Saturday, May 21, 2011

WOW! Can Using Twitter Really Do that for Me?

140 characters…..a shelf life of approximately 1 hour…..a “free” service…..no point of sale application……

Can using Twitter really help my business?  Is it worth the investment of my time each day?  How much can interacting with strangers really help? How do I possibly measure Return on Investment (ROI)?
All legitimate questions that get asked everyday by people considering the entry into the social foray so prevalent today.  I believe there are some compounding reasons why you should jump in with both feet to the Twitter world and start “Tweeting” today.
The 1990’s saw the technology explosion on many of the everyday items we all use today.  Cell phones became mainstream and affordable for the general public.  Wide screen TV’s began to appear in homes of people other than the super wealthy.  The space shuttle became an expected occurrence every 3 months or so.  The personal computer was accepted as a necessity. There are too many of these examples to note here but you get the picture.  Technologies are constantly changing the way we live our lives and operate our businesses.
Twitter was launched in July 2006 by Jack Dorsey and has expanded today to have more than 200 million worldwide users and produces more than 65 million “tweets” per day.  Twitter has developed into a platform that allows anyone to interact on a personal level with any other user.  No other place in society allows for the ease of communicating between two people, regardless of where they live or what they do for a living.   For example, a school child in Australia could in theory communicate with the President of the United States by simply entering his name and performing a search to find his Twitter user name and then send an “@name” message.
This accessibility component is exactly why every business and every business professional should be using Twitter and other social sites to grow their reach.  There is no other media available which makes it as easy and simple to reach millions of potential customers at the push of a button.  You are able to post links to blogs like this one, discuss your products or field of expertise, share personal thoughts on other subjects, and make yourself available for further discussions on the topics.  It’s the interaction with others that makes Twitter such a powerful business tool.
Today’s executives who make purchase decisions do not regularly take the “cold call” from the 90’s anymore.  They are under time and budget constraints and know what they need.  When they need it, they contact an “expert” or “authority” on the service and buy it.  To quote Alec Baldwin in the 1992 version of Glenngarry Glen Ross “they walk on the lot, looking to buy”. 
The goal here is to get that executive to walk onto YOUR lot and buy YOUR service.  Twitter is a means to help make that happen.
The use of Twitter does many things which improve your chances of landing a sale or gaining a new customer.  Everytime your name hits the web, it’s another landing spot for the “spiders” or “bots” that Google and Bing have scouring the internet for topics.  The more your name is associated with a product or key word phrase, the higher your name will appear in the search engines.  And the higher you appear in the search engines, the more likely you are to be perceived as an “expert” and have your lot chosen to sell the product.
Getting results using Twitter doesn’t happen overnight.  It can take months or even years before you attain the type and size of following necessary to get results, but be patient, it WILL happen if you keep at it.  Before you know it, you’ll be getting “@” messages from people inquiring about your services.  Keep track of these and record any actual sales you make from them.  ROI is easy to determine by doing this and once you get going, you’ll see Twitter can be a real winner and indispensible tool for your business or brand.
A few key points to remember as you “tweet”
1.      Keep the conversation informational -- nobody likes a constant sales pitch.  An occasional plug is OK and basic discussions on the benefits of your product line in general are fine.
2.      Be interactive – don’t just push your “tweets”, but engage your followers and those you follow in meaningful conversations.  Ask questions on their “tweets” and leave pertinent comments on their blog posts.  (and leaving comments gives you another plus with the Google and Bing search engines, as it creates a “Backlink” to your brand)
3.      Try and reference your source of information whenever possible – insert a link or hyperlink to the site where you found your supporting info.
4.      Be consistent – in order to be successful, you need to be perceived as regular user.  That means making an effort each day (yes, Saturdays & Sundays too) to “Tweet”. Often you’ll reach an entirely different audience on weekends and nights.  I’ve taken the two hours per day I used to block out for cold calling and now use them to develop my social presence.  It has a much better return on my efforts.
Have some other ideas?  Let’s discuss and see what we can come up with to help everyone get the most out of Twitter……..

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