Although the business world seems to be increasingly knowledgeable about the use of Facebook as both a marketing and organisational tool, the same cannot be said for Twitter. Amongst the most popular social networking sites online, Twitter still appears to fly under the radar when an online marketing strategy is under consideration.
While this phenomenon might, in part, be due to its unsuitability for a particular business, it appears that a lack of awareness and knowledge could also be the underlying reason.
A microblogging platform, Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters at a time. These tweets are used to update followers, friends, customers and prospects.
According to Pettey (2009), business is predominantly using Twitter in the following ways:
Direct Communication. This involves the direct promotion of new products / services ; linking to additional online information; and, responding to comments. Restraint should be exercised, however, as overly promotional feeds can harm the brand. Feeds that inform, educate and help customers are particularly beneficial.
Indirect Communication. This also develops a business' reputation. That is, indirect communication on Twitter involves employees of a firm promoting their own personal reputations. In the process, the business' reputation is also promoted.
Internal Communication. This activity relates to communication among the business' employees and involves the exchange of information and ideas. However, confidentiality and security issues should be a major consideration.
Inbound Signalling. Businesses are also using Twitter to conduct research about Twitter chat. That is, customer opinions, ideas and feedback can be gathered. Competitor chat can also be researched.
When considering your Internet marketing strategy, it is important to firstly ascertain what Twitter can bring to the table for your business. Don't join just because others are. Make sure it is right for your business. Secondly, ensure you are smart. Don't let basic issues, such as promotion overkill, harm your brand.
If managed correctly, the rewards of Twitter participation for business can be great.