TOPIC: Twitter Marketing
Twitter Marketing
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Love It or Hate It, Ignoring Twitter is Dangerous

Posted by Alec Hess

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Over 100 million people use Twitter every day. By using Twitter to market your company, you can build your brand image, promote what your company offers, make fans, sales and more; all in a highly cost effective way. Every size and type of company is using Twitter.

Why? Because it makes your reach and target market virtually endless; and it brings in new customers and firms relationships with existing customers. You can discover potential clients interested in what you offer and build a relationship with them. When they like you, trust you, purchase from you, they become brand evangelists and spread their positive opinion about your company.

It’s a fact that as soon as someone makes a purchase and is satisfied, their opinion of the vendor rises and they want to tell their friends and associates about their experience, wisdom and knowledge. Which part of that doesn’t work for you? Ignore Twitter at your bottom line’s peril.

It’s Easy; But Hard:

Using Twitter as a social marketing tool to advertise or promote your business is accomplished in 5 steps:
  1. Set Up: First step, set up your company account and Twitter page
  2. Search: Then you start searching for people who have interests that intersect with your business.
  3. Follow: After you have found your targeted potential customers, you follow each of them (it’s as simple as a click of a button). And don’t forget to a search for current customers and follow them as well.
  4. Listen: Now you need to listen to what they are tweeting about so you can get a sense of their attitudes and feelings. And start to learn how 140 characters per Tweet can help you simplify and strengthen any message. This is where it starts to get sophisticated; you need to devise a plan for how you are going to interact with your potential customers, as well as your current ones to encourage sales.
  5. Engage: Finally you need to start interacting directly with certain individuals using hash tags, and others more generally with status updates, announcements, special offers, contests, stimulating discussions, answering direct questions and a myriad of other clever techniques for social interaction that builds trust and stimulates sales. And gets you followers; the holy grail of Twitter marketing masters. 

Building Business One Tweet At a Time:

Using Twitter for marketing your company doesn’t happen overnight, but it also doesn’t have to cost a lot. Think of it as a marketing channel working for you on a constant low heat. The longer you use it, the more followers you’ll gain and the more brand evangelists for your company you will create.

Advice, Advice, Success:

Remember, Twitter is for people who like to announce and interact and discuss things that are important in their lives. This includes things regarding their purchasing experiences, their likes and dislikes and many other aspects that affect their quality of life. This is why it’s such a good vehicle to market your business: if you listen and interact in a gentle and helpful way, people will start to respect and like your style. This in turn will make them want to buy from you when they’re in the market for your products or services. So offer help and advice in your area of expertise, don’t hard sell. Be human and talk to people; don’t talk at them.

Remember the Basics, and Not So Basics:

  • It’s Easy to Join and Use: It takes only a few minutes to create a Twitter account and anyone that can type and read 140 characters can use it.
  • Staying Connected: Businesses and consumers can see what one another are thinking, better helping each party to understand and satisfy the others’ needs.
  • Free Widgets and Apps Download: Twitter has now made it so anyone, anywhere can download and use it quicker from any portable, mobile or desktop device. There are also tons of great apps and companies that will make your Twitter efforts more successful.
  • Posting Useful Content Can Help Build Your Brand Image: By posting many short but interesting and useful bursts of information to your followers, your business’ credibility builds. Your brand image grows by posting facts and news that help personify your company’s image.
  • Sales, New News and Updates: Since space is limited to 140 characters per tweet, these tweets are perfect for announcing sales and directing customers to your store or site. New additions to your site or new products and services are great teasers for these short messages, as well as any special offers, contests or surveys.
  • Easy To Measure and Monitor: You can see the growth and success by monitoring your number of followers, as well as if sales were generated from Twitter directing folks to your site.

The Time to Get Started is Now

Everyone is using Twitter including celebrities and politicians, young people and old, high income individuals and everyone else creating a huge information distribution opportunity for all demographics and every type of business. With all these people within reach, it’s crazy not to attempt to harness, engage and convert them into your customers.
 
Don’t be intimidated by lack of experience, naysayers or lack of time, the next tabs present the absolute best vendors to help you get started in any price range you choose. And the deals, many of them completely free, will make the introduction to and mastering of Twitter a thing of joy. Try it, you’ll like it.

Alec Hess is a marketer and small business expert as well as Principal of Full Voice Media and Vanguard Healthcare Products; and co-founder of BizSaves. His focus is on small business success and he has consulted, guided and advised many firms.
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More Great Twitter Success Stories:

Forbes: Four Steps for Making Twitter Marketing Work Mashable: 5 Proven Twitter Marketing Strategies Business Week: Comcast's Twitter Man Business Week: Twitter Do's and Don'ts
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