Tuesday, November 2, 2010

You are only as strong as your weakest tweet

Tweet, Re-Tweet. Are we friends on Facebook? These are terms that have become a part of our everyday life. With all the social media websites available now, which one works best for you personally? Or for your business? Truth be told, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can all be beneficial…if you understand how to use them correctly.

Recently, an editor at a B2B magazine wrote: “We still think Twitter is the dumbest thing ever.” Previous to this statement, Facebook and LinkedIn were praised for how successful they are as social media outlets. We were concerned to read such an unfortunate and misleading criticism of a tool that generates millions of dollars for companies who understand how to use it to its full potential. For businesses, Twitter can lead a new found success. Those 140-character statements can make a world of difference.

Here are just two success stories from using Twitter:

  • Computer-maker Dell, an early Twitter adopter, offers its “followers” easily tracked Twitter-only discounts. These have generated US$3 million in sales, $1 million in the past six months.
  • Blair Hirtle, sales coordinator for Fairmont Hotels, noted that the Fairmont Empress offered a special discounted room rate on Twitter. The result was “increased occupancy. Much more successful than any traditional ad buy and it cost minimal time and labor.” Now seven Fairmont hotels have Twitter accounts.

The secret to their successes? Using Twitter efficiently. Here are some tips to get yourself started in the right direction.

  • Twitter gives companies the opportunity to personalize themselves with society. Consumers today tend to connect with people rather than organizations. Putting a face on a company can make it more real and personable. On Facebook, company profiles are made and then spread by “liking” the page. This doesn’t give quite the same personal touch and interaction that tweeting can.
  • Listen. Twitter is not just about posting Tweets and walking away. What are people discussing? Who is mentioning your brand or category? Understand the conversation and participate in it.
  • Follow people! The more people follow you, the more they know what you’re about. This works on the basic product selling and marketing point. Twitter has turned into a place where companies research about potential employees and consumers research about potential purchases. So, your tweets are giving the world an opportunity to learn more about you, your products, your knowledge and your specialty.
  • As I mentioned before, sell your product, but your expertise. It is probably the most basic concept of the social media websites. Give useful information about what you do, your business specialty, and what you’re selling for all your followers to see.

As the most misunderstood of the social networking tools, Twitter is often the most criticized and ridiculed. But it is, conversely, also one of the most effective. The popularity of using Twitter correctly has spun off another website, twittergrader.com. Anyone with a Twitter account can check the grade of their account, be it 0-100. If your grade isn’t as high as you thought it would be, the site gives you tips on the bottom of the page on how to improve your Twitter grade. With the introduction of twittergrader.com it is even easier to turn your Twitter account into one of the “Twitter Elite” joining the ranks of The New York Times, Fox News and BBC World. Like they say, you are only as strong as your weakest tweet.

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