Perhaps you feel like you don’t have enough time in the day to complete all the projects that you need to finish. You may feel like Twitter is just adding one more thing on your plate. Well, break the plate! In this article, you dive into the world of productivity, setting goals and finding success in the world of Twitter marketing.
Millions of people use Twitter. How do you reach them in a strategic way? (If you don’t want to use strategy, this article isn’t for you.) You absolutely must have a strategy and set goals if you want to successfully market your business on Twitter. This article breaks down the topics of creating a Twitter marketing plan, building your followers, and taking best advantage of this wonderful communication tool.
Combining New and Old Media Marketing
Depending on whom you ask, Twitter and social media are changing the landscape of marketing. Old marketing is dead; new marketing is king. They’re surprised that people still advertise in the phone book, on TV and radio, and — gasp — on billboards. “Everyone,” they cry, “is online! Renounce your old ways
and join us on the Interweb.” (Because the really cool people call it the Interweb as a sort of irony.) Meanwhile, the old-school marketers believe that the social-media craze is just a passing fancy and that serious business is still done with a handshake. They cite all sorts of numbers and reasons to continue to advertise in broadcast and print media. “Social media,” grumble the curmudgeons, “is just a fad. People need to quit playing games and join the rest
of us here on Earth.”
But neither of these marketing views is entirely correct. Social media hasn’t changed the marketing landscape, but at the same time, marketing can’t completely go back to the way it was. The smart marketers — by which I mean you, the person who bought this book (see, that action right there already shows how brilliant you are) — understand that the tools may have changed, but the principles are still the same.
You still have the five Ps of marketing — product, price, place (distribution), promotion, and people. The message is still more important than the medium. And you still have to provide a value to your customers; otherwise, they won’t be willing to part with their money. Twitter is just one more tool in the marketing toolbox.
Applying Old-School Marketing and Principles
Marketing has been around since Og and Zog were both competing in the blossoming wheel industry thousands of years ago. Og and Zog had to show customers how they’d benefit from a wheel (education) and how a wheel could
provide value to them (sales), as well as offer customers excellent customer service (follow-up). The same techniques apply today. Marketers educate, sell,
and service by using commercials, brochures, and Web sites. But now they have some new tools in the marketing toolbox.
So, what’s the difference between old-school marketing and the new school? On the face, not much. The principles are still the same.
Say that you manufacture marbles and sell them to marble collectors. Thirty years ago, your marketing plan would have looked like this:
1. Find your ideal customer.
Do focus groups, surveys, and data analysis. Find out who the typical marble collector is. Create a profile about what he or she likes to do, where he or she is likely to live, and whether he or she belongs to any marble clubs. Because collectors make up the majority of your customers, you need to focus
most of your energy on them. You may have an ideal customer who is male, lives in a large city, is in his 30s or 40s, and likes sports.
2. Create a marketing campaign to reach those ideal
If it’s in your budget, advertise during sporting events on TV, especially on ESPN. Put up billboards around the 15 biggest cities around the country. Buy a mailing list from the different marble clubs around the country, and send those on the list a copy of your latest catalog. Put ads in print magazines that the
ideal customer reads, including sports magazines such as Sports Illustrated.
3. Measure sales before and after the campaign.
If sales went up, the campaign was a success. Also, if sales went down, it is important to figure out what went wrong in the marketing process. Why did you lose money? Test. Retest. Try again.
4. Survey your customers.
Find out where customers saw your ad. Continue to put money into the ads that worked. Don’t pull the plug on the underperforming ads just yet, but make sure to keep a close eye on them for a bit longer, as they may turn out to be money sinkholes. Marketers still follow the process in the preceding list to some degree. Even if companies have more advertising channels to choose from and they’ve gotten smarter about finding the ideal customer just by paying attention, every company still follows this basic plan.
But Twitter and the Internet have changed how you can target your customers. They’ve made marketing easier and cheaper. E-mail accounts and social networks such as Facebook are free to use. The cost of developing (and running) a Web site has dropped dramatically. And thanks to the Internet, performing research, creating your message, and distributing it have become more affordable than ever before.
Here’s what new-school marketing looks like:
1. Target your customers.
Who cares what your ideal customer is like? You don’t have to target people like them because you can target them directly.
