Social Networking - Tapping into Twitter's 500 million users
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.