping.fm and you share it with
another 20 or 30 different sites.
And as other marketers and potential JV partners see you effectively using these
things you’re going to become someone that they’re going to want to have in
their stable of people that might promote their products because you’ve
demonstrated that you know how to use social media platforms in a positive and
constructive way and they may stand to gain by sales of their products by you
Rob: I see. Great encouragement there as well. Hey Ron you mentioned one
thing about linking and the importance of linking to or the ability I guess to link.
You know I was on my AWeber account recently which is you know one of the
biggest autoresponder companies in the world, and I say on their that AWeber
now offers a service to for lack of a better word, link emails that I send to people
on my list to my Tweets. Do you know anything about that?
Professor Ron: Sure. First of all, a caveat, a warning. If you’re the type of
person that likes to use tokens to personalize your emails and your subject lines,
be very careful because if you use the Twitter feed via AWeber, and I do use it,
and you use a token to personalize the subject line it’s going to come out with
First Name blank whatever.
And that’s not going to be viewed very professionally. So take caveat, warning
on that. Realize whatever your subject line is becomes the link in Twitter to take
them to read your email. Another thing that a lot of people miss when they’re
using AWeber not only with Twitter but in general is the ability to create and
archive on RSS feeds.
Now a lot of people know about verified opt-ins and double opt-in lists and how
AWeber prefers that although if you’re establishing a new account under your
existing account or a new channel you can make it non-verified. A lot of people
don’t realize that but you can.
But they do make an RSS feed available for anything you post via AWeber. And
I always use that feed and then I use something like NetVibes.com which is a
starter page and I’m able to take my RSS feeds and to put in into NetVibes and
so in essence every email I’ve ever posted via AWeber is archived and available
for people offline to read on NetVibes even though they are not part of a verified
So it’s a way of reaching out to a much broader community or as my friend Deb
Micek would say “Tribe” to connect with other people and not have them even
opt-in to a particular list. It’s a way to get around that for one of a better term.
Rob: Well that’s a neat option and a neat opportunity to again I guess ultimately
spread one’s influence across the world. This is really great. You know Ron,
we’ve been talking a lot about the positives here and it does sound like there is a
huge number of positives, again just some great potentials here as far as using
Twitter but can you tell me from your perspective after having used this platform
for several years now, what are some negatives about this?
What are some that, you’ve given us some sound warnings to remember but
what are some of the things that the Twitter user might really need to be weary
Professor Ron: I would recommend that you don’t get caught up in a lot of chit
chat, because if someone comes in to find out if you’re worthy of following and if
all they see is small talk with nothing really of meat or substance and nothing
really there helping others, the tendency will be to not follow you because you
will be viewed as someone that just you know you don’t really fit into their plan,
either socially or professionally.
I would suggest that you become very familiar with a tool that used to be called
Summize. And I still will frequently use that link to get there via re-direct. It’s
www.summize.com and what that will do is that will allow you to go in and
monitor anything that is being said about you or about your topic area or by
name or by brand.
And frequently you will find that you’re able to monitor your reputation because
people may be talking about you without including you in the conversation. And
they may, and frequently they are saying very good things. But sometimes you
may have someone that maybe is disgruntled and their using this as a way of
getting back at someone.
This has been very true, sometimes it’s vengeance is mine saith the spurned
dater. So you need to know what people are out there saying and monitor your
reputation. Recently I came across a conversation between two people I happen
to know offline where they were talking about myself and my friend Simon
And they were very favorable things about us but they were also saying that a
particular individual was claiming responsibility for our popularity when in fact
nothing could be further from the truth. So I made it a point to contact both of
them and say guys if you want to talk by phone I’ll be happy to talk with you
based on myself and Simon with the particular person.
And so it was able to be addressed right away and we were able to nip a
potential inaccurate rumor in the butt by monitoring that way. So that is a
potential negative to Twitter is the way other people may use it.
Rob: I see. Well Ron, you’ve just given us a great boost of confidence I think,
not only myself but anyone else who might be listening to this right now. A great
boost to our confidence in how to use Twitter. And some great reminders about
its function and its purpose and ultimately Twitter is just as any social media, it’s
a place to socialize.
But for the internet marketer it’s not only that, it’s a wonderful place to establish
your brand, to establish your person, and to build relationships with people who
you can ultimately help and who they can ultimately help you. Ron, again I do
appreciate you being here with me.
We’ve run out of time for our call today but I so appreciate your wisdom and your
knowledge and your understanding of everything to do with social media and
networking specifically here today with Twitter. Again, Dr. Ron Capps, the
“Niche Prof”. You can find him at www.nicheprof.com and you can also find him
on Twitter. Ron thanks again for joining us here today. Any closing comments?
Professor Ron: No, I thank you for having me Rob. One thing for all of those
people out there interested in a thing called Page Rank with Google. You will
find that as you develop your Twitter profile it also develops the page rank and
you may be surprised at how high the page rank your individual profile with get
on Twitter verses a website.
Rob: Wonderful. Well that’s an encouragement and as any internet marketer
should be aware, page ranks is huge with Google. Thanks for that one as well
Ron. God bless you, and thanks for joining us here today. I hope you have a
wonderful day and I look forward to talking to you again.
Professor Ron: Take care Rob.
Ron: Take care Ron. Ok friends, thanks for joining us here today. I so
appreciate you joining us here for another edition of “Just the Facts”.
We just had a nice, nice discussion with Dr. Ron Capps also known as the
“Niche Professor” and Ron has given us some great encouragement and some
great truths to live by as far as Tweeter, excuse me Tweeter, did I say Tweeter,
how about Twitter goes. I guess it’s been a long day. Thanks again, we look
forward to the next edition of “Just the Facts”.
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