15 Mar, 2010

Using Twitter for marketing and brand promotion

Posted by: drobs In: Social Networking|Twitter

Have you heard of Twitter? It’s hard not to have if you’re marketing through the internet or even through normally daily life. Twitter is regularly mentioned on the radio and in newspapers and many websites now ask you to follow them on Twitter.

Have you thought about using it to help market your business or improve your brand? Still undecided?  We’ll Twitter is free so the only cost is going to be the time you put in and it’s unlikely to have a negative effect on your business, unless you use it to spam or annoy followers with the content or volume or your tweets (Twitter messages).

If you do decide to take the plunge and use Twitter to help market or promote your business, please consider the Twitter tips I have detailed below.

  1. Set up your Twitter account for your marketing campaign. It is worth reading our introductory guide to Twitter first as it explains the basics of Twitter and also provides the links you need.
  2. Create some tweets. After you have set up your account you should create some interesting or useful tweets. Don’t worry that no one is following you and won’t be sent them. If people find you via a search , in response to a tweet or in response to you following them and they check out your Twitter timeline, they are more likely to follow you if you have decent existing tweets. If they come across a blank timeline or one which contains nothing of interest, they are less likely to follow you.
  3. Start following others. You should target your desired audience or demographic. You could start by following the known twitter accounts of other companies or people in your field/industry or you could follow twitter accounts from a certain area. For example, we manage a Twitter account for Caversham.Info, which is a local website for Caversham, an area near Reading, Berkshire. For this we initially targeted those connected with Reading or Caversham. The idea behind this is that some of the people you follow will choose to follow you and then people check out  who they are following might see you and decide to follow you also; a kind of Twitter chain reaction.
  4. Ensure your tweets are current and topical. Twitter works by providing followers with new, current information. People aren’t interesting in old news or boring, irrelevant pieces of information. Once people choose to follow you on Twitter, you want to retain them and not get them to unfollow you.
  5. Retweet. If you send a useful or interesting piece of information, some of your followers may choose to retweet or RT your message. This means they forward it on to all their followers. Their followers will see that you created the original tweet and they may choose to follow you also. Be a good tweeter and also retweet relevant messages from others; they will appreciate it and might follow you as a result, if they are not already. Retweeting can be one of the quickest ways of building your following on Twitter.
  6. You don’t have to just send text, you can also send images or photos and link to parts of your website. People often find images more interesting than just text,
  7. Regularly check www.search.twitter.com. This brings you realtime search results and lets you see who is talking about your keyword. This might help you identify some potential followers and think of some topics for tweets.
  8. Avoid spam! The best way to lose followers, as with emails or coldcall telephone calls is to annoy them with repetitive or irrelevant messages. Consider every time you send a tweet how it will be received or how you would receive such a tweet. If you annoy someone they will unfollow you on Twitter.
  9. Create another Twitter account to assess and follow the competition. I would not recommend doing this on your own marketing account because you might send followers and ultimately customer to your competitors. However, if you follow competitors through another account you can see what they are saying and what they are doing to attract and retain followers. If there is a direct crossover, you could even try and gain followers by finding and following your competitors’ followers in the hope that they will follow you back. However, such a method is likely to be very time consuming if they have a large following and is no guarantee of success.

10.  Be patient. Twitter is no quick fix for your internet marketing strategy and requires both time and effort. Twitter should be used in conjunction with other techniques as part of your overall marketing plan. It takes time to build up a decent following and a relationship with your followers. However, you will need to keep at it and nurture it along over a period of time; it is not something that will do itself, unless of course you are a big celebrity or massive company that people will search for you directly.

11.  An unutilised Twitter account can work against you. If you are supposed to be a proactive company but those visiting your Twitter timeline see you rarely update you status or send tweets, they might not bother following you and it could create a negative impression of your company. Make sure you regularly send tweets. If you run a blog, it is possible to install an add on that will automatically tweet new posts. This is very good because it ensures you have new tweets and it draws visitors into your website by including a shortened URL of the new post.

12.  Treat your followers with respect. Where possible, respond promptly to tweets or direct messages to you from your followers. It is no different to someone trying to telephone, write or email you and receiving a very late or no response. In all situations it creates ill feeling, a bad impression of you and can lose customers or for Twitter, followers. Because Twitter is instant, many users expect a response quick that other mediums, typically within a day. If it gets to the point where you have a large following and too many messages to cope with, get someone else to review and respond to the messages.

Ultimately, you must remember that Twitter is an interactive, two-way marketing tool and you will get out of Twitter what you put in. Keep up to date with changes in trends and strategies or new tools or apps that come out. Please come back to the Gatorweb Blog for more information on using Twitter for marketing

Written by Drobs. Gator Web Design is a web design and SEO company in Reading Berkshire UK.

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