Have to say that until recently I have resisted the temptation to jump onto the social media bandwagon but have now decided to give it a go. All for the sake of research of course, I signed up to Facebook and Twitter. It took me about 1 day to get bored with Facebook, but have to be honest and admit that Twitter can be very addictive. I have to keep reminding myself that I am spending all this time on Twitter in order to gauge how effective a tool it actually is for business marketing. So far I can’t say that the business I am attempting to promote on Twitter has directly benefited at all (4 NZ Gifts - www.4nz.info), but it is early days, so I will persevere. It is obvious to me though, observing my new Twitter friends, that there are many New Zealand businesses I am following that are really increasing their client base and their through their constant “twittering”, which ultimately means increased profitability.
Twitter can certainly improve your marketing reach. If you have hundreds of followers and you post a link to a special offer, this means that hundreds of people are instantly exposed to your offer. I am still experimenting with this, but have already worked out ways to maximize Twitter for your marketing as well as things you need to avoid.
How can Twitter help your business?
* It reminds people that you exist.
* It shows people you have something to say.
* It shows them that you are human.
* It allows you to mention new offers, sales and breaking news immediately.
* It allows you to form a more casual relationship.
* You can use Twitter to promote your social bookmarking submissions.
* You can ask for referrals, suggestions, feedback and help ... and people will respond.
Tweets are limited to 140 characters. This is to allow them to be easily sent over mobile SMS systems.
You aren't able to embed HTML with the exception of hyperlinks. (These are no-follow links, so won't help you in your SEO quest for backlinks).
Bonus: Twitter automatically uses the TinyURL service to shorten links, so you don't have to use up all your 140 characters with a long URL.
To get started in Twitter you should first invite contacts who aren't using Twitter and also find contacts that are already using Twitter so that you can start following them and also start getting people to follow you. To grow your reach even more you can start following people who follow or are followed by the people who follow you ... or that you follow. Sounds like "double-dutch" but you will get the hang of it once you start.
Remember, when you first join Twitter, it can feel like a lonely place. When you aren't following anyone and no one is following you, you may find yourself asking "what is the point?". Many people say they just don't get it - in fact I've said that myself.
You must be able to retain the interest of your followers and to do this you need to keep them informed about what you are doing. Make sure to "tweet" daily, if not several times throughout the day with updates on what you are doing. By doing this your followers will feel that they know you much better, will trust you more and will eventually feel comfortable working with you, buying your products or using your service. When you follow your potential clients, you can also learn about them and their potential needs.
The big mistake is only posting sales pitches or offers on your Twitter page. This looks like spam and therefore so will anything you send out or provide. You should aim for at least 90% content and 10% (or less) should be advertising.
So the concept is very simple - regularly post throughout the day about anything interesting you are doing. I stress interesting, because no one wants to know if you are tired, if you've got a headache or if you're going to take a nap! If you write articles or blog content online, provide a link to those in your Twitter posts.
As in any relationship, Twitter is "give and take", so the more you give the more attention you will receive (more followers). Make sure to read and follow other users in Twitter. If you read something interesting or helpful, then make sure to reply and say so or even direct others by links to more quality content. Beware though, as this is the addictive, time-consuming part of the exercise!
You'll find that sometimes you get involved in personal conversation with someone. Try to avoid doing too much of this. Not everyone will be interested in your personal communications, but if you do need to do this, put the @ symbol in front of their Twitter name - this indicates that this message is intended for them.
One thing to keep in mind about personal conversation tweets is that some people who are following you may not be following the person you are talking to. This means they get only half of the conversation, so try to word your tweet so that spectators have an idea of what you are talking about. This way, they will feel more included in the conversation.
A valuable tip: look at your own Tweet history (profile) - is the information valuable, does it build trust? Would you want to follow yourself?
It may take some trial and error, and you probably want to check out what others are tweeting about to get a feel for the style. But don't spend too long lurking - check it out and then get tweeting.
There are lots of plug-ins and sites that support Twitter and easy to find out about once you start twittering (watch this space).
Once you have your Twitter account set up, don't forget to let us know so that we can create a link to it from your website.
"What the hell is Social Media?" - find out by watching this 2 minute video - CLICK HERE