By now, many business owners will have heard of Twitter and may even be using it, but for those of you that don’t know what it is, it’s a very popular instant messaging system that lets a person send brief text messages up to 140 characters in length that are then read by followers and others.

While many tweets (a twitter message) are of very little interest to most people (“At Starbucks having a latte…”) there are some very good opportunities for using Twitter as an element of your marketing campaign.
Having said this there are several types of people that market using Twitter. These include :-

  • those who only broadcast adverts saying for example “1000 A5 leaflets, full colour, gloss finish £45 – contact us for details”
  • those who are a little more subliminal and say things like “Only 1 HP colour laser at £450 left for sale – message us to reserve it”
  • those who appreciate the fact that Twitter is a form of social media and use it as such, interacting with their followers and sliding in the “odd advert” at the same time.

This latter group are the ones that tend to get the best results out of marketing on Twitter as they build up a rapport with their followers, chatting and passing on information about not only their products and services but also news and even re-tweeting (forwarding on) other peoples tweets if they are relevant to their followers.
For example, Streets Accountants (a firm of Accountants based in the East Midland) with a twitter account of @StreetsAcc  send out regular tweets about events and financial news in the area they cover and every so often include a tweet about their services – this goes to their 460 odd followers who, if the tweet is interesting may re-tweet it to their followers, thus increasing their initial reach.

Another example is @forestsoftware who tweet about local events and news, national news, business information and occasionally include a tweet about their own site.  This account has nearly 800 followers and often re-tweets or gets their own tweets re-tweeted and also has conversations with people using Twitter.

If you want to Tweet successfully then there are a few “rules” you need to think about and remember.

  • Although a tweet can be up to 140 characters long you really want to restrict yourself to 120 characters.  This is so that if it is re-tweeted there is space for your name on the re-tweet and the person doing the retweet doesn’t have to edit it.
  • If you are including a link put this either at the front or the middle of the tweet (if you are re-tweeted and the link is at the end it might be cut off).
  • Don’t just send out adverts, remember that Twitter is a form of social media and the important word in the name is “Social”.  You need to interact with people and build up a following.
  • Following on from the last “rule” don’t just tweet news about your business – remember that you need to involve people in conversations and very few people want to join in a “me.. me… me” conversation.
  • Try to tweet regularly, the worst thing you can do is to not tweet for a long while.  This makes people think that the account is dead (or that you have nothing interesting to say) and you will lose followers.
  • If possible use something called hash-tags in your tweet.  These are words that have a hash sign (#) in front of them and help spread the message as people can monitor and search for the tag – typical examples might be (depending on your market sector) #tax, #seo, #plumbing, #ecigs or even #marketing or #peterborough.  If you search on Twitter for words that are related to your products or service you are almost certain to find hash tags that are being used by your customers, prospects and competitors.

Of course, as well as marketing you can use Twitter for customer support – this is almost as good as the traditional form of marketing as the support is very visible to anyone that looks at the Twitter account can see the initial problem and the response.