TWTRCON’s Keynote Speaker, Martha Stewart, talked with David Pogue of the New York Times about her experience with Twitter and social media on Monday, July 14, 2010.
When my children were very young, back in the early 90s, I remember reading Martha Stewart’s magazine from cover to cover each month, making cookies and cupcakes from her cookbooks with my kids on long winter afternoons, and videotaping her TV show on Sunday mornings. While I knew her socio-economic status was much higher than my own, like many of my contemporaries, I identified with the woman from Nutley, NJ who loved baking, gardening and crafts. Wasn’t that what we stay-at-home moms were all about?
Times have changed for both of us. I’m now the single parent of teenagers working fulltime and Martha owns a media conglomerate. We’ve made mistakes and paid for them, and I’ll admit that Martha’s stock fiasco and subsequent jail time ended any interest I still had in what her company produced. Her magazine is now one of many devoted to “lifestyle” and the offering of TV chefs has exploded over the last 10 years. One wonders how Martha would fare on my favorite show, “Top Chef”?
With all this in mind, I went to TWTRCON expecting very little from the keynote. I thought it would be fun to see Martha in person but wasn’t sure what she would have to say to me about Twitter and social media. I saw her as just another celebrity with a vanity Twitter account.
I was so wrong!
Honesty, transparency, and authenticity are the buzzwords for a successful Twitter account whether you’re one person or a multinational brand. Martha was all three at TWTRCON. When I’ve watched her on TV in recently years, she seemed stilted and slightly uncomfortable. Talking to David Pogue about how she and her company use Twitter, she was relaxed, funny, open and insightful.
Martha types her own tweets without punctuation and with whatever spelling errors occur naturally. She limits her time on Twitter to 5 minutes a day. Starting in February 2009, Martha’s posted approximately 1500 tweets and has close to 2 million followers. Says Martha, “It took 2 years for the magazine to reach 1 million readers. It took 5 months on Twitter.” Not surprising in the “vibrant environment” of Twitter!
So what does Martha use Twitter for?
3. Surveys (crowd sourcing)
If each of us utilize Twitter in those 5 ways, we’ll get more from those 140 characters than any other resource!
When asked if she finds 140 characters limiting, Martha pointed out that she’s tweeted entire recipes although drinks are the easiest. She compared it to KenKen, a game similar to Sudoku. Fitting everything you want to say into one tweet is like a puzzle, so satisfying when you find the solution!
As the conversation continued, Mr. Pogue asked Martha about marketing uses for Twitter. While she did discuss using Twitter for promotions, she segued into how her dogs’ blog “The Daily Wag” brought a number of partnerships with other companies. The blog, written by her dogs Francesca and Sharkey, started as pure entertainment. Purina saw the blog, decided to sponsor it, and now produces webisodes with the two “bloggers”. Martha’s line of products developed for PetSmart also started with this blog.
“Twitter should be used to develop a business and communicate with a new audience.” True as Martha’s words are, attending a live interview with this very successful entrepreneur provided more than just new insight on social media. For this former member of Martha’s vast audience discovered that Martha Stewart is even more of a force in all media today than she was decades ago.