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15 Business Benefits of Using Twitter
Sunday, July 12, 2009
In the past, we have discussed the business benefits of using Facebook, now let's examine the business benefits of using Twitter. The micro-blogging sensation Twitter is still popular with many and recently hit mainstream as celebrities and athletes, in addition to the early adopters are using the 140 characters to communicate and send updates to the world as to their status and upcoming events. People are using Twitter to stay connected to the world in real-time. Whereas in the past people used newspapers or TV or radio to "get informed", the results were not always in real-time. Twitter allows people to find information in real-time. This can be beneficial to not only individuals, but businesses as well.

There has been a lot of discussion about Internet-Speed lately. Gord Hotchkiss of Enquiro illustrated an example of Google's Jim Lecinski discussing Internet Speed when he defined Internet Speed as:
Internet Speed Defined
Jim Lecinski from Google’s Chicago office has a chart he loves to show in client presentations. It slaps you upside the head with the reality of “internet speed”. He first recounts a typical conversation with a client that falls squarely in the first category of “getting it”.
Jim: “What are you doing with your online campaigns?”
Client: “Oh, we have a lot happening. We’re expanding our keyword list next quarter and we’ll optimize that campaign over the following quarter. In Q3 and 4 we’re going to run some experiments with social media that we’re excited about. For the next fiscal, we’ve built more into the budget for better tracking and attribution. That will help as we move to cross channel optimization because we’ll get great data showing us what’s working and what’s not. That will also allow us to step up our landing page testing and optimization.”
Jim: “So, you’ve got your plans set out for about 18 to 24 months ahead?”
Client: “You bet. We’re moving very quickly.”
Then Jim shows them the Google Trends graph that reminds them that both YouTube and FaceBook went from zero to Internet domination in under 24 months. Further, few people had heard of Twitter 12 short months ago.
That’s Internet Speed.
That’s “Getting It”.
The YouTube, Facebook and Twitter examples all represent products and environments that leveraged Internet Speed. These examples are three of the most successful businesses that have used Internet Speed to their advantage. I digress, but you can see the importance of Internet Speed and the need for information in real-time (which is easily obtained by services such as Twitter).

15 Business Benefits of Twitter

For businesses, there are a number of benefits to using Twitter. Many of which deal with the real-time gathering of information. Here are some ways that businesses should be leveraging Twitter.
  1. Participating in Industry Conversation - your target audience and/or potential prospects are on Twitter where they may be discussing their frustrations or are communicating positive experiences. Why not be a part of that? Participate in the conversation when it makes sense to do so. Thinking of Twitter as the newest type of social mixer to engage with your industry.

  2. Brand Awareness - businesses can use Twitter to keep their brand top of mind. Whether you are Gene Simmons (@genesimmons) promoting an upcoming Kiss concert in Windsor, Canada or Toys R Us (@ToysRUs) promoting the latest Transformer toys, Twitter allows a business to keep their brand out there for people to engage with.

  3. Use Twitter to gain Competitive Intelligence - hey guess what? Your competitors are on Twitter. As a result you might want to consider monitoring their tweets from time to time to see what they are working on. Perhaps they are preparing to launch a new product or are opening a new branch. Heck maybe they are going through massive layoffs and an opportunity presents itself to acquire them or at least hire some of their laid off employees. Twitter can be a great environment for monitoring what the competition is doing. It can also be a great way just to see how your competition is using Twitter themselves. Perhaps you can pick up a tip or two.

  4. Engage with your target audience - Twitter allows you to interact with potential prospects and your target audience. While you do not want to be "in their face" all of the time, Twitter does allow you to engage with these people by re-tweeting their posts or responding to something that they may have tweeted about, which leads us to ...

  5. Online Reputation Management - information on Twitter breaks quickly. The reported death of Michael Jackson on June 25th, was one example of this. Businesses can use Twitter to monitor what is being said about their brand almost in real-time. If someone had a negative experience with your brand, chances are they may tweet about it. If so, work to address the issues and communicate the fact that you are doing so. Remember Twitter is a social environment so transparency and honesty can be a good thing.

  6. Promote your Blog Content - if your company has a corporate blog or various blogs, you can use Twitter to promote your blog content. Heck you can set up a feed to automatically post your blog post URLs directly to Twitter.

  7. Twitter and Mobile - because Twitter is so simple to use and is limited to 140 characters, mobile use with Twitter is also easy. You can both send and receive updates what you and your friends are doing on the go using a simple SMS. Twitter can be a great mobile communication tool. As we know in business, this can be a pretty powerful thing.

  8. Understanding Tool - Businesses can use Twitter as an understanding tool to learn what their desired target demographic is saying and looking for. For example, if you are a brand that targets a younger target market, just by listening to their conversation via Twitter, you can learn what their latest interests are and what’s the next shiny new object that they are looking to latch on to.

  9. Feedback Mechanism - launching a new product? Perhaps you are launching a new website? Businesses can use Twitter to obtain instant feedback on these items and as a result make any necessary changes before the formal launch. This feedback can be invaluable and by using Twitter, it is free!

  10. Promotion - of course you can use Twitter as a promotional tool to announce offline endeavors or upcoming online events (webinars, virtual tradeshows etc). If you are an e-commerce site, perhaps you have a deal of the day where you can promote these deals such as how Toys.com is currently leveraging Twitter @toysdeals. The fact is you do not want to be too promotional, but Twitter does present the opportunity to promote your products or service and brand to your friends.

  11. SEO Boost - if you have great content on your website and you want to drive additional traffic to this content on your website, you can use Twitter to do so. A quick tweet with the URL can help drive additional traffic to a preferred landing page on your site to help coax the conversion on your site.

  12. Ask Questions Receive Answers - those who do not ask will not receive. As a business, perhaps you are looking for a specific answer to a question that you have. Maybe you are looking for some industry stats. You can use Twitter to pose the question and if the question is engaging and if your friends are remotely interested in the same question, you should receive a response. Twitter is a social community and usually these social communities are tight knit. Someone is bound to answer your question and at least point you in the right direction.

  13. HR Tool - while this may not be the best way to go about your hiring practices, you can tweet about your HR needs and link to relevant job postings on your site via Twitter. You just might receive some additional interest that you may not have otherwise had.

  14. Press Release / News Management - Have a major announcement? Use Twitter to promote your press releases and to communicate company news. Remember our earlier discussion on Internet Speed? News travels fast online, Twitter is another information super-highway that can help communicate news quickly.

  15. Internal Communication Tool - while not many businesses think to do this, but you can use Twitter as an internal communication tool within your business. There are various ways to do this. Of course one of the best examples of this is Zappos, who encourage employees to tweet. http://twitter.zappos.com/. Again the timeliness of the information plays a key role in using Twitter as an internal communication tool. While we have instant messaging, using Twitter to communicate internally can also be an effective way of sharing information within. Of course there are pros and cons to this, but use your discretion.
Twitter has become this new darling of the Internet. However "it's not just for kids anymore...". Businesses can leverage Twitter as an effetive listening and communication tool and use the power of Internet Speed to gather and share information. The digital world can be a great place to be.

Visit Marketing Jive on Twitter @marketing_jive

Twitter Tips - http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/may/08/socialnetworking.twitter

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posted by Jody @ Sunday, July 12, 2009  
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About Me
Name: Jody
Home: Kelowna, BC, Canada
About Me: SEO guy by day, family man 24/7.
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