Tweets that pay … Twitter as a Business Tool

Ken’s Take: I’m still not convinced …

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F
orbes.com, Twenty-One Top Twitter Tips,  07.31.09

Twitter: Silly time waster? Sure. Powerful business tool? You bet.

Twitter–that curious, strangely addictive social-networking technology that facilitates torrents of truncated messages among millions of users. But how can you make money with it? After all, how much can you accomplish in 140 characters or less?

There are myriad ways Twitter can have an impact, and not just as a marginal marketing tool … for everything from boosting sales and scouting talent, to conducting market research and raising capital.

1. Coupon Campaigns 
Dell tweets links to coupons at Dell Outlet’s Facebook page, which shoppers use during checkout at Dell.com.

2. To-Go Sales Channel 
Patrons of the Coffee Groundz, a popular Houston java joint, can tweet in their orders

3. Viral Marketing 
London-based do-it-yourself Web site builder Moonfruit gave away 11 Macbook Pro computers and 10 iPod Touches. Contestants had to tweet using the hashtag #moonfruit. (Hashtags collate Twitter responses.) Nearly a month after the contest ended, traffic to Moonfruit’s Web site is up 300%. Sales were up 20% this month, more than paying off the $15,040.80 investment.

4. “Conversational” Marketing
Online shoe-retailer Zappos doesn’t market on Twitter–it talks. A small army of 436 Zappos employees use Twitter to “humanize the company”.

5. Artful Customer Service
Comcast uses Twitter to help 200 to 300 subscribers a day with issues ranging from sporadic Internet service to errant e-mails.

6. Focus Groups
“There is a major element of Twitter that’s about listening and learning.”   “Twitter is a leading indicator.”  Collecting the information is as simple as searching for references to your company. “Think of Twitter as the canary in the coal mine.”

7. (Very) Direct Sales
The Roger Smith Hotel in New York City uses search.twitter.com to troll for customers. Those who book a room after a Twitter referral get a 10% discount off the lowest-rate rooms.

8. Poaching Customers
Twitter experts advise companies on how to spy on their competition and to swoop in with a better service or discount.  Using a free application, such as TweetDeck, a company can set up a permanent search for all permutations of its competitor’s name, as well as words that convey dissatisfaction (“sucks” or “hate”).

9. News Feed (aka, the “dumb pipe”)
Twitter is ultimately about conversation, but it can be a one-way blast mechanism, too. Google compiles and links to content the company posts elsewhere. “Our blog network is the primary way we put out information, and then we have the Twitter layer on top of it … we publish an article and automatically tweet it,”

10. Customer Expectation Management
Bad things happen– it’s how you condition customers to deal with it that counts. Jet Blue tweets flight delays. In April, when a Stanley Cup broadcast was interrupted, cable provider Comcast used Twitter to immediately inform its subscribers that the culprit was a lightning storm, and that transmission would soon be restored.

11. Targeted Content
All the save-the-planet talk notwithstanding, your friendly neighborhood NASCAR fan is unlikely to plunk down for a Prius. Ford Motor gets that, which is why it uses separate Twitter accounts for sustainable products (@FordDriveGreen) and its gas-guzzling Ford Mustang (@FordMustang). “We’ve segmented Twitter into niches.”

12. Mobile Marketing
Food trucks tweet their location from iPhones to let customers know where they will be.

13. Corralling Eyeballs
During last year’s NBA Eastern Conference Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Orlando Magic, Turner Broadcasting linked social-media feeds into its home page.

14. Call for Change
Several Web sites allow users to generate petitions through Twitter. People tweet the petition with a link back to the host Web site, where it can be “signed” by logging in with your Twitter credentials.

15. Vendor Selection
Twitter can snag customers, but how about suppliers?   Tweeting that you’re about to visit a city can scare up discount offers from hotels, bus companies and other travel-services providers.

16. Conflict Resolution
Got an unresolved dispute with a company? Tweet it.  Calls may go inreturned, but with a public tweet, at least100,000 people see it within 30 seconds.” That gets action.

17. Internal Communication (With A Marketing Kicker)
IBM researchers across the globe use Twitter to flesh out their big ideas, if only in dribs and drabs.

18. Employee Recruitment 
Recruiters use Twitter and other social media. An automated program can send prospects a direct message whenever a position opens up. ,Using Twitter as a recruitment tool can cut the cost of online job boards.

19. “Tweet-Ups”
RedWire, an online collaboration provider, uses Twitter to spread the word about Wired Wednesdays, a weekly gathering of entrepreneurs looking to share ideas.
2© Research
Hedge funds have long tried to get an edge by using computer programs to scan news sources for nuggets of information.

21. Raising Capital
As in the physical world, no one likes to be solicited for contributions online. Some nonprofits encourage people to … tweet what they were grateful for, and compile the responses … with a link back to their sites, where users had the option of contributing money,

Full article:
http://www.forbes.com/2009/07/31/top-twitter-tips-entrepreneurs-technology-twitter.html

Thanks to Mike for the heads-up.

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2 Responses to “Tweets that pay … Twitter as a Business Tool”

  1. search money Says:

    thanks!You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog.It will greatly help me in my activities.
    Thanks though, i’m glad some people share good stuff like this! It will greatly help me in my activities

  2. farbige kontaktlinsen Says:

    With these great twitter tips I should be able to improve my business.

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