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The Why and How of Twitter

By Mark Juelich

On March 21 Twitter celebrated its 6th birthday. For those of you who may not be familiar with Twitter, it is a social media website and social network often described as a “microblog.” Users can communicate with selected groups based on their interests through 140character or less “tweets.”

How can this information be useful to you and your business? Social media networks, including Twitter, are rapidly becoming the preferred method of communication for business. Twenty-eight percent of all online activity is spent on social media networks, making it the number one online activity. Twitter is now the second largest social media network, second only to Facebook, with 140 million users and 340 million tweets per day. Sixty-six percent of Fortune 100 companies are active on Twitter and a full 40 percent of all U.S. companies have Twitter accounts. There is a very good chance that your target market is involved with Twitter.

If you aren’t inter acting with them on Twitter, who is? If you would like to get started on Twitter but are unsure how to proceed, it’s actually quite simple. First, go to www.twitter.com and create a corporate account. Choose a username that reflects you or your brand. Your company name is fine, or you can certainly use your first and last name (I have both accounts for my company @AW_Systems and @MarkJuelich). Write a short bio that incorporates keywords under which you would like to be found.

Your next step is to grow a following of other users. Twitter is a powerful viral marketing tool; with enough followers reading your message and sending it out on their accounts (retweeting), you can expand your reach exponentially. Start by using Twitter Search to find your target market, listen for a while and then jump in on a conversation when you have something to offer. A slow and gradual growth of your follower base is really the best way to go. Ignore any marketing scheme to gain thousands of followers overnight. This will just result in your account being closed by Twitter. Engage in conversations and follow others. Quite often this will be enough to get others to follow you back. If they like what you tweet, they will stick around and hopefully recommend your account to their followers.

Keep in mind that Twitter is a conversation; the quickest way to lose followers is to be a shameless self-promoter. Just like in real life, people don’t want to hang around others who go on and on about how great they are. Discuss the things your target market wants to discuss and eventually the conversation will come around to you. I use the rule of 12 to 1; 12 tweets about them to each tweet about me. Don’t forget to let others know about your Twitter account on your website, corporate newsletter and in your building.

Try to interact with others in your target market who already have established Twitter accounts. Follow them and try to start up conversations about their tweets. Get ting well established users to mention your account or retweet your tweets can drive a significant amount of followers to your account. Although follower building never really stops, you will eventually reach a point where participation will be enough to continue growth. If you participate on a consistent basis and interact with others, your account will continue to grow.

This powerful viral marketing tool allows you to communicate with several thousand followers and can result in hundreds of retweets to hundreds of thousands of users and so on. Once established, your Twitter account will increase your brand awareness and marketing reach to new heights. Eventually, you will have to get involved, so why not start today?

Mark Juelich

MHEDA member Mark Juelich is the chairman/CEO of American Warehouse Systems LLC in Blaine, MN, a material handling distributor specializing in U.S. federal government storage and distribution centers. Juelich has a 16-year background in Internet business marketing and search engine optimization. His experience with online business has helped guide American Warehouse Systems to become a leader in the material handling industry. Juelich can be found on the Web at www.awsystems.com and Twitter and LinkedIn.

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