Thank You Shannon Evans, author of The Definitive Twitter Guide: Making Tweets Work for Your Business, for her willingness to be our guest author for today’s blog post. Shannon has hit the Twitter and Social Media scene like a freight train, she’s everywhere! We are so lucky to have her as a friend of thinkspace, and and the author of today’s post. If you would like the chance to hear Shannon speak at thinkspace at November 16th’s 3-5pm Thinktank Symposium workshop, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. The event is $45. If you are a member of thinkspace, we will buy your ticket!
The following content was written by and belongs to: Shannon Evans
Twitter…140 characters of what? Push marketing from spammers? Conversation with friends? Intense negotiations between partners? What is this Twitter thing and how does it fit into the small business owner’s toolkit?
Twitter is an effective marketing tool and listening post for businesses both large and small. The perception is that in order to get any return on the tool you must invest huge amounts of time and energy. Others believe the larger the following on Twitter the more diminished the return. Other than staying connected to social communities many just can’t seem to find the real value in Twitter as a marketing tool. As a stand-alone marketing tool they often question its value.
What value is to be found other than social connections? Unlike email marketing campaigns where the return yield is so small, a highly targeted Twitter campaign can have a much higher rate of return if you have done your homework ahead of the campaign! In other words, you have to invest time in the community and established relationships before you begin the campaign! So many small business owners are limited in marketing time and energy and so they automate everything they can. Honestly, that contradicts the meaning of social media. The word social, by definition, means engaging with others through dialog and listening and continued interaction, so automating your work on Twitter and syncing it with your Facebook posts is actually counter-productive unless your only purpose is creating promotional channels. Twitter is a great place to collect and act upon cultural and brand as well as competitor intelligence. Think of it as a pulse point on the internet for testing the health and stability of the market place as well as way of participating in a community for building trust and likability for your brand.
If you only want to use Twitter to deliver a conventional direct marketing – fuhgetaboutit! Think about the last social gathering you went to and you got stuck talking to the blowhard who attacked you with unsolicited advice or tried to sell you on how wonderful they were…you know the blowhard types! They are so desperate for attention that they latch on to you and bore you to tears or royally piss you off. Honestly, no one likes to be sold to and your followers are the same way! They want to be informed, inspired, entertained, and excited about things relevant to them. They really could careless that your gadget is on sale FOR THE NEXT TEN MINUTES ON TWITTER! Thoughtful conversation, the sharing of ideas and participation is what gets your brand noticed.
Twitter is not about the quick hit on a link, it’s about engagement. The key to Twitter is establishing your brand in a community of like-minded interested and interesting people. Never lose sight of the fact that the key to any social media action is sharing what people are interested in reading. Make sure the message you put out is right for your audience…and that you are cultivating the right audience. If you were dog food company you really would not be seeking cat owners to talk about your product, dogs, etc. Get your message out to the people who need or want to hear it. Find others who are talking about your topics and add to the conversation. Listen, engage, and listen some more.
This is not rocket science! We all have some level of social skills or we would not be in business long. Test the waters, find what works, rework, revise, revisit, and test some more. But get out there, introduce yourself, and listen and learn from those in your community. Twitter really is that simple!