TwitterIf you’re a microISV or startup and for some obscure reason still think Twitter and you don’t belong in the same sentence, this datum should get you attention. Read what Mo Flanagan posted over at the Business of Software forum a few minutes ago:

@shanselman tweeted a link to WindowTabs about five hours ago and I have already gotten 50 downloads and several purchases.  With AdWords, I struggle to get five downloads a day. Word of mouth marketing rules.

The good old days you could rely on Google AdWords to do your marketing for you are well and truly over.
Mo goes on to lament he’s not spending enough time on marketing. While I agree with Mo that your first priority has to be creating and improving your product or service, marketing – or to be more precise, being part of the online conversation about your product and the problem(s) it solves – had better be a priority too. Marketing has to happen or your startup will die, it’s just that simple.
Here’s two basic microISV marketing ideas: if you are not doing these basics, you are in trouble.

  • Use Google Blog Search and your RSS reader to monitor what people are saying about your product, service or company. That means creating the searches, pulling the feeds from the searches into whatever RSS reader you like (or iGoogle or a similar browser portal) and then having a recurring item on your daily to do list so you check those feeds and respond as necessary.
  • Twitter Out, Twitter In. Take your pick of desktop, web based or mobile clients, but when you rev your product, get mentioned in a blog (see above) or otherwise make a tiny bit of news, or have a bit of value to share, using your company Twitter account should tweet it. What’s a company Twitter account? See The Twitter Survival Guide for details. The “In” part of this is setting up several searches and either monitoring them several times a day in realtime or at least feeding them to your RSS reader. Now this is just basic Twitter Business Hygiene – you can’t be part of the conversation if you’re even listening to the conversation – but it’s a decent start .

Twitter is fast becoming a force you need to reckoned with. Doing so is not rocket science. It just takes first the will to stop giving yourself a pass because you don’t like “marketing” and second an hour at most to set up what you need. Try this: set up the above, commit to spending 1 hour for the next 21 workdays “marketing” and see what results you get. Then cut me a check for 5% of your increased sales! 🙂

5 Comments

  1. Another useful tool is http://sm2.techrigy.com
    they look for mentions of you on twitter, blogs, and other social media.
    It’s a free service, and seems really powerful. I just scratched the surface by searching for anything that has to do with 6zap or 6zap.com.

  2. Bob Walsh Reply

    Mark – perhaps, but I think you’ll find that useful things happen from day one: for starters, your customer on Twitter can start following you, as can others interested in your software.
    Dror – I checked out techrigy before I approved your comment – they’re home page tells you absolutely nothing about their service, and I don’t like providing my phone number. But they are legit: http://www.techcrunchit.com/2009/02/05/techrigy-indexes-1-billion-conversations-combines-real-time-alerts-with-analysis-think-google-alerts-on-steroids/

  3. Similar to what Dror mentions, Google Alerts pings you with an email any time a specific keyword appears in a new webpage, blog, group or news item — http://www.google.com/alerts. We’ve added a bunch of keyword alerts and it has been giving us some great results.

  4. “Step 1. Get 12000 followers on Twitter.” – IE spam followers?
    Followers don’t mean anything. You can collect thousands, but if they are bots or drop off it won’t mean anything to your business.
    Should have been Step 1 – Focus on providing relevant content on twitter.

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