Welcome to the world of new media, where utilizing social media seems essential to stay relevant and up-to-date in business. Twitter’s key role in the media mix may feel a bit tricky; however, with some strategic planning, results indicate a highly effective addition to any marketing plan.
Twitter, a social networking and microblogging website, allows users to post 140 character status updates with little limit on content. Users can also link to articles, other websites, video content and pictures. Currently, Twitter maintains 190 million users worldwide. Through the use of hashtags (#) and follow symbols (@), Twitter allows users to direct their messaging to a specific target, using groups or keywords.
Furthermore, Twitter promotes blogs through brief updates and links to outside resource pages. The ability to ‘retweet’ relevant information from other sources and pages aides in the dissemination of information to key stakeholders.
In an effort to simplify this tool, review these suggestions to help your brand gain credibility through Twitter.
1) How to “handle” a name
Just as important as a creative company name, a unique and concise Twitter handle proves essential. Your Twitter handle should reflect your company name or an abbreviation of that name. In order to avoid confusion, steer away from numbers in your handle as well as more than one underscore.
Personal Twitter accounts used for business purposes should consider a handle that references your name and industry.
2) Give them something to talk about
Utilizing Twitter to spread the word about your company or initiatives means exposing your brand. Sometimes, it’s not just what you send, but what other people say about you. Track discussion through retweets, trending topics and other forms of monitoring. Start by looking at the tab called “@Mentions.” Initiate a conversation about your company; Twitter campaigns and keywords can sometimes create more exposure than traditional marketing plans.
Create a keyword using a hashtag (#). When searching the hashtag (#) you will see a detailed list of people talking about this topic. Make sure hashtags (#) are pertinent keywords that people will use and will generate buzz about your company or initiatives. Monitor statistics about your topics on sites such as Trendistic.com or set up Google Alerts for your keywords.
3) The whole is greater than the sum of its parts
As with any marketing plan, there are many aspects, and Twitter is no different. Pairing your Twitter initiative with other outlets such as Digg, StumbleUpon, Facebook, You Tube, Flickr, an RSS feed, blogs or even Foursquare, can optimize your reach. These other social mediums enhance the content you are sending out on Twitter, diversify your tweets and in some cases utilize a call to action.
4) Sometimes it’s good to be a follower
Adding a Twitter icon to your email increases awareness of your company and provides a direct outlet to disseminate information. Anyone receiving an email from your company will be able to view this link; therefore 50 emails sent could mean 50 new followers for your Twitter account.
Research ‘experts’ in your field to follow, see what they have to say, retweet and reply to these people. contributing to the conversation also helps gain exposure for your brand.
Beware of following everyone you see on Twitter. Many believe that following someone means they will reciprocate the follow. However, this isn’t usually the case. Many companies receive irrelevant follower requests from those just looking to increase their follower count. Make sure your followers have a vested interest in your company and you both can benefit from the network of information.