Friday, April 11, 2008

Twitter and Business Development; What I have learned in a two week twitter trial

Twitter and Business Development
In merely a week using twitter, I went mad following people, by doing a search for “PR”, “Public Relations”, “Media Relations”, and “Media Monitoring”. Typically when you follow someone they follow you. I have found that 2 out of 5 people I follow started following me. This is a good thing since the message I wanted to send was targeted specifically to an audience that has a need for monitoring service. Without being to self promotion, I posed questions to my twitter followers such as,
“Are you happy with your traditional media monitoring services?”
“Do you wish that there was an alternative your current service provider?”
“What is the best new product that Media Monitoring services have introduced recently?”
“Have you found that the measurements of media monitoring service to be accurate?”
“If you could change the way media monitoring services work, what would you change, how and why?”
There were a few other question, but most of the responses I got the best results from were questions. I also threw out there a few things that were more like pitches. Most people did not respond to that. I believe that the best way to engage the twitter community is to participate in the conversation. Asking who they use, why, what is good or bad about them.

Most people in the twitter community want to believe that online is the only thing out there and that traditional media no longer exists, or has become irrelevant. This is not the case. Statistics that I have found are that only 8% of people in the U.S. are actively engaged in Conversational Media. By far the audiences are still going to traditional sources, Newspapers, Television, and Radio for news. That being said the online communities and social networking sites are growing, and building a momentum. Social Networking Sites like Facebook, and LinkedIn are good for measuring your sphere of influence, and creating a social graph of people you know and who know you, through how many degrees. I will admit that the mainstream media sources are now referring back to online sources more and more. Nielsen’s ratings show higher numbers than online communities.

When attempting to use twitter to get people’s attention, you have to be subtle, not to “in your face” about marketing your product. If you are then you just become a spammer, another used car salesman, another furniture store with a crazy gimmick. Twitter is a wonderful means to grab the attention of a specific market. People who are using twitter have several attributes that many real world people do not have, but the twitterverse has to cross over into the real world somewhere.
They are aware of new technology
They know how to use this technology
They are willing to try new things
They know that they “the people” are the influencers now
They are aware that their words DO have an impact on others thoughts, behaviors, and attitudes

The main thing to remember is that it is a two way conversation. Pitches, and traditional sales techniques do not work in the conventional sense, but some of the traditional sales techniques can be altered, and then they become a real force. It is more about the art of conversation, a way to steer your audience, or your listeners into wanting to know more. In many ways it is good speech writing, or good written salesmanship that creates curiosity. You have to believe in the product or service that you are selling. You have to be willing to share what you know about your area of expertise in order to win people over. Twitter does not get you more business, it is the proper use of twitter and tying that into a blog, by the use of link bait that gets traffic, readers, and more eyeballs on you material that is the driving for of twitter in the business world.

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