Participated in a "Coffee & Conversation" hosted by the Indy IABC after work today at the local Stir Crazy. (I don't know how their coffee is, but they have great chicken potstickers.) The topic of the day was incorporating Twitter into business. The dozen participants ran the gamut of Twitter experience — from those who hadn't created a Twitter account yet to those who've been tweeting since 2007. I haven't been using Twitter long, so I had something to learn. Here are a few thoughts and ideas that came up concerning how one can make Twitter a more useful tool:
(If you aren't at all interested in social media or social marketing, or if you're a Twitter pro, or if you don't have a cell phone and you have to go to the library whenever you need to use a computer, you've probably already stopped reading. If you haven't stop now.)
These are admittedly random, as group conversations often are, and they certainly aren't comprehensive to any stretch of the imagination.
I liked this idea: One gent tracked his retweets by creating a new shortened URL whenever he retweeted someone. By comparing the tracking on his retweet URLs to tracking on the original URL, he discovered that links in retweets often garnered more traffic than the original tweets. From a business perspective, this points to the idea that, with Twitter, your customers can be your best advertisers. People are more likely to look at something if someone who isn't trying to make money off of you sends you a link. Self-promotion can get you only so far.
What you can do with your Twitterfeed
If you have a business Twitterfeed, why not stream it to your home page? It's a simple widget that you can add with minimal customization, and it will further humanize your brand/business, create a more dynamic site, and make your customers part of what's going on.
Easy way to get involved in conversations
Just search for a question mark! You'll end up with a whole bunch of tweeted questions. Just reply and join the conversation!
The difference between replies and mentions
This is probably just a sign of my ignorance and relative inexperience, but new Twitter users might appreciate someone putting this in print: If you just tack an @username in a message, it's a mention, and it appears with a link to that person's Twitter page. Only slightly different is if you use the Reply button. It appears the same as just adding an @username, but under your tweet is an "in reply to" link that will take you to the original tweet that you replied to. This link lets you see what a person was actually replying to.
Building a social marketing campaign
An important part of a social marketing campaign is figuring out how you're going to measure success. Is it the number of links back to your site? Is it the number of followers? The number of retweets? Are you using Twitter for marketing or PR? There's no wrong answer here, just questions that need to be answered in the earlier stages of creating a social marketing campaign.