I avoided Twitter, made fun of it and repeated stories I had heard from people I know losing friends to “twittering”; they no longer could share a car ride, enjoy a meal or even simple conversation because their friend was so obsessed with the latest “tweet. “
When Twitter first became popular I shared this sentiment:
“What could be more annoying and less useful than a site where thousands of people are given 140 characters to shout out about what they are doing at mostly all moment of the day? The amazing thing is that enough people out there think this mindless stream of ephemera (“I’m eating a tangerine,” “I’m waiting for a plane,” “I want a Big Mac”) is interesting enough to serve as the basis for a viable advertising platform. “
But after fellow marketers I respect reintroduced me to Twitter as a tool to complement their present strategies, I took notice and soon began to see the advantages of the “follower. ” I was hooked.
Here’s what I learned. Created in 2006, by Jack Dorsey, Twitter is a free online service that allows you to broadcast short messages (140-character limit) to your friends or “followers. ” You too can specify your own list of people you want to follow. Several think of Twitter not so much as a social network, but as an information network. It tells people what’s happening in the subjects they care about as it is happening in the world.
Twitter is an invaluable tool for any social marketing strategy and is one of today’s hottest new trends on the Internet. Not sure if it is for you? Even Microsoft’s founder and the world’s richest man, Bill Gates, has a Twitter account. You can start following him at @BillGates. Oprah tweets, celebrity Ashton Kutcher even beat CNN’s breaking news feed and was the first Twitter account with one million followers.
Still, with its incredible popularity and growth, many in the marketing world continue to debate whether Twitter is a total time vacuum or a marketing tool you cannot live without. I believe its value is based on how you chose to use it.
Personally, I’m not one to chatter with friends via texting or glued to current media events via my cell phone. I still like the phone and of course emails. But I have found that Twitter is an important part of my overall social marketing strategy.
Everyone uses Twitter differently. So what’s the big deal; how should you be using Twitter in your marketing strategy? For over a year now, many have claimed that Twitter is the #1 traffic builder for their blog. I do see the spikes in traffic from cross-linking my posts to Twitter.
Twitter is an opt-in world, so if you don’t find someone’s tweets interesting, you simply stop following that person. Originally, I used Twitter to have a following that shared a common interest about new articles I was posting on my blog concerning Internet Marketing. Later, I found myself not only using it as another outlet for exposure, but also as a marketer it was useful to follow market leaders, competitors, bloggers, speakers, and authors in my niche. It became a great way to follow people I found interesting and wanted to keep up with. Twitter is like a cyber press release, but only from the people whose news you care about.
Keep in mind that although we are focused on business with promotion being the number one priority, Twitter is about give and take. If you just use it to push your stuff, you’ll be zapped in a zano-tweet-second, translation- blocked for good. Twitter is not about pushing content or your agenda, it is about give and take.
Follow / Following / Unfollow
Several take the approach, “Anyone that will not follow me, I’m not going to follow back. “
Follow – Twitter is similar to your RSS. Who you follow is basically who – or what information – you subscribe to. Remember it is an opt-in system. If you’re using Twitter for marketing purposes then you want to follow the market leaders and the news sources in your niche. Don’t worry whether they follow you back. Seriously. The point of following is to get the news and updates that you prefer. Period.
I use a “Tweet Adder” to build my base of contacts or “followers” that I think may be interested in my content. I do unfollow people that have not accepted my invitation to follow me after three days. I do this to keep my ratio fairly even. The people I follow based solely on their content I am not concerned whether or not they follow me.
As I mentioned earlier, I seek people that may have an interest in what I’m doing. Twitter tools, like “Tweet Adder,” give you the ability not only to follow specific people, but also to follow people interested in specific topics. Tweet Adder offers specialized search tools that I use to build my list of followers. These tools allow me to capture people tweeting about my specific topics and keywords. Note, when building a list use keywords similar to what you would use on a capture page including your competitor’s name.
Following – I don’t spend much time checking to see who is following me. In fact, I turned off email notifications because I found it pointless and did not need more spam to clear out each day. Your focus should be on building a very specific following, not on who is following you. Unless you notice that you are attracting the “wrong people” in which case, rethink your search words.
You want to regard “building your following” as you would “building your leads list. “
Unfollow – Some people will unfollow anyone that will not follow them, or who unfollows them.
You should unfollow anyone you no longer want to follow. It’s not rude, if that person is consistently off topic to what attracted you to them in the beginning, you should set them free! As I said earlier, the followers I request to join me using the adding software, I do unfollow after a few days if they don’t accept my request. This is a completely different group than the people I choose to follow based on their content that attracted me.
These are just a few ways to utilize Twitter. As you integrate this tool into your social marketing strategy you will learn more tactics to maximize Twitter World.
Twitter Marketing Strategy
Make sure you have a Twitter Marketing Strategy. Keep it simple, and tweet consistently. If you don’t have a specific goal or strategy, Twitter will surely become a “time vacuum” for you.
Initially I only used Twitter as a way to increase exposure for my other strategies. Then I realized I could also build a following of like-minded people that would find value in my information. Every time I announce on Facebook that I have posted new content on my blog, a tweet is automatically sent to my followers using a plug-in I installed. Then everyone that is following me can view my new posting and even better, if they like what they see, they may re-tweet and share the information with all their followers. You can see how this can maximize your exposure! Here’s an important tip, be sure to keep your tweet to 120 characters or less for easy re-tweeting. As tweets are re-tweeted they pick up characters.
“Be sure you are always providing new content that has value. You want your followers to be loyal and to have interest in what you are sharing. That is why you need to define your target market and your offers, and create a strong message-to-market match. “
Keep an eye on your followers and their mindset. Figure out why they chose to follow you, and make sure your updates, topics, products, website or blog continues to deliver on that attraction. If they did follow you specifically for those reasons, and you don’t deliver, then you are letting them down. And we know that means a “unfollow click” is coming.
Building a following on Twitter should be viewed much the same as building a lead list. You definitely want to provide quality over quantity with your Twitter marketing strategy. The more focused your topic and readership, the more productive you will be – and the higher your click-through and conversion rates will be.
Marketing is not spam. Sharing resources and links is not spam. As long as you respect your followers and continue to provide them with “real value” information they desire, you are providing a service. Not Spam. Just remember to ask yourself this about your social marketing strategy, “Why are people following me and am I delivering what they seek?”
Your Twitter marketing goal should be to tweet useful information that is of specific interest to your followers. Twitter is a place where you can be more personable and even more intimate, but you want to maintain your professional character and your integrity at all times.
Remember that Attraction Marketing is the “Key” and that you want to build Relationships.
ENGAGE your followers.
In addition to staying current on news, information and conversations in your niche, and increasing your viewership and traffic, Twitter is a great way to engage your target market in productive relationship building conversations.
Here are just a few ideas that I’ve seen work incredibly well for my social marketing strategy:
Host a contest on Twitter. For examples, search “Twitter contest” at Google.
Encourage your followers to ‘tweet you’ questions, favorite links, resources, and tips or personal experiences about your topic. Using your content blog is a great way to craft new and interesting posts. Use Twitter to really engage your target market in conversations about your industry. What do they need, what do they love, what really frustrates them?
Compile the feedback and share it in a post. Once published, thank your followers and give them the link to check out the results. Not only will you be making connections with your prospects, they will appreciate your genuine interest and you will be able to gain valuable insight that will help you tailor your Twitter marketing strategy to better serve them.