Is Twitter Ready For Prime Time With Small Business?

Is Twitter Ready For Prime Time With Small Business?

Calgary based Small Business IT Professional Stuart Crawford thinks so, part of his marketing strategy for 2009 includes leveraging Twitter to reach new markets, inform clients and work in the community.

Twitter is all the rage with those active in the online world. Sending out tweet after tweet, updating their twitter followers regularly on their status, where they are at, what they are doing, where they are going and who they are meeting. The big question that many marketing professionals are asking today is. Can Twitter will be effective as a prime time tool in mainstream marketing.

Twitter has an active role for all small business firms and must be part of their overall marketing strategy. Business has already started to pull away from traditional Yellow Page type advertising and other forms of traditional marketing for their business in return for a more direct and active online marketing campaign. Twitter is playing an active role in the online strategies for many business owners.

Are you still confused about Twitter? Twitter is a very easy to use online service which broadcasts your messages, status updates, web links and other forms of quick and snappy messages to those faithful followers. Twitter is a wonderful example of permission based marketing because those that wish to follow you simply do. Permission based marketing is now the de facto standard, replacing email marketing as spam rules begin to restrict what can and cannot be send by way of email.

If you can’t figure it out for yourself there are many consulting and marketing agencies now offering Twitter services to their clients. “We encourage each of them (clients) to have Facebook and Twitter sites and we act as administrators to send “chest pounding” messages about the services/products they provide.” states Pauline Harris from SPIN in Baltimore, MD. Her agency acts provides consulting services for business who simply need a firm to keep on top of Twitter.

Twitter broadcasts out a short 140 character message to your followers whenever you have something to say, announce or share. The wonderful thing about Twitter and a long time secret to those Internet Marketing experts who figured this out early, is Twitter is simply a conduit to other great services. Twitter can be used to pull information for your corporate, association or personal blogs, you can use your Smartphone to send Tweets (Tweets are what Twitter users call their messages) or you can type your tweet directly into Twitters online page.

Twitter then will send your message out to your followers and using services built into social networking applications, your message can also be sent out to their services. Twitter is a robust tool to reach thousands of people each day for the cost of your time to develop the content.

Are you still confused about the business benefits to Twitter? You need to look outside of the main Twitter application to see the real value and you also need to deflect the “get rich” type advertising that promises that you will build your followers to several thousand overnight. Many business owners are steering away from the spray and pray approach, electing to hand pick who they follow and in return who follows them.

Effective use of this powerful social networking tool takes careful planning and consideration before true mastery of this marketing tool occurs. Many business owners and entrepreneurs simply stop at the main Twitter website, see a tremendous amount of noise and dismiss it. Twitter is more than an online teleprompter for newsfeeds of those that you follow. If that is how you look at it, then Twitter may not be a tool for your business.

Here are three great tools that you need to have in your Twitter arsenal:

Twitterfeed – Twitterfeed.com is an online solution that provides a mechanism to take your blog posts or any other RSS service and broadcast it out to your Twitter followers and social networking websites including Facebook. If your business has a blog, writes articles or submits news stories to online services, then you must have this solution running to promote the work you are already doing to a bigger audience.

Tweetlater – This nifty application is a handy service for the busy business owner or entrepreneur. With Tweetlater you can leverage this online web solution to schedule your tweets. Simply do up a series of tweets and then have Tweetlater send them out. Tweetlater also allows you to set up policies that allow you to automatically follow those that follow you. It is a karma thing and karma goes a long way in the Twitter world.

TweetBeep – Don’t have time to watch Twitter all day or how keeping on top of the people that you follow. With TweetBeep you now can monitor Twitter for keywords and when an item of interest is tweeted it appears in your Inbox. This service even works with shortened URLs. Watch your domain names. Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. Stay on top of industry trends and so much more.

There are many great online applications available to enhance your Twitter experience, find the one that meets your business needs. Twitter can become very noisy and you will need to find tools that will provide a filter to limit the noise and bring the messages that you want to the foreground.

Twitter when leveraged correctly can bring amazing new business results, connect you with the industry leaders and provide a conduit to share your experiences. Dawn Meade of Advanced Video Systems says “I sought out fellow Twitterers in my field by searching for AV and similar terms, followed several and discovered one to be a staff writer on two industry magazines. Through our Twitter ‘friendship’ I ended up being interviewed for an article and a sidebar feature on my company!”

Before you dismiss Twitter as just another social online service with no relevance to the business community, do your homework. Twitter can work to help promote your small business to the world or simply your local community. You could learn from the industry leaders.

Relationships are still important in business, either virtual or in person. Take that first step to develop deep and meaningful relationships with others in the business world and allow you to share your insight with the global community.

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Is Twitter Ready For Prime Time With Small Business?

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