The Buzz on Twitter

8 May 2009, Comments: Comments Off on The Buzz on Twitter

Twitter is another form of social media. Like Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs, Twitter is way to interact with others. Users can post comments (called tweets) and links of information they think will be interesting or useful to other readers.

What’s different about Twitter is its brevity: as a microblogging tool, each post must be 140 characters or less. This requires the writer to be creatively succinct.

Barack Obama used Twitter to share his thoughts during his presidential campaign and to take the pulse on the concerns of America’s savvy computer users.

Businesses use Twitter for the same reasons. It can be used to help establish personal branding, and can get your organization’s message out to your readers. You can use Twitter as a sort of news stream—getting updates on what people around the world are doing or talking about. You can also build a network of other Twitter users that you want to keep up with and talk to. (Those would be the people you follow.) Eventually, people will want to see your posts. (Those would be your followers.) Beyond that, you can categorize the people into specific areas, i.e. customers, employees, family, etc., and control who sees your tweets.

Think that Twitter could benefit you or your organization? Here are a few tips to get started.

1. If you are planning on using Twitter for business, make sure your audience is there, too. In Kim Terca’s article: “Is Twitter Right for Your Company? 3 Things to Ask,” she explains that while 11% of Americans use Twitter, the majority of them are typically male, early 30s, tech savvy and with a college education. While the demographics of that will change as Twitter continues to become more popular, this is an essential question to answer before you invest hours per week in Twitter for business.

2. Twitter a is soft sell. Like many of the other types of social media marketing, the purpose of tweets is to build goodwill and a good reputation by being helpful. In providing new information, answers and connections, Twitter users can develop a positive image and a greater following.

3. Twitter can be a time drain. To successfully and consistently market on Twitter, it takes diligence. In Michael Stelzner’s recent study on how marketers were using social media, he found that those who had been using social media for the longest (a couple of years) spent 20 hours per week on it, compared to those who had been doing it for a months, who spent 10 hours per week on it. So clearly, it takes time to do it effectively. (His report is very interesting and we suggest taking a look.)

4. Start slowly. It’s okay to take your time delving through Twitter. Experts suggest that you initially “lurk”, or read tweets anonymously while getting the lay of the land. Look up leaders in your industry and follow them to find out how they use Twitter.   Although Twitter can be used from your phone or computer, consider scheduling time for it instead of reading every tweet that comes along.

5. As informal as Twitter may seem, with brief tweets and random comments, keep in mind that tweets have permanency, and can be forwarded and linked to other pages. So despite the freewheeling feel of Twitter, be sure to write comments you won’t mind being seen– even by your unintended audience.

Whether you choose to dive into Twitter right away or wade in one toe at a time, it’s a useful tool to add to your social media arsenal. As the world of Twitter grows, having experience with it will help you stay ahead of your competition by networking, building an interactive customer base and establishing a positive personal or company brand.

If you are interested in claiming your name on Twitter, and 25 other social media sites, but don’t have the time to register, take a look at our Claim My Name (LINK to blog post) service. For $299, it may be the best Benjamin Franklin you’ve ever spent.

Other links related to Twitter:

Major companies in Twitter:

Twitterfeed – Post your blog automatically to Twitter:

Tweetscan: search twitter for mentions of words or phrases:

Twitter applications (like desktop clients, iPhone software): — we like Twhirl and Tweetdeck)

And of course, our WebMedley account!

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