lot of my contemporaries still don’t get Twitter (TWTR) and other social media. Heck, some of them still struggle with email. It’s a sad state of affairs, but then, I have always been an early adopter and slightly ahead of my friends on anything internet related. Twitter, after all, is simply a one-to-one communications platform built around conversations. With over 310 million users and 10,000 new followers a day, it can’t be ignored.
While Twitter is becoming more and more accepted by business, more than 30% still are not using it. Twitter is easy to navigate and you can ‘get it ‘ within minutes of joining. Check some easy terms about Twitter here. I wrote an article on Social Media & It’s Impact on Business, but thought I’d get more specific as to why you should be on Twitter.
- Targeted Followers — While some Twitter accounts with high followers acquire them nefariously, and some are fake accounts or frivolous, I know where my followers come from, who they are, the business niche they are from, what time of day is best to reach them, and what content appeals to them. My target is entrepreneurs, small business and those influencers around them.It is very important to decide, then target, which demographic you want to follow you and interact with. With a strategic plan, you can reach a very targeted segment of your market. These people are your customers. Your Twitter account can easily be managed in 15 minutes per day.
- Immediacy — Michael Jackson’s death more than seven years ago was first reported on Twitter, and social media took Obama to the US Presidency. It’s not only relevant; Twitter is your immediate news source. When the Arab Spring was happening in Egypt, only Twitter feeds were getting relayed out of the country. Twitter even signed a deal recently with the NFL to livestream their football games. Imagine, with a powerful resource at your fingertips why isn’t your company maximizing your marketing programs?
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- Be careful what you ask for, Customer Service — I had a bad experience at a large hotel chain in Canada and expressed my dissatisfaction through my blog and Twitter. Twitter reached the ears of the President of the international hotel chain, and he called me on a holiday to see if there was something he could do to fix the situation. You may have heard similar stories like this, and the truth is that companies must be vigilant to see what is being said about them on places like Twitter, Yelp and Foursquare. Remember, Twitter is immediate and all reaching.I’ve noticed that websites are not putting company phone numbers on their sites. If you are doing this, you better have someone monitoring and responding to customer complaints because those complainants can be very vocal.
- Corporate Blog — I love my blog. People read it, and though they don’t comment much, I see the stats. People come by, stay a few minutes and hopefully get some good tips. I use Twitter to ‘feed’ my blog. I write a piece and link it to my Twitter feed, of course it helps when you have a few hundred thousand followers. According to Hubspot, 47% of people who follow a brand are more likely to visit the company’s website therefore giving you the opportunity to sell them your products.
- Reach — How many people can you directly connect to personally per day with the telephone: thirty? How about in person: ten? With Twitter you can connect with up to 1000 new people per day. Your Twitter reach is also exponential when you consider they have followers who will see your posts.
- Your Brand — 77% of Twitter users feel more positive about a brand when their Tweet has been replied to.A very few years ago I was a ‘traditional’ marketing guru with a small boutique ad agency in Vancouver. The internet took it away but gave it back to me in the form of social media. Now I am more of a branding expert. Twitter can get your name or product out to the masses and if you do it right, people will take notice. I get a kick out of some of my clients getting noticed by their twitter handle at conferences and conventions because I have branded them.
- Traffic — When I say traffic, I mean people coming to you and your business through more than your blog. Twitter can funnel people to your various landing pages with enticing offers so you can build your ‘list’s, to your Facebook pages and any link you want to put out there. Affiliate marketing is a good place to use Twitter traffic.
- Networking — I have had numerous radio, podcast and webinar interviews over the past few years, and all of them come from my Twitter-verse. If you engage people and put compelling material out to your Twitter followers you will make great connections. I used to go to weekly Meetups and networking events in the physical world. I rarely go now because of the reach I have on Twitter. I can engage the world all at once and pick and choose who I want to continue a ‘conversation’. I’m not saying those one on one connections are not fun and necessary; I’m saying it’s great to go to a Meetup to learn rather than trying to sell people things.
- Communities — With Twitter, you can create your own list of like-minded people, use #hashtags to aggregate topics and form associations with other people based on interest. If you have a compelling product or service you can create a group around it to share updates. A further use of Hashtags is to connect with your niche ‘influencers’. These are people who are in your business as colleagues, competitors providing information on your field of expertise. The information you can glean from influencers can improve your own offering.
- Sharing — I tell struggling clients to find a venue to express their opinions because with a venue like a newspaper column; whether it’s the ‘old’ physical kind or an online column you instantly become an ‘expert’ in the eyes of the viewers. Reaching out to your Twitter followers and others with tips in your area of expertise gives you credibility to a vast number of people.
- Prospective Clients — Twitter is great, in that, when you reach a certain critical mass people follow you with little effort on your part. I have about 3000 new followers a week all of whom are seeing my brand for the first time. Where else can you get that kind of exposure?
- Lurkers — The term used for those Twitter users who don’t say much but read everything and are active but just don’t engage with anyone. They can surprise you when you hit a chord to which they are compelled to respond. I know people read my blog posts but very few leave comments. I know they are there and what sources compelled them to visit me through Google Analytics (GOOG) so I am content for them to engage if and when they want.
- Ask for Help — A couple of weeks ago I needed help finding a supplier for a minor, but necessary, component of a product I am working on. I could have joined a forum or searched the Internet but instead I asked my followers. Within a few seconds I had a US supplier and a solution to my problem — again far-reaching and immediate. Imagine asking your Twitterverse advice about a new development in your product or service or a service you want to test. They will give you feedback either good or bad, in fact since it sometimes seems anonymous, people are more inclined to give you honest feedback. Consider Twitter one of your in-house research tools. If nothing more, you will get your name out there.
- It’s FREE — Guerrilla marketing made famous by Jay Conrad Levinson includes low or zero cost promotion through a network of individuals, groups, or organizations working to popularize a product or idea by use of such strategies as flash mobs, viral marketing campaigns, or internet marketing. To me, Twitter is the best form of guerrilla marketing out there and while I have never paid a cent for my following I have made some serious money from my clients.
- The World is in Your Hands — My main source for followers are in Canada and the US only because I target those two countries, but I have followers from every country in the world. My business comes from Canada and the US but I have mentored people in Africa and Asia. How would they find my business if not for Twitter? It’s not like I’m on CNN or something, lol.
- The Agent of Change — There’s an adage that ‘it takes a community to raise a child’ and in the same vein we all feel that change needs to be done by the masses, like the Arab Spring in 2011. I can tell you from my personal experience that with Twitter, one person can make a difference. Through Twitter and MP in Canada’s parliament, I helped pass Bill C470 making Canadian charities finances transparent on their websites.
Do you feel compelled now to ramp up your Twitter and other social media platforms? Twitter is here to stay and if you were an early adopter — good for you. For the best results someone better be dedicated at your company to manage your Twitter account. There is time if you are a business just joining the Twitterverse but your window is closing. What’s holding you back?
Gary is the Adjunct Professor of Social Media Marketing at the New York Institute of Technology(Vancouver Campus), MBA School of Management
Check out my new Book, “Social Media Rockstar- Social Media Marketing for Entreprenewurs & Business” on Amazon
Originally published at www.garybizzo.com on March 10, 2018.