TWITTER MARKETING

Updated: 05/06/2009 21:25
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There has been a big surge in companies using Twitter to promote their businesses. It’s easy to jump on the latest trend in hopes that you can...

There has been a big surge in companies using Twitter to promote their businesses. It’s easy to jump on the latest trend in hopes that you can draw new customers in ever bigger numbers. But how many businesses are actually seeing results from Twitter? And how many studied the audience before starting a marketing campaign?

My guess? Too few. Every company that creates a presence on Twitter should take some time out at first. You need to watch how people interact with each other, how they use the service and what they are really there for. And you need to learn the “rules.”

While there aren’t any formal rules to much of social media, the users define what’s acceptable and what’s not. For instance, if you follow a large number of people within your first few days on Twitter, people will think you’re a spammer. That goes especially for someone who follows a big group without first creating some content.

Yes, just like you should create some content for your web site before going live, you should create some Twitter content before you start following people. Why? Because if you’re already contributing interesting and useful things, people will be more likely to follow you back (after you follow them). And blank accounts (ones without any status updates) will be viewed suspiciously.

Once you’ve submitted a few tweets, then you can start following people. Don’t just look for customers. Look for people with whom you can have a conversation. Twitter is about relationship building. Sharing ideas and information. The current trend is to share a majority of information with others and only shoot for a small number of sales-type posts.

If you only talk about yourself (your business), people will start to ignore you. But if you build trust, they’ll listen when you do have some promotional ideas to float. Direct people to the trends in your industry. Or just cool things you’ve found online. Be funny. Entertaining. Interesting.

Once you’ve built an audience, it’s easier to use your Twitter stream to tell people what your business is doing. Even users like @problogger and @copyblogger (Darren Rowse and Brian Clark, respectively) don’t just tweet links to their newest content or endeavors. They share other information that they think their readers can use or enjoy.

There’s so much to Twitter marketing that whole books have been written on the subject. But if you’re interested in additional posts about this, or any other social media, please let me know. And also include whether you want us to start with basics and explain things in detail, or assume that you know how to get started and then go from there.

Scott


About the author

Nicole Berger has over seven years experience writing and editing for online and print media. She has held various editor and associate editor positions in some of forefront independent media publications. A consistently dependable team player, I thrive in a high-pressure environment, enjoy the challenges of meeting deadlines and managing a team, and am comfortable researching, writing and editing on a wide range of topics.
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