Twitter as a marketing tool

Online Marketing - June 17th, 2011

When Twitter was launched in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, it was understood and used as a micro blogging and social networking site where every tweet had to be restricted to 140 characters. So, lengthy (not to mention, boring) blogposts about daily life turned into one liners like ‘I had apple juice for lunch’ or ‘My cat ate a rat today’ and we were spared the agonizing details. Much has changed since then. It is no more an online personal journal. There’s a lot more to it, and a lot more that one can benefit from.

Here are some reasons that make Twitter a marketing tool you must consider trying:

A media channel
Twitter can be used to announce the launch of a new product or service and it can reach a large audience. Product updates can be tweeted from time to time, keeping your followers interested. The key here is to know what you are doing. Every communication media has etiquette and it should be maintained. The best method is to provide a link/URL that will lead to the actual information. And since the character limit is 140, it would be wise to use to the services of URL shortening sites. There are hordes of them out there, but www.tinyurl.com is a really good pick.

Promotional Platform
Twitter is a nice place to advertise about new promotional offers or sales. The idea here is to not post an ad but to start a conversation. Replies @ (responses to your tweets) are extremely important to increasing your follower base and especially if you want people to take interest in your offer. The message has to be drafted in such a way that users feel like asking questions about it. If the message is good, you even get Retweets (Your original message tweeted by another user with credits to you so that people who are on the Retweeter’s list get to see your message), which means you get a chance to reach out to more people without even trying to.

Social Networking
For individuals social networking means catching up with people one knows or might like to know. For companies it means getting closer to its existing and prospective customers, knowing what competitors are doing etc. It is every important that customers look at your brand as a person with a personality. When you reply to your follower’s tweets, you give out the message that you are listening to them and are very much approachable. It is also a good way of knowing what your customers want and in what doses.

The in-thing
This may sound quite wannabe-ish but then think about it. Twitter has over 200 million users and there are scores of regular Twitterers who frequent pages of brands they like. Now, just in case they use your product (if you are a new player in the market) and look you up on twitter to get updates about you, they are going to be quite disappointed if they don’t find you. They may search you a couple of times again but if you still don’t turn up on their search results their perception about your brand might change; especially if they see all your competitors on the search results. Now, you don’t want that happening. It’s not herd mentality you need to have but to be in the herd and slowly learn to lead it.

So that’s that. It may not bring instant results (for it’s no magic) but it will definitely help you know where you stand and what you should and should not do. So go ahead, and tweet, if not for the heck of it, at least to stay abreast of the changing times and know if you need to rethink your perceptions about Twitter as a 140 character personal diary. 

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