Over the last couple days, I have been keeping an eye on several online marketeers who believe Twitter.com is going to be the next big thing in social and viral marketing. And when I say ‘big thing’, I mean it. They are predicting a quick shift in massive amounts of online advertising dollars, networking and effort in making social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube work for the business world as hard as it does for teens and tweens looking to keep in constant contact with their school chums.
Consider these social networking factoids:
- In 2007, nearly 5% of U.S.A. web visits were to MySpace.com
- More than 40,000 new blogs are created each day
- Members of an online community (Facebook, MySpace, YouTube) visit their site 9 times as often and stay 5 times as long as other web users
- Online ad spending in the US will climb 8.9% in 2009, from $23.6 billion to $25.7 billion.
- More than 10% of UK internet visits at the end of 2008 were to ‘Social Networking and Forum’ sites.
- More than 147,000 people followed Barak Obama’s Twitter channel during the recent election as part of a campaign called by some a model for reaching fans or prospects in a modern, online community.
Clearly, social networking powerhouses are going to be big talk for the?foreseeable?future. But how can small print companies convert this growing paperless [gasp! the horror!] trend into something that works for them? The key in social marketing is staying constantly in front of a growing digital audience, and developing a community that invites customers to participate and interact on a minute by minute basis.
As far as I can see, the king of constant, instantaneous contact may well be Twitter.com. The site invites users to answer the question ‘What are you doing?’ in 140 characters or less, as often as they want.
Additionally, it allows you to follow other users’ “tweets” as RSS feeds, web pages, or in plug-ins and apps in any of a rapidly growing number of shapes, sizes, and colors. It’s a deceptively simple idea, about to be leveraged in big ways by online marketeers around the globe.
Julie Joyce writes, in her blog How Monitoring Twitter Can Help Build Links, about a sales model where customers on Twitter might receive specials or coupons in real time when a company’s name or product is mentioned. She postulates that this would encourage internet chat, links to the company’s website, and encourage repeat business from those customers.
Suzanne Morgan, in Printing Impressions Magazine describes social networking for printers like this: “Just think about it: We used the telephone until it became clogged with telemarketers; we used e-mails until our accounts were overcome by spammers. The new generation of communication ….?social network sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Digg is growing on an exponential level.”
So what do you do, and how do you get started?
First, read this blog: Twitter be nimble, Twitter be quick. It contains a great one page guide to getting started on Twitter as a business or promotional venture. Then jump in and have fun! Tweet whenever you have content that will be of interest to your client base, print buyers, designers, and whoever else you want as a follower. If you keep your content active, fresh and informative, the tweeps will come.
Another good idea is to follow other feeds that are similar to yours. You may attract some of their followers, and you might learn from their best practices. Be honest and interactive.
Finally, remember the TMI rule. Remember that you speak for your business whether in person, on the phone or when tweeting on Twitter. Don’t share information about other clients, don’t discuss what you had for lunch, and don’t vent. People will be watching!?But then, that’s kind of the point.
Thanks to the following sites for their additional information:
Follow M2 Imaging on twitter at http://twitter.com/m2imaging