I avoided Twitter, made fun of it and repeated stories I had heard from people I know losing friends to “twittering”; they no longer could share a car ride, enjoy a meal or even simple conversation because their friend was so obsessed with the latest “tweet.”
When Twitter first became popular I shared this sentiment:
“What could be more annoying and less useful than a site where thousands of people are given 140 characters to shout out about what they’re doing at every moment of the day? The amazing thing is that enough people out there think this mindless stream of ephemera (“I’m eating a tangerine,” “I’m waiting for a plane,” “I want a Big Mac”) is interesting enough to serve as the basis for a viable advertising platform.”
But after fellow marketers I respect reintroduced me to Twitter as a tool to complement their present strategies, I took notice and soon began to see the advantages of the “follower.” I was hooked.
Here’s what I learned. Created in 2006, by Jack Dorsey, Twitter is a free online service that allows you to broadcast short messages (140-character limit) to your friends or “followers.” You too can specify your own list of people you want to follow. Many think of Twitter not so much as a social network, but as an information network. It tells people what’s happening in the subjects they care about as it is happening in the world. Steph Korey
Twitter is an invaluable tool for any social marketing strategy and is one of today’s hottest new trends on the Internet. Not sure if it’s for you? Even Microsoft’s founder and the world’s richest man, Bill Gates, has a Twitter account. You can start following him at @BillGates. Oprah tweets, celebrity Ashton Kutcher even beat CNN’s breaking news feed and was the first Twitter account with one million followers.
Still, with its incredible popularity and growth, many in the marketing world continue to debate whether Twitter is a total time vacuum or a marketing tool you can’t live without. I believe its value is based on how you chose to use it.
Personally, I’m not one to chatter with friends via texting or glued to current media events via my cell phone. I still like the phone and of course emails. But I have found that Twitter is an important part of my overall social marketing strategy.
Everyone uses Twitter differently. So what’s the big deal; how should you be using Twitter in your marketing strategy? For over a year now, many have claimed that Twitter is the #1 traffic builder for their blog. I do see the spikes in traffic from cross-linking my posts to Twitter.
Twitter is an opt-in world, so if you don’t find someone’s tweets interesting, you simply stop following that person. Originally, I used Twitter to have a following that shared a common interest about new articles I was posting on my blog concerning Internet Marketing. Later, I found myself not only using it as another outlet for exposure, but also as a marketer it was useful to follow market leaders, competitors, bloggers, speakers, and authors in my niche. It became a great way to follow people I found interesting and wanted to keep up with. Twitter is like a cyber press release, but only from the people whose news you care about.