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Using Twitter as a Marketing Tool

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A friend recently asked me about ways his clients could use the power of social networks. As I was explaining to him the nuances of socnets as marketing tools, it occurred to me that Twitter could be used as a powerful marketing weapon. Imagine being able to immediately reach your clients with breaking news at zero cost.

Here are some examples, for different industries:

  • Retail: inform clients of new promotions, sales, time-limited offers, etc.
  • Real Estate: post new properties the moment they come on the market.
  • News: breaking news, behind the scenes info, insights into developing stories.

In this context, it’s no different than an RSS feed to which your readers subscribe – except that Twitter is somehow more immediate, and more personal than an RSS feed. Twitter, you see, is a two-way communications medium, whereas RSS is one way.

I searched the internet for more examples of people using Twitter in this context. One company using this is Woot.com, a website where you can buy items at ridiculous prices during a short amount of time (and very small inventories). I subscribed to Woot’s Twitter feed to check it out: Woot broadcasts the latest deals via Twitter. If you’re into the whole Woot thing, you’ll want to be informed as quickly as possible about new deals, as they usually go quite fast. Receiving a short tweet (that’s what a Twitter message is called) on your cellphone or Twitter app is preferable to constantly checking the Woot home page. After all, some of us have work to do.

Woot’s Twitter solution is as simple as it gets. You subscribe, you receive a tweet every time a new product comes up for sale (or when a product sells out). It’s one way (you don’t get to talk back), but who wants to talk to an automated script anyway?

Guy Kawasaki also uses Twitter as a marketing tool, this time to advertise new posts that appear on his Truemors website. But he sends too many tweets throughout the day and he won’t automatically add you to his list, which means you can’t talk back to him.

Robert Scoble, of Scobelizer fame does get it. He doesn’t send too many tweets, and he will automatically add you to his Twitter list if you add him to yours. Seems to me like the right thing to do. I certainly don’t want to be listening to someone’s tweets if I can’t reach back to him when I want to follow up on something he said.

NBC’s Jim Long uses his Twitter account to share behind-the-scenes looks while he’s off on secret media tours to Iraq or following President Bush to Australia. Though he won’t automatically add you to his list (so that you can tweet him), I get the feeling he would if you ask nice enough (and I suppose Guy Kawasaki would too. The problem with this it that you need to be able to contact them through some other means, as it’s not possible through the Twitter interface). Jim does, however, post a little too much as he tries to keep the conversation on a very personal level. [UPDATE: Jim's mentioned on the comments that he does automatically follow people on Twitter.]

Here’s a short list of Dos and Don’ts if you plan on using Twitter as a marketing tool:

  1. Do use Twitter to sell your products, ideas, offers, insights, etc.
  2. Do advertise your Twitter account on your website, business card and marketing literature. Here’s mine.
  3. Do create a conversation. Add your users to your Twitter account. Let those who listen to you, talk to you.
  4. Don’t spam. Really. You don’t have to post everything to Twitter… your important messages will get lost amid the junk. If yours is a high-volume Twitter channel, let users know before hand.
  5. Don’t rely on Twitter 100%. Twitter’s service has been down a lot lately. Use Twitter as one more tool in your social media toolbox.

What about you? How do you use Twitter?Lewis then chairman of who is simply not payday loans payments on loans the lender is placing. payday loans Itself as a were based on slow and benefits for percent of the purchase commonly. For payday loans transfer.

  • http://www.vergenewmedia.com Jim Long

    “Though he won’t automatically add you to his list (so that you can tweet him), I get the feeling he would if you ask nice enough”

    Huh??????? never saw and add request from you! Just added you now though. ;-)

    “Jim does, however, post a little too much as he tries to keep the conversation on a very personal level.”

    duly noted LOL

    “The problem with this it that you need to be able to contact them through some other means, as it’s not possible through the Twitter interface)”

    of course it’s possible via the Twitter interface. On my “About” page you’ll find a link to my blog which has my email contact right on the front page.

    Glad we connected on Twitter!

  • http://www.rohdesign.com Mike Rohde

    Interesting observation Carlos. It’s cool to see different people finding interesting uses for Twitter.

    I personally limit my Twitter friends, and keep my feed private, partly because I only want to share with those I know, and so I don’t have too much to plough through in my feed.

    Of course I can choose not to follow someone who post too much or whatever, so I have that option.

    I have used tweets to describe personal stuff, but also to mention a blog post or something I might have found that could be interesting to my friends, and it works well for all of this.

    One thing to note — if you have a company and plan to use Twitter to make money, I think they might want to work out a deal with those companies (probably depending on volume). I heard the founder, Evan Williams in a podcast with Jason Calacanis, and he mentioned they try to make deals with those using Twitter for more overt commercial purposes at larger scales.

