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Digital Marketing: What the h--- do I do with Twitter?

I set up my twitter account and emailed it to the vice-president of another company suggesting he get one too.  He asked "What do I want that for?"  Well, given his company was about $500M larger than mine, he might have a point.  Or he might not.

I will admit, for a while I was flailing about with Twitter too.  (And yes, while I studied for a Computational Mathematics degree, I also went back to school and studied for a Marketing degree.)  Do I make it personal interactions with people out of company?  Do I just jaught off the latest company news?  Do I only interact as "the president of Amduus" with people?

Well, the best way I have learned with twitter is "Following" others and watching what seemed to work and what didn't.  Here is what I have seen:

If you follow FastCompany.com on twitter, you will see that nearly every article they publish is tweeted.  While sometimes it seems like an ocean of information coming at me - I quickly learned that a scan down the list worked quite well at catching my eye.  It also meant that I didn't have to go looking on their web site for that particular article (that I didn't know existed until twitter!)  So basically, if one is a publication or a blogger - well, that is what people are looking for - your articles!  Twitter is a bit like the new RSS.

I also follow various stars on the SyFy, Travel Channel, and NatGeo networks.  (OK, I am a UFO and ghost buff!)  In marketing this would be "marketing of a person."  One of the best I have seen so far is a SyFy executive (@SyFy) that puts out little blurbs about his private life (like getting married) which is nice to share - but also has questions and answer periods too.  Sometimes the questions are pretty interesting, which certainly helps with interest on the answers.  Unlike "The Corporate Voice" (@SyFyPR), he seems much more natural and personable. 

I have seen also the wrong thing to do.  I followed, for a little while, the star of a paranormal show.  This guy tweeted about everything every five minutes.  He literally over ran my tweet list with all his stuff.  I also realized he had a pattern of only answering questions from his female fans... which as a male I found a little off putting.  OK, he is of that age, found some fame, found some money... it's going to happen.  But I did unfollow him.

Another company that I have seen is REI and I follow them.  (Yes, I like to backpack!)  They don't say "Hey, we have a tent sale!" - they show pictures of adventures done with their equipment along with a link to find out more.  They also tend to share pictures of trips others have made - I tell you it really wets the appetite for backpacking.  This is pretty common because marketing a product pretty much showing how it can be incorporated in your personal or professional life.

Twitter has a feature called hash tags (for example, #Amduus) where one can self-organize a tweet into a collection of tweets from people who don't know you and you don't know them.  By searching on the hash tag, all these tweets can come together.  They have been really effectively used by television programs, allowing all the viewers to make comments to each other (and actors) by marking their tweet with the hash tag.

So, in the end, it seems the proper way to use twitter really depends on your goals.  (Duh!)  If one has a product or service - twitter links to stories about the use of the product and service.  If one is writing articles - give a teaser for interest and a link to the article.  If one is trying to promote one's self - don't give to much and focus on the interest of your followers.  Ask them what they want to know, and you will get a lot more interest rather than simply posting out things of interest only to one's self.

Follow me on twitter with ScAuge.  I am also available at linkedin.com at http://www.linkedin.com/in/scottauge.