Wednesday, 1 December 2010

What Is Twitter & What Does It Do For Businesses?

Twitter is a Miniature Blog

Micro-blogging is defined as a quick update usually containing a very limited number of characters. It is a popular features of social networks like Facebook where you can update your status, but it has become best known because of Twitter.

In essence, micro-blogging is for people who want a blog but don't want to blog. A personal blog can keep people informed on what is going on in your life, but not everyone wants to spend an hour crafting a beautiful post about the vibrant colors seen on a butterfly spotted in the front time. Sometimes, you just want to say "went shopping for a new car but didn't find anything" or "watched Dancing With the Stars and Warren Sapp sure can dance."

So what is Twitter? It's a great place for keeping people informed on what you are up to without the need to spend a lot of time crafting an entire post on the subject. You just say what's up and leave it at that.

Twitter is Social Messaging

While Twitter may have started as a micro-blogging service, it is grown into much more than simply a tool to type in quick status updates. So when asked "What is Twitter?", I often describe it as a cross between blogging and instant messaging, though even that doesn't do it justice.

Put simply, Twitter is social messaging. With the ability to follow people and have followers, and the ability to have interact with Twitter on your cell phone, Twitter has become the perfect social messaging tool. Whether you are out on the town and want to coordinate with a group of people as to what hot spot to hit next, or keeping people informed of developments at a company-sponsored event, Twitter is a great tool for quickly communicating a message to a group of people.

Twitter is News Reporting

Turn on CNN, Fox News or any other news-reporting service and you'll likely see a news ticker streaming across the bottom of the television set. In a digital world that is relying on the Internet more and more for news, that streaming ticker is Twitter.

Outdoor festivals like the South-by-Southwest festival in Austin, TX and major events like the E3 conference have shown what a great resource Twitter can be for quickly reporting news to a huge group of people. Faster and more immediate than a blog, Twitter has been embraced by the "new media" of the blogosphere and has slowly won acceptance among traditional media outlets.

Twitter is Social Media Marketing

Twitter has become a favorite target for social media marketing. This new form of getting the message out has been used effectively by Barak Obama during his Presidential campaign, and is used by everyone from magazines to movie stars as a quick way to connect with an audience.

With utilities like Twitterfeed, it is easy to convert an RSS feed into Twitter updates. This makes it easy to use Twitter as a form of social media marketing.

So what does Twitter do for businesses?

Twitter is a communication platform that helps businesses stay connected to their customers. As a business, you can use it to quickly share information with people interested in your company, gather real-time market intelligence and feedback, and build relationships with customers, partners and other people who care about your company. As an individual user, you can use Twitter to tell a company (or anyone else) that you've had a great or disappointing experience with their business, offer product ideas, and learn about great offers.

  • Direct - The company uses Twitter as a marketing or public relations channel.
  • Indirect - The company's employees use Twitter to enhance and extend their personal reputations, thereby enhancing the company's reputation.
  • Internal - Employees use the platform to communicate about what they are doing, projects they are working on and ideas that occur to them.
  • Inbound Signaling - Twitter streams provide a rich source of information about what customers, competitors and others are saying about a company.

Now, you understand WHY you should use Twitter for your business - BizTwitting, but you don't know HOW and WHAT to tweet. Here are some ideas:

What to tweet:

Sales/Marketing stuff:
- time-limited sales
- coupon codes
- specials
- contests
- event sign up

General Info:
- industry news
- re-tweets
- questions
- help requests/suggestions
- personal info

Who to follow - strategic following:

- customer/clients
- staff
- colleagues in the field
- vendors
- relevant journalists
- social influencers for your field
- competitors

How to get followers:

- include Twitter URL everywhere
- write about your Twitter feed
- add linked Twitter badges to your site
- list yourself in Twitter directories (e.g.
- run contests
- use Tweetadder and MarketMeSuite to leverage your followers

What is Twitter?

This brings us back to the original question. What is Twitter? It is many different things to many different people. It can be used by a family to keep in touch, or a company to coordinate business, or the media to keep people informed or a writer to build up a fan base.

Twitter is micro-blogging. It is social messaging. It is an event coordinator, a business tool, a news reporting service and a marketing utility.

That wasn't so hard, was it?

Many thanks to Incomegate for the content of this article. If you want to stay up to date with the latest blog posts, don't forget to follow via Google Friend Connect (button on sidebar) or subscribe to our feed at:

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Enjoy the rest of the week!


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