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|Quick and Dirty Guide to Twitter|
Use twitter to grow sales
Our buyers and sales staff routinely blog and create videos about the products we sell. We are beginning to experiment with twitter and so I wrote the following to them about how to get the most out of their twitter accounts. I thought some here would find it useful.
Here is a quick and dirty course on how to get the most out of twitter. In brief, you need to get a LOT of people to follow your tweets, get them involved in a conversation, then slip in some sales tweets. Twitter is a great medium to reach new people, and lots of them. If you do this right, you can realistically reach thousands of people that have never heard of you or your company.
1. What is your twitter goal?
You sell a product. Your twitter efforts should support that purpose. The basic idea is that you get a lot of your product lovers following your tweets (which are usually about your product in some way), and a lot of people who didn't know about your or your company will become exposed to you and follow your tweets. Then, if you tweet a product or service offer, they will at least look at the deal and you might get some new customers.
2. Getting Followers
Only people who are following you get your messages. So, you need to get a LOT of followers. The #1 way to get followers on twitter is to follow other people - the edicit is that they will follow you back. Your best bet would be to login to twitter.com and use the search function to search keywords in your industry. Find the people already twittering about those keywords.
Follow all of those people, THEN follow all of the people that follow them (you can see who follows them from the right hand menu of their profile page). You can literally follow thousands of people and you can expect many of them to follow you back.
Reply to other people's tweets - especially famous people. Follow some famous people like jimmyfallon, zappos or jasoncalacanis and reply to their tweets with your opinions about what they say. Don't worry if they ignore you, but if they reply your twitter profile will be broadcast to thousands.
You should also do the normal promotion like adding your twitter url to your email signature, blog, etc.
3. Posting Tweets
Once you have followers, you now need to send "tweets." Do not think of twitter as a one way broadcast medium - twitter is a conversation. It is most effective when you post tweets that engage other users and encourage them to tweet about what you just posted. If you tweet something interesting others will either reply to your tweet (which everyone can see), or "re-tweet" what you said (resent your message to their followers). Either is good because it exposes your twitter profile to many people who are not familiar with you. You will pick up many other followers that way.
Narratives/biographical tweets about what you are doing is generally uninteresting: "Standing at checkout counter at Mervin's to buy tube socks." Other than your mother, who really cares if you are standing in line waiting to buy socks.
But, tweets that express an opinion (especially a controversial one) are more interesting to read and more likely to elicit response. "Buying tubesocks. I hate those socks with a heel - that is just a scam to make you pay more for socks."
Tweets that support your blogging activities are always good. Use tinyurl.com to generate a small url that you can include in your tweet. Let's say you just posted a blog article about Lafite. You want to get your twitter followers to read it, so you come up with a controversial title and include a link. Ask people for their comments to get people to twitter back.
"SoxAmerica is ruining socks! Agree? http://example.com/sad32"
I believe twitterberry and other twitter clients have built in tools to shorten urls.
Once you have a good number of followers and some twitter credibility, you can slip some sales tweets into your twitter stream:
"Just tried the 2009 Sock Master 3000. Great deal at $4.99. http://example.com/s43234"
That url should link back to a product page or blog post about your notes for the product and a message to email you to order some.
Keep sales tweets at a very low ratio - less than 10% of your tweets should be sales oriented.
4. Customer Service
Be sure to setup some rss feeds for twitter searches of your company and product names. People may be twittering that they hate or love your company/product. If you don't follow them you will never see it. The RSS feeds will allow you to keep on top of those people. When you see someone do this, always follow them and reply in the tweet stream so everyone can see it.
Follow craignewmark (founder of craigslist) to see someone who does a great job of this.
5. In Brief
Your goal is simple: increase the number of followers, post intersting tweets that elicit a response and every so often slip in a tweet that sells something. If you do it right, you can reach a lot of people in a very intimate way where they don't think you are selling them anything.
