Twitter for Business Marketing - Using Twitter as Part of your Internet Strategy for your Business

A lot has been written and spoken about Twitter. If you've been wondering whether and how Twitter can help you market your business online, you're not alone. Many companies large and small don't want to miss the Twitter opportunity. Social networking sites whether Orkut, MySpace or Second Life have all been used by the largest of companies including Coca Cola, Toyota, IBM and many others to send out messages about their brand online. Twitter is the big thing now!

Politicians have lately been climbing onto the Twitter Bandwagon. The biggest of them all - Barack Obama is on Twitter. John McCain is on twitter too.

TIP: Click here to download a comprehensive guide to using Twitter for business marketing.

Twitter is an inexpensive marketing tool

You can use Twitter to create a brand identity online and expand awareness about your brand without having to spend a lot of money. It's getting expensive to use conventional advertising methods and the competition in Google and other Search Engines for advertising makes it hard to get a lot of traffic without spending a lot. Traffic built on Twitter is less expensive and more effective in the long run because your customers and prospective customers are interacting with you and your brand.

You can also send the messages to keep them updated of new products within your company and introduce them to your company culture, thereby inspiring respect for your company's products and services. All of this eventually translates into better sales, improved customer retention and higher return on investment (ROI) for your online spending.

The demographic profile for Twitter is skewed heavily in favor of the young.

What Twitter is all about?

If you don't know what Twitter is all about, it's a giant social networking site where people from all over the world create their page and send short messages called 'tweets'. Many do this all through the day, sending a few words at a time like..'stuck in trfc..runnin l8 for aptmt.' ..That would be someone who's stuck in traffic and running late for an appointment. Twitter users most often use abbreviations or chat lingo when they're sending messages. If you have been sending and reading mobile text messages, this works on similar lines. It's also like the IRC chat rooms from where most of this  lingo originated. 'ty' would be 'thank you'.

All messages on Twitter have to be 140 characters or less. Larger messages won't go through. The better part is that people who're 'following' you on twitter and more attentive and this is really 'permission marketing' on overdrive where you're constantly in touch with people who've chosen to hear from you.

The generally opinion among the marketers tuned in to the internet is that interruption marketing is dead. Products can no longer be sold. They have to be bought - by discerning buyers who have now have the resources at their disposal to compare features, prices and read objective reviews and feedback before they decide to buy a new mobile phone or apply for an auto loan. This is where staying in touch with your target audience through twitter can be an effective and inexpensive way of generating leads and expanding your market over a period of time.

Can you afford to ignore Twitter?

Twitter is a result of the gradual evolution of the internet. Social networking has been used for the past few years for people to stay in touch with each other, locate old friends and contacts and befriend new people. It can now be used by
businesses wise to the new change. If you choose to ignore it, you may be missing out on a major opportunity. Major changes in technology from radio, television and telephones to computers and the internet have been given the snub by major corporations who've repented at leisure. Major film studios underestimated the 'talking pictures' when silent movies were the norm. They were taken by surprise when silent movies were wiped out by the talkies. It took them several years to catch up. More recently Craigslist has caused several newspapers to lose circulation by pulling away their ad revenue. So the question is not whether you can afford to spend time and energy on a new advertising strategy. Rather it is whether you can afford to ignore this new opportunity and let you competitors steal a march over you  in the marketplace?

The basic rules of the game remain the same

It doesn't matter whether you're part of the twitter generation or not. Millions of people are on it and you can leverage the information available about Twitter and use it to attain your business objectives. You don't have to be an expert on the internet. The basic rules of the game remain the same. The medium has changed and in a few weeks you can be one up on the competition in this sphere.

Getting started

For starters you can create a Twitter account if you haven't already. It takes just a few minutes. Just enter in your name and email address, choose your user id and you're done! Avoid using an underscore in your name. If you're 'John Doe' just choose 'JohnDoe'. This is suggested because it's inconvenient to type underscores from a mobile phone and most people sending tweets on Twitter use mobile phones. You'll probably be using one yourself for your account and it's better to keep things simple!

When you log into Twitter you'll see the default question 'What are you doing'. This is really a guideline and a lame one at that. If your tweets are all about what you're doing at that point, you're never going to get 'followed' by users and that's really what you want. Using Twitter and the strategy needs to be evolved depending on what you ultimately want out of it.

Why permission marketing on Twitter is really personal

A large percentage of your consumers carry cell phones with them. There are millions of people worldwide who're never far away from their cell phones. They spend each day sending text messages, receiving them and checking their phones for text messages several times a day. If you could send them messages regularly on their mobile phones which they would take the trouble to read, it would mean exposing your brand to a huge number of people throughout the year. The trouble is that offline, it would take a lot of time, effort and energy to convince people to accept messages on their mobile phones from you. Sending them messages without their permission would hurt your brand image as you'll be seen as a spammer! It would also be expensive to send mobile phone messages to thousands of people. Twitter solves all these problems at once. Millions of people can potentially 'follow you' on Twitter and will receive your messages, limited to 140 characters, whenever you choose to send them. It doesn't cost you anything either as Twitter doesn't charge you for sending all those messages!

Overall Twitter can be an excellent source for marketing one's business and creating a brand identity online. It can show up in your bottomline if you're in a business where your target audience is on Twitter.