According to a survey published today from the Pew Internet & American Life Project (Smith Aaron, John.Twitter Update 2011) the number of adults using Twitter has increased from eight percent in November 2010 to 13 percent in May 2011. This is a significant increase in usage, noting that over 50% of these users are using their mobile devices. The survey also found that Twitter use by users ages 25-34 has doubled since late 2010 and usage by those ages 35-44 has also grown significantly (from 8 percent to 14 percent)
The top takeaway is that folks continue to use Twitter and businesses should pay attention to how this may affect their business. Here are three key elements to consider when deciding whether to start a presence on Twitter:
1) Hello, Anybody There?: I was sitting with a friend of mine, a restaurant owner, and demonstrating Twitter to him. We started by going to http://search.twitter.com and put it the business name (TIP: If you want to search for multiple words you can do that with an OR between the words. example – smallbiztechnology OR “Ramon Ray”) and we found that customers were posting tweets about the restaurant, saying they were on the way to the restaurant, or had a great experience at the restaurant. To our dismay, we did find one about a not-so-good experience.
2) Can We talk?: Naturally, it is disconcerting for a business owner to see a negative review of the business, yet Twitter also gives businesses an opportunity to have a conversation. In this case the connection on Twitter lead to some good conversation between the disgruntled customer and my friend over email, and the customer was retained.
3) Are You Human?: Tools like Twitter also help to humanize the business. Do more than send marketing messages, as your audience may want to know who you are, what makes you tick. Use Twitter to build your community for just a few minutes a day. Send tweets that:
- Answers mentions of you
- Shares an interesting link to a article you read
- Plugs community events
- Promote a fun hobby or activity
- Retweet some interesting tweets of your network
Some useful tools to consider are :
- Postling: http://postling.com/ Sends you an email everyday of your mentions and has a workflow to manage your updates
- Social Mention: http://socialmention.com/ sends you alerts in real time when you are mentioned.
- The website oneforty.com has a list of social media tracking tools
You may have seen these articles on the Business use of Twitter on smallbiztechnology.com:
- Ramon Ray : Customers Not Following You On Twitter? Invite Them (Don’t Be Shy)
- Joseph Mutidjo : 5 Tips to Help Prevent Your Company from Being Bashed on Twitter and Other Social Media