Although the platform itself is not new, Twitter has seen a dramatic increase in usage over the past year, and is now influencing the way that media is presented and spread on the ‘net.
Industry analysts have been throwing some pretty solid numbers around:
- Close to 1000% increase in traffic over the past year
- There were 2.25 million tweets posted every day, worldwide
Pause for a second to take that number in: 2.25 million per day! This isn’t a niche network of people who are wasting time at work; this is a legitimate method of spreading news, both positive and negative.
Share and be shared
If you are in an industry where your products and their reputation are important (frankly, if you’re not, you should be worried about the reputation!), then you need to be on top of Twitter. Around the office here at E-Web, if someone finds a site that does something special, it is tweeted. Think about this from a branding perspective: back in the day, if your site is something special, we would send it around the office, maybe to a few friends, and that is that. With Twitter, everyone who is following us will find out about the site, and there is an easy method for him or her to pass it on. Aggressive viral marketing anyone?
Get the low-down straight from the source
Twitter also allows for fast feedback on ideas or products. Rather than having to perform expensive market studies, you can ask for advice, and people will give you feedback. Even if you don’t ask for advice you will find people will give it to you anyway! This is especially important for smaller businesses who don’t have the budget to get broad scale feedback, but are able to make quick changes in response to the feedback. Remember, this is all free.
On a small scale, here are some numbers for the masters of marketing here at E-Web: the two biggest Tweeks (that’s “Twitter- Geeks”, patent pending) in the office have over 400 people following them at the time of writing. This might not seem like anything amazing, but these guys aren’t exactly celebrities, and they are not out to gain followers by following anyone and everyone in the hopes of having them follow back in return. They are everyday SEO gurus who through intelligent posts have built up a following over a fairly short period of time. Imagine if your business had a channel where you could market to people who are already interested in your business, and they could easily pass your info on to their friends.
But don’t forget the flip side…
Another way to look at this is the opposite: people now have a fantastic channel to vent their dislike for something. In the past if a service annoyed us, we would yell “epic fail!” (or something similar), stomp around the office whinging, and that was it. Now it is tweeted. Instead of dozens of people knowing about the failings, hundreds do. If any of those hundred have had similar bad experiences, then they pass it on, causing an avalanche of negative press. Online reputation management can be tough (without professional help), however getting on top of new communication channels is the first step.
Get on the train!
Here are some possible ways of using Twitter from a marketing perspective:
- Giving a personal feel to your company
- Filling in people on latest updates and company news
- Letting potential clients know about future thoughts
- A great way to advertise competitions
- Fill people in on charities you support
- Business branding, and monitor your brand
- Public relations
- Give advice on topics, build your reputation
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to using Twitter. This won’t be replacing other forms of marketing any time soon, however its penetration to your potential client base (deep), level of personal connection (strong) and cost (free!) can’t be ignored.