Twitter has been all over the news recently, from breaking news before the networks to the Twitter community making or breaking brands. Marketing and PR pros know they need to be in this community, but how? And how much time and effort will it take? And what will be the return?
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a social networking service that lets users post and read other peoples updates. These are known as “tweets.” Sometimes called “micro-blogging,” tweets are limited to 140 characters in length and are posted on the users profile page. People can follow your posts by your Twitter profile page, RSS feed or even SMS.
Sounds simple? It is simple.
Your company has a website, email accounts, and a blog, but what about those important little notes you want to share with your customers and clients that may require too much work for an email campaign or to blog. Example: “Check out our new screen cast on XYZ. You have to see this!” or “New Software update will be coming out next week. Here is a link to the new features.”
6 Rules of a good Marketing Twitizen:
- No selling
- Get Involved
- Add Value
- Watch your mouth
- Patient and Persistence
1. No selling
Twitter is like any other social site, it is about communication and community. The individuals here don’t want to be sold to. It’s about having a conversation!
2. Get Involved
The point of Twitter is to give information as well as receive it. Tweeting useful information about your brand or expertise will end up getting you a host of followers that depend on what you have to say and broadcast it to others following them.
3. Add Value
If only close friends follow your Twitter, you might feel ok talking about your drive into work this morning. But if a company did that, it would be a little weird. When you post a tweet, make it informative and useful to your business. People follow companies that tweet about things they are interested in. So make sure your tweets are up to date and relevant.
There is an etiquette tweeters need to follow. When people follow you it is because they are interested in what you have to say. When they re-tweet what you said, it is because they have found the information valuable enough to share. So when someone takes the time to comment on what you have said, it is polite to respond, even if you don’t agree with what they said.
This is where the real opportunity for customer engagement lies. There are tools out there that alert you by email whenever someone mentions your company, product or any keyword in their tweet. Whether the conversation is negative or positive, you can use this as a tool to reach people on a real personal level. However, do not try to stifle the conversation. Allowing people to have their say is what Twitter is based on.
5. Watch Your Mouth
Be careful about what you tweet, sometimes this can spark negative response. Here is an example of an agency heading to FedEx Global headquarters for a meeting. After flying into Memphis he tweeted:
“True confession but I’m in one of those towns where I scratch my head and say: I would die if I had to live here.”
In summery FedEx was not happy. Here is the whole story: http://tinyurl.com/aewosc
6. Patient and Persistence
Building your social circle takes time and commitment and the response is not always instant. By adding value to the community, you will see your followers grow. What you can’t do is neglect your followers once you start, they will get board and stop following you. Over time, not only will more and more people listening and responding to what you have to say, but give you insight into how the industry is moving.
Direct financial “ROI” might not be apparent, but by being a long term contributor to Twitter, you can do your brand a world of good.
Some may say, “That is all good, but I don’t think we will get anything out of it. If I can’t get the direct return on investment, you can’t justify the investment.”
Given the amount of money that is spent on traditional marketing, where accountability is difficult and sometimes impossible to measure, Twitter can monitor how many people are following you and set up alerts to tell you when your brand is mentioned. You can tweet links to news articles or blogs that can be tracked by your site analytics and, in some cases, your followers may re-tweet what you say which adds to your overall SEO popularity.
Being part of the Twitter community is about communication, engagement, value and trust. As long as you remember this when stepping into this medium, you can soon start to see the benefits of this rapidly growing network.
That’s it, you can return to your mobile devices now. People are wondering what you’re doing.
Supplemental Information on Twitter:
- Twitter – Join Twitter and see for yourself
- The Big Juicy Twitter Guide – An in-depth look at Twitter
- Twictionary – A dictionary for Twitter
- The Twitter Blog – Follow their official blog
- TweetWheel – Find out which of your Twitter friends know each other