Thursday, July 19, 2012

Twitter is useful for Business

Twitter - not only for personal status updates

Twitter is mentioned a lot in the news, but in my experience, many people still have that cliche of twitter expressed with “I don’t care what someone ate for lunch or where he is going right now!” phrase.

So, I was surprised to find out that Twitter has some unique features, extremely useful for businesses. The applications can range from announcements to promoting your blog posts and press releases to monitoring the information about your industry. And in each of these applications, Twitter offers some unbeatable advantages compared to other channels.

A bit steep learning curve

Twitter has it's own lingo, and culture. I did open Twitter account and was not using it for couple of years. It's not like Twitter is lacking on the growth, but viewing the instruction video as the one below, would save you from a lot of friction with this tool. Twitter’s own Best Practices for businesses provide short and clear list of things that will put your company on a good track with Twitter.

Applications for Twitter in Business world

Super fast announcements

twitter best practices maximizing your tweets infographic Restaurant or other business could post their specials. Posting rebates codes will keep your followers in high alert state. Besides, the open nature of Twitter allows for infinite retweets (if the deal is super attractive). Some goods that have expiration date, such as tickets to events or travel can be pushed through this channel with great success. Announcing the new location or time for any temporary sales or service points is another possible venue.

Reaching out to your customers

Sending a tweet with a simple question may not substitute the full blown marketing study, but you are getting very valuable feedback directly from your existing or potential customers in minutes, not days or months.

Be a source of relevant content

Sometimes, it is hard to find knowledgeable stuff to write a lot of text, but with Twitter you do not need that. The tweet is 140 characters long, and considering the link, and couple of hashtags - it's even shorter.
You are probably aware of the market environment, new trends and there's something you can do to become a source of relevant information for your followers. Send the links to the content that you find relevant to your industry and your company might become a trusted authority in a field. Next time you put the press release out - there will be more people actually reading it.

Monitoring what's happening out there

You can use search to get real time comments about your brand, company and competitors. It is possible to get this information right to your desktop or smartphone and have an opportunity to respond. Applications such as TweetDeck make the task easier by storing the search query and keeping it updated.
You can monitor the competitors as well, and use any opportunities to acquire new customers or respond to strategic moves. Other technologies might slow you down by days, and in today's world - it's might as well be forever.
If the other businesses and people you are dealing with have Twitter accounts - chances are you can find the talking points in their tweets and increase your chances to strike the right chords and make a sale or seal the partnership.

Practical advice to get started

The topic of Twitter for Businesses is quite popular today and there's a lot of great resources with more detailed information. Here are several resources that I find very clear and useful on a subject:
The infographic at the right provides some useful hints how to make sure your tweets are seen by more people (click on it to see bigger version). Stats indicate that posting during the day or on the weekend, using hashtags and asking for retweat when appropriate can significantly increase the reach of your messages.