There is a proliferation of neat new technologies businesses can use to communicate with their customers. As these numbers continue to grow, the problem becomes determining which technology to embrace. Twitter is one that has great potential to benefit businesses, particularly if their customer base is under 40 years of age.
When I was first introduced to Twitter, my initial impression was that everyone was making a big deal about nothing. In time however, I have come to see the value in it. This technology really can be effective and for most businesses, is worth a closer look.
For those who have not delved into this technology yet, Twitter allows users to post very short messages – less than 140 characters – called “tweets.” Tweets are also occasionally called “microblogs.”
On average, Twitter’s more than 200 million users generate 200 million tweets and 1.6 billion search inquires daily, and the number of users continues to grow exponentially. Businesses with a presence on Twitter can use the technology to maintain a dialog with their existing customers while accessing vast numbers of potential new customers at the same time.
A large furniture chain provides an example of a company that has had significant success on Twitter. The firm, who targets younger markets with their products, increased their sales by using Twitter to reach new potential customers. They invited 50 or so people with large Twitter followings to visit the store and tweet scripted messages to their followers. The firm kept track of how many times each tweet was passed on and rewarded the person that produced the most retweets. As a result of this effort, the company saw large numbers of new customers visiting the store.
I see a lot of companies using Twitter to promote themselves or drive people to their websites. In my opinion though, this is a far less effective method since people are looking for much more personal messages on Twitter. Tweets such as, “Come to Joe’s for great hot dogs,” just do not resonate in this medium. Personally, if I get too many of these self-serving tweets, I just stop following the company altogether so I do not hear from them anymore.
A far more valuable way to use Twitter is to listen in on what people are saying about your company or products. This can provide great insight into what your customers want and need. It can also be an early warning system clueing you in to potential problems so you can react before issues escalate. You can search for tweets about your company at http://twitter.com/#!/search-home.
Yet another effective use of Twitter is to invite feedback from your customers. Getting a dialog going about your company promotes your brand while providing valuable information about how you can improve your products and services.
Chris Brogan is one of the leading experts on Twitter. For entrepreneurs looking to venture into the world of Twitter and use it to its fullest advantage, Chris’ tweets can be very helpful. Follow him at http://twitter.com/#!/chrisbrogan.
Twitter is a great communication tool and it has a lot of potential for businesses who use it effectively. Del, Starbucks, Comcast and Best Buy are just a few examples of companies using Twitter very successfully, and you can check them out for some ideas and best practices. However, as with any new marketing venture, it is important that you consider how Twitter will fit into your company’s overall strategy. Twitter should not be a stand-alone effort. Your strategy should be to incorporate Twitter into a well-rounded, balanced marketing plan.
Now go out and see if Twitter is a viable option for your business. It may require that you spend some time researching how to use this tool effectively, but it will be well worth it in the end.
You can do this!