How to use Twitter for your Business

There are several posts about uses of Twitter all across several blogs and websites. I wanted to provide a few more real life examples in varying business (and personal) scenarios that could be incorporated by any company, business or organization.

The below mentioned examples are broken down into 4 sections:

  • Problem that needs to be solved
  • A possible solution using Twitter
  • The Benefits
  • Similar Applications

Food on Wheels

  • The Problem –A “Food on Wheels” van travelling between office buildings during lunch hour in a neighborhood had trouble letting its customers know that they were around in the area
  • The Solution –The owners created a Twitter account, encouraged customers to follow them –On a regular basis they now Tweet current location, a link to the day’s Menu with a roadmap and timetable for the day
  • The Benefits – Improved Customer Service, Potentially Increased Revenues, Lesser Food Wastage
  • Similar Applications
    • A farmer bringing in produce from a remote farm into a city and parking the truck in specific locations can Tweet their current location for retailers to pick up. This will help easier distribution for the farmer.
    • A mobile medical unit travelling remote areas
    • A mobile library services travelling remote areas

Restaurant – Reduce waste

  • The Problem – A restaurant was dumping food each night due to the inability of being able to guess the amount of food to cook each day and in some instances lack of clientele
  • The Solution
    • Created a Twitter account and encouraged its patrons to follow them
    • Every evening around 8PM about an hour prior to closing, the Restaurant tweets deals for the first 99 (number changes depending on leftovers) customers who would walk in with a copy of the tweet and the code word for the day!
  • The Benefits – Improved Customer Service, Potentially Increased Revenues, Lesser Food Wastage
  • Similar Applications
    • Leftover food after large events can be handed to NGOs feeding the hungry
    • Farmers can tweet and invite people to harvest for themselves in their farms
    • Large grocery chains can sell excess “perishable” inventory on special deals

Local Public Bus Route Plan

  • The Problem –A local bus company wanting to help customers by letting them know their current location
  • The Solution
    • Each Bus Route would have a Twitter account
    • Passengers wishing to track multiple buses on this route would follow the Twitter account
    • Drivers tweet just prior to departing from a bus stop and announce number of minutes to the next two stops
    • Passengers wanting to board the bus at these stops are able to plan accordingly –Others picking up passengers from these bus stops can also plan accordingly
    • Any delays due to traffic are also tweeted out by the Driver “on the run” helping everyone plan better
  • The Benefits – Improved Customer Service, Potentially Increased Revenues
  • Similar Applications
    • Airlines tweeting when flights are ready to board
    • Other public and private transport company’s that need to keep passengers informed

Math Homework Help

  • The Problem: –A Math website receives 100s of Homework Help questions from via email each day. Responses to the queries are automated for the most part, however some queries get a response only after 12-24 hours
  • The Solution:
    • Have the users follow you on Twitter
    • Tweet their questions and let followers respond to these questions
  • The Benefits – Improved Customer Service, Potentially Increased Revenues
  • Similar Applications
    • Queries on how to use a product not answered in FAQ
    • Customer support and Helpdesk queries

I hope these examples help you think about your own business scenarios and make use of a great tool like Twitter effectively.

I’m passionate about helping companies and people understand how social media can help them position their brand and not only get more customers, but increase the loyalty of those who already exist…..Get Started Today Click Here.

Why do people want to express themselves so much, and how can brands tap into that !

Most people do not have a validation that they themselves have real worth. And I know that sounds dramatic, but 90 percent of the population doesn’t have that confirmation that they’re being heard. I think that what drives people to express themselves online is a confirmation of their own self-worth. It’s very much life-affirming. The reason why people write on walls is to say, hey listen, I’m here. I’m a person.

What brands need to do is to recognize that need, and to help fulfill that need. The brands that get closest to their customers are the ones that celebrate the creativity, the presence of the audience. I’m constantly looking at new ways of doing that.

Example : In the film space, most marketing campaigns are very one-way. Here’s our stars, here’s our marketing message and we open on Friday. And they just keep pumping you with that same message. The new way to market digitally is to take the audience and make the fans the center of the campaign. To show that you’re there because of them, and put a mirror on who is going and loving your movies.

The focus is not to use social media as a distribution channel, but to use it as a true community of people that are involved and vested in the product’s success. While some of this might look like it’s obvious, it’s not the norm yet.

For small businesses that can’t afford to do traditional advertising, could they do all of their marketing solely through social channels?

More and more, the answer is yes. I think you need a good product and you need commitment and passion. Money cannot buy passion, and that’s the most powerful marketing tool. As a marketer, I want to create the environment for passion to happen, and then amplify that passion. Small businesses are more committed to their product and their customers than any, and I think that the more they reflect their core values and their culture, the more people will respond and become part of that.

We need to tell stories, as marketers. If we document our journey and people come along for that journey, the commitment that they make is huge. The key is to create a narrative and let people be part of it. Let them actually affect the narrative. And that is what social media marketing is. Creating a narrative that somebody can join. Like any great narrative, there are twists and turns and unexpected things, and if you do that well, your audience will come along for the ride and become extremely vested in your success.