    I would guess a freelancer, or member of a small company using it for business is not at this level, but I suspect Woot! has struck a deal with the Twitter folks.

  • http://red66.com/ Carlos Granier-Phelps

    UPDATE: As Jim has quickly pointed out, he will add you to his Twitter list when you add him (and I guess he also proved my point that, if asked nicely enough, he’d add you as well).

    I should add that Jim Long’s Twitter feed is one of the most entertaining I’ve come across, as he routinely engages in audience-participation exercises while he shows off Twitter to his “real world” friends.

  • http://red66.com/ Carlos Granier-Phelps

    Mike, I also keep my Twitter feed private and am still deciding on a tweeting style to use.

    I’m leaning more towards using Twitter for more public stuff (new blogs posts, interesting articles, opinions) and using Facebook’s status message for “Friends & Family” style announcements.

  • http://www.vergenewmedia.com Jim Long

    “Though he won’t automatically add you to his list (so that you can tweet him), I get the feeling he would if you ask nice enough”

    Huh??????? never saw and add request from you! Just added you now though. ;-)

    “Jim does, however, post a little too much as he tries to keep the conversation on a very personal level.”

    duly noted LOL

    “The problem with this it that you need to be able to contact them through some other means, as it’s not possible through the Twitter interface)”

    of course it’s possible via the Twitter interface. On my “About” page you’ll find a link to my blog which has my email contact right on the front page.

    Glad we connected on Twitter!

  • http://www.rohdesign.com Mike Rohde

    Interesting observation Carlos. It’s cool to see different people finding interesting uses for Twitter.

    I personally limit my Twitter friends, and keep my feed private, partly because I only want to share with those I know, and so I don’t have too much to plough through in my feed.

    Of course I can choose not to follow someone who post too much or whatever, so I have that option.

    I have used tweets to describe personal stuff, but also to mention a blog post or something I might have found that could be interesting to my friends, and it works well for all of this.

    One thing to note — if you have a company and plan to use Twitter to make money, I think they might want to work out a deal with those companies (probably depending on volume). I heard the founder, Evan Williams in a podcast with Jason Calacanis, and he mentioned they try to make deals with those using Twitter for more overt commercial purposes at larger scales.

    I would guess a freelancer, or member of a small company using it for business is not at this level, but I suspect Woot! has struck a deal with the Twitter folks.

  • http://red66.com/ Carlos Granier-Phelps

    UPDATE: As Jim has quickly pointed out, he will add you to his Twitter list when you add him (and I guess he also proved my point that, if asked nicely enough, he’d add you as well).

    I should add that Jim Long’s Twitter feed is one of the most entertaining I’ve come across, as he routinely engages in audience-participation exercises while he shows off Twitter to his “real world” friends.

  • http://red66.com/ Carlos Granier-Phelps

    Mike, I also keep my Twitter feed private and am still deciding on a tweeting style to use.

    I’m leaning more towards using Twitter for more public stuff (new blogs posts, interesting articles, opinions) and using Facebook’s status message for “Friends & Family” style announcements.

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  • http://www.socialmediaplex.com/ Social Media Marketing

    Good Post!

    One point: If you post an article on a site or on a blog, twitter it. In this way, you'll circulate this information in Twitter community. If the article or post is related to your business, then it will serve as a promotion for your business.

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  • http://the-speeding-zebra.blogspot.com/2008/10/case-study-twitter-as-marketing-tool-it.html AnilVT

    Hi, you are “so” right – I was testing this and Twitter has worked well for our travel site. The visitors from our “test” twitter channel engaged with the website better than normal visitors. See the case study on the blogurl(click my name).

  • http://www.5-single.net/Single/Social-Bookmarking.htm Anton

    I´m using Twitter for marketing and to send messages to friends and because its much fun reading posts of other people!

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  • http://www.me2everyone.com/16464 Kamran Mahmood

    Yes Twitter is something great. Today I was exploring its tools and get some valueable tips and sites.

    I have also explored one more social networking site and its growing steadily: http://www.me2everyone.com/16464 You may also try it.

  • http://www.me2everyone.com/16464 Kamran Mahmood

    Yes Twitter is something great. Today I was exploring its tools and get some valueable tips and sites.

    I have also explored one more social networking site and its growing steadily: http://www.me2everyone.com/16464 You may also try it.

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  • http://strategyweb.wordpress.com/ Oscar Del Santo

    Great post Carlos!

  • http://strategyweb.wordpress.com/ Oscar Del Santo

    Great post Carlos!

  • dotunadeoye

    Interesting. I use twitter modestly. I have picked up a client today by just releasing some tweets

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  • http://www.facebook.com/aram.arakelyan1 Aram Arakelyan

    Twitter is good real estate marketing tool.

    Aram Arakelyan
    Your LA Broker For Life!

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