[edited by: engine at 4:46 pm (utc) on April 10, 2009]
[edit reason] examplified urls [/edit]
Ah, twitter spam. How nice.
Seems more like a pyramid scheme!
Thanks for quick run down stajer. I have always tried to stay away from twitter but had to visit it for some news this week. Did not really understand it before then and your guide has filled in some blanks.
Is it not the case that twits (is that the correct word?) are just people in the technology game and that it will never work for joe public?
CB radio was for the masses. Ham radio was more for nerds. I see parallels with facebook and twitter.
A year ago you would have been correct - only the technorati were using twitter. But in the last six months twitter adoption has skyrocketed and it is rapidly moving mainstream. Consider that today a number of celebrities now twitter (Britney Spears, Kevin Pollack, Shaq, Al Gore, Lance Armstrong, Dave Mathews, Coldplay, Martha Stewart, John Mayer, Ryan Secrest) as well as the number of mainstream bands that do (starbucks, comcast, NPR, NY Times).
Can you safely ignore twitter and not hurt your business? Definitely! Can you use it to grow your business? Also, definitely!
Even if you don't use twitter, you need to follow what is being said about your brands. Be sure to goto twitter and set up an rss feed for your brand keywords just so you can know what is being said about you. Goto twitter and select the SEARCH link from the bottom of the homepage. You do not need an account to do this.
You should also reserve your brand names as account names by setting up accounts in those names.
A brief dictionary of twitter related terms:
- a "tweet": a message or update sent via twitter
- a "tweep": a person who follows you on twitter (ie. a "peep")
- to "twit": verb; the action of sending a tweet
- "fail whale": the cute picture of a whale that is shown when twitter goes down (regular users see this picture more often than they would like)
I guess there is more than one way to skin a cat. Our approach is to put out very specific tweets; newsworthy and with high relevance to our industry. Max 3-5 a day, and keep quiet when there is nothing to tweet about...
We also actively engage followers in intelligent and relevant conversations.
Result: only about 100 "tweeps" - but each of them is high value. Think trade magazine editors (print and online) and C level company officers. They do our work for us!
"Britney Spears, Kevin Pollack, Shaq, Al Gore, Lance Armstrong, Dave Mathews, Coldplay, Martha Stewart, John Mayer, Ryan Secrest"
Would they be potential customers or is it just another outlet of media exposure for them?
The question is: are regular Joe and Jane Public doing it? If they are not then there is no future for it.
Shaq and co. will only use it until their personal assistants get bored reading what Magic Johnson and 200+ sports stars are doing;
I can see the value in keeping people informed of a product be it a new product development / on going development but that facility already exists: It's called a website. It's also called a newsletter. It's also called a forum.
Maybe those mediums are tied too much to web 1.0 but I'd much rather focus on mediums which focus the user in 100% what they are reading.
What I mean is. Whilst I am here on this site I am reading and posting on this site - I am in webmasterworld "world". Yes, a few emails have dropped in but I'll deal with them later.
Doesn't twitter work more like a soundbite newsreport?
Charlie - today I bought that new p-phone. It's great. Read it here tinyurl...
Megan - Got a headache. That sales meeting was too long. This tyenol isn't working yet
George - Saw that video of a cat playing bongos It is soooo funny.
Widgetco - Wooo. our new widget went #1 on widget tracker
Peter - @Megan. Try a benadryl brownie. They work for me.
Too much noise, fluff, clutter. No focus. Unless I have not yet 'got it' and this is indeed the way twitter does works then I can not see a future for it.
didn't google recently say something about letting twitter users stream their tweets (or whatever they call them) across the adsense network?
not sure how that is going to work, but maybe this is what they are talking about.
Sounds like a great technique. Lure thousands into following you, then spam them. Twutter has a great future.
I don't think spamming followers is what stajer is suggesting. If you tweet in a spammy or annoying way, you won't get new followers and you'll rapidly lose any following you have developed.
