Most people love lists. Lists help you remember, stay focused and reward you with a sense of accomplishment as you complete tasks and "cross stuff off" your list.
There are lists aplenty telling you why you should be on Twitter. Each of those has anywhere from 5 - 50 reasons you should be using Twitter and another 5-50 ways to use Twitter. Noise.
We have two broad reasons which touch virtually every business (and individual).
1. Listen to what is being said about you
2. Speak to the twittersphere about you
Listen. Ever heard this saying, "You have two ears and one mouth. Respect the ratio."? Well, Twitter can help you immensely in this regard. Go search for yourself, business, products, services and industry on Twitter Search. Are you surprised at how much info is passing through the twitter pipes? Ouch! Did you see what that person posted about your competitor? Good, my business name doesn't show up on Twitter - whew! Wrong. When's the last time you stood in a group of people at a cocktail party and NO ONE mentioned or acknowledged you and you walked away saying, "good, no one knew I was there."
The point of using Twitter to listen provides you marketing intelligence, customer insight and leads to name a few. Let's say you run a restaurant - pay attention to what is said about the other restaurants, good and bad. Now how does your restaurant stack up? What are the negative tweets and is there anything consistent which you can draw from and make sure you aren't making the same mistakes? Are you listening? And does it make more sense? Good. Read on.
Speak. Now that you've mastered the art of eaves-dropping, Twitter style, you're ready to start speaking in the language of your customers so they will listen to you. If you're offering educational content or have a blog or telling folks to visit an online property you're trying to promote, use a link shorterner like bit.ly to make your link 140 character friendly. Plus, you can track visits on the link shortening sites and see just how much reach, or influence, your newly found voice really is. Don't get discouraged and quit - part of the key to SoMe* marketing is sticking to it.
Let's go back to our restaurant example. Don't just tell folks what you're serving - pick a favorite dish of the evening and talk about why it is your favorite. Tweet about drink specials and suggest a dish to go along with it. Tweet about how packed your bar is on Tuesday night. Speak carefully, but genuinely using the knowledge you gained from listening first.
Blending the two. Encourage your visitors to tweet about their positive experiences with your business. Sure, you'll get some negative ones too, and you should immediately DM (Direct Message) those customers to find out what you can do to make things better. Put your Twitter handle on everything - business cards, flyers, print ads, tv spots, presentations, website and any place you can get an "@" followed by your handle. @DonCrow - see how easy that is?
So write these two items down on your Twitter list and cross them off daily: (1) listen like the birds on the wire and then, (2) speak intelligently to your customers.
*Social Media - shortened to SoMe