Top 10 Tips for Better Content Marketing

As the old saying goes, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Don’t let the same thing happen to your new product. This is where a solid content marketing plan comes to the rescue.

Content Marketing for Dummies, defines content marketing as “the practice of developing awareness, recall, purchases and loyalty through the use of content published online or offline.” It is a cost-effective and easy strategy, although it can be extremely time-consuming. But trust me, it’s worth the effort!

Here are 10 steps you can take to improve your content marketing and drive awareness around your products.

1. Determine Organizational Goals

Ask yourself: What is my goal, and how is my content marketing plan going to help me accomplish it? These are things that need to be thought out before determining your content. By doing so, you can tailor your content marketing plan accordingly.

Each goal should be measurable and have a deadline by which you perform this measurement. For example, increase website traffic 25% by Jan. 1, 2012.

2. Identify Target Audiences

The next step is to figure out exactly whom you are targeting. This means researching everything about the audience to whom you will be delivering your content. Ask them questions, research website traffic data and determine their demographic information, including age, gender, education, location, etc.

From there, you need to figure out what your audience is interested in, both online and offline. What are they reading? What are they talking about? What are their likes and dislikes?

In this step, it is helpful to think like one of your clients or customers. Envision that you’re writing for one specific person, and then tune in to his thought process in order to succeed. Above all, listen to what that person wants, which is not necessarily the same as what you want. After all, you want him to be receptive to your content.

3. Develop Key Messages

What exactly does your audience want/need to hear? In general, determine what will differentiate you and your product, as well as what will help you to achieve the goals you have set. The end result should be one to three main messages, each with one to five sub-messages that offer a bit more detail.

4. Decide on Overall Content Marketing Strategies

There are three different types of content marketing strategies: long-form, short-form and conversations (e.g. sharing).

Long-form includes blog posts, articles and press releases — basically, anything longer than a couple of sentences. Short-form includes tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn status updates and graphics. Conversations and sharing includes participating in and driving conversations through blog commenting, link sharing and comments on videos. This type helps to encourage discussions between other thought leaders within your industry.

You can stick to one of these forms of content marketing, or you can use all three. They are each effective on their own, but they are also powerful when used together.

5. Draft an Editorial Calendar

Developing a plan is one of the most important steps to content marketing. However, it should be flexible. After all, things can always change.

This is where an editorial calendar comes in. It should include strategies, specific tactics, suggested headlines, content deadlines and allocated responsibilities. This is a fairly major undertaking, but you’ll be thankful for your hard work once it’s complete — and you’ll save time in the long-run.

Not sure where to begin? Check out The Content Grid V2 by Eloqua and JESS3.

6. Develop Content

In order to even begin the marketing aspect of a content marketing plan, you need to develop the content you are going to use. It needs to be unique and different. Go back to your key messages and subtly incorporate them into the content without overtly selling your product. Content marketing is about creating trust through education and information, not using traditional sales tactics.

The infographic Is Your Content King? is a great visual of how important content is, especially for your marketing plan.

7. Establish Relationships

It’s time to start building a relationship with your target audience. This means tapping into existing communities by sharing and commenting on their content, as well as establishing your own communities across various social networking platforms.

Remember, content marketing isn’t just about you. Like all relationships, you should aim to give more than you receive. Be sure to use the 80/20 principle: 80% of the content you share should be curated (in other words, not your own) and 20% should be your original content.

Find brands that have successfully made a name for themselves, and mimic the steps they’ve taken — but make sure to add your own unique flare. For ideas, check out how these three companies took content marketing to the next level.

8. Spread the Word

Determine industry keywords that are not only relevant to your product, but also are going to generate enough buzz. Search engine optimization (SEO) can play a huge role if you research thoroughly. For example, make sure the tags you’re adding to your blog posts are going to generate traffic, since this can help you get found in the first place. I’m a huge fan of both Scribe SEO and InboundWriter to help you accomplish this.

Also, spread the word through Twitter, Facebook, e-newsletters, etc. But be careful not to force your content where it doesn’t belong. It may seem like you’re trying too hard, and in turn, people may not be interested in what you have to say.

Eloque came out with a free ebook, The Grande Guide to B2B Content Marketing, a helpful read when it comes to content marketing. Plus, it’s useful for deciding which platforms you should employ and how to effectively use them.

9. Measure Effectiveness

Although this is one of the last steps, it’s one of the most important. By measuring the effectiveness of your content, you can determine whether or not your plan needs to be altered, or whether it’s working in the first place.

Keep an eye on pageviews, retweets, Likes, +1’s, shares and so on. Anything your audience can take action on is something, you need to pay attention to. Figure out how well everything is working — or why it’s not working at all.

10. Change the Plan As Needed

If something isn’t working, change it up. Be sure to pay attention to results, and then use them to your advantage.

The most important thing to remember about content marketing: It’s all about building connections and improving your audience’s product loyalty. One of your goals should be for people to recognize your product based off of the content you’ve been placing both online and off. For a more in-depth look into how to create your content marketing plan, check out: Content Marketing For Dummies – Cheat Sheet.

Have you used content marketing in order to launch a product before? What were the steps that you took in order to do this successfully?

Haven’t used content marketing before and don’t know where to start ….Click here.