Thursday, December 6, 2012

4 Ways to Use Twitter Constructively

It is so easy to waste time on Twitter.  Truthfully, most of us spend time on here to avoid doing real work, or we think that it's necessary for online marketing...but don't really know how to use it for that.  We just call it "engagement," but we really don't have the path to our goal using Twitter all that well defined.

I'm still learning Twitter, but here are four (4) uses I've been able to find for Twitter:
  1. Social Tool
  2. News Tool
  3. Broadcast Marketing Tool
  4. Market Testing Tool
Like many other things, the more I use Twitter, the better--it seems--that I am understanding it...and finding it to be interesting.

1. Social Tool

Twitter = Speed Networking

They're all good, but this one might be the MOST valuable.

Certainly it is possible to use Twitter as a goof-around social tool.  However, I look at Twitter like the ultimate speed networking group.

When I go to Follow someone on Twitter, I am essentially extending my hand and introducing myself.  Maybe they know me really well, but much more often than not, they will not know you.

You can introduce yourself by Following them.  Perhaps, they will Follow you, which means that they are willing to let what you say (Tweet) enter their personal sweepstakes of what they are willing to consider reading (in their Tweet stream).

If you take time to get to know them or respond to things they say or share, they might begin to trust you a little more.  Sometimes, public conversational exchanges become personal enough that it makes sense to send a Direct Message on Twitter.

Just like in real life, do not abuse it.  Treat things like a conversation in real life, and you will find that you will be received well a lot more often on Twitter.

Twitter gives you a chance to introduce yourself to the world.  Hopefully, your actions or what you have to say will encourage other people to WANT to get to know you better.

Does that sound any different than any other social situation?

2. News Tool

Twitter = Educational Source

Even if you never Tweet a single time in your life, theoretically you can Follow nearly everyone in the world and read what they have to offer.
  • Their thoughts about life.
  • Clever sayings.
  • Helpful Blog Posts
  • Things for Sale
  • News Events, often live as they're unfolding
  • Predictions
  • How To Articles
  • Pictures of Places, People, or Events
  • Current News Events 
  • Reviews of Products, Services, or Places
I'm sure that I'm missing plenty, but you get the idea.  Twitter lets you learn a ton about anything you want. (For instance, you can decide to Follow ONLY people who talk about parenting.)

3. Broadcast Marketing Tool

Twitter = Classified Ad Service

Unlike something like Craigslist, you have to build your own marketplace.  People cannot see your Tweets, UNLESS they are Following you on Twitter.

However, once you have many Followers, you might do even better on Twitter than on Craigslist.  Potentially, your Followers decided to Follow you for a reason.  Many people Follow, just to Follow.  (Truthfully, I started doing that.)  Although, most people want to Follow people who might provide information that is interesting to other words, you might have a topic-specific targeted customer list of sorts.

See Also: 4 Ways Twitter is Like Craigslist

You might look to recruit people to visit your website or your blog.  Then again, maybe you have something to sell that should be a good fit for most of the people who Follow you.

Be careful, though.  Like any other online classified ad service, your posts (Tweets) will not be at the top (most visible portion) of the list long.  So you have to keep posting (Tweeting).

Still, you're creating a market.  Just don't abuse it.  Otherwise, people will stop Following you, meaning that they will never see your posts, even "good" ones.

4. Market Testing Tool

Twitter = Rapid Response Market Feedback

I covered this one pretty well in my last post.

See Also: Marketing Idea: Use Twitter to Test Marketability of Headlines

On Twitter, our marketing goal is to bring people to another location, where we can spend "more time" with them than 140 characters (120 characters, if you want other Followers to ReTweet your post).

So everything is like a headline.

Just look at your own behavior.  Do you read the articles attached with EVERY headline?  Of course, not!  There just is not enough time, even if we wanted to read everything.

It is not any different for your Followers.  First, they might not be looking at Twitter when you post your Tweet.  So even the best headline will not get their attention.

Once you post something while they are using Twitter, your Tweet is competing for each person's attention with other people's Tweets.

Make your Tweets interesting.  Either make it entertaining, helpful, or seemingly interesting.  Otherwise, they will never get read.

If you want feedback really quickly, Twitter provides responses in real time.  If people are interested, you will see that immediately.  Because Twitter moves so quickly, people might not have seen your Tweet.

However, if you keep Tweeting the same thing and nobody EVER responds, you can be pretty sure that you need to find another way toward success.

If people respond immediately, then you MIGHT have found success.  You might just have gotten lucky.  Keep testing that, too.

Twitter is a great way to find what makes the market tick.  Are you listening?

Are there other ways to make constructive use of Twitter?

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