Apparently micro-blogging is getting more and more popular by the day and consequently its biggest platform on the web, Twitter, is rapidly ... growing as well. This means there’s a whole new emerging market of tech savvy, blogging experienced users that’s just waiting to be grasped. A great opportunity indeed!
But first, for those a bit unfamiliar with micro blogging and more importantly twitter, let me explain a bit how it works. Twitter is basically a service that allows you to update your status with short messages, of up to 140 characters, just like a SMS text message. What makes it so special is that it also has social elements, allowing users to befriend each other; in twitter this is called “following.” Whenever you’re following somebody on twitter you’ll be able to instantly receive their updates and keep up to date with someone’s status. Furthermore because mobility and fastness are of the utmost importance in micro blogging, twitter allows you to update your status via the web page, IM, mobile phone, blackberry or various other third party applications.
Why You Should Use Twitter
When I first started out using twitter, about 2 months ago, I was very skeptical regarding its actual utility and purpose, as I found the notion of knowing what people were up to kinda irrelevant. “Off eating dinner,” “My flight just arrived in San Francisco,” “Walking my dog.” Why should I care about anything like this? Well if you, like I have in the beginning, think that’s all there is to twitter, then you’re just making misperceptions. Truth is there’s more to it then meets the eye, my friends.
After I first registered an account I felt a bit out of place and lonely, because I wasn’t following anyone and no one was following me. I soon started twitting a bit though, followed a bunch of people I knew and started socializing. After a while I soon realized how powerful twitter can really be and what kind of benefits it can bring.
It’s been widely proven that twitter can be easily used as a self-promotion tool, to pitch your content, services and products with ease. This is done by broadcasting your message, although short, to your followers. Sounds familiar ? That’s because twittering resembles a lot blogging, except your message is broadcasting in “real time” to your reader. It’s this mixture of blogging, RSS and social networking that makes twitter so appealing.
Still not convinced? Here’s a few more reasons why twitter rocks.
- Traffic. Although at fist glance it might seem like twitter isn’t capable of directing any respectable amount of traffic, truth is, if used properly, it can provide your blog with quite a “few” new visitors. The traffic from twitter isn’t too shabby either, in terms of quality, most of the visitors being pretty targeted, that stick around, read your posts and even subscribe.
You can send traffic by entering your blog’s url in your twitter profile (this will be responsible for most of the regular traffic you’ll receive from twitter) or by twitting one of your post’s url. The amount of traffic you can receive from twitter is directly proportional to number of followers you posses.
- Awareness and branding. Just like any other social network, twitter can be used as a powerful tool to build your brand and raise awareness. If you browse a bit through twitter you’ll undoubtedly find twitter users for a lot of popular online and offline brands, that simply track their day to day progress and update with valuable breaking news. The thing about twitter branding is that it’s a lot more personal, probably thanks to it’s IM like environment, helping you to thin the line between you and your readers.
- Promote your content. This is more of a combination between the first two posts. A lot of bloggers nowadays, realizing the huge potential twitter possess of leveraging their content, have begun to publicize and promote their blog posts on twitter. This means either they post their blog post url, along with a short description (what can you expect in 140 characters or less?) or the url to various other social media websites like digg, reddit or stumbleupon for example, so that their followers can vote them.
A nifty little twitter tool, available on the web right now, that’s been getting a lot of attention lately, is TwitterFeed, a great twitter application that will automatically post your latest blog posts titles, along with the respective url of course, without any interference from your behalf.
- Fast help and feedback. A few weeks ago I asked for some urgent help on twitter, when I updated my status saying “I need some critical help from a PHP guru, please add AIM Qotsa ftw.” Frankly I didn’t expect any results or help coming in any soon, but I was pretty desperate. In a matter of minutes about four talented programmers added me on AIM and offered to hear me out and help, free of charge! Where else can you find this kind of fast response? I soon found that twitter can be an extremely efficient environment for collecting honest and live feedback, ranging from anything like design, to writing, to the over all reader experience.
Find a new audience. At the beginning of the article I stated that twitter is a emerging market, that’s beginning to explode on the web with hundred of thousands of users, meaning there’s a whole new vast audience, that’s just waiting to get exposed to your blog. Use twitter in conjunction with my 10 other ways of finding new readers and you’ll soon boost your stats and break the plateau.
Latest news. Because twitter is so instant and spontaneous you can now find out about the latest industry and scene news in a particular field of activity you’re following, within minutes of the actual event. If you thought RSS feeds are a good way of keeping up with news and new content, wait till you try twitter.
Inform people of your status. While telling people what you ate for dinner won’t appeal to many, a lot of people might be interested in what’s your business plans for the day or who’ll you’ll be meeting. Status live updates come especially in handy when you’re on conferences and witness first-hand world premiers.
Networking. Twitter is a great way to get to know new and like minded individuals, that share your same passions and area of expertise. Following them truly is a pleasure. This way you can see what your fellow peers are up to, open up to mutual promotional work and build future business relationships.
Marketing. As it’s the case with most social media services, you can use twitter to market and pitch your products. However twitter won’t directly help you market your content, but rather indirectly by helping build your brand name and authority. After you’ve established yourself as an authority to your audience, sales will follow as well.
It’s fast and mobile. You can user twitter from anywhere in the world, even from a mobile phone. Also updating your status on twitter won’t take more then 1 minute, you’re not gonna write essays in 140 characters or less, right?
11. Keep track of things. Just like a mini journal, I like to use twitter to record my progress through out the day. This helps me keep focus on my tasks and helps me get things done (even though ironically it can be a real productivity bugger). It’s a great way to write down ideas for further reference.
Provides inspiration. As a blogger you always have to produce a steady flow of new and original content. This can tend to get a bit difficult after a while, so any source of blog post inspiration can be considered a blessing. How does twitter fit in the big picture? Well, all you have to do is keep your eyes open on the people your following and you’ll see material for new content building up in your head. Some people have sparks or moments of inspiration concerning a particular topic, which they then twitter to get it off their chest. You can borrow their ideas and then build a post of your own around them. All the right reasons to follow important and intelligent people. Also you can always ask a question about something and your followers will soon answer it (I showed you how great asking questions can be with twitter in a point above), developing the idea, thus providing you with possible new material to work with.
It’s viral. Anything that spreads quickly and easily across a community makes a great social service anytime, in my eyes. Twitter works virally in a word of mouth kinda way. You as user may twit about something important, your followers will then take the story to their followers and so on.
Make money! By using twitter you can increase your income indirectly through social media marketing, but you can also make money directly by selling twits. This is totally against the twitter TOS and most of all unethical, but since when’s that reason enough for people to stop doing it.
If you want to know more about the concept read these posts by Darren Rowse and Jason Falls, who’ve written the articles more as an experiment and joke, but have defined some great ideas, that will undoubtedly materialize in the future, as twitter develops more and more. Won’t be surprised if something like this exists somewhere deep underground…
It’s fun! There’s something special about twitter, that makes it real fun, but I just can’t put my finger on it yet. I always have a good laugh when I read a good joke on twitter or when someone shares a great link with me. It’s that kind of fun you find in a great social network like stumbleupon or digg and twitter has plenty of it.
via Lost Art of Blogging
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