Unless you've been living in a hole for the past five years, chances are you've heard of the explosively popular social network known as Twitter. In fact, your friends and family may have already tried pressuring you to establish a presence on this platform, but you haven't yet because you don't understand the “why” or the “how” of Twitter marketing.
After all, who cares how much you loved that French Onion soup from Panera you had for lunch?
How could hyper-short 140 character ‘tweets' ever make any kind of significant difference for your business, brand or profits?
If you're like most business owners, even after 5+ years of Twitter exposure, you still “just don't get it”.
That's exactly what this Twitter tutorial is going to help you figure out. By the time you've finished it, you'll know:
- How Twitter works
- How your customers are naturally using Twitter
- What your objectives are for effective Twitter marketing
- How to effectively grow your brand through Twitter
Let's go ahead and get started!
What Exactly Is Twitter? How Does Twitter Work?
Let's start with the basics. This section will be for those of you who have literally no experience with Twitter. For those of you who already know what Twitter is and how it works, it may still be beneficial for you to read through this section just to make sure we're on the same page.
What is Twitter?
From Wikipedia, “Twitter is an online social networking service and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read textbased messages of up to 140 characters, known as ‘tweets'.”
In other words, Twitter is sort of like texting meets Facebook, with just a pinch of blogging thrown in on top. You get the brevity and convenience of texting, the social networking and interaction of Facebook, and the reputation of blogging. Thanks to the multitude of apps and plug-ins available, you can tweet from anywhere on any device, usually with nothing more than the click of a button. And I guess if you're really old-fashioned, you can actually log into Twitter and post from their website.
Okay, Why is Twitter So Popular?
The reason Twitter is so popular with everyone from college kids to business executives is its extreme versatility. No matter what your goals are, there's something for you on this social network.
- It's a way to keep people updated on the little things happening in your life, or to quickly share news or a funny meme.
- It's a way for you to check up on your friends, keep them updated on your life, and build new relationships all at the same time.
- It's a way to share your ideas, to find new ideas, and to follow (literally) the shakers and movers in your niche.
Quick Note – A follower is someone who is subscribed to your profile, and thus automatically receives your tweets in their Twitter feed. The more followers you have, the more people read your updates. You start out with zero followers, and you are also following zero people.
What Makes Twitter Different?
The biggest difference between Twitter and any other social network is sheer accessibility. For example, on Facebook your sphere of influence is limited to people that you already know or have already interacted with. Typically only your “friends” can see your profile, and it's difficult for people to find you who've never heard of you. On Twitter, however, anyone and everyone can find you, connect with you and converse with you.
Another big difference to note is that relationships on Twitter are not reciprocal. If you decide to follow someone, that does not mean they will decide to follow you. The people that you choose to follow and your own followers are completely separate; just because you follow Lady Gaga does not mean that she is following you. Make sense?
So far, so good? Let's quickly recap what Twitter is and how it works:
- Twitter is a convenient social networking platform where you interact via small tweets, which are max. 140 character texts.
- A follower is someone who subscribes to your tweets.
- You can follow your friends and/or influential people, and they can do the same to you, but they don't have to.
- Twitter is different from any other social network because it makes you 100% accessible to anyone and everyone.
How Do Normal Folks Use Twitter?
Now that you understand how Twitter works, let's delve deeper into what people actually use Twitter for.
Why Is Knowing This Important?
The worst thing you can do as a marketer or business owner is jump into this social network head first without knowing what's “normal”. The one thing that the Twitter community as a whole hates with equal passion is a spammer, and that's exactly what you will be if all you do is blatantly promote your product or brand.
So, before you can effectively use Twitter to grow your business, you need to understand how it is supposed to be used so that your future customers don't avoid you like the black plague.
It's important to remember that most people do not use Twitter with any ulterior motive. They're not trying to promote their brand, they're not trying to sell a product, and they're not trying to gain a customer. That doesn't mean that you can't ever do any of those things as a marketer, it just means that you need to do them in such a way that you blend in with “most people”. Your followers can and will become your customers, but only if you carefully keep yourself from viewing them as such.
What is the Typical Twitter-User There For?
Your typical Twitter-user is interested in learning, laughing, socializing and sharing. Your potential customers are already on Twitter, and they are already engaged in your niche. They are sharing their thoughts on the latest news stories. They're giving each other helpful links and new ideas. They're searching for other people's opinions and they're starting conversations, even debates, on topics that are important to them.
Are you starting to understand how normal people are using Twitter?
Are the gears turning in your mind as you're starting to realize how you should be interacting with this social network?
Some of your future customers will be interested in content, some in ideas, some in conversation, and some of them will just be interested in what you're up to. However, none of your future customers are interested in hearing a sales pitch.
How Can You Locate Your Potential Audience?
One other very powerful aspect of Twitter to touch on briefly before we move on is the search function. This is one of the key ways that you will find customers (and customers will find you).
When logged into your profile, Twitter allows you to search for any user or any topic or any keyword that you could possibly imagine, and then returns the newest tweets mentioning that keyword in a nice little list. This lets you find interesting conversations to engage in well outside your normal sphere of influence. This extremely powerful search function is what makes Twitter so useful for growing your brand and your customer base.
I'd like you to take a few minutes to simply play around with Twitter. Open an account using our Quick-Start Twitter Tutorial.
Try out some of the different features. Familiarize yourself with the interface. Follow a couple people you're interested in, try out the search function, and most importantly, observe what your potential customers are doing in their natural habitat and try to put yourself in their shoes. If you know of one or two of your competitors on Twitter, you could check up on what they are doing, too.
To recap this section before we move on to the Twitter marketing side of things, normal people use Twitter to:
- Share interesting content, whether that means videos, articles, pictures or other peoples' tweets
- Access new ideas on every conceivable topic
- Share personal perspectives, start conversations
and engage in debates
- Update friends and family on daily happenings
- Keep up with the latest news and trends according to their interests
- They do NOT use Twitter as a marketplace, but as a community
And it's important to keep these things in mind because you want to be perceived as a normal member of the Twitter community… Not a spammer.