Digital marketing

Twitter: The Next Big Thing?

- August 16, 2009 2 MIN READ

Twitter is enthusiastically embraced by businesses worldwide as a useful tool for disseminating information. Soloists are starting to realise having a conversation with their customers is a powerful tool for doing business.

How Twitter works

Twitter is like sending a text message to many people at once. Twitter messages, or Tweets, are just 140 characters long and are instantaneously sent to the people who choose to receive them.

A Twitter account holder follows other people’s tweets just as people will follow theirs.

The most successful Twitterers interactively engage their followers in conversation and watch for opportunities within their industry and region for new customers.

To have an account on Twitter is free, and many seasoned users love how simple and quick it is to update.

Who uses Twitter?

I realised Twitter had finally gone mainstream when at the conclusion of an episode of 60 Minutes Peter Harvey declared that you can now follow us on Twitter. So if 60 Minutes are on Twitter, why aren’t you?

In fact, 60 Minutes aren’t the only Australian news service to be posting their latest stories on Twitter. ABC, News Limited and Fairfax have a Twitter presence as it makes an ideal tool for news updates.

Politicians are also keen Twitter users with both Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull battling it out with Tweets. President Barack Obama famously used Twitter to connect with GenY voters during the Presidential election campaign, so there’s no doubt Twitter conversations can be used to connect with an audience. Chances are your local MP tries to keep you up to date with regular Tweets on what’s happening in your neck of the woods.

Outside of politics and media, big business handles Twitter cleverly and in many different ways. Telstra operates a Twitter helpdesk, allowing people to send messages about customer service and fault issues they are experiencing. Virgin Blue has released sale fares to their Twitter followers before releasing them to the general public and Tourism Queensland has been highly praised for its interactive promotions and destination marketing tweets.

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Interaction builds popularity

Businesses attracting the most attention on Twitter are the ones actively conversing with their followers; answering their questions, encouraging their comments and asking for feedback. Anyone testing a new product or business service will know this kind of conversation with a customer base in invaluable.

Here are five quick tips on using Twitter: 

  • Ask questions. Twitter is great for gauging opinion.
  • Talk to followers about their interests. It’s a great customer research tool, and shows the human side to your business. 
  • Don’t get caught up in promoting your wares as people will ignore those engaging in blatant self-promotion. 
  • Use Twitter Search to see if someone if talking about your business, service or product. 
  • Point out interesting things happening in your industry.

Businesses who engage in online commerce must learn to embrace social media and adapt to the change which comes about from a customer-centric marketing platform. Those who adopt and exploit technology such as Twitter will reap the enormous benefits of increased sales, customer loyalty and effortless viral marketing.