[Originally published in Communiqué for Success!)
When I first heard of Twitter — the micro-blogging platform that currently seems to be taking the online world by storm — I thought it was a bit, well, silly. Let’s face it; I didn’t have the time to ‘follow’ people who revel in the idea of broadcasting the fact that they’d just poked a pencil in their eye, or what they’d just had to eat. And I certainly didn’t have the interest in such drivel.
Now, of course, I know better. I have spent the past few months merrily tweeting away with fellow Twitters and I’m having a ball. Suddenly, I ‘get it’.
And it’s not all about the latest penchant for breakfast. Twitter provides a wonderful opportunity for sole traders, entrepreneurs and businesses of all kinds to promote their cause. For F.R.E.E.
It’s a deceptively simple idea and tool, allowing for some weird and wonderful applications, but for the sake of this article, let’s look at the business side of things…
So What Exactly is This Twitter Lark?
Essentially, Twitter is a Web 2.0 communication tool for friends, family and co-workers. You update your contacts or ‘followers’ by answering one seemingly simple question: “What are you doing?”
You publish your status (or any tidbit of information) via the web or your mobile phone. But the best part, perhaps, is that you have to be concise: each message or ‘tweet’ can only be up to 140 characters in length. Because tweets are so short, twittering takes far less time than that which you would have to invest in many other social networking services.
Twitter is extremely viral: Your tweets can be exposed to all the followers of your follower, and in turn their followers, and so on. All these people can choose to follow you.
While it can be fun to chat with friends, Twitter really comes into its own as a business promotional tool. Scores of business people are becoming addicted to it on a daily basis. And plenty more companies are about to dip in their toe (beak?!)…
THE Must-Use Marketing Tool?
A lot of people are using Twitter to expand their marketing reach. Think about it: The very foundation of making sales for your business comes down to one thing. Well, two, actually: relationships and trust. People buy from people they know, like and trust. And the beauty of Twitter is that it allows you to build relationships and, ultimately, trust. By posting your thoughts, news and other tidbits on a regular basis, your followers will start feel as if they know you better, can trust you more and generally feel much more comfortable about potentially working with you.
What’s more, if you have thousands of connections and you decide to post a promotional link, then your offer will be exposed to thousands of people — and possibly many more.
A Driving Source of Traffic
I’ve been running some interesting tests and I’m already seeing some great traffic results — FAR better than the likes that Facebook or any other Web 2.0 tool sends my way.
For instance, two days ago Twitter sent me a whopping 32% of my website traffic. That’s almost one third of my entire days’ traffic. I admit that was a bumper day, with me tweeting away in addict mode. On an average day, though, I can get as much as 20% of my traffic from Twitter.
Little wonder then that businesses and nonprofits large and small continue to experiment with dozens upon dozens of ways to gain from Twitter.
Here are just a few more ways to make the most of Twitter for your business:
An online inter-office memo system. Within a company setting, employees could have a Twitter account with the option to have their messages protected. This means only approved followers will be able to send and receive messages.
Keep-in-touch system. Twitter can be used as a way for people who are working together on a project to stay in touch with one another, regardless of where they are.
Online reputation management… Tracking what people are saying about you, your product or your company, can easily monitor problems with customer service. This in turn gives you the opportunity to respond to any problem areas within minutes, if need be.
Equally, Twitter can be used to respond to media coverage — whether good or bad.
News alert! If you or your company needs to quickly announce some breaking news, then what better way to sent it out as a tweet?
Equally, you can send out updates on your blog or website.
Google Up. Because the search engines also index your tweets, you should soon notice that they are showing up in search results. Very useful if you focus on using your prime keywords and phrases.
Competition time. Want to promote your new book, movie or service? Simply hold a contest to give away a fr.eebie among your followers. This is also a great way to conduct some f.ree market research, as you can seek feedback on whatever it is you are promoting.
Give and Take
So now that you have some idea of what Twitter can do for you, how about spending the next few minutes setting up an account? You can get started right now – or follow me, if you already use it — by going to:
But … and it’s a big but … in order to truly leverage Twitter – whether for business or personal use – you mustn’t abuse it. As with any social media site it should be a give-and-take relationship. That means refraining from posting little more but blatant ads for personal gain.
You should instead aim to keep the interest of your followers. One way of doing this is to post links to useful or interesting online resources and news. And if someone you are following posts something helpful, then forward that on (called ‘re-tweeting’) to show that you appreciate the tweet and that you are re-directing the quality content to others.
>> Twitter: Flash in the Pan or Here to Stay?
>> 21 Ways to Market Your Business on Twitter
>> Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time
>> Twitter Means Business: How Microblogging Can Help or Hurt Your Company
— Please share your experiences of Twitter, and it would be great if you have any tips for newbies. The comment box is eagerly awaiting your thoughts… 😉
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