Twitter for Business Development

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Believe it or not, there are still companies out there who don’t understand that social network marketing is important, whether you’re a hair salon or a multinational manufacturing company.

Here’s a handy guide for those businesses who understand that social network marketing can be a great thing for businesses of all sizes, but who don’t understand how to get started with Twitter:

What is Twitter?

Twitter originally began as an idea prompted by a programmer noticing that sometimes the “away messages” in Internet chat applications were interesting in and of themselves. And that’s really what Twitter is: a place to post very short messages telling readers what you’re up to. Or, as Twitter says: What Are You Doing?

It may seem a bit inane and shallow and useless at first glance, but the fact is tools like Twitter help people feel closer to each other, whether you’re connecting with old friends or reaching new customers and prospects. The short messages (tweets) that you put out there help people know who you are, and people like to follow and do business with people they know.

How To Do It

It’s easy to get started: just go to www.twitter.com and sign up. Do a search, check out the conversations happening online. If you like someone you find on Twitter, just click the Follow button. Presto! Whenever that person updates their stream, you’ll see it.

Here’s a secret- a lot of people follow people who follow them. So, following people is a good thing on Twitter.

Once you’ve gotten your feet wet, start tweeting. You might not think your company has anything to tweet about, but it does!┬áHere’s a few instances of companies tweeting to build their businesses:

  • A national oilchange/car repair company tweeting upcoming and current promotional specials.
  • A local Los Angeles salon that tweets about new hires and haircut club updates and specials.
  • A film production company that tweets video (yes, you can!) that gets people to watch their movie trailers.
  • Podcasters who post short audio clips of upcoming shows.
  • A healthcare products company that tweets special links to coupons that consumers can print out and use at stores.

The possibilities are amazing, especially once you add a URL to your tweet. There’s a special way to make the most of that, too:

Go to www.bit.ly and sign up for a free account. Bit.ly is a “URL shortener”, they exist to take long URLS like www.yourcompanyname.com/specials/thisWeek/coupon.html and turn them into something like www.bit.ly/738djs. It makes it easier to tweet, and it makes it easy for you to directly track who’s coming to your website from Twitter. Cool, yes?

Be a Part of the Conversation

Once you get going with Twitter, don’t just broadcast things you’re doing- make a point to read the tweets of people you’re following, and if a conversation’s interesting you should jump in and respond. You do that by tweeting a special way: just put an “@” symbol and then the person’s username and then do your tweet. It’ll show up as a direct message to that user. Just like the web at large, being a participant with the Twitter community pays dividends.

Here’s another hint to make your business tweeting more effective: it’s expected that you’ll be re-tweeting your offers, so you really need to make sure you repeat your most important messages a few times so your followers see them. The accepted polite way to do this is to add the letters RT before any retweeted items.

If all this seems complicated, just hang out on Twitter for a while- you’ll get the hang of it pretty fast.

So get out there and start telling the world what you’re doing. It’s easy. It’s fast. And you’ll have fun and promote your business.

And while you’re at it, follow us on Twitter!

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One response to “Twitter for Business Development

  1. Matthew

    nice, easy intro to twitter. you should also mention tweetdeck for more advanced users, dawg.

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About PatrickOrtman, Inc.

PatrickOrtman, Inc. is one of the top-rated video production companies in Los Angeles and New York City. We make high-end corporate videos, and commercials for TV and digital for clients that include 11 Fortune 500s.