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The world is tweeting, but is Twitter good for business?
Social networking site Twitter has been billed as the internet’s rising star of 2008 But how can Twitter add value to your business? Every visionary from Google’s Vint Cerf hails social media as the future of the internet, so it’s no surprise that there is intense interest in what the next big social online networking platform will be. New kid on the block Twitter is probably the leading contender to take up where Facebook, MySpace, et al left off. Steadily building in popularity since its launch in 2006, and receiving a major boost thanks to its use by presidential candidates earlier this year, Twitter now looks set to have its “hockey stick moment” of exponential mainstream growth. While tech savvy entrepreneurs numbered among the first wave of Twitter users, most businesspeople still have little understanding of the value it can add to their business. The good news is, it only takes a few minutes to get your head around Twitter’s business potential. The basics are pretty simple for anyone familiar with social networking sites. Essentially, you sign up to create your Twitter profile, then search for contacts (called “followers”) who will receive you short-form posts (called “tweets") Tweets are limited to 140 characters, hence the term “microblogging” One of the big differences between Twitter and other social networking sites is that you can follow someone (i.e. receive their tweets) regardless of whether they follow you. This means you can subscribe to messages from your business heroes, even when they have no idea who you are! Three key factors make Twitter a very powerful tool for your business. Firstly, because tweets are public and fully searchable, Twitter is an incredible market research tool. You can set up alerts when certain keywords are used to monitor what the public are saying about your brand. Next, because so many industry leaders have adopted Twitter as communication platform, it’s a great place to follow the experts in your field. Passively follow their daily tips and messages, or make contact and start a dialogue. Lastly, you can use Twitter to communicate with directly your own audience. Tweet regularly to direct traffic to your blog or website. Promote special events or offers to Twitter followers. The possibilities are endless.
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