Twitter Strategies for Marketing Your Business

-“Brevity is the soul of wit,” wrote William Shakespeare. And it also appears to be the heart of the microblogging phenomenon, Twitter. Microblogging as a marketing strategy is bound to thrive, and sooner or later you’ll find it’s just smart business to communicate with your customers 140 characters at a time.
“Twitter is a great way to position yourself as an expert and go-to source in a particular field,” says Julio Ojeda-Zapata, author of Twitter Means Business: How Microblogging Can Help or Hurt Your Company. Ojeda-Zapata says people have found jobs, hired staff, promoted books, and been written about by major media outlets by blogging on the popular site. And while most business owners have heard of Twitter, relatively few are taking advantage of its power to promote their businesses.

The irony is that while blatant self-promotion and marketing on Twitter can be a recipe for failure, there are other uses that make it a back-end marketing and public relations bonanza. Here are three Twitter strategies every company should consider.

1. Search and respond: To see what your customers are saying about you, follow the advice of Tim O’Reilly, author of The Twitter Book, and search for your name, your company name, your Twitter name, and your brand or product. A few useful search engines include Twitter Search, TweetGrid, and Monitter.

2. Educate customers and be an expert: Natural Food Exchange in Reading, Massachusetts, is an independent, natural food store featuring the largest gluten-free stock of supplies in the state. Lisa Kalner Williams says the company uses Twitter as a way to distinguish it in the whole/natural food marketplace by tweeting useful information about celiac disease, a condition where a gluten-free diet has produced positive changes in those afflicted. Occasionally the company will do promotional tweets that mention gluten-free products available in the store.

3. Engage in conversations with customers: Of all the misconceptions that business owners have about Twitter, the biggest one is thinking of Twitter in terms of a monologue rather than a dialogue. “Old-school, one-way marketing is at best quaint and at worst annoying in this two-way world of social media,” according to Steve Mulder, director of emerging interactions at Molecular, part of Isobar, a global network of digital marketing companies.

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