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Twitter as a Tool for Marketing & PR

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[ Social Media]

In a previous post on MyBlogLog tips, I had mentioned a series of social media marketing posts Online Marketing Blog will be publishing where many of the tips will actually come from the community they’re about.

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Our next post in that series is about micro blogging phenomenon, Twitter.

At first I balked at the idea of Twittering like many others but eventually signed up and have been tuned in ever since. Like blogging, there are many misperceptions about the productivity potential for Twitter. Those unfamiliar will often say, “What’s up with telling people: My flight is leaving. We landed. Getting in cab. Etc?”. Trust me, there is a method to the MicroMedia madness as both an individual and a commercial communications tool.

There’s both a social/play and a social/communicate aspect to Twitter that makes it productive as a promotional tool for pointing to interesting things you’ve found on the web as well as a tool for building credibility and influence. On their own, such updates can be blasé and uninteresting. However, followed over time, you can gain insight into people you may end up hiring, getting hired by, working for, partnering with or simply socializing with.

It’s true that some people do use Twitter as if they’re trying to copy the most boring blog on the web. However, many others are sharing links to timely resources or things they’ve found on the web that they’d like to share/promote immediately as well as tidbits of personal/business information.

A variety of commercial applications for Twitter have begun popping up including political candidates posting updates from the road as has happened with Barack Obama & John Edwards. Other commercial and marketing use examples of Twitter include JetBlue promoting special offers, the BBC posting news items, Apple posts it’s own news (bypassing the media – hmmm) and online retailer Woot posting deals throughout the day.

From a personal brand building and networking standpoint, the key is not to look at microblogging as individual posts, but think of the overall impressions and value that can be created over time. Each 140 character or less entry serves as a seed of an idea for an overall objective. It’s tempting to post something to get it off your chest as I did when a bike was stolen outside my office window and I pulled it out of the truck as the thieves drove away – all during a conference call. I felt I had to tell someone and I certainly couldn’t interrupt the guys from Intel, Ogilvy and iProspect I was on the call with.

Rather, consider an overall objective and keep that in mind as decisions are made about what kinds of personal info, links to useful resources and promotional items are posted. Over time, you’ll build a footprint and identify within the Twitter community. Building that footprint will be far more effective if you keep overall objectives in mind, rather than random information.  Unless of course, your objective is to build an identity as a scatterbox. :)

Now for the Twitter tips.

Biz Stone via the Twitter Email Newsletter:
Jott, has created a way to send a Twitter update by speaking into your phone–your voice gets converted to text and sent out to all your followers. This is a
much safer solution for people who insist on updating Twitter when their attention is required elsewhere–like driving!
Twitter by Voice and more Twitter Apps.

Rhea” – Skim for links. They are often only used for passing news, as an action alert or resource grabber. It’s worth 5 seconds. Rhea Drysdale

andybeal” – I tweeted that I was looking to hire a new blogger and found Janet – so I guess Twitter followers are a good job pool :) Andy Beal

TDefren” – Mix it up: share news, pontifications, reaction, blog posts. Aid in others’ discovery & contribute to the conversation. Todd Defren

SebastianXOften Twitter sends folks to new stuff way faster than RSS, and it’s a persistent link, valuable despite the tinyurl/nofollow crap, as long as you promote your profile a little. Sebastian

graywolf” – Use the twittertools plugin to automagically post new blog entries to Twitter. Michael Gray

trishussey” – Connecting your blog feed to Twitter and posting events and breaking news. Twitter is a great way to announced time-sensitive events like radio shows, etc. Combine with Twitterbar for Firefox and you can post right from your address bar. Tris Hussey

bhartzer” – Like a lot of other services, it’s important to add or follow other people first and then most likely they will reciprocate. Find your favorite twitter profile and view who they’re following…and follow them. Follow people and they’ll (hopefully) follow you. Also, when editing your profile on twitter, you can add more than one link in your profile. Turns out that http: link URLs are treated as links. Bill Hartzer

PeterHimler” – Fun to follow thought-leaders and journalists who often tweet their forthcoming thoughts on the site. Peter Himler

Additional resources on using Twitter as a networking, PR and communications tool can be found at:

Tools to make your “twittering” more productive:

  • Twitter Groups – Allows you to tag your followers into different groups. Then you can send a message to those groups without needing to send the message to each person one at a time.
  • TweetVolume – A frequency search tool to see how often a unique name (person, brand, etc) is mentioned on Twitter.
  • Twitter Tools – A huge collection of Twitter tools by platform as well as plugins, web services and widgets.
  • All Twitter Tools and Mashups in One Place – Maybe not all, but a very large list of desktop clients, mobile apps, mashups, plugins, tools and widgets.
  • Twittown Unofficial Twitter Community which includes Twitter Forge, a listing of Twitter plugins, Ttools, mashups and services.

Thank you to everyone that contributed! Do you have a great Twitter use or marketing tip to share? Please share in the comments.

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Twitter as a Tool for Marketing & PR
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About Lee Odden
Lee Odden is CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, a digital marketing and public relations firm in Minnesota that specializes in search, social and online PR consulting and training for companies worldwide. Odden has been cited for his internet marketing expertise over the past 10 years by the Economist, Forbes and U.S. News and contributed a chapter to the book, "Online Marketing Heroes" published by Wiley. For the past 5 years he has also been the editor of TopRank's Online Marketing Blog, a Technorati 100 favorite blog and one of the top marketing blogs according to Advertising Age. WebProNews Writer
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