9 Ways to Use Twitter as a Marketing Tool

(Note from Jim – article originally written for Catalog Success Magazine)

It seems that Twitter is all the rage these days. The topic seems to polarize people: Some find it a useful and productive marketing tool, while others find it a waste of time and “much ado about nothing.” I fall more into the first group, in that I remain cautiously optimistic. I use Twitter to build my personal brand (www.twitter.com/gilbertdirect) and drive traffic to my blog.  

In this multiple channel, integrated world, I see Twitter as a great tool to help you engage your prospects and customers and take them to the next level. Turn prospects into customers, customers into advocates. Above all else, ask for and receive the much needed feedback a 21st century company needs to thrive.

The following are nine quick tips on how to use Twitter to your benefit:

1. Call out and provide specials to your customers. Make sure these are real-time specials or offers, but try to not be too pushy. Fit the offers and specials into the context of your customer conversation; don’t overpromote. 

2. Let people know when to expect their catalogs.  

3. Drive prospects to catalog request and/or e-mail sign-up pages.

4. Link to and broadcast your blog posts. These are great ways to keep people informed. 

5. Tweet news and information about your company and products. New products, company news, press releases, corporate milestones, testimonials and “meet-the-employee” articles are great examples of things to tweet. Anything you think will get people both familiar and, more importantly, emotionally involved with your brand is worth your while. 

6. Ask questions. Twitter, like any social network, is all about conversation. Have someone who can spend time working with your followers to answer their questions. Engage your followers to provide information about how to make your company even better. If harnessed correctly, Twitter can be an exceptional customer service tool as well. 

7. Encourage key employees to open Twitter accounts as well, creating more than one voice for your company. Have them add their Twitter addresses to their e-mail signatures. 

8. Add Twitter badges to your Web site. This enables customers and prospects to easily join in on the fun.

9. Add Twitter links and badges to all of your outgoing promotions and collateral. Build Twitter into your branding.

Jim Gilbert is president of Gilbert Direct Marketing Inc., a full-service catalog and direct marketing agency. His LinkedIn profile can be viewed at www.linkedin.com/in/jimwgilbert. You can e-mail him atjimdirect@aol.com, follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/gilbertdirect or read his blog athttps://gilbertdirectmarketing.wordpress.com

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