I recently started a new job, working for a full-service creative firm. I’m doing some communications planning, some client management, some art direction, and some actual writing. It’s ideal! Or rather, it will be. This is only my second day, but I’m already up to my face in research, particularly on leveraging social networking into viable, sustainable marketing strategies. My main focus today has been Twitter.
I use Twitter, currently, on two fronts: for myself as an individual (@bingofuel; also, see the right-hand sidebar for my most recent tweets) and for OilersNation.com (@OilersNation). I’ve found it to be quite a lark for personal stuff, and a really excellent way to find like-minded, interesting people. I’m actually looking forward to the next Edmonton Tweetup (@edmontontweetup), as I felt I was too much of a newbie to attend the last one.
As a personal tool, Twitter connects you with people. People around you, people far away from you. It allows you to filter through broadcasts and read and respond to the things that you deem most relevant. It forces the users to be concise in their messaging (you’re only allowed 140 characters per tweet). I can see its utility as a tool for personal communications and connection to others. As a tool for businesses though—and I’m speaking strictly about my very limited experiences with it for OilersNation.com—I’m not really sure where to begin (and yes, I’ve read Caroline Middlebrook’s Big Juicy Twitter Guide). I’ve used it to broadcast new posts on the Nation’s website that I deem interesting. I’ve used it to broadcast information on contests and such. I’ve even done some very minor live-tweeting of Oilers games. But the key to using Twitter for business, I think, isn’t just sending out promotional information. It’s doing things like what @ComCastCares does: showing the human side of your company or organization. Here’s one of the key things I took from the Big Juicy Twitter Guide:
“[…] if you are approaching this from a purely business perspective then you need to have something to offer your customers. What I mean is, if you use your Twitter account to just pitch, pitch, pitch, you will not get many followers. Twitter is not something that can be effectively used as a direct selling medium without adding extra benefits […]”
Businesses using Twitter should be doing so to try and start or continue one-on-one discussions with their clients. Twitter brings organizations into the fray of communicating with users who might have an interest in their brand or product. It’s really neat how people and businesses are finding new ways to use the system to get the message out — or, in @ComCastCares’ case, bring the message in and do something about it.
I <3 Twitter. And I know I’ll have a hell of a lot more to say about it as I convince a few clients to start using it to get the word out.