According to Mashable, The Social Media Guide, Twitter saw a 752% growth in 2008. It’s no wonder everyone seems to be jumping on the bandwagon.
There are many benefits that come with proper Twitter usage:
• Reinforce your brand and increase awareness by linking your Twitter account with all of your other web outlets.
• Check your Google Analytics; Twitter is a direct source of traffic.
• Network with like minded professionals, potential customers, and other local businesses.
• Tweets are now indexed in Google; we smell potential for organic Google traffic!
What a lot of people don’t realize are the practical uses of this valuable tool. Many businesses recognize the potential with this platform and yet after creating an account, have no clue what to do. It’s important to know about Twitter etiquette, hashtags, practical applications, and more.
Before getting started, there are a few things to remember.
Does your Twitter engage your customers?
The first instinct of many business owners using Twitter is to just spam deals and promotions thinking it will draw in more customers. Steve Schwartz, the creator of the How To Use Twitter for Business Video Series, makes a good analogy. In Part One of Steve’s Three Part video series, he says to think of Twitter like a cocktail party. You wouldn’t stand there yelling out promotions for your business, but you would engage people by talking to them. That leads to the three steps of successfully using Twitter for business which are Listen, Follow, and then Engage.
The first thing Steve’s videos recommend is to install a third party platform to manage your Twitter account. We recommend TweetDeck or HootSuite; the video refers to TweetDeck however, which makes it more convenient to reference. Tweetdeck makes the Twitter interface much more user friendly, it’s free, it automatically shortens your URLs (good to stay within the 140 character limit), and it links your pictures to a hosting service. Everything mentioned here is further elaborated upon in Steve’s awesome videos.
A few more things to remember that will help Twitter success include:
• Make your Twitter profile design and name similar to your main website’s design; this is important for branding.
• Advertise your Twitter on your web site in a visible location, as well as for your blog and other social media sites.
• Consider making your updates cross platform, so all of your profiles are updated at once. There are trade offs to this approach, however, so make sure that it’s the correct approach for your business if you pursue it.
Once you jump start your Twitter account, the next step is to measure it’s impact. There are many analytic software programs out there similar to Google Analytics. I’d recommend checking out Quantcast or Twitter Analyzer.
Once you get some followers and become more comfortable with the tweeting lifestyle, you should consider other third party applications. Here are a few you should check out. Please comment with any others you find!
• Klout – You can measure your Twitter influence with your Klout score, see what people are talking the most about, and keep an eye on trends.
• TweetSpinner – This site offers effective tools such as profile rotation, anti-spam software, Customer Relationship Management, scheduling with automatic updates, and much more.
These basics will help you capitalize on Twitter and in time you’ll see the benefits that social media can deliver.