2. As long as you tweet about relevant content that these folks
care about, you have a very good chance that they will follow
3. Create a marketing campaign that involves a Web site and
a blog, and create a Facebook and/or MySpace page. Invite
people to join these groups.
4. Write regular blog content and use Twitter to post
messages, letting your followers know that you have a new
post on your blog
5. Measure your results.
If you are not tracking and analyzing the traffic on your site, you should. You can do it using a platform such as Google Analytics (www.google.com/analytics), which lets you look at lots of information about your site’s visitors. You also have the ability to add Google Analytics into your HootSuite account for increased support from your analytics platform! Using Google Analytics, find out which messages, which posts, which tweets, and even what time of day produced the best results, leading to the most sales. Armed with this information, you can put more energy and effort into the actions that generate more sales and drop the ones that don’t produce such a good result. You can also try to figure out ways to improve nonperforming messages, posts, and tweets. Most of the ideas stay the same when you transition from old marketing techniques to tech-savvy ones:
Find your customer, create a marketing campaign, create an
effective message, and measure the results.
However, you can improve the return on your investment in some of these areas when you use social media as part of your marketing toolkit:
Find your exact customer, not an approximation or ideal of
Reach your customers right where they are, instead of advertising in places you hope they’ll be.
Send your message only to people who care about your product(s), instead of wasting ink and money on people who don’t.
Create frequent, even daily, content and get it to customers at all hours of the day, not once a month or only at game time. Don’t spend thousands and thousands of dollars in print and broadcast advertising. Spend a small amount to no money on electronic marketing. Encourage retweets. This improvement is huge: Customers can easily share your message within their circles of influence, and their circle of influence may buy your product or service.
Because of social media, you can share information with your friends much more easily than you could even five years ago. Back in the mid 2000s, if you wanted to share information with people, you had to e-mail links to Web sites or forward jokes countless times to each other. Now, you can share photos with friends and family. Upload a 5-minute movie of your 3-year-old explaining Star Wars and get a ton of hits.
Write a blog post that 1,000 rabid marble collectors see or click a button that retweets a message to 10,000 people in just a few minutes. Word of mouth was almost literally word of mouth 30 years ago. You called your friend about a great new restaurant. You asked a colleague whether she saw the billboard over on Massachusetts Avenue. You talked about the great new TV series. But you couldn’t share articles or videos, unless you clipped an article out of a newspaper or magazine, or recorded a TV show on your VCR.
People didn’t share 30 years ago like they do now. Thanks to social media’s growth and tools such as Twitter, you can now easily share information with people who think like you and who like the same things you like. That’s why some people are now calling “word of mouth” advertising “word of mouse.” (Clever, huh?)
If anything is different about marketing today, it’s not the tools and it’s not the technology, and the medium isn’t the message — the ability to share has given consumers a new voice. It has given consumers the power to talk about
experiences and share them with thousands upon thousands of people. And you can make your business a success by sharing your stories, ideas, thoughts, and successes with the clients and consumers using Twitter for communication.
Working with New Media Tools and Techniques
Thirty years ago, you could easily get your message to your potential customers. You advertised on the big three networks, on the radio, and in newspapers. People couldn’t escape your message. They were in your world. You just had to repeat your message enough times for it to take effect. Now, people have hundreds of channels on TV. They get their radio from the Internet, satellite, or one of a myriad of radio stations. Newspapers aren’t faring very well: Both readership and advertising revenues have dropped, many newspapers have gone bankrupt, and people are questioning whether the
newspapers will even be around in ten years. But people are also online. In fact, if you need one place where you can find most people, it’s online. More people are congregating on Facebook and MySpace every day. They’re reading and writing blogs. And they’re using Twitter.
If you want to reach your customers, you need to find out where they’re located. Thanks to high-speed Internet and cheaper, faster computers, they’re on social media, including Twitter.
Understanding the potential of social media
Frankly, you can’t escape social media. Not only are individuals getting involved, but small businesses and large corporations are also jumping into the fray with both feet. Even the U.S. State Department has a Twitter account and a
Facebook account, and it’s even started a social networking site on its own server.
You can find plenty of examples of corporations, government entities, and businesses using social media for content distribution. Government politicians and entities have taken up the Twitter world to produce content for their personal preference as well as their political campaigns. The president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, has an account that currently has over 1 million followers. It is reported that his account is the most followed account in the country. Politicians in countries like Japan and Greece have started using social media to distribute content to the public.
