Musings on


By August 6, 2009

10 Surprising Ways that Twitter Has Helped My Business…and Ideas On How it Can Help Yours Too

More and more companies are using social media. And there is only one reason – because it works.

According to a recent article in Portland’s Business Journal,

Increasingly, businesses are using Twitter, Facebook and other online tools to build brand awareness, cultivate customer loyalty and sell products.

Eighty-five percent of all U.S. consumers will read or view social content by the end of 2009, according to Forrester Research. Jupiter Research found that 46 percent of small-business decision makers use social media each month to make a purchasing decision.

Take a minute to click on the link and read the article – there are some great case studies of the ways in which companies are using social media to connect, survey, observe, interact, and promote.

I have to admit – I was on Facebook and LinkedIn, but I started out as a Twitter doubter. Twits and Tweets and Tweeps just all sounded so…well…stupid.

But, like a good little online marketer, I jumped in and set up an account (@WendyMaynard) since I figured I had better know how the heck to Tweet so I could explain it to my clients. This was probably back in January.

And Twitter is very weird when you first begin to use it. It really is. You just jump into this ongoing river of thoughts that have no seeming rhyme or reason. And then you try to figure out what to say…and when to say it…and who to say it to…

But I quickly learned how to join the Twitter party (that’s what it reminds of most – a cocktail party with lots of smart people). And now I have over 3,600 followers and many new connections. Are you on Twitter already? Tweet me: @WendyMaynard

As you can see, I have become a Twitter believerperhaps even a Twitter evangelist. Once you learn how to use it strategically, it is an amazing tool. And I think that every business can benefit from using social media for a variety of different purposes.

Many people begin with Twitter expecting to use it specifically as a tool to get new business. And, while that is one of the things that Twitter can do for you, I’ve discovered many other benefits of the tool. In fact, there have been a lot of things that have happened to me as a result of being on Twitter that I didn’t expect.

So, I created a list of Surprising Ways that Twitter Has Helped My Business:

1 ) New Friendships: I’ve made some wonderful new friends on Twitter who are inspiring entrepreneurs and amazing bloggers. They have given me ideas and valuable support.

2 ) Relationships with Peers: I’ve been able to make connections with other owners of design firms and they have been very helpful with my insider questions.

3 ) Software Reviews: When working on a marketing campaign for a client, I often need a specific software or analysis tool. In response to my Tweets about this, I’ve gotten almost instantaneous feedback to questions about what works best online for specific purposes.

4 ) WordPress Plugin Recommendations: WordPress blogs have thousands of plugins that allow bloggers to perform almost any task imaginable. Both in adding functionality to the Kinesis Blog and setting up blogs for clients, I have been able to get recommendations from “Tweeps” on the perfect plugin for the job.

5 ) Help for Writer’s Block: I’ve shot out a Tweet when struggling with a synonym for a word or phrase while writing marketing copy. Within minutes, I have a dozen different ways to say it better.

6 ) Unsolicited Testimonials: I’ve had a number of incredibly generous people give testimonials about me as a marketing strategist. I’ve cached these in my Twitter Favorites in case I want to refer a prospect to them.

7 ) Connections With People in The Same Industry as My Clients: I’ve made a number of Twitter connections with people who are in the same industry but a different geographical location as my clients. This has proved to be invaluable to learn more about their marketing tricks and techniques (Have I mentioned how generous people on Twitter tend to be?)

8 ) Connections With People Who Represent My Clients’ Target Audience: I’ve also made some connections with people who are in the industries that my clients target. This has been downright amazing. It’s like a Twitter focus group that I can run in seconds. I can ask these individuals questions about their preferences and bring this info back to my clients to help sharpen their marketing efforts.

9 ) Connections with People Looking for Speakers: I speak on social media and online marketing both live and via teleseminars. I have received several invitations as a direct result of being on Twitter – great exposure! I’ve also learned of several opportunities that I have submitted ideas to as a potential speaker (I don’t know the results of these yet since they are in 2010), but I wouldn’t have known about them other than folks on Twitter.

10 ) Increased Traffic to My Blog: I have developed a loyal group of Twitter followers who are interested in what I have to say (thank you, Tweeps, for your support). I send out several Tweets when I have completed a blog post and I always see a spike in blog traffic from Twitter as a result. I also get insightful comments from these folks.

I could go on, but I thought it would be fun to quote some other Twitterers on how it’s helped them:

Quotes about Twitter:

From ProBlogger Darren Rowse:

If you own a business of any size and you’re still not Twittering, you’re missing out on what amounts to a worldwide virtual chamber of commerce networking event that’s at your fingertips 24/7. Only on Twitter, you don’t press flesh or swap business cards—you exchange links to your Web site, blog, e-books, and online résumé. And you build relationships 140 characters at a time.

From Duct Tape Marketing founder John Jantsch

(1) I get great insight when I ask questions, (2) let’s face it, I get traffic and (3) people on Twitter spread my thoughts to new places.

From CEO Tony Hsieh

We’ve found that Twitter has been a great way for us to connect on a more personal level with our employees and customers. We use it to help build our brand, not drive direct sales. It’d be like asking how does providing a telephone number for customer service translate into new business when they are mostly non-sales-related calls. In the long term, Twitter helps drive repeat customers and word of mouth, but we’re not looking to it as a way of driving immediate sales.

From BreakingPoint VP of Marketing Pam O’Neil

Twitter has all but replaced our PR agency as a large percentage of our followers are press and analysts. A writer for ZDNet wrote about us and linked to us based on something we tweeted and that resulted in a huge spike in web traffic and at least one deal with a major service provider.

From Dosh Dosh blogger, Maki (taken from his list of ways Twitter Can Grow Your Business)

1. Personal Branding. Twitter is a social media platform you can use to build your personal brand. It has the primary benefit of developing a casual persona and establishes you as a social personality that is connected and approachable. As Twitter adoption increases, new users will be drawn towards well established Twitter personas.

2. Get Feedback. Need an alternative perspective on how a website looks or the right course of action to take? Blast out a message asking for advice and you’ll receive replies from other users. This collective intelligence can be used as fodder for articles or projects.

3. Hire People. Need a good logo designer, marketer or programmer? Send out a message asking for recommendations. This is a very quick and easy way to hire freelancers or even companies based on familiar recommendations.

4. Notify Your Customers. Set up a Twitter feed for the specific purpose of notifying customers when new products come in. Customers can subscribe via mobile or RSS for instant notification. Twitter can also be used to provide mini-updates for one-on-one clients.

5. Find Prospects. Twitter can be used as a means to find potential customers or clients online. Do a search for keywords related to your product on Twitter Search and then follow users. Tweet about topics parallel to your product and close prospects away from public channels by using direct messages or offline communications. Discretion and skill is needed in this area.

So now you have many new ways to use Twitter. If you found this article useful, feel free to share it with your Twitter friends.

I’d love to hear your comments and feedback. I would also love to know the ways you are using Twitter to help your business (were any surprising to you)?

ABOUT Wendy Maynard

Wendy Maynard is the co-founder and former Strategic Director of Kinesis, an award-winning marketing firm and business consultancy. She has over two decades of experience as a marketing strategist, business consultant, and executive coach.

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