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					Tweet Ideas: The Marketer's Guide to Twitter
by Michael Daehn There are dozens of articles about what Twitter is and how to take advantage of itespecially for marketers. This is a brief guide on the must have basics you need to know before venturing into the Twitter waters (Twaters).

What is Twitter?
It depends on who you ask. Some people say it is a waste of time. Others think it is the greatest invention since the telephone. here's the official explanation from the Twitter website: "Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?" Some people call it micro-blogging since the postings often resemble short little blog posts. By short I mean 140 characters or less. 140 characters is the same limit as most text messaging platforms. Twitter integrates and works well with the SMS platform. Many active twitterers (or tweeters) use their mobile device to send and receive messages (tweets) from the service.

The Beauty of Brevity
Part of the appeal of Twitter is the ease with which you can post a thought. In the old days I used to slave minutes over a blog post to share information with my readers. Now I can post a quick idea or even put a link in my tweet to an important page I just found and want to communicate.

These brief messages have also been a reason for scorn. People ask "how can you communicate any important information in just a few words?" Good writers and editors will tell you that being concise is the skill of a good writer. And with the ability to embed links into your tweets, you have the option to link to larger thought, page or article.

The ability to link turns Twitter into a syndication channel. Many people, myself included, will post links to their larger blog posts or articles when they publish. There are several tools you can use to schedule your tweets and/or publish from an RSS feed. I have my account set up to tweet a link each time I publish a new post to my marketingenious blog. A word of caution, over syndication can get some people riled up. They want to follow a person, not a robot. Be clear what the Twitter account is and what type of information is going to be tweeted. For instance my personal account @michaeldaehn is really me sharing ideas and links throughout the day. Occasionally a link to my blog is added when I write a post. I also have a twitter account set up for my Blues hockey fan site @myblues. The only updates from this feed are coming from the RSS activity feed from the website. This account makes no pretensions about being human, but provides a service for the members of the website that want to get updates in their Twitter feed. Be clear about the purpose of the account and what type of updates will be given so that people can decide if they want to follow or not.

Just like email, Twitter has spam. On Twitter spam can take the form of people following you that are not real, usually robots, in hopes that you will see who they are and click on a link to their website. Other spam can be subjective. If you are following me and all I do is promote my products or latest blog post you may consider me spam. The nice thing is you can easily unfollow me and stop receiving my updates.

Conversation Building
New marketing or Marketing 2.0 is all about conversations. Old school marketing meant carefully crafting a message and broadcasting it out through various media channels. The Internet has dramatically changed the communication process and Twitter is a perfect example. It is built for real people to have conversations about their lives, their laundry and maybe your product. If you have not figured out the conversation thing yet, I suggest you read some of the books listed in the resource section at bottom.

Customer Service
For those companies that want to do a better job at customer service, Twitter is a great opportunity. Want to know what people really think about you? Put your name into a search and see if people are cursing or praising you in their conversations. You have the opportunity to proactively participate in discussions with your customers. A couple of successful examples of this are Comcast and Dell. They honed in on some issues people were discussing about them and did something to help their customers.

Public Relations
The era of the monotonous press release are over. Good riddance. If you are truly relating to the public today you are using tools like Twitter, blogs and interactive forums.

Twhat did you say?
Twitter has spawned a whole new vocabuly of words starting with Tw. Some are cute and some are annoying, but if you run across some silly sounding words like twollow, twellow or twittelate you can assume you are dealing with something Twitter related. If you still aren't sure, check the twittonary.

Should You be on Twitter?
Marketing is about finding the right tools the job. So ask yourself these questions: • Do you want immediate feedback on what your customers think? • Do you want a low or no cost tool to add to your marketing mix? • Do you want to pro actively engage one to one with customers? • Are you willing to be transparent and authentic and not hide behind corporate speak and/or policies? • Are you prepared to respond to your audience? • Are you comfortable with "building good will" as an objective? • Are you able to devote the time to do this right? If your answers are yes than welcome to the twitterverse. Be sure to say hi @michaeldaehn.

Books The Cluetrain Manifesto-Searls, Weinberger, Levine and Locke Marketing 2.0: How to Survive and Thrive in the Age of New Media -Daehn Join the Conversation -Jaffe

Twools Tweetdeck -easily follow the conversation on your desktop Tweetlater -schedule your tweets Tweetbeep -keep up to date on the Twitterverse SocialToo -polling and management tool Copyright ©2009 by Michael Daehn and marketingenious

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