I have been hearing a lot about Twitter since 2008 and but have only recently started using it effectively. In the beginning, like most other people, I was swept away by all those “use Twitter for online riches” approaches and got many different accounts banned. The reason why I was banned is simple: Most of my tweets were advertisements. You can imagine why the Twitter staff was pissed off, right?
Once my accounts got banned, I gave up hope on Twitter, thinking that if the Twitter staff can ban accounts simply for advertising, Twitter is a worthless tool.
However, I soon came to realize that Twitter just cannot be used for advertising in the “typical” way. If your followers constantly see “Learn How I Make $6000 From The Comfort of My Home!”, they will un-follow you, block you and might possibly report you as a spammer.
That being said, Twitter is VERY effective if it is used properly. Most people will never understand the effectiveness of Twitter because they will never reach the level where their followers regard them as anything but a spam bot. Seriously..
So if you can engage your followers to a point where they actually care about what you have to say, Twitter can be your personal marketing tool. But even more than that, it can help you in many different ways:
1. Brand awareness: Twitter helps in constantly maintaining connections with people who are interested in your niche. If you have a business and tweet about it (in an interesting manner, without spam-vertising) you will gain brand awareness. You do not have to use your sales pitch, you just need to “educate” your followers what is going on with your business and why they should be interested. I have seen that more people add me just because “other” people have been following me on Twitter. After a while, all the additional exposure adds up as more brand awareness.
2. Costless feedback: On Twitter, the only cost you incur is your time. You can actually gain a lot of followers by not spending a single penny if you are willing to put in 30 minutes a day. Once you have a large following, you can pose questions to them and get meaningful answers. This technique is much better than searching on Google as Google (for the most part) shows only static pages.
For example, I have used Twitter to decide which iPhone I should buy and why I should buy it. Sounds silly right? But it works. Posing a simple question actually helped over 10 people reply to my questions. The results: Instant, costless feedback!
3. Subtle marketing: Twitter should NOT be used as a conventional marketing weapon. Renowned internet marketers market their services in a more subtle way. They give you a reason to want their products and keep you wanting more.
It is the same case with Twitter. Give your users meaningful content. Tell them why they would benefit to listen to you. Increase your brand awareness on Twitter and contracts and sales are sure to follow. Some examples here would be to tweet about your blog posts, interesting happenings in your business, questions as well as special offers. The key here is to somehow get them to Retweet your messages.
I hope this article helps in making you a better twitter user. Did I miss anything out? Do you have any pointers which can make Twitter even a more worthwhile experience? If so, comment!