Jul
07

Twitter 101: Business Building using Twitter

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It might not come as a surprise that many of the world’s top CEOs still are not onboard with the whole social networking thing. What is most interesting though is the percentage of CEOs who don’t care. 2 CEOs from Fortune magazine’s top 100 companies have Twitter accounts. Does this mean that Twitter has no future in successful companies? You make the call.

According to Hitwise research, Twitter sends traffic to social networks. In fact, it can almost be considered a social networking search engine. Search engines send less than 10% downstream clicks to social network sites, while Twitter drives around 20% of its visitors to social networks. So what does this mean? If you have a blog, wiki, Flickr, Facebook account for work you should have a Twitter account as well. It therefore follows that the development of your Twitter network, you can develop your social networking platforms.

Building and Developing Your Twitter Network

Twitter networks go though stages and when comparing these stages it is not unlike cultivating a garden. When growing flowers you don’t dump tons of fertilizer and water on them, you slowly nurture them over the course of weeks if not months. Making a successful Twitter network requires time, but it does not require a large amount of work.

The first stage of your network is getting your initial 50 to 100 followers. Your account should include your picture or your company logo (if this is a company account). Your Twitter profile page should be linked to your most important site (personal blog or company site; index page, basically whatever is on your business cards). Promote your Twitter account by adding the profile to your forum, blog, and email signatures. This right here is the gift that keeps on giving. If you are already a prolific writer or social networker you don’t have any extra work to do in this aspect. When you do add tweets make them useful and timely, but do not over do it. Having no tweets and then slamming the channel with 30 tweets in a row is overkill.

Now that you have your followers it’s time to keep them. Take an active role in those who follow you and those who reply to your tweets. Follow those who follow you, if they link to places then go ahead and read them. This is all about common courtesy and since they are trying to hold on to their followers as well, you will probably find something useful. If you especially like the link, the link to it with your blog. This is networking after all

On a special note, using cool scripts to update Twitter is nice, but those who follow you on Twitter probably follow you on other social sites and having something spam multiple sites can be a put off. Essentially it tells your network they aren’t worth your time to address. If you want consolidation, then by all means using something like Ping.fm, but post separate messages on your different sites, even if you are posting about the same thing, make different messages. The extra steps will be rewarded.

Now the final stage, is basically maintenance of your Twitter network and using it in constructive ways. I want to stress that Twitter is two way street. If you want value out of Twitter you need to put value in it. Up until now, we have been interested in gaining Twitter followers and keeping them. As you go you have been discussing things that you are doing with your company, while providing useful information about yourself, your company, and things you find interesting. Now is where we kick it into high gear not just for your site, but for your followers.

How to Use Your Twitter Network

Your Twitter network should be mutually beneficial. At its most basic, Twitter can be used to direct traffic to various links and in this manner send traffic to your social networking sites. This is the obvious usage and if you are using Twitter than you should be taking advantage of this facet. However, there are many more uses to Twitter and all of them can provide quite useful for your business.

Twitter can be used to bounce ideas and brainstorm. This is especially good when you are using a private Twitter network (say for your company or maybe for a professional network). The ability to bounce off ideas around the world from something as convenient as your mobile is a very powerful thing. Along with brainstorming there are many project platforms such as Hudson that have Twitter plug-ins. So you can be alerted when a new build or version of your project is done and then talk about it with your network.

You can use Twitter to perform research. Marketing, product, technology, and company research can all be performed using Twitter in either a private or public network format. You can also use it for QnAs of which there are many examples that have worked wonders.

Most blog software allows tweets to go straight to the comment section. Blogs are already a hot topic for linking from tweets, with a little modding you build a symbiosis between linking a blog in tweet allowing you network to discuss the blog in tweets.

Twitter can also provide the ultimate in transparency in customer and company feedback. Say you had a server and you had 50 clients on it. You give them all a twitter account to hookup to, for the sake of being generic we will call it Server110. Now all your clients on that server are on the Server110 channel. If the server has a problem the technician can tweet an update here saying the server has a hard drive problem. Other people can do an @Server110 and say tweet about a support problem. In this manner, a constant line of communication between the technician and the clients is opened.

Lastly, if you watch the news, by now you know that Twitter is a great means to provide live coverage of events.

I hope by now, if you weren’t of the opinion already, you are all beginning to see the power of Twitter and why this is not something that a successful business should blow off. Instead, I challenge you all to develop your Twitter networks and find new ways for one of the fastest and most convenient ways to communicate in the world today. And while you are at drop me a line at my Twitter account, David_WHM.

Categories : Social Media

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