Do you get any business benefits from using Twitter?

This was a question posed in a discussion in a group on LinkedIn.

Here’s some thoughts I shared with the group…

Twitter is great as a ‘signposting’ system to guide your followers to valuable information…such as a Blog, PR, news, video, new website etc. It’s hugely powerful for searching out conversations on specific topics.  It’s also great for searching for mentions about your company…

Twitter is also great for promoting events; sharing your LinkedIn status; asking for help, the list goes on…

I’d also add that you need to understand the different platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.), and the ‘netiquette’ for each one:

Keep your message simple – Your audience doesn’t have time to read long and complicated messages. A complex message is hard to understand and to remember and hence it is less effective.

Customize it – Every social networking site is different and hence has different expectations of you. The way your Facebook audience thinks is completely different from your audience on LinkedIn. So make sure to customize your message according to the place where you are going to present it.

Make it about them – Your content (messages) on social media sites should focus on the needs of your target audience and how your products/services can benefit them. The best strategy is to write your messages in second person. Use words like “you” and “your” and make them about their problems and needs.

Promote in the right places (fish where the fish are) – Make sure that you are promoting your message in the right place at the right time, to the right audience.  LinkedIn is probably not the best platform to promote a music event, you’re  probably better going to Myspace for that. Similarly it is hard to find business partners for your new venture on Facebook, maybe you should try LinkedIn.

Reach out at the appropriate time – The best time to reach out to your audience is when they actually need you – like while making a buying decision or need some latest information about the industry.  Avoid bothering them with your promotional messages again and again as it will frustrate them and they will start hating your company.

Twitter is an art.  Social media is an art. And like any other art, the more you practice (and the more you listen rather than broadcast), the better you will become.

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