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November 2011
Using online marketing can be one of the most dynamic and cost-effective modes of marketing. It's also important to stay on top of how to utilize whichever social marketing service is currently trending on the web today. In this month's article from Shannon Willowby, learn how to effectively make use of your business or events' Twitter account!

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11 Twitter Tips for Businesses and Promoting
by Shannon Willowby

Twitter is a great social media marketing tool for businesses that can lead to more customers, an increase of profit, and long-term success. However, you may not be using it to its full potential. Check out the tips below for 10 ways you can use Twitter to your advantage.

  • Always keep in mind that Twitter is about discussion rather than a hard-sell of your products or services. Twitter is not the platform for blatant sales tactics and if you decide to try it, it will most likely make your followers quickly become 'unfollowers.'

  • Promote Twitter-only sales and specials on your account. Whether it's a special phrase your customers have to say at your restaurant to get 2 for 1 drinks or a unique code that customers can use for 25% off your products online, this is a good enticement for your Twitter followers. And most importantly, it/s more of a soft-sell technique that won?t alienate your followers.

  • Use hashtags to your advantage. A hashtag is simply a pound sign (#) followed by a phrase or word. If you want to run a contest, get your followers talking about something, or promote a product or service, you can turn it into a hashtag and get your followers to join in. All of the people interested in your hashtag will use it, providing a way for your community to interact with each other and also a way for you to keep track of what people are saying about your brand.

  • Research the hashtags of your location and profession. A lot of times you'll find a market just waiting to be reached out to simply by adding #SeattleEvent to the end of your tweets.

  • Some companies are now utilizing Twitter as a way of taking orders for products and services. The direct messaging feature on Twitter allows companies to utilize an online ordering feature on their own accounts.

  • Use Twitter as a direct customer service line for your customers. This only works if your Twitter account is managed on a regular basis, but it can help establish trust and credibility, as well as encourage repeat business.

  • Twitter is a great way to recruit new talent to your company/s team. Since Twitter is community-focused, you?ll find that your tweet about any open positions will be retweeted many times by your followers, giving you more exposure and possibly helping you gain more followers?as well as new employees.

  • Want to promote an upcoming in-store event? Using Twitter is a fantastic way to go about this. Be sure to include the reasons why this event is so great - whether it's giveaways, in-store promotions, free food and drink, etc. Entice your followers with the benefits of your event and you'll find that they'll begin retweeting it to their followers too, helping you get a great turnout.

  • Use your Twitter page as a way of fundraising for a designated charity and highlighting your company's charitable contributions. Showing your followers that your company gives back will reveal the 'human' side to your company and leave a positive impression.

  • Offer valuable tips to your followers to establish credibility and encourage interaction. Give industry advice on whatever topics your company is knowledgeable about, whether it's nutrition, fashion, web development, home improvement, or anything else.

  • Utilize tools, like Bitly and Friend or Follow to give you valuable insight about how many people are clicking on the links you post and who is following you back on Twitter. After a couple weeks, it's best to 'unfollow' anyone who isn?t following you and Friend or Follow allows you to quickly do just that.

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