Despite the fact that it's been around since 2006, some people still have trouble wrapping their head around Twitter. Some are on it but don’t know how to use it. Some are still trying to answer the eternal question, "What's happening?" Some absolutely love it.
As an online marketer, I often test drive various platforms and mobile apps. Some have proven to be quite effective for carrying out marketing tasks, while others haven't gotten me the kind of results I would like to see.
Credit: http://www.icon256x256.com/icon/twitter_id48.htmlIt often comes down to what you're comfortable with, what make sense to you, and what suits the culture of your project or business. Even non-visually focused businesses could take advantage of Instagram or Pinterest, and even projects that don't require a lot of writing could benefit from a blog.
However, if your social strategies are not intersecting with the vision and purpose of the company, or you're not connecting with your audience the way you think you should be, then it may be time to rethink your approach.
With all of that in mind, if there was only one social tool I could use to promote a particular project, it would be Twitter. I believe that just about every company can find a creative use for this platform, and I have found that it is much easier to create a following on Twitter than it is with many other sites.
1. Finding Your Target Audience
Twitter makes it easy to find your target audience. You can search for keywords, key phrases and hashtags to find trending topics and people that might be interested in your product or service. You can also start conversations with these people and find out what they're looking for right now. You can create products and services directly catered to them.
The search function allows you to follow people strategically. Following users at random might get you a few follows back, but ultimately it's not likely to produce meaningful results. Twitter allows you to easily build relationships with the people that matter to you or your business.
One final note about users: every time you @mention someone or retweet their post, it's like doing them a micro-favor. This can add up in the long run, and you will see a lot of favors returned if you are others focused and unselfish in your sharing.
2. Minimal Time Investment
Managing a Twitter account doesn't have to take a lot of time. You can set up your blog posts to tweet out automatically when they are published (using plugins in WordPress or an online application like twitter feed). You can schedule tweets in advance using TweetDeck or HootSuite. You can 'favorite' and 'retweet' interesting content you find at the click of a mouse.
You can also tweet frequently without disturbing your followers. "Too often" territory would be once or more every minute, but you can easily tweet 12 times a day or more as long as you're changing up the content often enough. You can engage better by hitting different time frames when your target audience is actually on Twitter as well. Check out this handy infographic.
Another note about time: Twitter makes it easy to see what's trending in real-time. Blog posts or news articles may take an hour or more to appear after an event, and even longer to be crawled by search engines, but you can follow things as they happen on Twitter.
3. Customization & Branding Options
Twitter offers good customization options for your profile page. You can design and choose a profile photo, a header photo as well as a custom background. You can also select your link and background color.
In short, you can brand your profile according to the look and feel of your product or website. With custom images, you can make your users aware of other places they can find you on the web (social icons, URLs, etc.). Presenting a consistent brand across the social web also helps your brand recognition.
Facebook just recently implemented hashtag functionality, which means most major social platforms now have this feature (Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.). But since Twitter only allows 140 characters, if you're searching for something in particular, you can go through more tweets at a faster rate compared to other platforms where posts can be of varying lengths.
From a marketing perspective, hashtags can help you with discoverability. Longer tweets are known to engage better on Twitter, so if you run out of words for your tweet, you can always use relevant keyword tags to pad it out.
What makes Twitter such a great social tool is that it is very immediate. As I already mentioned, you can 'favorite' and retweet at the click of a mouse. You can find what people are talking about now. Crafting a 140 character tweet doesn't take a lot of time. Reading tweets is quick.
You can also reach out to people in your industry and build business connections. There are hundreds of millions of users on Twitter, and you can very likely find and build relationships with key people. I've personally booked two interviews with well-known experts using this technique.
What do you like about Twitter? How has it benefited your business?