Twitter: A Valuable Marketing Tool?

Getty Images / Peter Dazeley

I hear the debate all the time, and no, I'm not talking about the Presidential debate - I'm referring to Twitter.

Should we consider Twitter to be a marketing tool or is it just for people who have a lot of time on their hands and have a need to jibber-jabber all day long?

I will be honest, I was an early adopter of Twitter, and then I walked away from it. I couldn't see the value. Recently, my viewpoint has changed.

Think of Twitter as a means to get instant public messages out to your audience, whether it is an audience of colleagues or potential customers.

Twitter is becoming an increasingly important platform for online communication and, yes, conversation. TechCrunch reported that Twitter is receiving 8 million unique visitors per month and about 500 million messages are posted daily.

How can we use Twitter as a marketing tool?

Good question. Let me see if I can help.

Twitter As A Learning Tool

As I mentioned, over 500 million messages are posted every day. Are you mentioned in any of them? What about your company? It might be a good time to find out. Twitter provides a search engine that allows you plug-in company names, brand names, topics, and even personal names. How is your buzz level? Are there any negative comments out there? If I were you, I'd use the search engine to check-in on a regular basis.

Today, I found out that BMW made a customer unhappy and he Twittered about it. I learned that Weather Underground has some cool iPhone applicationS and that the chocolate cake at Macaroni Grill is deadly.

All that was posted today!  So, whether you are engaging on and participating on Twitter or not, someone may just be twitting about you.

Use Twitter as a Media Outlet

You can use Twitter to post news or updates about your company or products. However, please don't do this before you become familiar with the format and etiquette of Twitter. The best way to do this is to post a link to the full content of the news or update. Think of what's valuable to your consumers and let them hear about it first on Twitter. You'll be amazed how your following will grow.

A Promotional Palace

It's not uncommon for companies to post promotions, sales, or specials on Twitter. An example would be Dell; they do it well. It's important to remember that Twitter is about conversation and breaking news, so be sure if you are posting promotional information that you make it conversational and personal. If I want an ad, I'll turn on TV.

Create Character in Your Brand

Twitter is a fantastic tool in giving your brand a voice and a personality. Being successful in Twittering, you will have to put forth your personality and a unique style. That's what makes the difference and can increase your Twitter following and make it a successful marketing tool for you.

Customer Service and Chit Chat

As you begin to use Twitter, you will notice that it's all about conversation.

It's about talking to your prospects and consumers, interacting with them. If you are not going to do this, don't use Twitter as a marketing tool, it simply won't work. Make friends, be a friend and reply. Show your followers that you want to engage and be involved with them - this provides optimal customer service and that you are, in fact, personable.

Let's Tweet, shall we?  Follow me by visiting my Twitter profile.