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How Can Twitter Help My Business?

How Do I Get Started?

How Can Twitter Help My Business?

     Twitter, a microblogging service and social networking tool located online at, is currently taking the World Wide Web by storm. Accessible via the Web or the latest generation of smart cell phones and PDAs, Twitter stands for "Typing What I'm Thinking to Everyone Reading." The service allows its users to type quick entries of 140 characters or less that are updated in real time. These entries, called "Tweets" are visible online immediately.

     A Tweeter's audience consists of "followers," other Twitter users who have subscribed in order to receive updates. These updates show up on that Twitter user's homepage as they are added. Many popular Tweeters, including celebrities, news services like CNN, and high-profile bloggers in a number

of arenas, from Tech to Entertainment to Politics, have thousands or tens of thousands of followers being updated on every single Tweet.

     While Twitter began as a purely social tool, allowing friends to follow each other online and know what was going on in each other's lives, as soon as it began gaining traction in the world of the social Web, businesses began to take advantage of Twitter as well. From running advertisements and promotions on

new products or deals to reputation management and responding to customer queries, online businesses use Twitter for a number of purposes. Figuring out how you might want to use Twitter for your business is important before registering an account.

Should I Use Twitter for My Business?

     There is no hard and fast answer as to whether or not a business should be on Twitter. Setting up a Twitter account "just to be on it" is not useful. A business that has a Twitter account but does not regularly update with information regarding the business itself, products or services the business offers,

or related industry news, could be viewed as a spammer. If you are going to be on Twitter, it is important to update regularly.

     If you have the time to devote to Twitter, though, it can be a very useful tool. One of the innovations of Twitter is its real-time search function, which allows for keyword searches that bring the most recent updates immediately. This means that a business can search its company name, brand, products, or

industry keywords and immediately find out what people are saying, right now, about their business. If you stay on top of what people are saying about your business, Twitter is a great way to respond directly to demand, questions, and complaints.

     In addition, offering content is a key aspect to maintaining a Twitter presence. If your company has a blog, posting links to new and updated articles on Twitter can be a great way to bring in readership, and, possibly, leads. In the new World Wide Web, social media and networking are changing the way

people do business. Providing good content and information that people who are regarded as authorities-be they search engines, high-profile bloggers, or Tweeters with a large number of followers-regard as useful is the key to maximizing your business' impact on the social web, be it on Facebook, Digg, or Twitter.

     Once you have decided how you might best utilize Twitter to help your business (publishing industry news or helpful content, answering questions about products/services, etc.) you are ready to begin.

Getting Started

     To take advantage of Twitter, a business must have a profile. There is a link to join from Twitter's homepage, or you can skip straight to Businesses or individuals are required to provide the following:

                    Full Name (Company Name if not an Individual)

                    Username (Should be related to Company Name)


                    Valid Email Address

     Once this information is validated, you will be taken to a page to fill out your profile. There, you can add a location, a URL (should link to your business' current website, or, even more specifically, a company blog), and a Bio (should contain company information). Once the profile is set up, it is time to begin Tweeting, as well as following other Tweeters.

     Once your company's Twitter profile is set up and you have Tweeted a few times, it is a good time to begin building an audience of followers. This should be done both on Twitter by searching for company-related keywords and following people who are Tweeting about your business or industry and off.

Gaining an audience of followers on Twitter from your current and potential client base can be done ina number of ways:

                    Link to your company's Twitter in all email

                    Link to sign-up landing page from Twitter account

                    Use Twitter content in email newsletters

                    Post links from newsletter articles on Twitter

                    Present instructions for signing up for Twitter to your customers

                    Use Twitter to talk about recent press releases, forum posts, case studies, blog entries, etc.

     Services like Twilert ( and EasyTweets ( allow you to track searches of your name, brand, products, relevant keywords and more. These can help you track the buzz surrounding your brand. The result is the ability to respond to current and potential clients in real time while continuing to build your base of followers.

Social Media Relations: It's Not Media Relations

     In the past, getting news and new information about your brand out meant buying, begging, and bugging (advertising, press releases/public relations, selling). In the world of the Social Web, new rules apply.  Cache comes not from advertising dollars, but from providing quality information; linking to interesting content that is helpful to a wide readership will gain you more on Twitter than constant advertising prods. If you provide interesting content, other users will Re-Tweet (RT) your posts, which will garner new readership and followers.

When using social media, certain guidelines should be followed:

  -Play nice: what you publish on the Web, even though it can be deleted from Twitter, will still be archived somewhere.

   Maintaining a good professional reputation as a friendly source for information is important, negativity doesn't go far on Twitter

   or in social media in general.

  -Encourage sharing: provide free information and encourage others to share it; this will engage new potential customers by

   harnessing the power of bloggers with high readership and Tweeters with a large number of followers.

  -Avoid coercion: do not trick potential customers.

  -Lose control: once the information you have published is out there, let people do with it what they will.


     In many ways, using the Social Web is based on common sense. Once you have learned the particulars of a certain tool, like Twitter, it becomes fairly intuitive. Be friendly, be helpful, share information, and build a good reputation, and current and potential customers will know they can trust you. This is truly how to use Twitter for the benefit of your business.

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