Why Twitter Is Like E-mail Marketing
That means it's a lot like e-mail marketing, which also presents many opportunities for marketers. Twitter also presents many opportunities for marketers. Both are one-to-one/one-to-many messaging tools, opt-in mediums and relatively cheap to implement. And they work mostly the same way. Check out the following examples:
- if your Twitter profile is set to public, each tweet you send is like an e-mail addressed to your Twitter followers and cc’ed to everyone else;
- if you start a tweet with “@individual_ person,” the tweet is like an e-mail addressed to an individual and cc’ed to your followers and everyone else;
- if you start a tweet with “d individual_ person,” the tweet is like an e-mail addressed to an individual, and cc’ed to no one else; and
- if you start a tweet with “RT individual_ person," it’s like a forwarded e-mail addressed to your Twitter followers and cc’ed to everyone else.
Also, the people you follow are those you get messages from. Your followers are like your contacts or subscribers in your database.
Why Twitter can differ from e-mail marketing
Twitter, however, is also different from e-mail. For example, Twitter has a message stream that’s public by default, a 140-character limit and dialogues created in the community. And don't forget that people don't have to leave the site to opt out of an uninteresting tweet stream.
To make Twitter work as part of your marketing plan, consider these five tips:
- Identify your program goals before you start. Twitter can be used for anything e-mail is used for. You can use Twitter for acquisition, retention, upsell, cross-sell and even branding. But before starting to use it, make sure you know what you’re trying to achieve.
- Figure out an inbound strategy. Twitter facilitates direct feedback from consumers, so you must be prepared to receive candid feedback on your products, services and even marketing efforts when you create your Twitter presence. Chalk out a strategy to deal with negative feedback, and identify internal stakeholders who can act quickly to address it.
- Identify the tools you’ll need. While there are many consumer-oriented Twitter apps, there aren't many comprehensive enterprise-grade tools that marketers can use. Evaluate your needs, and choose wisely from an assortment of applications like bit.ly, TweetLater, Twitalyzer and TwitWall.
- Commit resources. Like e-mail, sending a tweet is theoretically free. Also like e-mail, tweeting is time-consuming if done right. Assign a channel owner within your marketing team, and don't forget to add more resources if you need them.
- Plan to integrate. There are many assets to use to jump-start your Twitter marketing program. E-mailing your database and encouraging it to follow you on Twitter, and vice versa, is a great start. Figuring out an automated way to post your e-mail promotions on Twitter is a great second step. A “share-to-social” feature within your e-mails is another way.
Twitter for promotions
Twitter is also a great tool to use for promotions. My personal rule of thumb is to keep the promotions frequency similar to that of e-mail, tweeting promotions two times a week. Spend the other five days listening to and adding value to your audience. When you blend service with marketing, it adds humaneness to your brand, creating your unique voice on Twitter.
Ragy Thomas is co-founder and CEO of Aiti Solutions, a New York-based social media marketing services provider for direct marketers. Reach Ragy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his blog at http://thepmn.org/_blog/The_PMN_Blog.