In a previous blog post I recommend why and how to take advantage of three social networking services: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I also mentioned that I would write subsequent posts on each of these "Big Three" social networking sites, and the video sharing network YouTube. This second installment of four is dedicated to getting you started with Twitter.
So you know "sweet tweet" about Twitter? Well, according to Wikipedia, "Twitter is an online social networking service and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, known as "tweets".
Wikipedia states, in part, Twitter was created in March 2006 and launched that July. The service rapidly gained worldwide popularity, with over 500 million active users as of 2012, generating over 340 million tweets daily and handling over 1.6 billion web engine search queries per day. Since its launch, the Twitter website has become one of the top 10 most visited on the Internet, and has been described as "the SMS (Small Message Service) of the Internet. Unregistered users can read tweets, while registered users can post tweets through the website interface, SMS, or other mobile devices.
Wikipedia also indicates, "In a 2009, in a Time (magazine) essay, technology author, Steven Johnson described the basic mechanics of Twitter as 'remarkably simple': As a social network, Twitter revolves around the principle of followers. When you choose to follow another Twitter user, that user's tweets appear in reverse chronological order on your main Twitter page. If you follow 20 people, you'll see a mix of tweets scrolling down the page: breakfast-cereal updates, interesting new links, music recommendations, even musings on the future of education."
Originally, when a user opened a free Twitter account, the premise was to post tweets responding to the quintessential conversational opener "What are you doing?" on any subject you cared to promote, including your business. As of November, 2009, Twitter emphasized its news and information-network strategy by changing the question asked to users for status updates from "What are you doing?" to "What's happening?"
Undeniably, many users post frivolous tweets. Of much more serious conseqence, Twitter became the tool to communicate and promote social change during the "Arab Spring" of 2011. In terms of a business promotion tool, Twitter can provide quick and easy two-way communication between you and your target market.
I highly recommend reading 50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business by Chris Brogan, to enlighten you about Twitter as a legitimate marketing strategy. Brogan's article states, “Step 1. Build an account and immediately start using "Twitter Search" to watch for your name, your competitor’s names, or words that relate to your products. (Listening always comes first.) “Twitter can provide almost instant feedback about your industry that you might miss otherwise. Hint: there are 49 more good ideas in Brogan's article. So pucker up and start "tweeting". What have you got to lose?
You are invited to ask questions and/or to post a comment in the space below regarding your experience with using Twitter for business or to point out other advantages and disadvantages not mentiond here.
I highly recommend that you increase your business marketing strategies by tapping into the "Big Three" social networking services: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. We will also touch on YouTube, the very popular video sharing Web site, that lets anyone upload short videos for private or public viewing. There are many others, of course, but arguably these are the “top four” web based services, which can help promote your business to your target market. Best of all, they’re FREE!
What exactly is a social networking service?
- Wikipedia (an on-line dictionary) defines social networking services as, “…an on line service, platform, or site that focuses on building and reflecting of social networks or social relations among people, who, for example, share interests and/or activities. A social network service essentially consists of a representation of each user (often a profile), his/her social links, and a variety of additional services. Most social network services are web based and provide means for users to interact over the Internet, including e-mail and instant messaging.
- One popular use for this new technology is social networking between businesses. Companies have found that social networking sites are great ways to build their brand image. According to Jody Nimetz, author of Marketing Jive, “There are five major uses for businesses and social media: to create brand awareness, as an online reputation management tool, for recruiting, to learn about new technologies and competitors, and as a lead generation tool to intercept potential prospects. These companies are able to drive traffic to their own online sites while encouraging their consumers and clients to have discussions on how to improve or change products or services.”
But, isn’t Social Networking just a fad?
The website www.graphicsms.com/blog/877-social-networking-statistics-2010/ lists the following data: (Note: these are the published statistics for 2010)
- 47% of online adults use social networking sites and 73% of teens and young adults are a member of at least one social network.
- The global average time spent on social networking sites is now nearly five and a half hours per month.
- The active US-based social network audience grew roughly 29% from 115 million in February, 2009 to 149 million in February
Facebook: has more than 400+ million active users, with over 1.5 million business pages, with the average user spending more than 55 minutes per day on their site.
Twitter: has 24+ million unique visitors per month, with 50 million tweets per day, and 11 % or 33.8 million US online adults use this service.
LinkedIn: has 60+ million professional members worldwide, including all Fortune 500 companies.
And then, there’s YouTube:
The website http://www.website-monitoring.com/blog/2010/05/17/youtube-facts-and-figures-history-statistics/ lists the following data:
- YouTube exceeds 2 Billion views per day (Nearly double the prime time audience of all 3 major US broadcast networks combined).
- More videos uploaded to YouTube in 60 days, than all 3 major US broadcast networks created in 60 years.
- 24 hours of video are uploaded every minute.
- The average user spends 15 minutes per day on YouTube.
- 70% of the traffic comes from outside the US .
But, isn’t Social Networking a huge “time-suck?”
Yes, you will have to invest time and effort (but importantly – no money) to use these marketing tools effectively. Can you afford to ignore FRE on-line marketing tools when the user statistics are so staggering? Wouldn’t you rather be moving forward with these trends than standing by and wondering what all the “buzz” is about? Today’s business environment is highly competitive and to survive and thrive you need all the help you can get.
I will devote my next four blog posts to providing more depth about each of the "Big Three" Social Networks and YouTube, how they differ and how that will help you to use them to your advantage for your business. Until then, happy social networking!
As always, you're invited to comment on this post below (and any others).