Using Twitter to Engage With Your Market

Leveraging Social Media to Drive Business

Twitter can be a very useful tool to leverage in numerous ways.

From sharing content, news, to building your brand, you can use twitter to foster engagement within your industry, your market, your community. And Twitter is one of the most incredible data mines available.

So many of the smaller businesses with whom I’ve spoken ask me what’s the use of Twitter: To so many of them, it’s just a lot of noise. Some have tried using Twitter and don’t “get” it: They have had somebody set up an auto-feed of some sort, have almost no followers, and just don’t see why the bother.  Then there are the so-called social media “mavens” who go to business networking events and meetings, passing out business cards proclaiming their social media expertise – yet they have few followers, don’t respond to @mentions, or even thank other Tweeps for a RT. (@personname is the Twitter account handle for a person – for example, I’m @i_jessica. An RT = Re-Tweet, when you re-promote another tweet.)

While Twitter is usually regarded as the “firehose” of social media communications, it can be a good “cloud” tool with which to engage with others in your space, build virtual relationships of trust, help drive traffic to your site, learn and share, engage with others with similar interests, and meet others.

Here’s an example illustrating that Twitter is being used by lots of businesses – and business leaders.

A short time ago a friend asked me to take a look at a relatively young social media start-up who had done a presentation at Southwest Venture Forum.  In doing a quick review of the company and its offering, I also did a Bing search and found a reference to this startup on Klout’s blog.  I made a comment to that blog post and tweeted it.  Within a short time my tweet had been re-tweeted (that “RT”) by….a board member of that startup.

Lesson?  Don’t discount Twitter for business and driving business connections and communications.  It’s a tool and, like any tool, it’s about how you use it. It’s about leveraging technologies – and while Twitter is free, it’s a very powerful tool.

Twitter isn’t tolerant of spammers… Those who tweet endlessly about themselves – don’t do this unless you’re Charlie Sheen or Ashton… Or ‘bots (software robots) – like an automated twitterfeed that never has a live person interacting with others in Twitter.

What’s key to understanding Twitter is, in part, how to use social networking – social media to help you and your business.

Social media is about authenticity. Sharing. Building a relationship. Being present. Just like at a business networking event. Only virtual.

While none of us are on Twitter all day long every day, many of us find it useful for news, important industry happenings, and current trends, even checking in on it for a few minutes per day. Many of us leverage it for research, online chatting – hosting a business chat, staying plugged in to events even when we’re not there in person. And even using it during emergencies or community events.

There’s nothing wrong with automating some of your Twitter feed, but you need intersperse some of that with organic tweets. And respond to @mentions, etc.

Many people get overwhelmed by the Twitter firehose of information, thinking it necessary to read every tweet. But that’s not it. It’s about glancing at the stream… letting some of it go past you. Checking in periodically.

Key to grasping how to leverage the best of Twitter is getting your settings right – so you’re notified when you’re sent a “mention”. Or if a key prospect or client tweets, you can get an actual text message. It’s all in how you need to use Twitter.

For you and leveraging Twitter, it’s about your business basics:  What do you do? What do you sell? Who/where is your market? How can you reach them? What tools can you leverage? How do you build a rapport with them? Who are your business partners? With whom do you interact and network?

One more thing: If social media, through the force of the immediate news and communications, is able to empower populations of people to change their governments and change the world of online media, forever – what does this mean for your business? Do you think your business is immune?

Twitter can be used to help you in connecting to your local marketplace – directly or indirectly.

Twitter Bird from Social Media Examiner


This post from Social Media Examiner gives some good starting points on small businesses getting going with Twitter:

And here’s another post you may find useful about what not to do in Twitter.

I’ll share more soon on leveraging Twitter – it’s used by more of the global businesses than any other tool.  Is there spam? Yes. Is there nonsensical noise? Yes. But can you use the tool to drive your business? Yes.

How do you leverage the social media tools available – and do you find Twitter as amazing a resource as I do?

Twitter – the firehose of the social web –  can foster more engagement while building authority.

About Jessica

Change Agent. Transformation Leader. Starbucks Addict. Builder. Driver. Web.
Love great design, working with smart teams, changing the world, missions impossible.

+Jessica Obermayer

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