Twitter: It's Not for Birds

March 15, 2010
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You’ve read and heard about why it is important for your business to be involved in social media. But with so many platforms out there, it’s hard to figure out which ones will work for you.

In this article, we’ll delve more into Twitter, the new kid on the block. We’ll discuss what it is, why it’s an important tool, and how to use it effectively.

HOW TWITTER CAN HELP YOUR BUSINESS

Twitter, founded in 2006, is a free social networking and microblogging site that allows its users to send and receive messages, known as tweets, with 140 characters or less. Since its inception Twitter has grown almost exponentially, exploding into the forefront in 2009.

Its platform is simple to use. Your connections on Twitter are considered your “followers.” You can communicate with someone directly by placing an @ symbol before their username, or send them a direct message which is more private. While some social media platforms, like LinkedIn, are purely used for professionals in a business capacity, Twitter is used by a wide array of people, from celebrities, athletes, and your relatives, to CEOs of small and large firms.

With people from all walks of life utilizing Twitter, it is important to make sure your messages are clear and concise, and that your following/followers are targeted and well chosen.

While there is the potential to have a lot of noise on Twitter, it is possible to cut through it and deliver your message in a meaningful way. The key is to set up a well-thought-out plan of action before you even create your account. Observe Twitter and search for conversations that are applicable to your business. This may take a few hours or a few days, depending on how thorough your investigation needs to be.

Once you feel you have a grasp on what you need to know, then and only then should you create your account. Remember to participate in conversations, search for your topics, and provide thoughtful responses. People will see this and in turn they will follow you. Just like LinkedIn, Twitter can help you solidify your reputation as a subject matter expert.

EFFECTIVELY USING TWITTER

You can do several things with Twitter that will help solidify you as a subject matter expert; at the end of the day, this is what we all want to be within our respective industries. Four main categories in Twitter will help you reach your end goals.

1. Create a digital footprint. Part of solidifying yourself as a subject matter expert is to gain high search engine results. The more touches you have on the Web and the higher up they are in the search results, the more likely people will be to visit your sites, trust your sites and you, and return to them often.

Becoming involved in social networking sites is a great way to kick start building your digital footprint. You can invite people from other social networking sites to follow you on Twitter. Here you can depict your brand and connect directly to your user base, creating a likeability about you and trust with them. Your corporate Website is purely business, but Twitter will allow you to show that human behind the corporation.

2. Find focused and targeted followers. In most cases, if you follow someone they will follow you back, and people with similar interests will begin to follow you as well. Be deliberate in your tweets. People will search for topics and decide whether to follow you if you fit their criteria.

You can do a few things to obtain targeted followers. First, make sure that your profile is set up with keywords that are applicable to what you do. Second, make sure the conversations you have contain searchable terms and follow suit with your interests and goals for Twitter. Third, find niche partners who share similar interests with you. Follow them and hopefully they will return the favor. Finally, search out your competitors and see who is following them. Remember, follower lists are accessible to everyone. Their followers will have similar interests to the followers you would want.

3. Develop meaningful partnerships. Building meaningful partnerships on Twitter will only help to expand your brand and your message. By @ replying to someone, you are creating more tractable conversation, as well as creating new dialogue; #FollowFriday, a way to suggest who to follow, is another great way to help promote some of your followers to a broader audience and the favor is most often returned. By doing a #FollowFriday, you are essentially telling your followers that hey, this is someone you should check out because what they say is meaningful.

Developing meaningful partnerships on Twitter can help spread your message to a broader audience and may transfer over into the real world for actual business transactions. Your partners will help brand you as a thought leader and you can reciprocate the favor. By working together, you can help solidify your image as a subject matter expert.

4. Perform quality customer research. Our favorite part about Twitter is the ability to reach out and communicate directly with the consumer. With no middleman to hinder the flow of feedback, a company can find out real-time information and insights from their consumers, and use that feedback to improve their products or services.

Engage your followers; find out what you can do to make their lives easier, what they are and are not happy about, and so forth. If you’ve built up a trust level with them, they will be honest with you and their direct feedback can be invaluable to improving your company and helping to further you as an expert in your industry.

If you perform these four tasks you will soon build up a targeted, mean and lean, followers list.

The world of social media can be overwhelming for those who are not well versed in all that it has to offer. Perhaps you lack the time to fully create a plan, or you lack the experience to do so. Sitting this one out because of those reasons is not the answer. That’s where a full-service marketing firm can help.

Publication date: 03/15/2010

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