Five years ago, Twitter was ‘just another’ website, tiny compared to Facebook and seemingly glowing against MySpace’s dwindling users. Fast forward to March this year, it celebrated its 6th birthday and boasted over 140 million active users; that’s bigger than the population of Japan, more than France and the UK combined, and fourteen times the population of Greece! Today more than 400 million tweets are posted every day; an increase of over 18% in three months is pretty impressive.
What is Twitter?
Initially developed as a mobile SMS service, Twitter upholds an overwhelming trajectory as a web-based communication tool, and its success with smartphone and tablet devices is enviable. Last week, it announced its mobile advertising spend had surpassed the company’s non-mobile revenue stream for the first time. With no limit to how successful Twitter can be, it is crucial that businesses learn to effectively use this revolutionary communication tool sooner rather than later.
Twitter helps you connect
Twitter is so much more than a 140 character limit. Consider the value of your customers; without them, there would be no business. Their opinions and feedback are paramount to your success. From telling them urgent news, to solving their queries quicker than an email or telephone call can, the ability to have direct conversations with your customers in real-time is irreplaceable. But you must regularly update your Twitter and a friendly profile picture of the person responsible for your tweets shows the customer they’re speaking to a real person.
Businesses can find new customers by searching for users tweeting the keywords of their product or service, and then tweeting them directly: hello self promotion! If you’re struggling for tweets, trending topics can be a good starting point. The use of the hashtag has had a profound effect on how tweets are constructed. They cover the theme of the tweet and let the user share their real thoughts after they’ve tweeted their happenings #ordothey.
When Twitter goes wrong
But businesses can fall foul of Twitter. Companies have been left red faced after insensitively using fatal natural disasters as a shameless opportunity for self promotion and even creating your own hashtag can have negative repercussions. McDonald’s hashtag #McDStories aimed for users to share their good stories related to the fast food chain but it backfired and instead there were tweets about finding fingernails in food and suffering stomach problems.
Spy on your competitors
After customers, competitors are the biggest threat to your success, and Twitter can help you with them too. Read their tweets, scrutinise who follows them, who they follow and a quick @ search shows what’s being tweeted about them. Bear in mind they will probably do the same to you, so make sure you’re up to date with your entire Twitter goings on.
Other useful tools
If this all sounds very daunting and a struggle to fit into your office schedule, there are tools which can help you. TweetDeck and HootSuite are gadgets which allow you to upload and schedule tweets for posting. A gadget which retweets relevant blog articles is equally useful, but just don’t forget to show a little bit of human interaction now and again.
Twitter seamlessly fits well with other social media; you can share your tweets on Facebook, and tweet updates of other social media accounts. Following its first 16 second television advert being shown in the US last weekend, its complimentary relationships with other social media platforms are expected to flourish and its exponential success is something which can significantly improve your business today.