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With 250 million unique visitors a month, Twitter has emerged as the second largest social media site (Facebook is ranked #1, with 750 million unique visitors). Yet, when it comes to integrating Twitter into an organization’s marketing plan, there’s often resistance and even skepticism. “What are the benefits?” some decision-makers openly ask. They acknowledge Twitter’s popularity as a personal tool, but they’re short-changing its strategic value.
To put it succinctly, Twitter enables your business to have real-time conversations within communities that you’d never have otherwise – communities with potential customers. At our high tech PR agency, we’re always seeking fresh, forward-thinking ways to create these opportunities for our clients. To find out more, I’ll share what I found out at a recent PRSA event, “Social Media Trends in Communications 2013,” in which the following question took center stage: How do communications professionals convince company executives that social media – especially Twitter – matters? Here are three great answers from the panelists:
Forget numbers. Twitter is a cocktail party. Stop quantifying success based upon your number of followers. Twitter is about the quality of the discussions you’re having with your target audience, as opposed to pure metrics. Here is an analogy from panelist Anthony Shop: Twitter is like a cocktail party. Or, if cocktail parties aren’t your thing, approach it like a networking event. At the latter, think about what makes the biggest difference: Is it the amount of business cards you hand out, or the number of insightful and possibly actionable conversations you had? In applying this line of reasoning to Twitter, listen carefully to your audience. Then tailor your message to what they’re talking about.
Twitter is a part of the job. Stop looking at Twitter as extra work. It’s a part of a day-to-day responsibility. There is nothing more embarrassing for an organization than creating a Twitter account and not updating it. Also, you can’t just push out Tweets everyday with no real thinking behind your messaging. This has no impact and does not speak to anyone. You must take the time create a forward-looking, strategic Twitter plan.
Twitter is journalism. One of the biggest challenges we face as communications professionals is connecting to reporters. Well, guess what? Twitter immediately puts your business right in the middle of what the media is covering. At our agency, we open our Twitter feeds throughout the day to see what discussions are trending, and then often join. So take the time to analyze the buzz and the conversations that are happening online. Sure, it’s great to get placed on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. But it’s also impactful to make a presence online wherever the right type of chatter is happening.
Ultimately, Twitter is a resource to help you reach your goals. It connects you with the right people in the right places at the right time. The “cocktail party” is happening right now. Are you going to show up?
Tiffany Peng is a senior account coordinator at W2 Communications.