Thursday, 2 September 2010

Why Businesses Get it Wrong on Twitter

Or are they getting it right?

For me the jury on this one is still out.

Twitter tends to be used in two ways by serious users on Twitter - i.e. not spammy idiots who are trying to get you to sign-up for a free laptop.

1. Usually used by business and is a broadcast medium sending their followers links to their new products or to their blog posts.

2. Communication between like-minded individuals about topics they're interested in, or maybe just their social lives, fun stuff etc. May consist of catching up or posting of links about topics they're interested in.

The ideal for business is to use Twitter how real people use it and actually have conversations with customers. But what so too often happens is that businesses revert to a broadcast marketing communications stance with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and vainly try to encourage participation from their Followers, but rarely succeed.

Yet they will get followers, don't get me wrong, and there is a positive outcome to being able to distribute broadcast messages via Twitter as people do pick them up and even retweet them if they are compelling enough.

But probably the best most businesses can hope for is to provide links of interest to like-minded people, hopefully some of whom might be prospects or customers too. The alternative is to really get under the skin and try to really be part of a potential twitter community that is interested in your type of product. But to do that you need pretty-much dedicated Twitter marketers, which is hard to justify with the prospect of uncertain returns.

One better and longer-term strategy is to not try to broadcast or engage directly, but to create content, products, that will get others talking about you on Twitter. Then you're going viral and you're onto a winner.

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