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How Twitter Can Enhance Your Business… 140 Characters at a Time

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When clients come to our offices looking for comprehensive online marketing services, they are often shocked when we suggest to them that they open a Twitter account.

Isn't Twitter the place where teenagers spend countless hours telling the world about their teachers, their relationships and their binge drinking?

Of course, there is some of that on Twitter (just do a Twitter search for "drunk"). But that's just a small fraction of what's happening on Twitter.

There's a great deal of misinformation floating around about Twitter. Specifically, there is a huge misconception about who is using it.

There are more than 500 million registered Twitter profiles out there and not all of them are self-absorbed adolescents wasting hours of their time. The fact is that the under 18 demographic represents only about 10% of the Twitter population, while 30% of Twitter users are between the age of 26 to 34. Even more surprising, there are more Twitterers over 65 than there are under 18.

The largest Twitter demographic is the 45 to 54 year-old bracket, closely followed by 25-34 year-olds.

What does this mean to your company? If you're target clients are over 18, then Twitter is where you'll find them.

Now that you know your customers are out there, how do you reach them?

For those of you who have never been on Twitter, the site allows people to communicate using messages up to 140 characters. The messages can include URLs (a great way to send traffic to your website).

Businesses can use these brief messages to:

  • Brand themselves
  • Attract new clients/customers
  • Create a new channel for customer service
  • Directly communicate with customers and potential customers
  • Post company news
  • Promote the company blog
  • Link to company press releases
  • Offer coupons and discounts

Creating an effective Twitter campaign takes a significant commitment of time and effort. Companies need to plan on how they will present themselves to the world, what messages they want to deliver and how they will deal with their followers.

If you are unwilling to make this commitment, then you shouldn't be on Twitter. A poorly managed campaign can only serve to hurt your brand.

Some businesses choose to use Twitter exclusively as a listening tool. By setting up an account not identified with your business, you can simply follow others to gain valuable information:

  • Follow your competitors to see what they're doing
  • Follow leaders in your industry to keep up with the latest trends
  • Use Twitter to follow what people are saying about your company (using one of the many Twitter search applications)
  • See the way the most successful companies are using Twitter to enhance their brands and drive sales

Twitter is not an alternative to your current advertising and marketing efforts. It is a platform that must be evaluated in terms of its potential return on investment. While it is free to be on Twitter, there can be a significant cost in terms of the labor required to create and maintain a successful Twitter campaign.

When we works with its clients on their online marketing needs, we evaluate which platforms are most likely to provide the highest return on investment. Some of our clients are encouraged to aggressively pursue Twitter as a marketing and branding tool, while others are counseled to concentrate on other platforms.

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