I was skeptical about Twitter at first, having the impression which many do that it’s merely a repository for endless minutiae. How many times have you heard someone (and by someone, I mean one who hasn’t been won over by Twitter yet) say “I don’t understand why anyone would want to read or post online what they had for lunch.” I agree… there is a huge wasteland in the Twitter feed of teenage babble, angry grandstanding, timewasting and somehow an overall pathetic cry for relevance: “Look at me, please… I matter!!” Just like the noise of a crowd, it can seem overwhelming until you hone in on the areas of interest to yourself and your business.
Now as a marketing tool, businesses are increasingly coming to realize the gold mine they have FOR FREE in Twitter. Many businesses already operate solely to TEACH you how to increase your profits through Twitter. That, however, is not the subject of this blogpost. In the course of using Twitter to enhance your bottom line, remember that your Twitter account is a public representation of your self, your company, your brand… have fun and expand your knowledge and contacts. If you are enjoying the interaction, your followers will as well. Your online presence will be more fully rounded and attractive to your audience, and you will also discover a great deal that you would never have been privy to otherwise.
I have found Twitter to be the greatest tool for keeping me informed about up to the minute events. News flashes through the Twitter feed almost simultaneously with actual events… therefore it eclipses television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and even blogposts and websites. Of course the caveat to that is that just like a reporter with numerous incoming sources, some are valid and some are not! You are put in the position of either verifying the information you are seeing or choosing which to trust. One of the first times it dawned on me about the immediacy of the Twitter experience was during the Iran uprising in 2009. Live posts were coming through about events in Teheran long before any news outlet online or otherwise was able to cover them. I found myself wrapped up in the excitement of that upheaval in real time — from people actually experiencing it first hand. I was better informed than I could be from reading even the most current blogposts or network newsites.
On the flip side of this experience you will also discover, for instance, that Twitter is the world’s fastest obituary site… often spreading false news of someone’s demise long before they have left the building, so to speak! So beware.
But perhaps the best and most useful insight that Twitter provides is into your own local community or your own particular interest niche. Following people and businesses in your own town, or even neighborhood, will keep you better informed than any news outlet or nosy neighbor ever could. Being better informed makes you better equipped to effectively market your business.
But don’t forget to share your contribution to this never-ending news stream: real time information that is relevant to your industry along with interesting daily occurrences, thoughts, observations – whether in a tweet or through linked content in photos, video or other posts. It won’t take you long to figure out the hashtags and Retweets, or discover the many related applications and sites that expand the Twitter experience. Using social media, and specifically Twitter, as a marketing tool may be the goal of course, but in the process I believe you will find it’s benefits extend far beyond a frustratingly hard to define profit bottom line.