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If someone had told us a few years ago that Twitter would be an incredible marketing tool for businesses, the thought probably would have been dismissed almost instantly with a bit of eye rolling to go with it. Today, according to recent statistics, there are 200million Twitter users and 77 per cent of the world’s largest organisations contribute towards this amount. Crazy. Social media marketing has become the hottest trend in the business world and Twitter is starting to have a lot of real impact as it’s being seen as a serious business tool. Who would have thought?
Twitter is now a leading PR and marketing tool for businesses and the best thing about it is that it’s free! We seriously can’t complain. For those who don’t really know much about Twitter (shame on you), we will quickly get you up to speed! Twitter is a free online microblogging and social networking site that enables users to read and send "updates" of up to 140 characters, otherwise knows as tweets.
Now back to how Twitter can help your business. These tweets can be useful for a company in the sense that they can be seen as short marketing messages providing instant information. These messages can range from creating contests and advertising promotions to posting interviews and other brand related links. Better yet, Twitter is becoming easier yet more beneficial to use thanks to an increasing amount of tools and applications.
However saying that, only knowing what Twitter allows you to do is just a basic foundation to the real deal. Businesses need to know why and how they can use Twitter to their advantage, and so first, we shall start with the "why" part of it.
One of the biggest advantages of using Twitter is that you can engage with customers like never before. The social networking site is not about advertising or selling. It’s about relationships – social media is relationship marketing. Simple. Twitter does a great job of maintaining the relationship between the company and the consumer as it allows a business to have a one-on-one relationship with customers. Strong relationships are established and this is what organizations want.
Through Twitter, you not only can reach a range of target audiences, but you can also connect to a mass audience, even via text messages! Yes that’s right – Twitter users can choose to receive Tweets via SMS from people they follow and so if a company or brand tweeted about an event or promotion, followers would hear about it instantly, keeping them constantly updated! Businesses can even use Twitter to improve customer service. There have previously been examples of organizations sending dissatisfied customers a little treat via Twitgift.
Twitter allows a company to really engage with customers, adding brand value and enhancing their brand experience. Customers can ask questions, give their opinions and stay constantly updated with the company’s activity. Let’s say that a fashion brand was to introduce a new line of products, for customers to know about this straightaway would be a great advantage. Twitter is simply an easy way to conduct direct customer service. The company is happy, the customer is happy – it’s a win-win situation. If you think about it, if the customer realizes that your company is putting them first, they will put your company first. You can’t argue with that.
As well as interacting with customers, Twitter has many other advantages. One important aspect is that the site allows you monitor and keep track of all competition. Yes that’s right – it’s the easiest, cheapest and most effective way to spy on the enemy. It’s also the most comfortable! As long as you’re at a coffee shop with impeccable wireless access, you can relax while you spy away! The use of celebrities can also be used to a business’ advantage. Celebs have always made good use of Twitter to connect to their fan base. However the power of Twitter for celebrities is extending far beyond their own work and into supporting other businesses. Celebs can endorse companies or brands by using the "hashtag" tool, tweeting or by simply following them on Twitter.
As for the "how" part, it’s very straightforward. Create-a-twitter-account-and-only-talk-about-my-business is not a strategy that should be used. You need to listen, learn, care, engage and serve. Like any marketing tool, you won’t see the results overnight. It is a gradual process as you need to be creative and build a community around the company’s twitter presence.
Using Twitter to help your business is easy, cheap and powerful. Today, a company can have an active and effective Twitter account by literally managing it for 10 minutes a day. Think about it – in the time it takes you to go to the toilet or grab a cup of coffee, someone working with social media in your company can check and update the Twitter account and then come back to it the next day.
And that’s how you can empower your business today. It’s as easy as that.