Ways Twitter is Useful in Your Marketing

Twitter is one of the top 5 ways to make valuable contacts and build a list of readers with its information network made up of 140-character messages called “Tweets”. This easy way to discover the latest news (what happening now) related to subjects you and your readers care about is a tool you need to be tapping into if you’re not already.
To be successfully on Twitter, you need to know how it can help you. Here is a short list of things Twitter can do to help your marketing efforts.
  1. Develop and promote your brand
  2. Interact and support your customer base  
  3. Monitor what people are saying about you, your company and/or brand
  4. Create buzz around upcoming promotions and events
  5. Promote content you’ve created
  6. Develop direct relationships with bloggers, reviewers, publishers and journalists for public relations success
  7. Generate leads!
It is easy to follow someone on Twitter and you’ll be surprised how often they decide to follow you as well. In fact, I have many people I consider “famous” in the marketing and PR worlds following me. In my opinion, this is an easier way to connect with influential people in the media than calling and emailing them.
However, first you need to gain followers so here are a few quick tips. 
  1. Visit blogs, websites, etc. of people you find interesting and influential. Most sites have a twitter box or link you can click to follow. (Remember, often they decide to follow you back.)
  2. Do a “key word” search in Twitter to find like-minded individuals and send them personal message or comment on one or more of their posts. 
  3. Visit your follower profiles and see who is following them or whom they follow. 
  4. The best way to gain followers on Twitter is to regularly engage and contribute in a meaningful way.
One of the best things about Twitter is it’s portable. You can connect your account to your mobile phone or download a Twitter application to read Tweets on the go. Twitter has made it easy to share news as it happens or catch up on the buzz about an event you’re about to attend. The possibilities are endless! 
Retweeting messages is the new “word of mouth” tool in social networking. It’s much like the “share” or “like” button of Facebook. You or your followers can reply with your reaction to a Tweet you find interesting and share it with your followers as well. Tip: If you’re a new user, others are more likely to find your messages if they are retweets or replies.
As an author, you can use Twitter to share special offers and events. Just Tweet your announcement and it is instantly shared with a large audience. You can also use Twitter to announce last minute changes at an event, book signing, etc. You can share cool things happening at an event too, which could drive more traffic to the location. Here’s an example: “Just announced, Award-winning Author Lisa Umina book signing at Boarders in Cleveland Ohio at 11am. Milo to make an appearance.” 
Even though Twitter is a great last minute marketing tool, you can also schedule Tweets using tools such as Hootsuite  and Future Tweets ahead of time. You can’t be on Twitter consistently and using these tools to schedule pre-written, post-dated tweets for different purposes, like tweeting hourly/daily/monthly announcements, running time-based contests and so on is just smart marketing.
Many social sites are slowly expanding their reach by allowing you to populate one news feed into another. What this means is you can consider connecting your Twitter account to your blogFacebook, website  or other social sites to show off your updates across the web. You do need to be careful as people don’t want to end up having an exact duplicate profile on every other social site and those who do it are either unfriended or hidden from the news feed. As long as the synced updates are on a brand or professional profile, it’s a fair practice. The moment you take auto-posting to a personal level – it becomes nothing other than spam.
Once you get the basics of Twitter down, you can explore the site’s advanced features such as: listsdirect messages and favorites. You can even include images or videos in your Tweets. Imagine sending out your upcoming book’s cover to everyone in a matter of seconds via Twitter. Now that’s the power of marketing!
Lastly, think of Twitter as a cross between instant messaging (IM) and a chat room, because it is an open forum, but you can restrict it to the people you want to connect and build a following with.