In 2010, over 100 million users joined Twitter. It was by far the fastest growing social media channel last year...the idea of Twitter and its micro-blogging platform certainly will be an important tool going forward.

Likely you've seen Twitter in a lot of places over the last couple of years - reality shows, sporting events and other venues people look to for up-to-the-minute information are just a few. The quick micro-blogging platform of Twitter is also used by many political dissidents in countries where traditional media is heavily restricted.

In addition to these wonderful applications, many large companies and small businesses are harnessing the power of micro-blogging and Twitter to interact with customers online.

While you've probably heard of many companies like Best Buy, Pepsi and others successfully using Twitter, you're probably a little confused as to how you can make it work for you. If you're not too familiar with social media, it may be a little intimidating.

No need to worry though, Twitter, micro-blogging and social media in general are meant to be fun!

To accomplish this, the first thing you need to consider is the content of your 'tweets.' Don't make them all about you and your business - that's the quickest way to get people to lose interest.

Provide interesting content that's helpful and entertaining and don't simply use the platform to toot your own horn. Examples of content include new blog posts, company news, new products, special discounts and so forth.

Besides providing this informative content, be sure you deliver it in a personable way. Give your content and the 'tweets' announcing it some personality. If people see your content as boring, they will think your company is boring.

Next are your followers as well as the people you follow on Twitter. When becoming a follower of someone else, be sure it makes sense for you and your company...it's pretty likely they will follow you back at some point, especially if you engage with them.

As far as your followers, quality beats quantity every time.

Having a large number of followers who never engage with you is not at all beneficial. It's much better to have a smaller number of followers who engage with you regularly. Success should be measured by the quality of your relationships on Twitter, not necessarily the quantity.

But besides being a great tool to spread content around and interact with customers and colleagues, Twitter is also being used as a technical support/customer service venue. In addition to interacting with prospective customers, many companies are using the micro-blogging tool to help customers after the sale as well.

That's certainly an innovative way to harness the power of micro-blogging. Of course, each business is different so you have to decide what works for you and what doesn't.

No matter how you ultimately decide how best to use Twitter to market your business online, be sure you provide valuable content or advice and give people a reason to follow you.
January 4, 2011





Stone Reuning is president and founder of SEO Advantage, Inc., an online marketing firm and website optimization company that helps businesses turn their websites into powerful lead and revenue generation tools.

Beginning with a focus on search engine optimization in 1999, SEO Advantage now brings a full multi-disciplinary approach to each client website. Clients enjoy dominance on Google, Yahoo and Bing through a suite of unique pay-for-performance search engine optimization and online marketing services. Experts in SEO, social media optimization, online reputation management, and website conversions work hand-in-hand with small business owners and client marketing departments providing complete copywriting and creative web design support.

You'll find SEO Advantage referenced in books such as Writing Web-Based Advertising Copy to Get the Sale and the BusinessWeek bestseller The New Rules of Marketing & PR, as well as popular ebooks like The Small Business Blogging Blueprint.






Comments(15)

There is so much tempting me toward small business twitter, but I can't get past the idea of me just plugging my business and making it very tedious for my followers... Umm.

It's true that you can use Twitter in your business and to interact with your clients/customers. The think that annoys me the most with Twitter is the fact that some pleople follow you for no other reason than to get a "follow" back from you, and if you don't follow back (because you are not interested), they unfollow you quickly. I always follow people, companies etc. that I'm interested in, I don't like this "forced exchange".

But is Twitter really micro blogging? I just feel that blogs are more engaging because they share your thoughts and your consciousness with the reader, but tweets are so short can it really be engaging?
Also, do people actually have time to read all of it? Some people tweet 20-30 times a day...I would have to give up my life and work completely to follow just 2 or 3 people like that.

I think that you describe it very well when you say that these social platforms are for FUN and we have to be very cautious when we use them.

You made some decent points there. I looked on the internet for the issue and found most individuals will go along with with your websit

I agree that you shouldnt use any form of social media as a broad cast tool. best to think of it as a live chat, this way you engage and can respond to clients needs as opposed to tryinto o fore things down their throats

In addition to using Twitter to you (or your company's) advantage, it's quite important to keep up the metrics. The simplest implementation can be done via Google Analytics, as Rand Fishkin from SEOmoz recently posted a walk throughon how to set up your analytics to reflect social media interactions vs. overall traffic.

http://www.seomoz.org/blog/segmenting-social-traffic-in-google-analytics

I've always been a little sceptical about using twitter for business until recently. So this is a great insight and an opportunity to understand just how effective twitter can be for business. Great post thanks.

Absolutely...then the utility just becomes another dustbin of spam. It's easy to tell who they are though

Absolutely, keeping up with metrics is vital too. See what works, what doesn't much quicker. And make certain goals like clicks, page views, etc. Thanks for the link to SEOMoz there too

I agree that quality goes a lot further than quantity anytime.

I have found that Twitter can be quite useful as a tool for branding, reputation building and monitoring your exposure. I have used Twitter on several clients all with proven results in one case we picked up a new distributor for a client's product line.

The problem witch twitter can be the urge to use it when you don't need to. A niche company or site that doesn't or can't update content regularly is not going to benefit from having a social network account that just sits there.

Very true...you have to continuously add new content for people to remain interested. Simply creating an account will do nothing

Its all very well saying do this or that on twitter or facebook, but for a samll business owner its just too many fingers in two many pies. If I did all this stuff I would not have time to run my sites. Useful if you ever get the time though !

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Search Engine Guide > Stone Reuning > Using Twitter to your Maximum Advantage