You can follow me on Twitter here – http://twitter.com/yarostarak
Did you notice the tipping point? Twitter hit the tip somewhere in the last few months and it’s clearly gaining serious critical mass.
I’ve had a Twitter account for many months but largely ignored it because social media is such an attention suck and I already spend too long in front of the computer as it is. I’ve successfully ignored Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and I thought I’d do the same with Twitter, but alas, sometimes you can’t let things pass or you may miss out on opportunities.
I like to focus on one thing and become really good at it – in this case blogging and running my business – but you don’t want to get left behind either, and since Twitter isn’t too labor intensive to manage (compared to Facebook or MySpace), I’ve decided to bend to the will of the people and get active tweeting.
Twitter looks like a lot of fun and since it’s really like blogging but without massive wordcounts, it should be easy enough to maintain.
How Many Signs Do You Need Before You Take Action?
There have been a few signs lately that prompted the decision to become an active Twitterererer, for example…
- Darren Rowse personally Skyped me to suggest that I use Twitter. I think Darren clearly has a Twitter addiction, but of course he knows when something has serious marketing potential too, so you can’t ignore such a blatant suggestion from a source like this.
- Caroline Middlebrook’s blog rose to recent fame thanks in part to her Twitter Guide. This indicates the demand and interest in the topic is driving a lot of traffic.
- Rich Schefren told everyone via a blog post to begin Twittering after Gary Vaynerchuk forced him to pay attention to the service.
- Ed Dale, always on top of the latest social media trends, sent repeated messages to his list suggesting they join Twitter and even went so far as to create an introductory training video on how to sign-up for Twitter to make sure his audience figured it out.
- John Chow could be considered a late adopter, but if there’s money to be made you know he will jump on the bandwagon eventually, so recently began recruiting followers to his twitter feed.
- And let’s not forget over 100 people followed my Twitter profile before I even told anyone it existed and many people asked whether I had one directly through email too. So yep, everyone – I am on Twitter officially now and thanks for caring .
This is just a sample of the signs that Twitter has gone massive, at least from the perspective of my own little sphere of attention online. Shoemoney, Maki (aka DoshDosh) and Brian Clark (copyblogger) also tweet, so if you care about the Internet marketing, make money online and blogging worlds, you have no shortage of people to follow.
Oh yeah, did I mention my Twitter address? – http://twitter.com/yarostarak
What Is Twitter?
If you don’t know Twitter, it’s basically a micro-blogging platform that lets you post short sentences to update people on what you are doing. People follow you and you can follow others.
I’m not experienced at Twitter yet, but my assumption is those who already have a high profile online and channels to get in touch with a lot of people, will logically develop well followed Twitter accounts. Hence so many top bloggers recently prompted their readers to follow them on Twitter and yes, now I’m doing it too.
Presumably, as is the case when looking to use tools for marketing, the number of subscribers you have is what counts, so increasing your Twitter following is the goal (it’s like RSS for blogs). No doubt there are courses and products in the pipeline or already available that teach Twitter marketing.
For those with no means to establish a following thanks to existing celebrity status or traffic assets, you have to learn how to leverage other “assets” or tactics to build your Twitter following, for example -
- Leverage your good looks to gain a following (i.e. your Twitter profile image matters – oh, and how err…presentable you are).
- Be wildly interesting. Those who are opinionated and controversial can do well – though I wonder how easy it is to express your unique personality and strong opinion when you only have 140 characters to do so, in which case it’s more about your ability to link out to interesting content then use witty words within the twitter posts.
- I presume the real power comes from using Twitter to network and connect with people. For the moment at least before overwhelm hits, people respond and take notice of tweets and by sending messages directly @ people you want to know, perhaps sharing interesting links, you can enter their sphere of attention.
Gaining attention in the attention age is always difficult to do, especially from the top experts in your market, so if they have a Twitter account, you have a means to bug them. This is a similar tactic to placing a few well thought out comments to a blog to grab the attention of the blogger, but of course like blogging, you will have to be gentle with your approach through Twitter if you want others to respond in kind, if at all.
Twitter represents one of the simplest forms of online networking available today and helps people to “feel connected” with others, a natural human desire, which is definitely one of the key reasons it has taken off.
The predominate Twitter marketing strategy experts suggest, is to further extend your ability to influence people. Much like a well read blog or a well subscribed email list, with attention and engagement, you have the power to influence behavior. A well followed Twitter profile has the potential to do the same.
You might look at your Twitter profile as yet another way to build a channel of communication. Will it be as effective as an email list for direct response marketing? – No of course not, but this isn’t about comparing one technique with another, it’s realizing all the avenues you have available to you.
A well followed Twitter profile could become comparably effective to a blog with a good RSS readership. The way people interact with these communication mediums is similar, choosing to consume the content when they want to and unsubscribing when the source no longer satisfies.
I haven’t conducted any marketing campaigns with Twitter and it’s still very early days in Twitter’s lifecycle, but I imagine it is a great medium when used as part of a product launch. You could talk a lot about what’s going on behind the scenes in tweets, sending people to content as you release it and keep the flow of communication very organic.
Many bloggers use Twitter to send traffic directly to their blog posts (in fact some bloggers seem to use Twitter *just* for that!), which in a way, mirrors what I do with email marketing, sending traffic back to my blog through my email newsletter in some messages (not all of them though).
Twitter could prove to become similar to email marketing, bringing attention to content with quicker response times simply because of how people pay attention to their Twitter updates. With Twitter notifications (optionally) coming via email, the mediums are merging together and to me this points to a need to look to hybrid marketing, combining different channels to distribute the one message and reach as many people as possible (for example, RSS, Twitter, Email and Web).
As is the case with most Web 2.0 applications, the Twitter style is very personal and it’s difficult to clearly separate what is marketing and what is just communication between peers. Of course this is the ideal situation if you want to market anyway, so you can understand why so many people are raving about Twitter’s potential as a very natural sounding marketing tool.
If you are interested in using Twitter as a marketing channel, my friend Gideon and his friend Juho have released a video titled – The Amazing Power Of Using Twitter For Your Marketing Campaigns. You can watch the first 26 minutes below -
If you want the entire video including the third part, you have to opt-in here Web20MarketingElite.com
The Tool of Choice
Because Twitter has risen as the tool of choice for microblogging you have to go where the traffic is, at least if you want the advantages that the medium offers.
There is a mass audience already using Twitter and they commit a proportion of their attention to it every day. This in turn means you have to spend attention @ Twitter too, if you decide it is worth including as part of your online branding and marketing strategy.
Or of course, let’s not forget you can do this simply because it’s fun – not everything has to be about marketing. You can gain business benefits but use the tool primarily because you enjoy it, so it’s worth trying out just to see what all the fuss is about.
I’m Off To Twitter
I found a couple of interesting links that I’m going to stick in my Twitter account. If you want to follow my shenanigans, then please follow my Twitter: