Business-Building Action From Terry Brock
In the old days (read, “last year”), many thought of Twitter as just a silly little way for kids to stay in touch and talk about “my cat is sleeping” type of messages. In other words, it was certainly not for business (at least in the minds of many people in business) and only for kids.
Things are different today. If you’re not using Twitter, you are already not only passed by but you are being lapped on the track! Twitter is a force to be reckoned with in today’s business environment. It can give you a decisive edge in connecting with customers, employees and fellow stakeholders. It can also help you find out the “inside scoop” on what is happening now.
How Businesses Use Twitter Today
Southwest Airlines is using it to let people know about flight changes, conditions and more. They also use it to find out what passengers are saying. If a delay or disruption occurs on a given flight, Southwest knows about it as they have dedicated people monitoring Twitter regularly.
Zappos is a great online shoe company. They monitor what customers are saying and what they want. They also use it to grab customer feedback — good and bad — and respond accordingly.
Even General (Government) Motors is using Twitter. They want to keep up with what people are saying about them and (at least in theory) help solve customer problems.
If your business is not using Twitter you are at a big disadvantage. You don’t have the instant access to what is going on that is relevant to you. You won’t be able to stay on top of problems and solve them before they become massive.
A big complaint from many is that there is so much information they can’t keep up with it all. I understand and agree with that. This is why experienced Twitter users (called “Twitterer”) use tools to process the filtering.
TweetDeck (www.TweetDeck.com – free) is a commonly used tool to monitor key streams. You can set up a search for your company name or your competitors” names and receive notifications whenever something is said. This helps to manage the torrents of information coming through Twitter. With TweetDeck I can monitor not only important Twitter mentions but also update and monitor what is happening that is relevant for me on Facebook and Linkedin. This gives me a “command module” to keep up on the important things in my world.
HootSuite (http://hootsuite.com/dashboard – free) is another tool to monitor what is happening. It is also useful to schedule messages you’ll send to others (called “Tweets”). This way you can schedule a message to go out a few times a day. Hey, the cable news networks repeat the same stories because they know their audience changes every 20 minutes — or less. Yours does too and a tool like this helps to reach more people with your message “ when it is convenient for them!
Ways You Can Use Twitter In Your Marketing
There are several ways you can use Twitter but here are some which can help you immediately:
- Build An Audience. This is most important as you want to build an audience of followers (that’s the Twitter term for people who subscribe to your posts) who are interested in what you’re doing. Have a special going on? Send a Tweet. Is there an important news event in your industry that you wrote about? Send a Tweet pointing to that article. Give lots of value and make conversation, not selling, your goal.
- Monitor What They Say About You. Find out what people are saying about you and your industry. This is one of the best ways to stay on top of what is really happening (not just what you think is happening).
- Monitor What They Say About Your Competitors. You need to be aware of what is happening in the world. Using Twitter is one of the best and fastest ways to keep up with what is going on today.
- Become A Resource, Not A Screaming Salesperson. One of the cardinal rules of marketing with Twitter and other Web 2.0 tools is to be a resource of information and not an annoying, pest selling stuff. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with selling and I believe everyone is selling something. However, today you have to do it in a conversational, problem-solving way. Provide lots of valuable information (valuable as defined by your market) and people will want to be around you.
This is a beginning. Twitter is a serious business tool. Wade into it slowly and get familiar with the territory. You’ll be glad you did. And who knows, maybe even your cat will sleep better!
Copyright (c) 2010, Terry Brock and Achievement Systems, Inc. Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and professional speaker who helps businesses generate profitable results. He can be reached by e-mail at [email protected] or through his website at www.terrybrock.com. Join the Twitter adventure with Terry through his Twitter address: @TerryBrock