Submitted by smrsubmissions
by Sharon Housley
Businesses can use Twitter as a marketing tool in a variety of ways. Many business owners struggle with social media as a marketing medium. At the heart of the most effective social media marketing campaigns is personal communication. Many businesses that try to manage social media may attempt to shout their message, rather than simply engaging with potential customers. Potential customers who are active in social networks will not be receptive to marketing in this fashion. The trick with social media like Twitter is to interact and engage, rather than shouting your message.
Use Twitter for the following...
Twitter can be used to secure a brand. Establishing brand identity is important to most businesses, and Twitter gives a business control over their message.
For example, the avatar used in a Twitter profile can reinforce a company's brand. Use the image normally associated with your company's brand as the avatar for your account. The Twitter profile webpage can also be customized to reinforce the company's brand identity and message.
Marketers can also monitor what is being said on Twitter about their company and brand. Simply search http://search.twitter.com using the company name or brand name. When a query about the company or service is tweeted, reply to the tweet with an offer of assistance. To make it easier to follow such mentions, you can subscribe to a Twitter keyword search RSS feed, which will then notify you each time the company or product brand is mentioned on Twitter.
Twitter can be used to let customers and potential customers know about new products, services, and promotions. Marketers can also conduct searches for questions where the company's product is a possible solution. Marketers can then reply to the queries, offering assistance where it is appropriate.
Twitter, by nature, is a viral tool. New, innovative, and interesting items are quickly broadcast and re-tweeted, helping to spread the word. Consider what elements of the company or product are interesting or unique. The more out-of-the-box they are, the more likely they will appeal to Twitter's viral audience.
Even The Playing Field
Twitter can be used to even the playing field between large companies and smaller ones attempting to compete. Small companies can personalize their customer interaction much more easily. Twitter also makes it easier to gain the attention of others. The Twitter community helps to even the playing field.
Twitter can be used to attract the attention of the press or news media. Many bloggers and media personalities participate on Twitter. As a result, the posting of your new announcements may grab their attention, and result in unexpected press coverage. Public relations professionals should tweet when they issue press releases.
Twitter can be used to get instant feedback on just about anything. If a company's development team wants to know what customers think about a potential new feature, Twitter is a great way to receive instant feedback.
Twitter can be used to develop ideas for new projects or needs that people have. Monitor the Twitter stream for the types of products or services people are routinely asking about.
Twitter can be used to connect to others in your industry. Follow professionals in the same niche or market, in order to stay in the communication loop.
Respond to Criticism
Twitter can be used to respond to criticism in a constructive and professional manner. Watch for mentions that contain criticisms of your product or service, and then reply in a helpful and professional manner. How you respond often says more than the actual criticism itself.
Twitter can be used to communicate and promote your participation in industry events, conferences, and trade shows.
Twitter can be used to provide customer service and assistance.
Twitter can be used to personal