The Twitter Experiment

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Fellow blogger David Pogue has published a great post on how he used Twitter as part of a real-time Q&A session. If you’ve ever wondered how to be creative with Twitter, or just wondered about Twitter, then this is a good little post to read (you’ll get a few laughs, too): 

http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/29/the-twitter-experiment/  

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Reach a Wider Audience With Less Effort (Twitter Revisited)

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[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?!)…

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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:

    http://twitter.com/TraceyDooley

    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.

    Further Reading

    >> 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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    Valentine’s Day Sale

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    Happy V DayI was thinking of some special way to show my clients, CfS subscribers and blog readers much I appreciate you. Of course, chocolates and flowers may well do it — but those don’t last very long (at least, the choccies wouldn’t round here!). So here’s what I came up with…

    http://snipurl.com/val-sale

    It’s a Valentine’s gift that could significantly impact your profits and bottom line. (OK, so it is hardly romantic, but your bank manager will surely love you!)

    It’s a four-day sale of some of my most popular products — they all go on sale from 12 February until 16 February, inclusive. This is the first year I’ve done this, so I’m going all-out with a whopping 50% discount.

    Click here to find out more:

    http://snipurl.com/val-sale

    Please keep in mind, though, that the offer is only valid until end of play on the 16th. After that, everything returns to its full price.

    Helping you enjoy a bigger, better, more passionate business!

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    A Flash of Inspiration

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    From time to time, I post a little inspiration on this blog. Today, in memory of my wonderful mother, whose light went out in this world nine years ago today, I would like to share this lovely little movie clip:

    http://www.thedashmovie.com/

    Wherever you are today, please take some time out to reflect on who or what matters to you most, be grateful for all the good things you have in your life, and make a pact to start living it with the passion it deserves.  🙂 

    When the Going Gets Tough…

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    This time of year is a particularly emotive time for me. On the positive side of the fence sits some wonderful memories and anniversaries, not least:

    1. My ‘pseudo wedding’ (we’ve never gotten round to doing the big white wedding thing – I guess you could say I have an unnatural fear of marriage. But I’m not worried; we’ve been happily living together for many years now, so why not celebrate our pseudo-wedding anniversary each year?!).
    2. The canine addition to our family (pictured here, five years ago).
    3. The official launch of MediaMinister.co.uk – my copywriting, editorial and marketing consultancy.

    And then, the other, darker side of the fence marks some especially poignant anniversaries:

    1. The passing of my beloved mother.
    2. Breaking my back. (Although it was a traumatic time, I’m OK now. Still feel some pain, but thankful to be able to walk and enjoy yoga and dancing, among other things!) 

    Now, judging by the latter two, you’d be forgiven for thinking I’m a rather morbid soul at this time of year. Not so. (Well, I do allow myself to feel sad emotions whenever they spring up, else to ignore or suppress them would be just silly, not to mention unnatural.)

    Of course, I can’t possibly keep all negative thoughts from cropping up. I am, after all, only human. Last time I checked.

    But I do try my hardest not to look back in anger or with sadness, and instead focus on the positive or something that makes me smile, feel good or laugh.

    And besides, as author Ida Scott Taylor wrote:

    “Do not look back, and grieve over the past,
    For it is gone; 

    Do not be troubled about the future,

    For it has not yet come.

    Live in the present, and make it so beautiful,

    That it will be worth remembering.”

    The important thing is not to be bitter over life’s challenges and disappointments. And while every day won’t be a sunny one, if you look hard enough you can find your own ray of sunshine…

    For me, that can be as simple as pulling on my trainers, rounding up my dog and heading for a lovely long walk on the beach, in the local park, through the woods — anywhere close to nature, where I can quite literally “ground” myself. In fact, that’s when I often come up with my best headlines or marketing ideas for my clients.

    What about you? What’s your ‘sunshine’ button? When the going gets tough what helps you through? I’d love to hear your solutions… Go on, please share!

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