I have been using Twitter for over a year now. In fact, my first tweet was June 11, 2008. I haven’t been using it for as long as many web marketing early adopters, but I am among the first in my offline social circle and considering that it has been launched publicly in July 2006, I have been using it for the 1/3 of Twitter existence. 😛
I decided to write this post because I see more and more friends in the communications and/or marketing industry sign up on Twitter and are obviously clueless about how it can benefit them. People are asking me more and more what is the point of Twitter so I think it would be good to have a blog post where I can send people for more information.
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a micro-blogging and social networking tool. Similar to blogging, it allows any of its members to publish whatever they wish. However, every posts or “tweets” must be 140 characters or less. Why 140 characters? Dom, one of many who helped create Twitter explained that Jack Dorsey, the creator of Twitter, wanted to have a dispatch service that connects us on our phone using text. Something that would allow a person to contact many people at once in a brief and concise manner. Hence the reason why Twitter asks you to answer the question:
What are you doing?
Keep in mind that this was in 2006, thus smart phones were not as rampant as they are today. Just to give you an idea, the iPhone was released in June 2007.
What does Twitter mean for me?
To be informed instantly and to inform multiple people at once. Ashton Kutcher for example, can currently inform 2,85 million people in less than 30 seconds (Also, on an SEO note, with all the publicity he received, imagine all the inbound links he has to his profile page. Guess what the Page Rank is … 4!). In terms of traffic, that means that Ashton Kutcher can potentially send 2,85 million visitors to one web page of his choice by just publishing a link in his tweet. I wonder how many dollars is his tweet worth? We all know that not all 2,85 million people read his tweets but his reach is still phenomenal. The same is true for us. The more followers we have, the more influent we become and the more traffic we can send to the web page of our choice. Rather than paying PPC ads, I still don’t understand why online publishing companies such as Canoe.ca, MSN Sympatico or Cyberpresse do not develop relationships with power users to send them traffic. Pay them for a tweet, your revenues are in CPM anyway!
On a personal level, Twitter helps people come closer. It allows people to stay connected.
Twitter as Marketing Research
About 6 to 9 months ago, I was reluctant about talking about Summize (now Twitter Search) because it was such a powerful tool. Now, I’m still confused as to why people don’t seem to use it. Twitter search allows you to see in real time what people are saying. You want to know what people are saying about Blackberry? Twitter Search. Is the new Harry Potter worth watching? Twitter Search. Bing now integrates real time search results via Twitter? Twitter Search! What ever news or information you want to get, you can get very good information thanks to Twitter Search. You can even find job seekers on twitter!
The important thing is to know what to search for. Don’t just search for keywords. Think about your target audience and try what they are most likely to say/tweet. An industry colleague of mine works for a promotional company and was looking for promo agents. Rather than typing “promo agents”, she can try to search for outgoing, social people and perhaps students. Outgoing and social people are more likely to tweet about going out or partying rather than tweeting about going to the movies. She can also try to make a search for her competitor’s name and offer their agents a promo contract.
How to Use Twitter Efficiently
Here is my Twitter 101 in two words: Listen and Engage! I cannot stress this enough. This post is meant as an introduction to Twitter or “Twitter for beginners”. I will create an archive of all Twitter related posts so you can read more advance ways to using Twitter. Rather than talking, talking, talking (or in this case, tweeting, tweeting, tweeting…), listen! Make a Twitter Search, find key Twitterers to follow and read their Twitter posts. If you don’t find them relevant, unfollow them. Don’t worry, it isn’t like Facebook. Twitter is much more volatile than Facebook, therefore if you unfollow them, it isn’t as dramatic as when you unfriend somebody on Facebook. Reply to other people tweets, ReTweet somebody else’s post. That is the best way of integrating yourself. Twitter is also a social-networking tool. In order to develop a strong following, you have to create relationships and just as in real life, hanging around somebody that talks all the time is very annoying. Twitter is the same. Once you develop concrete relationships on Twitter, then you can go on to the next stage. Twitter is about relationships and conversation.
Twitter as part of your Marketing Strategy
Twitter is a tool like any other communication outlet ie: advertising, telemarketing, direct marketing. I cannot tell you how to use it. There are many ways to use Twitter. I can only give you example. Like in any marketing strategy; analyzing, planning and setting objectives are important. Twitter cannot be your only strategy. It can only be part of your overall marketing strategy whether it is a web marketing or social media marketing strategy.
If you are interested in integrating Twitter in your marketing strategy or are interested to know how Twitter can help your business just send me a tweet!
Photo by: carrotcreative
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