Lucy Griffiths

Is Twitter Right for Business Marketing?

7th Nov 2008 Social Media 2 minutes to read

Twitter is a micro-blogging tool that allows short messages (called Tweets) of up to 140 characters to be instantly shared with others via the Internet or mobile phones.  Like updating your status on FaceBook, it allows everyone within your network (known as Followers) to immediately catch your latest messages and read, reply or comment upon them.  It’s a free service that allows anyone to publish their thoughts, ideas or messages to anyone wishing to ‘follow’.

Twitter’s potential for use as a business marketing tool is only just being tapped.  But Internet marketers and online business owners are already using it as a valuable device in their overall marketing mix.  Clearly, the simplicity of this free service offers business tremendous opportunities.  Companies in the US such as Southwest Airlines have used Twitter to build loyalty and increase their high quality of customer service.

Potential Uses of Twitter for Business Marketing:

  • Offer customers/clients an intimate insight into the workings of your company
  • Offer incredible promotional opportunities, an instant FREE PR tool
  • Target the specific customers/clients you wish to reach
  • Provide instantly updated product/service information
  • Gives potential for future Pay-to-Follow Services
  • Perfect for influencing Online Reputation Management
  • Build brand loyalty by offering exclusive news and offers via Twitter
  • Instantly inform ‘Followers’ of the latest offers, sales and other promotions
  • Create mass and immediate buzz around a Product/Service launch
  • Clickable tiny URL links can be added to Tweets
  • Allow Followers to provide immediate feedback on Product/Services

Many high profile users are on Twitter.  Both Barack Obama and John McCain used Twitter in the run up to the US Presidential Election.  It worked for one of them!

Concerns About Using Twitter for Business Marketing:

  • The casual nature of the Tweets can be deceptive; people can reveal more than they would normally be willing to do in any other medium
  • Twitter presents things a distinct way, it’s aesthetically ugly
  • It’s easy to pretend to be someone else on Twitter; anyone could set up a Twitter pretending to be your company (e.g. Fake Steve Jobs’)
  • People need to log in to Twitter in order to use it, if users aren’t regular followers
  • High volume of Tweets can be very irritating for customers/clients
  • Twitter is not always a reliable service and has crashed in the past, wiping all of its data.   There are new third party tools to prevent this though
  • Twitter is still relatively new and has not been properly evaluated as a marketing tool.  Insufficient data exists with regards to its effectiveness
  • Misuse of Twitter could seriously damage your company’s online reputation
  • Pay to Follow Services are not yet available

Twitter may be the latest zeitgeist Internet based marketing tool, but it cannot succeed alone.  If you’re planning on using Twitter for Business, it needs to be another useful tool in the Marketing arsenal of your company.  Combined with the other elements of your marketing mix, Twitter can be a powerful promotional tool.

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