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How can twitter help my business?

Twitter (www.twitter.com) is a micro blogging site, launched in 2006, which excels in a few very specific areas, but doesn't quite make sense to the everyday consumer. In order to get your head around how to best use twitter for business purposes one must first understand how and why this little bird works, and when doesn't work.

Twitter lingo you should know about;
   1. Tweeting – Sending a message less than 140 characters to anyone who is following you AND anyone
       searching for the words you are writing.
   2. Following – If you find a person or business which interests you, you can opt in to receive their tweets on
       your homepage.
   3. Retweeting – Copying someone else's tweet and sending it out to your followers as if it came from you.   
   4. Links – You can add a link to your tweet which goes to any website, picture or video you wish
   5. Mention – You can include a person's name by putting an @ before their username (e.g. @fred)
   6. Hash tags – placing a # before a keyword (e.g. #Melbourne) means that users can search for that keyword and
      your tweet is more likely to come up.

When Twitter works

1. Celebrity gossip
    - Getting live updates from your favourite celebrities is a pretty amazing feature of twitter.

2. Instant news
    - When you hear stories of one person tweeting about a major catastrophe they have just witnessed which is
       retweeted  and retweeted and retweeted again, reaching thousands, you can quickly see why this concept
       could change how we consume our news. This can be extended to businesses communicating updates to fans
       of their brand.

3. Networking
    - Following people who share a similar interest to you can help you to make contacts in the business world, or
       even your own social world.

4. Listening to customers
    - Many large companies are now setting up twitter searches to find customers who are talking about their
       products or service and responding directly to those comments.

When twitter doesn't work

   1. The amount of clutter is enough for most people to take one look and never return. 80% of users in fact,
       have tweeted less than 10 times. This is because if a person is looking for one of those 4 factors which
       twitter wins in they will be looking for approximately less than 20% of the total tweets on twitter. If you then
       consider how much of the 20% relates to your location and area of interest you can see why it sometimes
       seems like you are looking for a needle in a haystack, in a town somewhere in Australia.

   2. The everyday person struggles to use twitter. Due to the high level of clutter it takes a lot of persistent
       and normally a group of tech-savvy or twitter-savvy friends to begin to see the benefits of twitter. As a result
       you will find that most everyday consumers will not use twitter on a regular bases, preferring Facebook
       which is more mainstream and a lot simpler.

Twitter as a Marketing tool

For those consumers who do stick around and enjoy the benefits of twitter here is how to reach them.

As a very general rule twitter can be easily used by three categories of businesses to reach their customers;

   1. Large service organisations with high awareness
       – Companies like BigPond use twitter to find customers who are commenting on their services and take the
          opportunity to address each individual complaint or comment, with the aim to improve customer service.

   2. Brands with a devoted following
       – Twitter works for stars and celebrities because people WANT to know all about their favourite celebrity.
          This philosophy can also work for any brand which has devoted fans that are interested in continuous
          updates from the business and will seek you out of the clutter or opt in to receive tweets from your twitter
          feed.

   3. Businesses looking for free market research
       – If you're looking to find out what your customers think about your product, industry or anything else, head to
          search.twitter.com and start sorting through that clutter.

If your business does not fit into one of the above categories Twitter may still be an extremely powerful tool for your business to build relationships with your customers.

Businesses outside these categories that succeed on twitter offer their customers something of value in return for following them. This requires an acute understanding of your customers and how they navigate the dynamic world of twitter as well as a creative solution which may require the help of an expert to uncover. If you need help finding that special something that will help you bring the followers in contact Cliquein to chat about your options.

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