By now you have probably seen a bunch of talk about Twitter. And after all of this talk you might be still thinking: OK, so what the heck is Twitter really and why should I care? How is it going to help my business at the end of the day? Rather than writing this column myself, I decided to let Twitter (or more specifically, my extended Twitter network) write it for me. This is me on Twitter (feel free to add me). So let’s get started…
The best way to demonstrate the usefulness or power of something is to show real examples. I started this experiment at approximately 5:20 PM EST on Monday afternoon. Within 1 hour, I had over 80 different replies that answered all of my questions and more. Within 1 hour I had reached out to people from all over the world and they had reached back.
It all started with this simple question: “How would you describe twitter in 140 characters or less?”
Below are some of the answers. If you are interested in engaging with active people on Twitter – I would suggest following these folks. They are there for the conversation and to give back. In the end, that’s what it’s all about…
BrettfromTibet: Twitter is where instant messaging meets social networking
rabeidoh: Twitter is IM on hyperdrive. Instead of reaching only one person, you can interact with thousands.
thomsinger: Twitter is an experience only understood once experienced. It is both blog and IM rolled into an addictive communal ritual
Rhea : My tiny blog, but posts and comments get lumped with everyone’s. News, gossip, personal, fun finds; Twitter is my brain dump.
dedmond29: for me: conversations, insights, information and discoveries. The more I contribute, the more I get back.
audette unparalleled access to influencers & colleagues, economy of words makes value easy to distinguish, and it’s pretty damn fun!
lauracallow is an interactive online playground for the socially connected where rapid fire communications are inspired, shared & stored.
Honorable mention to the cheeky ciaranj: Twitter is a mix of kind of cool, really? WTF? & insanely interesting
OK – that was a great start. And there were many more excellent answers but I think that gives you five very different overviews of Twitter. Don’t forget – every message you write on Twitter forces you to keep it under 140 characters. So you have to try to get your point across clearly & succinctly. Since this idea was for based around my Search Engine Land column, I thought: “How can Twitter help marketers?” Because let’s face it – if it’s not something useful for your business, we shouldn’t be talking about it here.
brianmark It can open a conversation between marketers and customers with little effort.
KeriMorgret Easy way to get informal research..either direct questions, or by watching what people say about your brand/product area.
martinbowling it helps marketers by providing them a captive audience to promote materials & interact with influencers & niche linkerati
oilman twitter can be a great personal brand builder – #TTwT is freakishly successful so far
ioerger Can Twitter help marketers? Twitter is the instant feedback loop marketers use to understand if they are on the right track.
chiropractic marketers benefit from twitters ability to move info rapidly. Views, votes, comments, retweets, and more help spread seeds.
Honorable mention to the cheeky willcritchlow: by distracting their competitors…
OK , but is there any real business being done on here? Are conversions happening? If not – who cares, right? So I asked “Have you ever bought anything because of Twitter?” bonus points for: what? :)”
tonyadam Webhosting based on a twitter poll i sent out a month or so back…went with gate.com
brianchappell Dell 22 inch lcd. they have a twitter account and announce discount codes.
Honorable mention to the cheeky coplandmj: No, although I’d buy my soul back from Twitter if I could.
Personally I had already seen how Twitter could easily drive purchases. Here’s a quick example. I needed a way to hook up my laptop to a third monitor. I had the monitor sitting on my desk at my house and the guys at my local chain electronics store were completely clueless (they had something if I wanted to hook up two computers to one monitor). Then one day I was at a conference and I saw this message from Li Evans:
Then this follow-up from Avi Wilensky:
Now Avi is someone who I trust and who knows his stuff. Within about 5 minutes I ordered the adapter from USB Gear and got it within 3 days. It didn’t matter if that was a client, his own website, or something completely unrelated to him. He had made a recommendation for something I needed (without even knowing it) and it filled my need at the perfect moment. To me that’s one of the most powerful things that Twitter brings to the table.
So how do you find out about opportunities like that? What are the tools that make it easier? That was my final question for the night: “What is the best tool you have used to track buzz or conversations on twitter?”
tonyadam you can setup the “track” feature in twitter similar to how you would google alerts, e.g. “track 10e20″.
Honorable mention to charlyjl Are there tools? I’ll have to read your column! lol
So there you have it. A post written by Twitter. Thanks to everyone above for your help and thanks as well to danperry, bausermedia, feedmelinks, kelly_gaia, m38967, frankmartin, footinmouth, smsRob, dingman, adriansoare, Blakovitch & toddmintz.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.