Does Twitter work for you?

By Stephen Rhodes

Twitter is hard to explain to someone who still thinks marketing is about running ads in the local newspaper. Over the past year, when I have spoken about social networking, I have noticed an evolution of sorts from blank stares to outright engagement.

It’s a little like  the newspaper industry, and many others for that matter, when they first launched websites in the 1990s. They knew they had to participate but they didn’t know why. For many in business today, that’s the challenge with Twitter and other social media tools like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Flickr.

Of all the new marketing tools available Twitter is the one that is least understood and potentially the most effective.

Brian Solis has an excellent post I Tweet therefore I am.  He talks about a “community of passionate short-form content creators and consumers.”

Keywords here are community and content, and  the focus on sharing in a way unheard of just a few years ago. It’s like having thousands of people to talk to and thousands to bounce an idea off. Focus groups? Twitter provides a whole community.

Solis says “Twitter’s simplicity is part of its brilliance. The ability to interpret, analyze and in turn, predict behavior, currently sets it apart from most other social networks. Twitter has become a human seismograph, measuring and broadcasting the pulse of not just the Web, but also world and local events.”

Social networking tools are not one size fits all. Like most marketing strategies, you need to establish what outcome you expect and what is the best tool to deliver the results.

Too often people jump aboard because it’s the latest fad, without first considering why. Twitter can open a world of possibilities but kick the tires first. If you are just getting started, Solis provides lots of information on his blog, and Mashable provides a great Twitter Guide Book.

Let me know about your journey.

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