Springingtiger's Blog

Is Twitter a Marketing Tool?

I was having discussion on Twitter with the novelist Annalisse Mayer on Twitter @AnnalisseMayer about certain aspects of Social networking. The conversation reminded me that it is some time since I wrote anything on the subject.

I personally do not use the internet as a marketing tool, but some do, and of those some use it effectively, my concern here is primarily on whether Twitter is a marketing tool. Much has been written on the subject, but here are a few observations of my own.

On Twitter I have over 1400 followers and I follow slightly more. I have never needed to use any service to build followers, to some extent because I have no need to market, but also I have allowed my Twitter account to grow organically. Were I to use Twitter as a marketing tool then I might feel a need to “grow my list” as they say. There is a point in this, the more people who see your message the better, however if that’s all they see they will not follow for long, so you need to give them a reason to follow. Twitter is basically two things a source of information and an opportunity for self expression, in which I include sharing information that interests you. A good Twitter output will include personal stuff that show you to be a real person to whom others can relate. Your tweets should share information related to your topic of interest from various sources, share links to articles and blogs you have found, and especially retweet other people’s posts. When someone retweets you or comments on one of your tweets always reply. In amongst all this it is quite legitimate to share links to your own product as a service to your readers. If you only have 140 characters you can’t afford too long lings so use URL shorteners, Bitly is popular and has a useful sidebar. Twitter has its own shortener as do several Twitter clients some of which like Yoono, HootSuite and TweetDeck which is owned by Twitter have in built tools to make sharing easier. It is obvious you can’t say a lot about your product in 140 characters, but you can link to a blog which promotes it as well as to the product itself.

If you have a blog promoting your product a good way to promote it is to comment on other people’s blogs comments readers will then see your link and some will take a look. On WordPress whenever you like someones blog they will get a message linking to yours. You can also use pingbacks a sort of automatic comment.

I mentioned above having a topic of interest, do not be too diverse in your interests (nor too narrow) people need to see you as a reliable source of information on just a couple of things. My primary interest is Asperger’s syndrome so my posts tend to relate to that, I also post on other things such as technology, social networking, cinema and politics but to some extent they are connected to my main interest so it is likely that they may be of interest to my primary readership. When I post about Scotland I am directly posting about where I live, it is personal to me. If you have several interests you may want to open separate Twitter accounts for them as you will notice, has Dom Sagolla, I have three accounts (I had four, but one became moribund so I dropped it).

People who want to use Twitter as a marketing tool really do need to develop a plan before they start my first recommendation is read “The Twitter Book” by Tim O’Reilly (@timoreilly) & Sarah Milstein (@SarahM) – both of whom maintain a friendly and helpful presence on Twitter. The other book I recommend is 140 Characters: A Style Guide for the Short Form by Dom Sagolla one of the creators of Twitter.
A useful source of tools to use with Twitter is the article: 99 Essential Twitter Tools And Applications.

On Twitter I have over 1400 followers and I follow slightly more. That is a lot of information on which to keep an eye, and obviously it is impossible to do so, people who have deliberately built up big lists are faced with an even bigger challenge. There are two tools within Twitter itself that make your feed more manageable. The first is lists add the people you follow to lists that reflect the content for which you follow them, just open lists click on “create list” name the list then whenever you follow someone add them. I have several lists including “technology”, “autism”, “current affairs” and “Scotland”, but I do need to weed them a little. The other useful tool is the #hashtag search which you can use to follow particular topics like the Gary McKinnon extradition fight #freegary. If you want to read one person’s tweets you can do a person search either under their name or, better if you know it, their @twittername.

I would suggest to those interested in using Twitter as a marketing tool that they keep an eye on and tweet about subjects that are trending, but from their own point of interest. Your Twitter page has a display of what is trending, there used to be several dedicated search engines like CrowdEye, Trendex, and Kosmix, but they have gone. If someone is searching for “Sir Bobby Charlton”, for example, you could use that to point them towards another olympic torch carrier, or a blog that references him in a totally different context.

Recommending others is a good way to build your own list because not only will people return the favour, but every time they retweet a #followfriday, or whatever, recommendation your name goes out to their followers who may well check you out.

My final recommendation is to manage your time, social media can be time consuming so use agents like Yoono, HootSuite, and TweetDeck to enable you to post to multiple accounts at once, not only your Twitter, but also Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn etc. Also use agents to post tweets when you are not at the PC. SocialOomph and TweetDeck allow you to schedule tweets in advance this means you can maintain a constant internet presence while getting on with your life. However it is important to check back and respond to people’s reactions to your remote tweets, that’s what your smartphone’s for, but that’s a story for another day.


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Pingback by Why I Can’t Stand Twitter « A Serendipitous Happenstance

Yes… Twitter is a marketing tool! I think it can be a great (albeit at times dangerous) way to promote a business or media product.

Twitter is the social media that makes the least sense to me. I rarely ever check my Twitter feeds but I often click the ‘Twitter’ button when I read something interesting, thinking that it is an OK way to save & promote interesting articles/blog posts. I also sometimes ‘Tweet’ some of my blog posts that are not too personal. But I don’t have any Twitter strategy:-) I Tweet anything I find interesting if it has a Twitter button, except if it seem too personal, since Twitter is a wide open media.

Not that it really matters… Google Search is less private anyway and doesn’t ask before sharing.

Comment by Mados

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