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Twitter: A Valuable Marketing Tool or Waste of Time?

I hear the debate all the time, and no I'm not talking about the Presidential debate - I'm referring to Twitter.
Should we consider Twitter to be a marketing tool or is it just for people who have a lot of time on their hands and the need to jibber-jabber all day long?
I will be honest, I was an early adopter of Twitter and then I walked away from it I couldn't see the value, recently my viewpoint has changed.
Think of Twitter as a means to get instant public messages out to your audience, whether it is an audience of colleagues or potential customers.
Twitter is becoming an increasingly important platform for online communication and, yes, conversation. TechCrunch reported that Twitter has more than 1 million users and approximately 3 million messages are posted daily.
How can we use Twitter as a marketing tool?
Good question. Let me see if I can help.

Twitter As A Learning Tool
As I mentioned over 3 million messages are posted everyday. Are you mentioned in any of them? What about your company? This might be a good time to find out. Twitter provides a search engine that allows you plug-in company names, brand names, topics and even personal names. How is your buzz level? Are there any negative comments out there? If I were you I'd use the search engine to check in a regular basis.
Today I found out that BMW made a customer unhappy and he Twittered about it. I learned that Weather Underground has some really cool iPhone application and that the chocolate cake at Macaroni Grill is deadly.
All that was posted today! So, whether you are a Twitter or not someone may just be twitting about you.

Use Twitter as a Media Outlet
You can use Twitter to post news or updates about your company or products. However, please don't do this before you become familiar with the format and etiquette of Twitter. The best way to do this is to post a link to the full content of the news or update. Think of what's valuable to your consumers and let them here about it first on Twitter. You'll be amazed how your following will grow.

A Promotional Palace
It's not uncommon for companies to post promotions, sales, or specials on Twitter. An example would be Dell, they do it well. It's important to remember that Twitter is about conversation and breaking news, so be sure if you are posting promotional information that you make it conversational and personal. If I want an ad, I'll turn on TV.
Create Character in Your Brand
Twitter is a fantastic tool in giving your brand a voice and a personality. Being successful in Twittering you will have to put forth your personality and a unique style. That's what makes the difference and can increase your Twitter following and make it a successful marketing tool for you.

Customer Service and Chit Chat
As you begin to use Twitter you will notice that it's all about conversation. It's about talking to your prospects and consumers; interacting with them. If you are not going to do this don't use Twitter as a marketing tool, it simply won't work. Make friends, be a friend and reply. Show your followers that you want to engage and be involved with them - this provides optimal customer service and that you are in fact personable.

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Comment by Billie Dalessio on November 2, 2009 at 10:21am
thanks for the info, haven't been active on twitter, looks like I should.
Comment by Paul Mausteller on October 30, 2009 at 9:06pm
You can never have enough marketing tools, the more exposure the better. Tweetlister is a great plug-in for Twitter, advertise your listings. Building relationships with asset managers and others can only expand your business. Get with the next technology or be left on the side lines. Google Waves, cloud computing, video and pda multi-language web site, etc.. this is where you need to be right now. Hope this helps.
Comment by Johnny Huang on October 29, 2009 at 11:13am
I use twitter mainly to gather information. It's my early detection system for news and events. I've posted few status updates and have gotten some hits, however, it's not my main lead generator.

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