Rather, by delivering value in your tweet stream and developing a following who pays attention, over time you will be able to develop your personal and business brands.
>>I guess there is more than one way to skin a cat.
Right on target, caribguy. I see many different ways people use Twitter for business and personal stuff. A few are successful "broadcasters" who don't engage followers but deliver enough value in tweets that the followers are OK. I encounter small networks of friends who are tweeting just to interact with each other. I see a lot of marketers who are doomed to fail because of their relentless self-promo posts. At conferences like Pubcon and SXSW, ad hoc conversations enabled by hashtag use formed during presentations, enabling people in the room as well as those not at the conference to interact in real time.
Sure, some people post stuff like "I'm in an elevator, six more floors to go," but the idea of Twitter as a stream-of-consciousness narcissistic journal greatly underestimates the medium.
"Twitter as a stream-of-consciousness narcissistic journal"
That's EXACTLY what I think of Twitter! Couldn't have phrased it better myself.
My other way I like to describe it constantly updating your Facebook status without the ability to do anything else like post photos to albums, create events, instant chat with friends etc.
"Twitter as a stream-of-consciousness narcissistic journal"
Welcome to online communities per se....homophily commercialized.
If that's how you see it, then that's all it will ever be for you.
I've gotten to know tons of people a lot better (including people from WebmasterWorld)
When I was evaluating a new ecommerce platform for a client last week, I got instant feedback on other people's experiences with it, good and bad, that helped me make my decision.
I've used twitter to find individuals and companies to subcontract work for my clients - twice this month already, and it's only the 10th.
I've gotten several severe AdWords problems addressed and *solved* via twitter, after getting nowhere with official support.
As I posted somewhere else, an attentive Intuit rep on twitter took care of a problem I was having with a $160.00 rebate on some software - got my check.
I've stopped malicious bots in minutes, sold a few products through affiliate links, brought traffic to some of my sites, received a discount for a local restaurant, met new folks, and had a good time.
But it is what you make of it. They can't really spam you if you don't follow them. The quality of the experience is all in the quality of the people you follow and who follow you. If you look at it and all you see is the potential for narcisstic navel gazing, then it's probably better for you *and* for the people on twitter if you just keep going. Leaves more potential for the rest of us.
[edited by: netmeg at 3:01 pm (utc) on April 10, 2009]
|Follow all of those people, THEN follow all of the people that follow them (you can see who follows them from the right hand menu of their profile page). You can literally follow thousands of people and you can expect many of them to follow you back. |
I have millions of characters written about Twitter. I got to the above statement and pretty much changed my thinking from that point forward. That one comment turned the whole process into what many despise, a numbers game.
Hey, I've seen it work too. I'm finding that Twitter has few boundaries. The community polices itself with a few watchful eyes from Twitter. Are you familiar with the BLOCK function? If I get a Follower who does some of the things you mention above, I may end up BLOCKING them. If enough people do that, the BLOCK, the Twitter suspension algo kicks in and your account appears to go into a 10 day review period while it is being investigated.
So, if you want to take the path above, just be aware that there may be some associated risks from the community. Good luck with your "quick and dirty" use of Twitter. ;)
I see that netmeg was posting at the same time I was. We are both passionate Twitter users and happen to Tweet with each other almost daily. She mentions something that many of us are doing on Twitter right now, making connections. I found the dev who is building my ultimate Twitter Application. I may have also found the person who will design the UI. I've replaced IM with Twitter and use DM as much as I Tweet publicly.
There is a lot more to Twitter besides quick and dirty.
>>That's EXACTLY what I think of Twitter!
Gomvents, maybe you need to dump your following list and start over. I find a huge amount of relevant and timely business info via Twitter, and have been able to stay in touch with Pubcon/WebmasterWorld friends far better than in the past.
In my experience, most people who think Twitter is all about navel-gazing haven't spent enough time becoming part of the community. First impressions can be deceiving. Remember when people thought bloggers were mostly posting about their cats and what they had for lunch?
