If you are not using Twitter you don’t know what you are missing! No, it’s not another dating site! If you intend to make noise in 2009 online with a business of any kind, you had better get on-board with social networking and micro-blogging. Why do you ask? Here’s a good example. Are you familiar with The Ellen Show hosted by Comedian Ellen DeGeneres? She had Sean “Diddy” Combs on her show on Monday, March 10th and he introduced her to Twitter.
Twitter is a micro-blogging website that allows you to post snippets of what you are doing in 140 characters or less. It’s become a big thing in the last 9 months. Diddy told Ellen about how many “followers” (equivalent to friends on MySpace or Facebook) he had at the time which was about 160K. Well, Ellen was so amazed by this new craze that she decided to get her own Twitter! She set a goal to get 1 MILLION followers…
Well in just 7 days she currently has just over 173K followers! Could your business use 173K potentially new clients? Is your business structurally ready to handle such a boost in numbers in such a short amount of time?
Before you get too excited, keep in mind that The Ellen Show airs Monday through Friday and already has a very strong viewing audience. However, it still goes to show you that Twitter makes perfect sense when it comes to driving traffic to your website and your business. Any social networking web site these days will provide the amount of traffic needed for any effective business to thrive.
Reports suggest that social networking is now more popular than email. Twitter in particular grew 33% in only a month according to Compete data. Skittles increased its own traffic by 1332% in one day after a campaign that sent Skittles.com directly to a Tweet-stream (the site has since moved to different strategies of a similar nature like a Facebook page and currentlya Wikipedia entry, which is in itself another interesting story). Many brands large and small are realizing the potential that Twitter provides. “As exciting as it may be to hear about what your friends, or total strangers for that matter, ate for breakfast, some companies are realizing that a more effective use of Twitter is to mine it for clients, recruit employees and answer customer service questions,” notes Kim Hart with the Washington Post.
Twitter is becoming a primary traffic source for many sites as John Battelle points out (Facebook is driving a lot of traffic as well). This will only continue to increase as real-time search continues to grow.
“Social search has been predicted (and funded) for years,” says Battelle. “It’s finally happening. The conversation is evolving, from short bursts of declared intent inside a query bar, to ongoing, ambient declaration of social actions. Both will continue, but it’s increasingly clear why Google’s obsessed with Facebook (and Facebook with Twitter). And they are not alone.”
Marketing Pilgrim’s Andy Beal and many others expect Twitter to eventually be acquired by Google. “Twitter is becoming an important communications channel–intrinsic to the web,” says Beal. “Aside from the being able to pick up the company for a fraction of the $15 billion Google has in cash, Twitter is a key component of the search engines’ ambitious goal: to organize the world’s information.” Beal finds what he perceives to be hints in the following interview between Charlie Rose and Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
“When people ask me when Twitter will make money, I tell them, ‘In due time,’ says Twitter CEO Evan Williams in a quick bio-piece chronicling his professional life up to the present. “They forget that we’re only 30 employees who have just gotten started. Right now, anything we would do to make money would take our time away from acquiring more users. We have patient investors.”
The average user doesn’t care about how Twitter is monetizing its business though. And the users are what drive any success that it will ever have. Users are clearly finding plenty to get out of the service.
What businesses can get from Twitter:
- Traffic. Social networks have taken over email in terms of popularity. Twitter is a very popular one, and continues to grow rapidly.
- People can “opt in” to follow your Tweets, so your messages will be well targeted. This makes it a great place to make announcements to your most loyal customers.
- Twitter can serve as a great channel for customer service if you keep up with it like these brands are.
- It lets you interact with the public while increasing brand awareness.
- Twitter’s search function can help businesses better manage their online reputations in real time.
- Facebook apps can let you update Twitter/Facebook together. This means your Tweets can become your Facebook status and vice versa. Facebook is the most popular network around. Between Facebook and Twitter, you can build quite a following!
There are quite a few benefits for a company without a known revenue model and a service that many people still don’t understand the point of. As Twitter grows, that seems to be changing though.
Ask me how to capitalize on social networking and micro-blogging to increase your bottom line – it just makes sense… LITTERALLY!