Twitter is all the rage, sweeping communities and enthralling legions of online leader & follower “tweople.” Micro-bloggers tweet conferences, moms play-by-play bake chocolate cakes whilst making corporate connections and dads (like me) organize soccer teams. Brand defenders utilize the power of internal linking to monopolize the SERPs.
David Snyder, Search Strategist & Marketer JRDunn asked “is Twitter the ultimate time-waster or a valuable tool.” He actually thinks the whole Internet is “in the same boat.” It’s “what you make of the platform more than the platform itself.” He uses Twitter as his RSS reader because “any great links are going to come from the people he respects on Twitter. It serves as a social community center and “tremendously powerful networking tool.”
Out of all the social media platforms to emerge in the last 5 years he feels this platform has the most potential to make money. Twitter’s upside includes avatars serving as brand advocates, real time market research, and a blog strategy hub. Strategies he suggests are “creating transparent conversation” with followers, sharing blog posts through RSS feeds, and employee training. Try sharing industry links from content partners or run contests and promotions via Twitter to increase sales. “There’s no better way to get your signal out there.”
For Internet marketers Twitter shows the most potential as a traffic aggregator, link building platform and “re-tweeting” could someday even compete with social news. It’s a brand builder, networking tool and offers an online reputation management advantage. The number one advice is to be transparent. Build a strong following through transparent methods to leverage your other social media campaigns.
Some of the difficulties facing Twitter start with an unstable platform. Getting the CEO to buy in to a platform they do not understand and managing Twitter related noise can be a chore.
Lee Odden, CEO, TopRank Online Marketing. Lee asked how many people have not seen the “Twitter is over capacity” screen. He notes that they “lose the database” and they’re transparent about it. He told the story of James Buck getting out of jail in Egypt by using Twitter. Folks propose marriage and NASA jet propulsion labs role play Twitting from Mars.
Practical applications TopRank harvested from blog readers in a poll include sharing links, network prospecting, reinforcing relationships, promotion, re posting blog content, Twitter “cat posts” (which is a running joke), replacing Facebook status, group communication, micro blogging events and pitching journalists.
Twitter sends a lot of traffic but it’s even better for crowd sourcing and polling which means tapping into the wisdom of the mob. It’s a cool place to do reputation monitoring and can help determine what might show up on blogs or even rank on search engines. Excellent for sharing, remember to provide value to users.
Corporations using Twitter, some to their advantage, include: @woot, @DellOutlet, @CarnivalCruise, @Smart_kit, @Zappos, @HRBlock, @ComcastCares and @ SuccesForce. Monitor mentions of the brand and turn dissenters into followers. SuccessForce is an example of what NOT to do: just blow your press releases out the feed. Lee’s posted a great list of Twitter tools which maximize the ability to utilize the Twitter stream. Use Twitter tools. “If all you do is go to Twitter.com you’ll be wasting your time.”
In a 90 minutes time period Chris Winfield, President, 10e20, LLC, received over 275 answers from all over the world to Twitter questions posed on…you guessed it-Twitter. Here’s some ditties he shared from the research:
A Big Time Waster?
Finding folks to follow takes a lot of time and the whole scene can be “information overload.” If you’re into drama, people like to air their personal and professional laundry on Twitter which can waste time and be ugly. “This does not help your business or your life.” It could be entertaining but won’t make you more money. You can get too involved. Like the other speakers, Chris stressed that what you get out of Twitter is what you put into it.
A Big Helper?
It helps you build new friendships and maintain existing ones. It becomes the “water cooler” for remote workers and can be a great promotional tool. A lot of people use Twitter for “instantaneous” communication all over the world. Twitter helps “keep perspective” and it’s replaced his feed reader. Utilizing the platform allows companies to get personal and for others to “look at you in a different way” “beyond your company.”
Twitter can send lots and traffic and support link building efforts. He cites @JetBlue as an excellent example of “real people” engaging with customers. “Twitter matters because our customers matter, Brevity enforces honest and honest breed loyalty.”
Is Twitter a big time waster or revolutionary tool? All speakers on this expert panel made clear that results attained are contingent on the amount of work one is willing to invest. Be transparent, build relationships and provide true value to users in your community.