Got 5 minutes? This short guide explains Twitter & how to use it for business

When a massive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on Friday 11th March, there were extensive power outages and the mobile phone system was knocked out.

But Twitter provided an alternative means of communication during the disaster, a practical resource – the number of Tweets coming out of the country topped 1,200 a minute in the first hour.

As well as letting friends know they were okay, users also shared the tsunami’s estimated time of arrival on US shores, before the official government warning was released.

What made the social network so valuable was its users.

So what’s it all about?  Here is a 5 minute introduction to the micro-blogging platform that’s punching above its weight in the world of social media.

Twitter is simply another means of communication

Twitter is simply another means of communication that can work with your other marketing tools

Twitter is a means of communication

In addition to email, texts, blogging and Skype, Twitter provides another way to share content.  You have 140 characters for your message, whether that’s a link to your latest press release online, the announcement of a new product range, or a question to your customers.

Whatever you type into that little box at the top of your profile page shows up on the pages of your followers.

Today, “Michael McIntyre” is one of the most common phrases being tweeted in the UK (he’s presenting Comic Relief on BBC1).  But companies find plenty of things to tweet about that don’t relate to what’s on TV.

Things to tweet:

  • What’s going on in your business (new products, office moves, staff changes, new customers,
  • What’s going on in the lives of your staff (social media means showing you’re human)
  • Links to resources that your followers might find useful (free downloads, ebooks, industry reports)
  • Discount vouchers

Find people to follow on Twitter

Find the right people to follow & listen before you start tweeting everything that pops into your head

Want to make it work for you?

Find the right people to follow (Mashable have provided a great guide on this).

Follow people who fit the profile of your target customer, people with businesses like yours (see how they use it), and Twitterers who your customers may follow and be interested in.

Then plan your strategy – without an objective, Twitter can become a very time consuming hobby.  Do you want to research what your customers want?  Build your reputation?  Spread the word about your new product range?  Find more potential customers?

Be clear what you’re trying to achieve and plan your tweets with thought.  Invite followers to an exclusive preview, offer discount codes, share insights (a hotel may tweet about the weather, or the surf conditions), links to podcasts and relevant tips.

And if you’re still not sure what the fuss is all about:

  • Twitter was valued at $7.7 billion in February 2011
  • there were over 100 million new users in 2010
  • you can’t ignore it forever

There – was that 5 minutes?  Are you any clearer what Twitter’s all about?  If you’re just as confused as ever, add your questions in the comments below – no question is too silly so be honest (trust me – if you’re thinking it, someone else will be thinking it too).

And check out my Twitter page: http://twitter.com/#!/thorntonlucy and follow me when you’re set up – I’ll follow you back and watch you grow from a fledgling blue chick to a giant blue eagle.

PS Need inspiration?  Need focus and drive to get your business moving?  Download my latest ebook to get step-by-step guides, ebooks on blogging and customer loyalty, checklists and more:

http://www.perfectbalancemarketing.com/101-ways-to-get-your-customers-to-love-you/


7 Comments

Roland Millward · March 21, 2011 at 11:31 am

A good read! Twitter is a very useful tool for all of us and can be especially powerful in business. I have used it for quite some time now and have been able to build some good business relationships with people that I would never have met any other way.

    Lucy Thornton · March 21, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    I find Twitter a pretty powerful way to communicate – to share links, ask questions, get feedback, talk to clients – also good for networking. Some companies are even using it to break news – so people follow these brands so they’re one of the first to hear about new products or events. With a strategy and focus, it can be invaluable! Thanks for dropping by, L

Marquita Herald · March 23, 2011 at 9:03 pm

I really have a tough time with Twitter – I am just not much on “chatting” in general and find it really difficult to come up with short pithy pearls of wisdom. I’ve tried taking the time to read tweets by others hoping that would help me learn the ropes but frankly I find most tweets boring, in fact many are little more than links to take you elsewhere. Maybe I’ll just stick with Facebook.

    Lucy Thornton · March 24, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Just checked out your website and there’s loads there to tweet:
    – tweet all your blog posts
    – tweet links to time-saving posts elsewhere on the web
    – tweet something new you learned today to help you enjoy life
    – tweet something someone told you about enjoying life
    – tweet your thought for the day
    – tweet a link to your free gift

    Who is your target audience? What would they find interesting? Inspirational quotes and motivational suggestions? Facebook is good for engaging too so don’t feel you have to do everything – just focus on what works for you and have fun communicating and meeting people who like what you like :o)

Torrey · March 27, 2011 at 3:35 am

One thing I would urge people to consider is to think of Twitter as the real world. We don’t like salespeople that are always in “sales” mode and don’t really care about us and our problems.

Although as a business, you want to convince potential buyers to purchase your product/service, engaging is important. Selling 100% of the time will turn off a lot of people.

    Lucy Thornton · March 27, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Agreed – I use a ratio of about 90% informative and 10% selling, so my followers get useful resources and tips for their businesses more than anything else. Same for facebook & blogging – I’ve un-followed plenty of people who have just posted links to their latest ‘special offers’!

affordable marketing ideas, social media for business | Perfect Balance Marketing · August 14, 2011 at 10:25 am

[…] Twitter and blogging are just some of the ways to build relationships with your audience, research your […]

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