Business Essential – Twitter

Twitter at first glance looks to be just a chat tool like IRC or Yahoo! Messenger. It isn’t. It’s more helpful for your business than either of those two chat programs could ever be. Let me explain a few ways you can use Twitter to maximize benefit to your business.

1. Gaining Followers – If you send email or you have a blog that has RSS subscribers then you’ll understand the idea behind gaining followers at Twitter. Followers are like sheep that can see your text messages you create on Twitter. They are not the only people that can see them, because those doing searches can search everyone’s “tweets” as the messages are called.

There are special services that have developed that will help you increase your number of followers. Some charge money for the service and you can literally pay for a million followers if you want to. This may or may not be worth it to you, depending on how you will monetize (make money from) that large group of followers.

Everyone is trying to figure out the monetization part and it’s slow coming, but rest assured many people will make a whole lot of money from their million followers or even 50,000 followers. You’ll want to figure out a strategy too.

What is true is that having more Twitter followers will enable you to reach more people for whatever your message or sales pitch.

2. By posting a message at Twitter you are instantly reaching those of your followers that are online at Twitter. Other followers can check Twitter later and also see your message. Tweeting daily about some aspect of your business – not always sales pitches, will keep your business in followers’ minds and gradually brand your business.

Tweeting is a great way to stay in touch with customers, past, present and future – spoon-feeding them bits and pieces about your business or personal life they wouldn’t see at your business website, or anywhere else.

3. Twitter personalizes your business to whatever degree you care to take it. Some business owners tweet about personal issues all day long, some provide links to jokes or other interesting and entertaining material they find during the day. Some post quotes. Some post song lyrics. Some post the latest news about “Lost” or other TV shows. Twitter is what you make it, and using it as a tool to connect person-to-person, is perhaps what it is best at.

4. Twitter is real time news. If you follow enough people you will be alerted to any major news event within seconds. Or, at any time you can search the entire Twitter database of messages for any topic of interest to you – breaking news, or otherwise.

5. As Twitter becomes more ubiquitous it will become a research tool unlike any other. You’ll be able to find real conversations about your business or anything else you choose. Use Twitter to reach people that live in an area you’d like to target for your business products or services.

6. Large companies are already using Twitter to monitor talk about their businesses. Some have reported stellar customer service from large companies such as Hewlett Packard that has employees watching keywords related to dissatisfaction with products. Customers are contacted quickly and fires extinguished before they become bonfires.

You too might consider it worth your time to use Twitter as a tool to address customer service problems before they get out of hand.

7. Twitter facilitates making friends online that are interested in the same topics as you. Often times this can lead to collaboration on business ideas, deals, or just acquaintances interested in some of the same topics as you. Using Twitter to network and increase your contacts of all kinds is smart and easy.

Twitter is the first of it’s kind of program, and there will be more to follow – without a doubt. One of the programs I’ve found helpful to use instead of directly using Twitter.com is, “TweetDeck”. It’s a graphical user interface (GUI) that is filled with options and a much better user experience.

So, go try Twitter out and see what it can help you do for your business. These seven tips are just that – the tip of the iceberg. Twitter is going full-steam ahead and has over 100 million users. Maybe a billion users soon? A billion potential customers for your business – surely it’s worth your time?