If you’re a marketing or advertising professional who hasn’t heard of Twitter yet, you’re in the wrong business. It’s okay – I think your employer and clients will understand that you’ve decided to go back to your former career. Collect your things, fill up your banker boxes, clean your desk, and please return your swipe card on the way out.
If you’re aware of Twitter – perhaps you even have a profile – but you might not be 100% clear on the rules of engagement. I’m here to help. I’ve been using Twitter since February 2007 and have grown very fond of our little micro-messaging utility. I’ve seen many marketing people use Twitter in a very wrong way. Luckily I’ve seen them use it correctly too. The truth is that there are no written rules for using Twitter for business. However, there are ethics that users expect you to follow.
A big question with Twitter relates to metrics. Understanding how to measure success from Twitter isn’t simple. There are some simple ways to see how campaigns are performing, but like traditional advertising, it’s not 100% accurate. I’m going to break down a few methods you can use to measure Twitter.
If you’re not already using Google Analytics you should be. This article is simply too short for me to explain the inner workings of Google Analytics, but you can learn more on the Google Blog. By using Analytics you’ll track traffic driven to your site from links you send using Twitter. This way, if you’re an e-commerce business, you can track traffic increases and sales made.
Use exclusive coupon codes to send through Twitter. Coupon codes are a fantastic way to measure results, so I highly recommend it.
Create custom searches for your brand name, product names, etc., using Google Alerts and summize.com, then subscribe to those feeds in Google Reader. You’ll be able to track your product mentions in real time, and you’ll then be able to engage users talking about your products. Use this rule, though: consider two people at a party talking about your product. Would you butt into their conversation? Don’t be intrusive and rude, and listen to the conversation before entering it.
You can also create global searches using Tweetdeck.com (a Twitter addict’s best friend, myself included). Tweetdeck is a desktop application powered by Adobe Air. You begin with your regular public Twitter timeline, replies and direct messages. What’s great is that you can track up to ten Twitter searches simultaneously, so it’s a great visual way to monitor your products in real time. You can also create groups with Tweetdeck to follow your employees (in a nice way), friends or loyal users.
There are several services that allow you to create automatic direct messages, but Twitter users tend to really dislike this tactic. Twitter is about conversations and relationships, not about pushing your company’s propaganda. Automatic direct messages are sent to new followers instantly, and they tend to be very annoying. Don’t do this.
The key to using Twitter is to be conversational, and never spam your followers or you’ll be tweeting to an empty room in no time.
- Dave Delaney - Social Media Coordinator, Griffin Technology
Dave Delaney is a Toronto-born Social Media Strategist, New Media Specialist and Traditional Marketing Professional based in Nashville, TN. Dave is also the Social Media Coordinator for Griffin Technology.
You can contact Dave with questions or comments at: