If you haven't heard yet about Twitter - and I can't imagine how that could be - but just in case - let me give you a rundown.
Twitter.com is a micro blogging tool. All that means is that it's a program, online, where anyone can go, create an account and begin following people and of course, get followed. With that account they can post a note, up to 140 characters, as many times as they like throughout the day, week, month, year, etc. Basically, it's an online instant messaging service. So, what's the point? Well, you'd be surprised how creative businesses have gotten in using Twitter. Here are just some ideas.
But, before I begin, let me explain something. Many people, especially business people, are still trying to figure out this whole "social media" thing. They're not quite sure what to do with it. Well, if you think of the social media tools as social networking groups, it'll be easier to figure out how to use them. Every business person is involved in some type of networking group. Be it the local Tuesday morning business breakfast group, the chamber of commerce, Toastmasters, BNI, women's groups, etc. You get up and go to these meetings, breakfast meetings, after hour card exchanges, cocktail parties, business expos, and so much more! You could literally spend a full 40 hours a week just attending business networking groups!
So, what do you do at these groups? You introduce yourself, you meet others, you spend time getting to know what others do and you spend time telling others what you do. You pass around your business card, you shake hands, you schedule individual meetings with certain other individuals, etc. Basically, you're marketing. Do you spend 100% of the time talking about business? I know the answer to that is NO! You talk about personal matters, your thoughts, ideas, feelings about a topic. You showcase the expertise you have about your field, you educate.
THAT's what you do with social media programs. You do exactly the same thing!
Oh yeah, one more thing - just in case you think that Twitter is ONLY used by Internet type of businesses, let me give you a quick short (I emphasize "short") list of businesses who are using twitter.
CNN - http://twitter.com/cnnbrk
NPR - http://twitter.com/nprnews
Jetblue - http://twitter.com/JetBlue
Mahalo Travel - http://twitter.com/mahalotravel
Woot Electronics - http://twitter.com/woot
Deacons Law Firm - http://twitter.com/Deacons
Norwich University - http://twitter.com/NorwichNews
M&M Candies - http://twitter.com/msgreen
Author Henry Rollins - http://twitter.com/henryrollins
1) Anytime you can create a profile of yourself and/or your business - do it! It's marketing, it's incoming links to your website and it's free. On Twitter, you can create a profile.
2) I know the question on Twitter is "What are you doing?" but really, not many people answer that question. They answer everything else. So, whatever is in the news of your day, whatever you're thinking about, whomever you're speaking to, whatever you're speaking about, etc. that has to do with your business, mention it.
3) Companies are using Twitter as an "intra" type of communication device. One note on Twitter from the CEO - one submit and everyone gets the message immediately.
4) Companies are using Twitter to "monitor" what their audience (and competitors) are saying about them. Here's a great example of a Comcast customer in Palo Alto, California who got so fed up with the service (or non service really) that he was getting he began venting about Comcast on his twitter. 20 minutes after his first Twitter message, he received a call from a ..."Comcast executive in Philadelphia who wanted to know how he could help."
5) Companies are using Twitter as a polling system - what do customers like, what do they hate, what do they want, what do they need, etc. Here's a blog post about a commercial that McNeil Consumer Healthcare put together and how Twitter affected their marketing campaign.
There are many more ways that you can use Twitter for your business! Just give it a try and let us know what you did!