Twitter needs to be integrated into an overall social media plan. If you have read any of my articles in the past, you know I emphasize (over and over again) the importance of engagement, conversations, and building relationships. This is difficult in 140 characters … how much can you say? Can you really build a relationship with spurts of short sentences? On the flip side, if you think about how you will use Twitter with other social media outlets, 140 characters can say enough to get the ball rolling. Look at the example “Executable Game Plan for Winning Ultimate Customers with Social Media.” In this article, I lay out how you can use Twitter to get your customers on the first steps of the “A-Path” (Attention and Attraction). But getting someone’s attention and attracting them is not enough … damn good start, but not enough to start a relationship. Very good to keep a relationship going, but once again, not enough to start one.
Look at other outlets, such as social networks (yours or Facebook), blogs, YouTube, Ustream, Flickr, and many, many others to determine how you can use these outlets to influence the brand perception you desire. These other sources will be the primary platforms for establishing strong relationships because they will contain content, not just statements. Once you have a good idea of what you should deliver in these social outlets, then it is the time to consider how to use Twitter – not before. Twitter should be an integrated overlay to your core content. Twitter is good for introduction and maintaining relationships.
Here are some benefits of using Twitter:
1) Reinforce your brand and personality.
2) Helpful and informative tips.
3) Listing sources of good information (RT and URLs for postings)
4) Directing traffic to your site. (BUT be careful here – don’t over do it.)
5) Listing instant promotions and discounts. (Should only be a small part of your overall social strategy and tweeting, likely not to stand on its own.)
6) Instant posting of pictures (to reinforce your brand)
7) Limited conversation.
Last couple of notes on Twitter (clearly not the final word, though) … Find other Twitter users that complement your position – engage with them, retweet them. Also think “search”! – consider specific words you use. If someone wants to find information on the topic you are covering, what key words will they search for? Think about using hashtags (see HOW TO: Use Twitter Hashtags for Business) to be part of a conversation topic, or maybe even more importantly, start a trending topic that gains momentum.
I think Twitter is fantastic, but like everything else in the world, you need to make sure to use it correctly. I’ve seen idiots use it as well as “brand artists”. Which list do you want to be on?
Make It Happen!