When I created my Twitter account over a year ago, I really didn’t understand it. To me, it seemed like another time-suck Web 2.0 creation.
Then one day, someone on our team told me that I had over 900 followers on Twitter. I was shocked. So I scrambled to see what Twittermania was about.
And THAT day … I instantly saw the ROI …
The reason? Any time a bunch of people care to listen to what you say, no matter what the format or platform, as a businessperson, you have been offered a great opportunity to begin the conversation with them!
I mean, a central marketing strategy to everything I do with our business is to build an audience with our customers and prospects. I do that mainly through email newsletters (yes, they still work) and of course blog feeds.
And independent of the platform, if someone wants a conversation with me (in a way that would benefit our business), I try my best to give them that.
So after about 6 months of using Twitter, here’s how I’ve seen it most useful in our business …
1. Building community around products and brands
Twitter is our new email newsletter in a way. Each time we roll out a new venture, like Happy Joe (follow @happyjoedesign), we’ve created a Twitter account for that.
(Yes, I’d pay for a corporate account at Twitter!)
We display Twitter icons on our sites so our site guests who know what Twitter is can follow us on there.
At iThemes (follow @ithemes), we use this as another way (permissions-based, I would add) of announcing new products, features, tutorials and more.
2. Responding to customers
I have searches for all our brands and names. This way I can respond to prospects, even if they don’t follow @ithemes or me. A number of times I’ve sent messages to those seeking advice about which WordPress theme to buy offering my help or assistance.
I can also put out fires of those who are unhappy or who feel neglected. So it works both ways.
3. Following conversations in our niche
I follow most of the WordPress theme builders, and a number of people influential to WordPress (the software our themes are built for) and their conversations too. It’s great to see what others are doing in the field, stay on top of trends, tips, whatever … and to build relationships with those too.
One time another WordPress theme designer helped me with a problem I was having, and hopefully I can return the favor soon.
4. Creating super-fans
A time or two, I’ve seen people ask for help on Twitter about issues I can actually assist with … so I’ve offered my time and in a couple of instances, taken relationships I’ve developed on Twitter to another level.
Think about it … when you help someone solve a nagging problem … for free … don’t you think they’ll do retweets or #followfridays of you and your stuff?!
5. Provide value
I do this through links to useful posts, quotes on books I’m reading, and other nuggets of gold that the bulk of people following me might find useful and practical for their lives and businesses. Some may call it educational marketing.
In this way, Twitter IS like a micro-blog. I feel a responsibility to provide value to those who may be using text messages to follow my tweets, just like I do with email newsletters, this blog, and other mediums.
I’m the editor of that … and although I’m still refining it, I’m realizing the great value it serves me, and our business.