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    TradeWinds Asia: A Twitter Case Study

    About TradeWinds

    TradeWinds is an annual mission trip to multiple countries across the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.

    The goal of this 8-day conference is to help U.S. businesses establish relationships with regional and industry specific organizations in the APAC area. Companies who take part in TradeWinds Asia will

    gain knowledge on how to increase profits in the growing APAC region, network with leading industry

    and government officials, and meet one-on-one with top Asian business experts from U.S.

    Embassies and consulates from the region.

    Objective

    With a month to spare, TradeWinds Asia, was looking for new ways to spread the message about the conference and mission trips. Based upon the timeline, messaging type, target audience and desired

    results KoMarketing decided upon Twitter as the most viable messaging platform. Twitter is a great

    place to communicate a message directly with your target audience. Since the audience is opt-in, the

    community is receptive to information, notifications, sharing and interacting. Twitter is a micro-blogging platform, which allowed us to provide our targeted community anything from program

    information specific to TradeWinds Asia, to high level information on Free Trade Agreements.

    Our primary goal was not to drive traffic to the TradeWinds website but more to disseminate information and build a community of followers looking to learn more about international trade and more specifically what TradeWinds was all about. Twitter allowed KoMarketing to provide a heartbeat on Asia Pacific export in a method the follower could interact with and divulge in a way that best met the individual’s needs. Twitter is a great way to target and push messages, news and events to a specific audience in a timely fashion.

    Problem

    Though the profile had been created in the past (with roughly 11 followers), updates were few and far

    between, and the majority of the profiles following TradeWinds Asia, were inactive or had no

    engagement with the TradeWinds Asia account. This left a short amount of time to identify and

    contact profiles of note and share information regarding TradeWinds Asia mission trips.

    Solutions

    KoMarketing Associates, LLC www.komarketingassociates.com (781)209-1989

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    Several methods were employed in achieving the goals set out for the TradeWinds Asia Twitter

    account:

    Chart 1- Main solutions targeted for Twitter account management

    1. Follow - One of the most helpful techniques used to acquire followers was to simply follow them. This is the best way to let someone know you’re there. In addition, while the more followers the better, it’s also important to have the right demographic of followers. Someone

    who works in marketing will probably follow you back. If they work with a client that already

    has their hand in the industry, or is even thinking of entering into Asia, they could even pass

    along some useful information, so they would be an ideal person to connect with. We wanted to place our focus on those who plainly stated that they wanted to be immersed in the Asian

    market. We followed several kinds of profiles (preferably with a 1:1 ratio of followers and

    following) which can be seen below:

    Chart 1- Types of Profiles We Connected With

    2. Hashtag - Searching hashtags also played a pivotal role in our network build out. For example, #Chinachat is used every Friday at 12 PM EST to discuss current news and

    information (mainly from a business perspective) on China. Searching #Chinachat will show you all conversations happening on that topic which include that keyword. From this, we

    • Profiles that referenced a specialization or interest in Asia Trade

    • Student profiles of those studying international trade, economics, business, or anything else referencing international involvement

    • Profiles of reporters or writers who specialized in writing news on China, Japan, Korea, Singapore or Asia in general

    • Those who followed profiles of the above writers and reporters

    • Profiles related to other governmental establishment involved in trade such as @exportgov or @tradegov as well as the profiles of those who work for these establishments such as @UnderSecSanchez

    • Profiles relating U.S. - Asian business conferences (e.g. Symposium on Asia-U.S. Partnership Opportunities (SAUPO), Asia Business Conference)

    •  The profiles profiles of former and current attendees and partners of TradeWinds Asia

    KoMarketing Associates, LLC www.komarketingassociates.com (781)209-1989

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    could find relevant profiles that showed an interest in hot topics in China. Other hashtags we

    searched to find relevant profiles on Twitter include:

    Chart 2- Hashtags Searched to Find Relevant Profiles

    3. Lists - Twitter lists were also a key tactic in pointing us towards profiles we wanted to connect with. If a profile really stood out in terms of holding a particular focus on trade in Asia or

    business in Asia, we would then look to see if they had created any public lists populated with profiles on a specific topic we were interested in. For example, @UnderSecSanchez had a

    list entitled coreTPCC (The eight core trade promotion agencies of the U.S. government), while @RhodesNathan had a list entitled International Trade (International trade news and

    tips for international trade professionals). Following these lists directed us towards profiles we knew we would have an interest in connecting with, while providing us with valuable

    information.

    4. Content - While finding profiles to follow and having them follow you back is important in building out your network, so is sharing valuable content. Reaching out to someone by

    following them or tweeting at them is the first step in getting them to look at your profile; the

    next step is showing them you have something to offer. What we wanted to offer were

    resources and information about Trade Winds Asia or other governmental agencies related to trade, as well as news stories, articles and blog posts relating to Asia, exports, and/or trading.

    5. Frequency - Sharing your content often is another factor to be taken into consideration. While on other social networking platforms such as Facebook you run the risk of cannibalizing your own posts by frequent posting, Twitter is so fast paced that not posting

    frequently enough can prevent followers from seeing your updates. It was important to have a

    sufficient amount of content while still maintaining the integrity of those posts. In other words,

    • #China, #HongKong, #HK, #Japan, #Taiwan, #Korea, #Asia Country Based

    • #SAUPO Conference Based

    • #Chinachat, #asiabiz, #trade, #internationaltrade, #exports, #export

    Topic Based

    KoMarketing Associates, LLC www.komarketingassociates.com (781)209-1989

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    we would post as often as we could, but we would never tweet sub-par content purely for the

    sake of tweeting it.

    6. The 80/20 Rule - We followed the rule of only sharing self-promotional content 20% of the time. While the goal was to spread the word about Trade Winds Asia, appearing too

    self-promotional is a good way to drive away current and potential followers. Therefore, along with trusted news outlets provided by the Department of Commerce, we found reliable and

    valuable sources for content that could be used for tweeting relevant news stories and blogs

    on the Asian business landscape.

    7. Retweets - Retweeting also plays a pivotal role on the content sharing side of Twitter. Social

    networks are all about sharing, and many use Twitter in particular as a method of sharing

    information. We selected profiles we knew would share valuable content that our network

    would want to read. Government affiliated profiles were largely the focus because they would often offer blogs written by officials, statistical information, and more importantly, they were

    credible sources. When retweeting, you are affiliating yourself with that profile and essentially

    putting yourself in their good company. It was important to make sure that we retweeted

    those we held to a high standard, with hopes that our followers would hold us to an equally high standard.

    8. Sharable Content - We can monitor how many people click the links that we tweet (via HootSuite), and while it's desirable to see that number increase as well as see people ‘favorite’ our posts, the best thing is to get a retweet. Therefore, when sharing any post, not

    only do we think of how valuable our followers will find the post, but also how valuable their

    followers may find it. If a profile retweets your post, their followers will first look at your post

    and then hopefully look at the source of that post (you). Essentially, we wanted to tweet to our followers’ followers.

    KoMarketing Associates, LLC www.komarketingassociates.com (781)209-1989

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    Results

    1. Follower Growth

    Graph 1- Total followers numbe