Whether it is for social networking, microblogging or keeping up with the latest celebrity news, Twitter is a phenomenon more and more people are discovering every day. But finding a way to get the most out of Twitter is a tricky task, especially with so many “how to” guides collecting on the web.
Instead of reading through pages and pages of information about Twitter, the following topics are three basic tools that will help make Twitter easy to understand and effectively use.
By uploading a photo and filling in some information about yourself like your name, location, website and bio, you can let people know who you are and what interests you have. Friends using Twitter will be able to find your account more easily, and potential networks can form more easily based on what is listed in your short bio.
Once this is done, people will start to “follow” your Twitter feed, meaning they can see what you tweet and respond to it. Your home page shows up-to-date tweets from people you are following, with easy-to-find options for replying and seeing replies to your own tweets. Plus, for people who wish for a bit of privacy, there are also settings to ensure only approved followers have access to tweets.
Finding a Following
If the purpose of a Twitter account is to network, then getting relevant followers is a good priority that can be easily achieved. As this Twittercism post states, “you are what you tweet”, so focusing tweets on a particular topic, or using keywords will help other users find a feed and start following. In turn, you can choose to follow those users who are relevant to your networking focus.
Tools to Tweet With
Taking Twitter to the next level is easy with a variety of Twitter tools and external services to complement the site. Twitter tools that can add to the user experience include the following:
- Trending topics: Listed along the right-hand side of the home page, Trending Topics are a current record of what topics are the most tweeted about. The topics are automatically set to “worldwide”, but can be customized to specific locations. Clicking on a topic of interest will show all relevant tweets.
- Lists: Followers can be organized into customized lists on Twitter, which makes it simple to keep up-to-date with users in a specific field of interest. This feature is particularly valuable to networkers, or people using Twitter for a variety of reasons.
- Searches: A search is a simple enough task online. On Twitter, it is another way to find users with relevant interests and expand the networking possibilities online. There is a search option on the right-hand side of the home page, and a link to “Find People” when searching for a specific user.
- As well as these features, there is a multitude of external resources that can be used to enhance Twitter. From sites with follower statistics to sites suggesting other users to follow, the internet has it all and a simple search for specific tools will bring up options for any user to choose from.
With a fleshed-out profile, customized settings, followers and option tools to choose from, Twitter becomes a rich world of 140-character insights.
Twitter Marketing Tips
Companies, writers, consultants and others have been using Twitter to build brands, communities, or increase a client base by driving followers to a website or blog site where the real marketing is done.
Using Twitter for marketing or brand building involves Tweeting about:
- Company news
- Customer support
- Broadcasting special offers for a limited time.
Twitter is the sales driver while the website, personal contact or in some cases, broadcasting, are the sales closers. Celebrity tweeters such as Ellen DeGeneres have used Twitter to increase viewership.
Ashton Kutcher on the other hand has taken influence marketing to a new level using online tools such as video, animation, blogs, and of course Twitter.
Major companies such as Whole Foods, Best Buys, Starbucks, Home Depot, among others all have their own Twitter page.
There is also a slew of celebrities using Twitter. Fast Company magazine ran a feature in the December 2009/January 2010 issue detailing how Ashton Kutcher “is pioneering a new kind of media business, bridging Hollywood, technology, and Madison Avenue.”
Kutcher’s company, Katalyst Media, is a production company that mixes “squishy hybrid entertainment content, advertising, and online conversation” to help other companies build their brand. His company works with advertising agencies to build successful web strategies.
Kutcher has over 4.1 million followers on his Twitter page. Other stars that have a large number of followers:
- Ellen DeGeneres with over 3.9 million followers
- Britney Spears, over 4.1 million
- Oprah Winfrey, over 2.7 million
- John Mayer, over 2.7 million
Agencies Using Twitter
There are many types of users on Twitter these days including government agencies and the space program. The White House has over 1 million followers, the CDC Emergency has over 800 thousand, and NASA has over 125 thousand followers.
The New Way to Market with Twitter
According to the article for Fast Company by reporter Ellen McGirt, Kutcher’s company plans to make their marketing entertaining, deliver the message to people where they are using mobile technologies, and then mix in the brand messaging.
One of the downsides of using Twitter to market is the lack of successful models and implementation plans. Small businesses may not be able to contract with high-profile tweeters, they do have plenty of opportunities to study and learn from those companies that have built brands using celebs and Twitter.
Successful Twitter Marketing Models
While Kutcher is not the typical marketing executive, he certainly knows how to attract an audience and keep people interested and tweeting. And, it appears he has created a very useful, successful, mixed-media marketing model.