Twitter this, tweet that! It’s hard to ignore the daily press about the power of Twitter to spread the word about your business.
Even the verb to tweet (to publish a 140-character update on Twitter) is now accepted as legitimate by the Collins Dictionary and the AP Style Guide.
There’s no doubt that Twitter has gone mainstream but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is right for your business.
It may be free (for now) but like anything, if you do it right, it takes time and effort.
The cliche about Twitter is that everyone posts updates like “Drinking coffee …” That may be true for people who use it socially. But execs who use it well know it takes time, energy and resources to craft useful, witty and interesting updates that position them as industry leaders worth following.
So how do you decide whether Twitter is the right social network for your company?
- Read Twitter’s just published guide, Twitter101for Businesses. It includes case studies from companies like Dell showing how it sold refurbished computers online. For example, its tweets include special deals and coupons exclusive for its Dell Outlet channel on Twitter. Do the coupons work? Big time, says the Twitter guide. Dell Outlet has booked more than $3 million in revenue attributable to its Twitter posts, says the Twitter guide. It now has 924,033 people subscribing to its updates.
- Consider how you’d use Twitter. Some folks use it to exchange ideas, other businesses use it to recruit, others use it for market intelligence. BestBuy has decided to use Twitter for customer service and prospecting. Its Twelpforce (store employees) will look for people who are shopping for its kind of products, and provide gentle advice. You can see how BestBuy is using it here.
- Check that your prospects and customers are on Twitter using tools like TwitterSearch. A new study by Anderson Analytics says Twitter is more popular than LinkedIn but only for some demographic groups. For example, Twitter is loved and adored by hi-tech companies but you won’t find too many gritty B2B companies selling industrial machinery there. Nor are you likely to find many teens there. They prefer IMing.
- Get your tweet wet (sorry, bad pun!) by seeing how other execs are using Twitter. BuzzMarketingForTech by Paul Dunay has tailormade feeds to make it easy to see what other CEOs are saying and doing with Twitter. It has also a feed of CMOs, CTOs, and CIOs on Twitter.
- Consider the downside. iMedia argues that Twitter can do your company more harm than good because it can distort your marketing. A very vocal, but small, group can cause a stir.
- Follow me on Twitter/juliepower and say you read this story! I’ll introduce you to all my peeps, as they say, and show you the ropes.
Julie Power is editor in chief of the Internet Marketing Report and the blog, the Internet Marketing Report Online. She’s been on Twitter for two years.