TwitterA friend of mine, Dave Collins (Shareware Promotions) has been trying to wrap his head around just what value Twitter offers for about the last month.
“I’ve been asking this question so long that my throat’s starting to hurt. So this time I’m going to throw in a reward,” Dave said in this BOS post. “How do I use Twitter for my business?”
He’s even offering a $100 Amazon gift certificate to get an answer to this question.
The long answer is The Twitter Survival Guide – but that’s for everyone and all businesses. Dave’s an expert at what he does which is designing SEO/Google AdWords campaigns that get results for software companies. So here’s what I think Twitter does as of right now for a company that provides services.
1. Establish Authority: “You’re only as good as your last byline” was a saying in the news business: now that a good chunk of the world is online, it applies to just about everyone whose business needs the Internet to exist. With Twitter, you can point to new content you’ve put up on your blog, podcast, uTube channel, forum and do the same for your best old content that people new to you have not seen. If you don’t do writing online, you can create value for other by saving them time by finding things online that are of interest to the people you want to connect to on Twitter. This is the role of the Editor I’ve posted about in the past: I rely on my Twitter network nowadays to let me know what’s going on: not RSS, seldom news (general or IT) sites, never email.
2. Get to know your customers. Like Dave, I have a foot in the service industry. Selling your services takes time and lots of interaction. It’s one thing to sell a $24.95 Windows app and another when you’re talking about thousands of dollars. Twitter lets you have that interaction quickly, efficiently, for both parties.
3. Better than Google. Twitter Search is about what people right now need, care about, are looking for. Google is about what’s out there to find – if they can find the needle in the digital haystack. That means running a set of Twitter searches as background tasks lets you find people you can help when they are actually looking for you or someone like you. Backing that up with a mini-dedicated landing page that has value, summarizes what you do and how you do it, and points to other resources that you can instantly share via a shortened (and trackable) URL might be a good idea. (Don’t know if this will work, but I’m going to try it in the next few days as I get back into things work/online.)
Help Dave out: what do you use Twitter for your business?

5 Comments

  1. Well, I think another thing that you’re doing is “giving”. If you are offering something of value, for free, you’re investing in some karma capital. Give people useful stuff, they’ll keep coming back. They may be more likely to choose you when they decided that they can use your services or products and actually pay you for it.

  2. I didn’t finish my thoughts before I hit the post button… to many distractions here.
    Useful stuff: It’s about the customers. Did you come across something that would be interested in your potential or current customer base? Tweet a link and a short description. Give a free tip that people can actually use. Pop out some interesting statistic that you came across and provoke a few thoughts.
    I started following some people who I feel have things to offer, and I quickly stopped following them when after a few days it was little more than their “status” or useless thoughts. Things like “preparing a presentation for a meeting with a client”, “Why does XYZ have to suck so badly”, “Person in the cube next to me is snoring.”
    Twittering is just “uBlogging”. It’s as useful as you make it.

  3. Bob Walsh Reply

    Mark – Exactly right – Twitter is what you make of it. Too many naysayers don’t realize this, or the growing importance of you and your company’s rep in the SocialSphere (Twitter/Facebook/Blogs).

  4. I have a tiny side business as a professional hoop dancer / provider of participatory hooping. (Think “hula hoops for grownups”). I am tweeting every time I take the hoops out to an event. In one sense, this is the above-mentioned “status” and perhaps boring; OTOH, it’s a way of letting my followers (all 17 of them) know how often someone else has a party / event with hooping as an activity. I am hoping that in time, more people will think hooping is a bit less weird and consider including me in their next outdoor, multi-generational event.
    Stay tuned. I’ll let you know if it works.

  5. Karen, the “status” that I am critical of is the one which nobody really cares about. Twitter asks, “What are you doing?” The better question should be “What do you have to say of value that your followers might actually want to hear?”
    If there is some useful reason for you sharing when you’re off to a party/activity, for either you or your followers, then it doesn’t fall into the “inane status” category that I was speaking of.
    BTW, I don’t think hula hooping is weird at all, and I recently came across this video which I think is fantastic. Maybe you should tweet it to your followers!

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