twitter birdA few people have questioned my use of Twitter as a marketing tool – they see it as lightweight and trivial.  “Isn’t it just for kids to chat with their friends?” they query.  Yes, kids do use Twitter to chat to their friends, but it’s far from the full extent of its potential.

  • Presenters, DJs and big media organisations – like the BBC – use Twitter to promote programmes, gain momentum for their programmes (watch the @dancingonice and @strictly feeds when a show is on).
  • Sports teams and individuals use it to connect with their supporters
  • Celebrities use it to engage with their fans
  • Corporates use it to keep an eye on what people are saying about them – and to deliver great customer service
  • Business people use it to build their profiles and share their knowledge

There are many more uses, but it’s a long way from just being kids texting on steroids.

So, how could you use Twitter to help your business?

Step one – get an account and complete your profile.

Step two – follow people who interest you and who follow the gurus in your industry – and keep doing this regularly.  Include your existing network.

Step three – create good quality content that shares your knowledge and post regularly.  Don’t be afraid to reuse posts over time.

Step four – ensure your Twitter ‘follow’ is on your email signature, website, business card, social media profiles etc.

Step five – visit your Twitter feed at least daily and interact with people.  RT posts you find interesting or amusing (but remember to keep your business reputation in mind); reply or comment on posts; read blogs that interest you (via the link in the post) and RT the link, or Like on Facebook.  This shouldn’t take more than 5-10 minutes a day and is part of your marketing activities.

Step six – get smart and use some of the tools available to short cut and automate your posts – but never forget that a broadcast only approach will not win you followers.

What can you expect as a result?

It’s not a quick fix, but over a period of months, if you’re consistent, you’ll find your profile is more visible and more people are aware of you and what you do.

  • People who already know you – perhaps distantly – will be reminded of who you are and your expertise.  Next time they want what you do you’ll be right in front of them.
  • People who have experienced what you do will find it really easy to refer and recommend your services to others.  There are numerous posts along the lines of ‘Does anyone know a good … ?’
  • You’ll demonstrate your expertise across a much wider area than most people may be aware of.  It will reduce the instances of ‘I didn’t know you did that!’
  • You’ll build a valuable PR machine that, when you have a special offer or launch a new product you can tell your Twitter audience and find it spreads virally and quickly – as long as you don’t overuse this.

It takes a bit of time to set up – but once everything is in place, it’s easy to maintain and, long term, will give you the kind of reputation and visibility you can’t buy.