15 Ways to Use Twitter for Business

by Brian Whalley on Oct 27, 2011

Author: Kipp Bodnar is Inbound Marketing Strategist at HubSpot, the inbound marketing software leader that helps businesses with lead generation and lead management and co-author of The B2B Social Media Book.


When Twitter started in 2006 it was a platform for technologists to communicate with each other in a quick and easy method.

Five years later that has all changed.

With more than 200 million users and 1.6 billion searches per day Twitter has become one of the largest and most successful social networks in the world. Everyone from the President to small business owners to CEOs now use Twitter to share with their communities everyday.

How can businesses use Twitter? The answer is much more varied than you would expect. Twitter is a social media tool that has extensive business applications. Lets take a look at some expected and maybe some unexpected way to leverage Twitter’s data and community for your business.

How to Use Twitter for Business

1. Customer Service – Call centers and online chats can be good for customer service questions, but what about the quick questions that customers don’t want to have to sit on hold in order to get answered? Enter Twitter. Many companies including Comcast and Jetblue have been able to effectively use Twitter for answer customer concerns.

2. Lead Generation – You have to eat. This means generating lead and revenue from your social media marketing efforts.  Twitter can be a great source for lead generation. Share blog posts, ebooks and webinars with your Twitter community. Make sure you are using landing pages to collect leads for registrations to your webinar and ebooks.

3. Market Research – Research has always been a marketers best friend. Sometimes you need an in depth market research project. Other times you need less information but you need it fast. This is where Twitter comes into play. Asking questions to your Twitter community can be great free way to gain some insight on an issue.

4. Trade Show Marketing – Every marketer wants their trade show booth to be a hit. Use online communication to drive offline interactions. You the conference hashtag in your tweets and promote offline gatherings and contests on your Twitter account to raise awareness of around your efforts on the trade show floor.

5.  Sales Enablement – The more information a sales person can gather about a lead the more qualified of a conversation they can have. By including Twitter profile data in your marketing database and your customer relationship management software, you can provide your sales team with recent tweets from their leads. This helps them to build trust faster and close the deal.

6.  Message Testing – When you are sending out a big email promotion or working on wording for a presentation you want to make sure that you are framing your message correctly. Let Twitter helps. Come up with several option and use retweets and clicks to determine which version of the message resonated the most with your audience.

7.  Building an Email Marketing List – Email marketing is still a major channel. make sure to sharing ways for Twitter followers to join your email list in an effort of increasing the chances that you can convert them into lead for your business.

8.  Search Engine Optimization – Social media will only get more and more important in search engine optimization. Bing for example has a deal with Twitter to display data in its search engine and also uses Twitter data in its ranking algorithm. B sure to use the keywords from your search engine optimization strategy in your tweets to help ensure search engines understands your core areas of expertise.

9.  Understanding Trends – If you are a local or regional business it can be important to understand what is hot and top of mind in your area. You can use this information to come up with creative promotions and offers. Twitter’s local trending topics can provide interesting insight into what your area is talking about right now!

10. Reducing Sales Cycles – Lead nurturing isn’t just for email.  With a behavior based marketing automation system you can send personalized Twitter messages to leads to provide information that can move them through the sales cycle faster and reduce the length of the cycle.

11. Business Development – Business development is often about making connections and getting introductions. Twitter can help with this. Need a contact at a company? Try asking your Twitter followers: “Can someone introduce me to the [Insert Postion] at [Insert Company]?”

12. Customer Retention – Retaining existing customers is important to the long-term health of your business. Sometimes though unhappy customers won’t directly communicate their problems. Use Twitter Search to monitor terms related to your business to help spot unhappy customers and solve their problems.

13. Public Relations – Many journalists use Twitter. Use JournalistTweets.com to find journalists in your industry on Twitter. Instead of sending them worthless pitch emails, begin to build a relationship with these journalists on Twitter to gain media coverage.

14. Competitive Research – Twitter has some of the best application programing interfaces (APIs) on the web and data on the service is public to all users by default. This makes it easy to pullout valuable information. Use a Twitter client like Hootsuite to monitor keywords about your competitors and gather information about them.

15. Growing Other Social Media Communities – Make sure to cross promote your Facebook and LinkedIn company pages on your Twitter account. Provide an opportunities for fans of your business to engage with your business on their preferred network.

This is by no means ALL of the ways you can use Twitter for business, but it is a solid start.

What would you add to this list?

 

Image source: Shutterstock.com

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  • Pingback: 15 Ways to Use Twitter for Business | mohamedtazi.com

  • Amandah

    I love Twitter! However, I recently discovered I can create Facebook Fan Pages without actually having a Facebook Personal Profile or Business account. There can be too much drama on a Personal FB page from family quarrels, bullying, spouses found cheating on one another, etc. It’s one of the reasons why I love Twitter. It’s straightforward and to the point … It works for me.

  • http://www.emaillist.net TwitterNooby

    Our company just started a Twitter account and i was put in charge of the whole operation… Im not going to lie ive been lost for the last few days on how to make this work for the type of business we are running and i must say this is the most useful article you will find on the internet… thank you for a great post.

  • http://investinsocial.com Jason Keath

    Thanks Chris. I am glad you got some value from the article. Please share with others!

  • Anonymous

    Brian,

    3,4,7,9,14 were sort of “adds” to solid reasons (for us). I say adds to us, but certainly not to savvy users. Thank you for sharing. One addition I would make is the “Just try it and see what comes of it strategy”. As we were reading streams of content we realized that we could start providing accounts for our clients in a very specific way that they really appreciate and had not thought of themselves. It looks as though no one else in our space is doing it quite the same way (not rocket science, but it does help with client awareness and SEO). Again, thanks for the list. 

  • Ivan Tasev

    Hey! :)

    Thanks a lot for the post! It is something new for me…

    Check here a twitter tool which I created.
    It has search and location options.

    I think you might like it.

  • http://www.imoneybuzz.com Mac

    A great comprehensive list but I would add breaking news. Every industry has breaking news and being one of the first to discuss it can increase your profile and brand awareness.

  • Jambur64

    A few typos in there.

  • Pingback: 15 Ways to Use Twitter for Business | The Social Media Cowgirl

  • http://techniciablog.blogspot.com/2011/11/top-20-technology-and-gadget-news-9th.html rahul

    I agree with you, breaking news and popular quotes should be included be friendly to your followers

  • http://twitter.com/BadRhinoINC Bad Rhino

    Love this.. will definitely use this to convince our clients they need to add Twitter

  • http://www.estockingstuffers.com/index.php?l=product_list&c=1 Stuffed Stockings

    As a new business and website owner, this was helpful in generating ideas on how to come up with a Twitter strategy.  Thanks for the great post.

  • http://www.merrillcreativity.com Donna Merrill

    You can also use social media, or Twitter lists, for recruiting at your company.  It’s a great way for people to find out about the corporate culture or to get insights and share tips from people who work in a particular field/industry.

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  • http://ojinc.com/ OJ Insulation

    Good post, but one thing you forgot to mention is the time it takes! It takes a lot of time to gain a following and have an audience to send your messages out to. From my experience so far on the site, you have to be persistent with Twitter for it to really be effective for your company.

    I do have a question about growing other social media outlets on Twitter, though. A lot of businesses seem to link their Twitter and Facebook accounts so that the same content is posted on each site. Do you think that there is benefit in this? Or should the content be customized for each site?