Online communities in general are often dismissed as time-wasters, but look at WebmasterWorld - many, many people I know owe their personal financial success in large part to information gained in this community (combined with their own hard work and smarts, of course).
Happily Twitter Free.
Hmm, perhaps this is why I never caught on to the whole twitter thing.
Here we go.
Ricky: Hi, me Ricky from Quick-Tweet-Express Unlimited. Looking to Hire Pro Tweeters? Then Outsource with us! Get a 1000 tweets per days for a fraction of the cost!
Joe: Noooo Duuuuuuude, "tweet that", I’m cool..
Ricky: What about 1000?
Joe: Yo, ahhh like, maybe…. but can you guarantee that it will make cense to a normal humanoids?
Ricky: yes, yes, we do that too, out team of highly qualified Jr. and Senior Tweeters has over 100000000 in combined short Syllables(including the famous word “LIKE”) of pure tweet experience!
Joe: Ohh, Duhh, hmmm.. Ok then...
Rick: Al'riiiight, tweet you later.
Joe: Wait, wait, do you Deeeegg too?
Rick: Well, We deeeeed, but our team has finally came too conclusion that no longer working for our customers since we needed to actually understand the products, so most of our Sr. Deeeeggers and staff just quietly quit on us, must be the Financial times.
This might be some harsh satire, but in my experience the whole commotion is just another reason for SHORT SPAN ATTENTION Disorder. So whenever some one "akses" me a question: Are You on Tweeter? I simply reply: No, Rick is in there now, I'd wait a few minutes before going in.
Rogerd: "Remember when people thought bloggers were mostly posting about their cats and what they had for lunch?"
I see twitter as an evolution of bloggers who were concerned they were not getting enough attention.
The problem with blogging is that unless you had good rankings no one could read about your cats or your meatball swiss melt.
With twitter you can push your thoughts onto others (if they follow you). It's a theraputic app for attention seekers.
As I say. Joe and Jane public won't use it so I can not see it taking off.
"Twitter as a stream-of-consciousness narcissistic journal"
That's exactly why Joe and Jane won't use it and why it will end up niche.
I hope this item is still here a year from now so I can come back and read it.
Twitter is moving mainstream already. Check out comscore's blog - they posted some traffic stats on twitter earlier this month. Most notably: Twitter traffics reach 10 million unique visitors in February. That is 10% of facebook traffic.
Also, the demographics are not just tweens:
They are talking about your brands whether you like it or not. Before you dismiss twitter as irrelevant, I suggest you go to twitter and search for your keywords and see what is going on. I think you will be surprised.
|Only people who are following you get your messages. So, you need to get a LOT of followers. The #1 way to get followers on twitter is to follow other people - the edicit is that they will follow you back. Your best bet would be to login to twitter.com and use the search function to search keywords in your industry. Find the people already twittering about those keywords. |
a company i know has doubled their sales - don't know if it was the doubling of 1 sale to 2 sales ;) i didn't get too specific - but they have been aggressively following people that use keywords related to their product; and they are putting some time into it, so it may be working.
further, the use of hashtags has proven to develop trends where you get people talking about a subject time and time again. you may want to start a hashtag on your brand or an event that you are hosting. or a product from which you want to build evangelism.
twitter is a good way to hold a focus group; twit a question of interest to your followers and use the feedback to create compelling content that could lead them and others to your site. you may even want to feature capture images of their responses on your article; i have found that people will be more inclined to retweet your links when you feature them; retweets can also come when you retweet other people's content. my friend regularly retweets his followers links and his are retweeted just as frequently.
neal, no pun intended.
Joe: Hawdy Ricky, wassgoin'!
Rick: Hold on, wait, am re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-retweeeting LIKE re-re-re-re-retweeted cccccccccontent from a week ago. we are on ttrttrrttrack here..... I think, Oh.
