10 reasons to use Twitter before your competitors

The global reach, the immediacy, the ineraction—all should motivate your and your company to make the most of the micro-blogging platform.

Twitter has become part of popular culture and is not going away anytime soon, but the general public still doesn’t get it.

A contact of mine on Twitter and author of the “New Rules of Marketing and PR,” David Merman Scott, was having Christmas dinner with his brother Peter, who said he was skeptical about Twitter. David, at dinner, tweeted the following question to his followers.

My brother Peter doesn’t understand Twitter. It’s weird – who cares what you do? can you guys please explain please!!

In seconds, replies started coming in; within 10 minutes, he had 50 responses from all over the world. Here are some:

  • “Its a search engine for life. You want to find people who like what you do? Search, listen and connect”
  • “Twitter is like mingling at a party with some people you know, others you don’t and many more you have to meet”
  • “Twitter is like personal hygiene. You only find out about the benefits after you start”

The reality is that until you use Twitter you will not understand its power to provide a rich kaleidoscope of news, people, connections, content, videos and images in real time in your niche and industry. It has the power to influence, create a personal brand and break worldwide news.

So what are 10 reasons to use Twitter?

1. Creating a community

Twitter is full of communities that share in real time. You can find all sorts of interest groups on Twitter including “social media” and “travel” as examples.

2. Driving traffic to your blog, website or landing page

I don’t know of many other online platforms that can drive traffic so fast and so targeted as Twitter. As Guy Kawasaki says: “Not everyone agrees with my use of Twitter. I approach it as a broadcast marketing tool to help me make Alltop successful. There is no right or wrong with Twitter. Like other large platforms, it’s a tool.”

3. Getting the latest real time news

I didn’t read in a newspaper about the dumping of the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. The report came in a tweet by fellow blogger Darren Rowse, of ProBlogger fame. The news of the plane landing on the Hudson River in New York was broken in a tweet sent via iPhone—with a photo attached.

4. Networking

This morning I am gearing up for a face-to-face meeting with Karla Nunez from the Social Media Club of Mexico. (I couldn’t have done that without Twitter.) I have also met and interviewed CEOs and communicated with the global social media directors of Ford (Scott Monty) and General Motors (Chris Barger) because of Twitter.

5. Spreading your ideas

If you want to get your ideas out, Twitter can do that. As Seth Godin says, “Ideas that spread, win.”

6. Reaching a global audience fast
In the global village that the Web has created, what had been an insignificant niche in a given city could become viable as a market that’s accessible worldwide.

7. Creating a personal brand

Twitter provides a place to put your photo, a link to your website or blog and room for a brief bio. This is just the start you need to create a personal brand globally in a digital world. For more on this topic check out “23 Steps To Build Your Personal Brand.”

8. Improving customer service

You can monitor your brand on Twitter. Most important, you can respond directly to complaints that you might have otherwise not even been aware of, keeping customers you might otherwise have lost.

9. Humanizing the company

Tony Hsieh of Zappos says Twitter enables him and the company to provide an insight into the personality and culture of Zappos by having employees and the company on Twitter which in turn promotes the brand.

10. Testing reactions in the market

Jason Calacanis of Mahalo asks his Twitter followers, “What do you think about this?” Bloggers and fans monitoring his Twitter stream will provide market feedback in real time, not next week or next month or after the formation and analysis of a focus group.

So, is your company on Twitter, or are your competitors?

Jeff Bullas is a digital media coach, mentor, consultant and speaker. He blogs at JeffBullas.com.

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