Twitter

Some background on Twitter

Twitter RITE Series

The RITE Series on Twitter

Twitter is a Short Message Service to the world.

When you open a Twitter account, you can immediately start crafting content or messages, called Tweets.

Tweets may have up to 140 characters including spaces and can be:

  • standalone comments or announcements
  • links to resources elsewhere online, eg, blog articles, news articles, web pages
  • photos, video and other media (the Tweet would include an attachment linking it to the shared media object in question)
  • questions
  • requests for help
  • conversations with clients, friends, service providers
  • commentary as part of a conference or established topic thread (these are usually threaded together by adding a common ‘hashtag’ such as #OBM_NT for October Business Month commentary)

Almost 1,000 Territorians use Twitter (figure as of October 2011)

Some reasons to use Twitter in your Social Media Marketing

When you share content on Twitter, especially with links back to content on your own website, it associates your website with the topics you Tweet about. This in turn helps Google bring more qualified visitors to your online marketing material. So whether or not you believe your target market uses Twitter directly, the indirect benefit of ‘teaching’ Google more about what you stand for and where you are (online) will help non-Twitter users find you.

You can track conversations in which people are asking for service provider or product recommendations and respond appropriately. Elsewhere on The RITE Series website you can read a how-to article on how to ‘Listen in locally to Twitter questions‘. Your ‘eavesdropping’ can be based locally or on specific regions where your prospects live and Tweet OR simply based on keywords used that are relevant to your business.

Twitter can be a fast and efficient communication tool for responding to questions sent directly to you via the service. For some consumers, this is becoming a preferred method of communication with businesses, at least for general enquiries or customer experience feedback. Yes, it is public. All the more reason to treat every prospect and customer with respect whether online or in person because you never can tell how much of a liaison will end up going public.

Build awareness of you or your enterprise among influencers, customers or prospects by searching for them on Twitter and following their accounts. This will not only mean you get to see what they are tweeting about in your Twitter window, but they get a notification that you are following them. This might be all it takes to get noticed and to prepare the ground for a relationship to grow.

How to access Twitter

Visit twitter.com and create an account.

Your username will be your Twitter ID and you only get 15 characters to play with. So think carefully about whether it would be stronger to use your name, your business name, some keywords and/or some geographical terms. For example, ShirleyCitizen, CitizenServices, PlanningAdvice, or PlanGove.

You can then access your Twitter account directly via the Twitter website or application on your mobile phone/tablet AND/OR indirectly through a third-party tool like HootSuite, TweetDeck, etc. These third-party tools often allow you to connect a number of your social media accounts into the one user tool so you can create content and reply to people via your Twitter or Facebook accounts all from the one service.

To search Twitter for terms and people of interest, use the search field at the top of any Twitter screen, conduct your search and if you like the results, use the ‘save this search’ function. Then when you log on to Twitter again, the searches tab will give you one-click access to see the latest Tweets that meet your search criteria.

Good examples of Twitter use

Power and Water Corporation Northern Territory makes good use of Twitter for sharing real-time updates on conditions affecting supply of power and water throughout the Top End. You can read their Twitter timeline and, indeed, follow them, at twitter.com/PowerWaterCorp

I Spry Digital is a small digital marketing firm in Darwin and the account often tweets links to helpful articles that relate to topics like search engine optimisation. You can read the Twitter timeline at ISpryDigital

An example of a consumer question came from Will Boyd in Darwin who tweeted: Can someone help me with my dog training? I need some tips. Thnx! If you offered dog training services, listening out for such terms via Twitter could have landed you a potential client or at least given you a chance to share some tips publicly, hence establishing your authority in the field. If you had a useful article or two on your website, you might have been able to respond thus: @Willboy25 what breed is your dog and what are you trying to achieve? I have a small guide online here dogsnt.com.au/guide. When you reply to someone in Twitter, the system automatically places their username at the beginning of your reply preceded by an @ symbol, in this case Will’s username is Willboy25.

Things to avoid doing on Twitter

Like all the other social media channels, it is best NOT to blast advertising messages through Twitter. Accounts that do this are typically blocked by other Twitter users and often reported for spam.

While Twitter makes it easy for you to share links to material you find interesting, make sure your business Twitter account stays ‘on topic’. If I follow your business account it is primarily because you are sharing helpful material in your field of expertise and/or granting me access to you for quick questions or updates. If you feel inclined to sharing funny cat pictures or grizzles about the government, I suggest you open a second, personal account and separate such content from your business channel.

If you have examples of Top End businesses using Twitter effectively, please share details in the comments field below.