>>not just tweens
If you believe Quantcast demographics, Twitter is virtually unused by the under-24 crowd.
|Rick: Hold on, wait, am re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-retweeeting LIKE re-re-re-re-retweeted cccccccccontent from a week ago. we are on ttrttrrttrack here..... I think, Oh. |
in the words of the irish cop who gave danny devito the 3rd degree in la confidential, "Reciprocity is the key to all relationships."
|If you believe Quantcast demographics, Twitter is virtually unused by the under-24 crowd. |
a recent thread on the social media bookmarking supporters forum covered this; like i said there; if i was under 24 i would be more interested in getting a girl to swallow the tequila worm in cancun on spring break than replying to my @mentions.
@rogerd ima take 3 mins to do sumthn den checkz out Quantcast, tanks for da links man.
Try it, you'll like it! :)
"So Edward, how was your day on Twitter?"
I received a DM from a very influential online group of properties outside the U.S. We may build an application for them so they can use Twitter more effectively. They need to manage hundreds of accounts.
One of my lead developers is a contact from Twitter. The guy sent me a DM one day about 8 months ago and told me he would wash my car if we could talk SEO while he was doing it. He won my heart from that moment forward. We are now working together as partners and have had multiple side by side dev sessions here at the Twailer.
I'm currently courting a high end graphic designer/developer via Twitter to construct the UI for our applications.
I sold a $65,000 Porsche via Twitter during a recession.
We made CNBC Morning News via Twitter and sold out of product long before reaching CNBC. It made the rounds from Newsweek, to Digg, to the Financial Times, Posterous, Evening Standard, CNBC and then Reuters topped off the last reporting. Our #1 and #2 positions have been etched in stone since the first Newsweek mention. I slapped a photo together in Fireworks that went viral. That is all it took, 5 minutes of creativity, FrontPage and a few hours of passion!
What more do you need to convince you that it is now time to jump on the twain before it leaves the station for good? I'll send you a Tweet from the Bahamas.
Oh, how could I forget! nealrodriguez and I spent about 30 minutes on the phone today too. We've never met before. We connected via Twitter. Neal is a Social Media Influencer by the way. So when you join us, be sure to Follow @notifyneal and probably a good portion of who he is Following. Just be gradual in your approach and don't be too aggressive. You can turn off your Followers real quick if you get out of hand. They'll forgive you, but they won't forget. Do it too many times and you'll get the dreaded Unfollow. Its like a virtual Dear John letter. :(
"If you do it right, you can reach a lot of people in a very intimate way where they don't think you are selling them anything."
And they STILL wonder why we hate them.
Twitter is the fad of the year. It is the epitome of the social networking bubble! I'd rather spend my time creating quality content.
The sooner Twitter becomes the sole domain of bored teenagers the better
|Twitter is the fad of the year. |
So was Google, look where they are today.
|The first Twitter Status Update - Sent on March 21st, 2006 by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. |
We're already past the 3 year mark, the fad is the power that Twitter needed to become mainstream. Same thing happened to Google and others over the years.
For all of you holding back, the longer you wait, the further behind you will be once the time comes. You will be assimilated whether you like it or not! :)
Although I can't match P1R's list of Twitter successes, I can add that I just awarded a project to a market research firm I found via Twitter.
Last month, I gave a keynote speech in a small European country where, quite literally, I did not know a single person and could speak not a word of the country's language. And even though English-speakers were very common, I found, unlike US conferences, attendees were much more reserved about randomly introducing themselves. But, through the use of a conference-specific hashtag and some pre-conference tweeting, by the time I hit the ground I actually had some English-speaking friends at the conference. They became the gateway to meeting more people. There is no doubt that Twitter significantly improved my experience, and, I hope, indirectly improved it for some of the attendees I spoke with who might not have introduced themselves otherwise.
If you still think Twitter is about cats and the length of the line at Starbucks, you aren't using it. Pay attention to pageoneresults, if you read a few of his 11K posts here you'll see he has great insights.
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