I spent about nine months reporting on the Web industry in between my stints at RD+B magazine. I’ve always been a fanatic about computers which I blame on my dad who is a programmer. Since the explosion of social networking in the last few years, my fanaticism is much more about using the Web for business purposes. I wrote a post about this a few months ago, but I’d like to revisit it.
If you ask any of the students I taught last semester, they will all tell you how strongly I believe in the power of online marketing. During one class session, I asked them to Google themselves. We discussed the results – which a handful of students didn’t want to talk about. That’s when I took the opportunity to explain that Twitter, blogging, and social networking in general is a great way to manipulate those search results. Search engines like fresh content – not static.
However, you can’t simply jump on the Twitter and blogging bandwagon. You have to know how to use them effectively. Two points here are important. One, don’t simply promote yourself. You need to appeal to your readers. What can you do for them? They follow you because they hope you will provide them with value. So give them value. Two, know who your readers are. If you have more followers who are potential clients, then posting tweets that solicit for work makes sense. However, if your followers are peers, they won’t get any value out of tweets that say something to the effect of “come to us for design/build work.”
I see these two characteristics so frequently online. If you’re using social media that way, then you might as well not be on them. You will see the same results.
Crema Cafe, Madison, Wis. is a great example of how to use Twitter for business – correctly. He knows his audience – customers and potential customers. And he interacts with them with conversations. For example, I did a Foursquare check-in last week at a salon down the street from Crema. My Foursquare check-in was posted to Twitter, which my followers saw. Crema – who follows me on Twitter – tweeted to me to stop in at the cafe since I was in the area. And you know what? I did. I had never been to the cafe before but did go after I received the tweet from Crema. The owner reached out to me on a personal level. It was like a personal invitation to visit the cafe.
If you’re on Twitter, take a second to look at your tweets. What’s the overall impression from your content? Now look at your followers. Who are they, and why would they follow you? Now, do your tweets and that audience jive?
Do you have more tips on how to use Twitter effectively? Share your thoughts by adding a comment, or send me an e-mail.