The Importance of Twitter to your Social Media Marketing Strategy

Written by Robin WildingMarch 9, 2011

600 million daily searches and 10 billion tweets later Twitter has established itself as a critical element to any social media marketing strategy. Twitter’s success is not surprising though, given its unique balance of business & personal use and high-quality users.

Unlike other forms of social media marketing Twitter’s users are highly educated, with 16%+ of their users holding advanced degrees and 30%+ holding 4-year degrees—think Facebook back in 2004. Twitter users also tend to live in higher income houses (surely a correlation to high education levels), which means more spending power. Also the branding opportunities continue as 51% of Twitter users follow brands versus just 16% in other social media spectrum. Users are also more international than other social networkers, so your brand can reach a global audience.

These stats deliver-up an intricate web of knowledge and of movers and shakers, and reaching these intelligent movers and shakers is why Twitter is a critical element to social media marketing success.

There are several elemental reasons why Twitter should be a part of your online strategy:

Be In the Know

Twitter, and its third party app selection offer a way for you to stay in the loop on what people are saying about your company, whether directly or indirectly. Comcast, Dell GM, Kodak, Whole Foods Market and thousands of other companies regularly monitor Twitter content via analytical tools, to find out what people are saying.  Staying on top of your brand, your competitors and vertical specific trends is all a part of Twitter—and should be a part of your online presence management.

Link Building

An essential part of any online marketing practice is building reciprocal links. The more your company/website is mentioned the higher your page rank and presence will be with major search engines. When a Tweet goes viral you receive tons of links and unique page views, which are then become part of a social indexing with most major search engines.

Twitter as Customer Service

Surprisingly, Twitter has emerged as a serious customer service tool. The ease of solving CS issues within 140 characters makes it a popular tool amongst executives, marketers, and other brand controllers. Despite the difficulty of controlling large brands due to their sheer size, major corporations are even attempting to fix CS issues on the ground floor, in a very public and transparent forum. 

Twitter functions in four ways as a CS platform for companies: problem resolution, positive brand imagery, staff involvement, and cost reduction. The ability of CS resolutions to go viral and sweeten a brand image while solving hundreds or thousands of individual issues over one low-cost platform is mind blowing.

By employing Twitter as a customer service tool you can track large brand-based conversations, including larger dialogues pieced together from smaller ones. Through greater customer contact you can drive brand loyalty via a quick response to problems and a willingness to help.

Official Chevrolet Tweeter and Chevy PR Guy Adam Denison leverages Twitter on a daily basis to help control his brand’s imagery.  Denison believes that Twitter is a solid way to remain part of the brand’s online dialogue when he says “I could talk for a long time about how I Twittered for hours on end helping to clarify misconceptions about GM during the loan hearings!  (That’s a hard one to answer in 140 characters or less).” Twitter also gives you the tools to respond to customer issues in real-time. Another case posted by Denison was when his brand watching apps caught negative feedback coming in live via a user at a GM Saturn dealership, who couldn’t find a salesperson. Denison was able to alert the specific dealership, who then sent someone over immediately. In the end not only did they save themselves bad press-- the customer purchased a vehicle and is now cruising around in a brand new Saturn.

Another avid Tweeting company is CarnivalCruise, who use Twitter to connect and interact with guests and potential guests…on terms they are comfortable with.  Carnival’s Twitter face Stephanie Leavitt says she has run the gauntlet from positive to negative feedback, but always in a constructive forum in which she can address the problem. Her most notable customer conversation was with someone who posted “you took my cruise shirts! Give back my shirt you son of a b**tch!”-- Soon thereafter his t-shirts were in the mail—turning a negative into a positive... the issue later went viral and contributed to their overall online presence.

Makes Viral Easier

It is every company and brand’s dream to have content on the net that goes viral. Viral content can reach millions within a matter of minutes—but this can be extremely difficult to do. While Twitter does not guarantee this, it does facilitate the process via a one-button Retweet strategy.  Many trends have become viral on Twitter before other news sources, so much in fact that it is becoming the first point of reference for many—and with 600 million searches everyday that is a huge market to miss out on.

Personalization - Putting a Face to Your Business

One of the most herculean tasks businesses face is being relatable, personable and recognizable to their audience. While corporate imagery and logos are effective to a point, statistically people are still drawn to personalities and faces. Putting a face and voice to your business via Twitter scores you huge personalization points. This is especially true of businesses with hundreds, thousands or millions of employees. Dell is a great example, with over 20 official Twitter accounts, each with its own face.

Scott Monty has done an impeccable job putting a face and personality to Ford’s branding strategy. His regular interaction with users has made him a Twitter guru, and a major point person for marketing, sales, PR and more. He has almost 9,000 regular followers and is known by name and face in most Twitter circles.

Conclusion

While Twitter is taken lightly by many, it is the source of much of the viral content on the web, it create an excellent outlet to maintain your brand’s image through customer service, marketing and promotions, and it gives you valuable analytical tools to measure your branding success.

If you do not have a Twitter account yet for your business, signup now.

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