When Twitter is used for distributing political content to millions of people, it is even more important to watch the trends on Twitter. Think about that: the ability to be noticed by hundreds of thousands of people.
Keeping your message real
You hear these words a lot these days: authenticity and transparency. People use them interchangeably, and they basically mean the same thing: Let people see what you’re really doing and don’t lie about it.
Lying in the social media realm is the kiss of death because as quickly as you get your message to the public, word of your deception spreads twice as fast. Customers respect honesty. They might not like your product, but at least
they won’t accuse you of lying to them.
Tweeting to Find Warm Sales Leads
Before social media, salespeople found prospects on mailing lists and phone lists, through their business networks and referrals, and by cold-calling. They turned prospects into warm leads and then into paying customers. Just like
old-school marketing principles still apply today, old-school sales principles do, too.
Searching for potential customers
Nowadays, you can find prospective customers by searching for them through Twitter’s search feature (both the one that you have access to within Twitter itself and the advanced search Twitter offers at http://search.twitter.com), Nearby Tweets (www.nearbytweets.com), and Twitterment (www.twitterment.com). Though Twitter’s search, Nearby Tweets, and
Twitterment are excellent options to help you unearth prospects, new and improved Twitter search tools keep appearing all the time. Keep your eyes open for references to new resources you can use to expand your list of prospects.
To start your hunt for prospective customers, do a search to find people who are talking about your industry, field, or company.
Words: You can construct a query that contains all or any of the words you enter. You can also find tweets that contain an exact phrase or a particular hashtag and tweets written in a specific language.
People: You can find tweets posted by someone, directed at someone, or referring to someone. Are there no secrets anymore?
Places: In a similar way to Nearby Tweets, you can finds tweets posted a certain distance from a specific location.
Dates: You can specify what dates you want to search for tweets. This search parameter can come in handy if you want to find out the response on Twitter to a campaign you are running.
Attitudes: You can spot tweets with a positive or negative attitude as well as tweets asking a question. Can you imagine the power of learning how happy (or upset) your customers may be about your product?
Other: You can filter your results to show only those that contain links or include retweets, or to limit the number of results per page.
Turning prospects into warm leads
After you’ve identified potential customers, follow these people so that hopefully they’ll follow you back. Engage them in conversation about anything and everything. Provide relevant content that they may be likely to find useful. As people get to know you, they’ll become interested in what you do. And when that happens, they’ll begin contacting you for information about what you do.
After you develop these relationships with people, they move from prospects — people you’re following and who are following you — to warm leads. As leads, they’ve visited your Web site, signed up for your e-mail newsletter or blog,
and even requested a catalog or downloaded your sales literature. What you do with them after that is up to you.
Sending commercial messages on Twitter
As a general rule, don’t bombard your customers and followers with commercial message after commercial message. That gets real old, real fast. If people think you’re a spammer, they’ll block and unfollow you. And if the folks at Twitter notice a pattern of a lot of people blocking or unfollowing you, they’ll suspend your account and possibly even cancel it permanently.
However, this rule has a few exceptions. In some cases, your followers may actually expect you to send commercial messages. It can be okay to share a commercial message at random. Your followers will accept you pushing your wares or products across Twitter if you have not sandblasted them with content every hour of the day.
When something is organically shared in the Twitter world, it means that people are excited about the content being shared. You can tell that something is being
organically shared if the tweet is being retweeted (or shared) by numerous people.
The promoted tweets system that Twitter has developed could really annoy people. This system could annoy people to the point of unfollowing your brand on the site. Be extremely careful when investing money into the promoted tweets system.
Positives and negatives of promoted tweets
Promoted tweets have the potential to grow the revenue of your business in terms of sales, but there are negative aspects to the service. With the elusive revenue model still on the horizon, Internet companies are having a hard time keeping advertisers from being completely annoying to their user base. Banner ads are an example of an annoying medium. Promoted tweets could have the potential of affecting Twitter’s message to the public.
When you’re starting to tweet, you might feel like you have writer’s block — especially if you take my advice to heart about not spewing your content all over the place. So, what do you talk about? Talk about what you know. Talk about hobbies or interests that involve your product(s); manufacturing of your product(s); shows, competitions, articles, and videos related to your product(s); and similar topics.
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