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June 16, 2009

How to get more Twitter traffic for your business
Tweeting your way to increased sales

Used correctly, Twitter can be the ultimate tool for businesses to reach a very large engaged audience, according to Alicia Whalen, e-strategist and Principal of A Couple of Chicks e-Marketing.

“I like to describe Twitter as an ongoing cocktail reception without the cocktails,” she says of the social networking site that has been receiving a lot of buzz in the media in recent weeks. “Twitter helps you network - strengthen existing relationships, meet likeminded people, create brand awareness, inform customers, get feedback from clients to improve business, increase customer loyalty, know your customer base better and target them more effectively, generate sales and establish a reputation as a forward thinking brand or thought leader.”

But before jumping into the “Twitterverse” she cautions that your business needs to have a solid sales strategy.

“You need to know your consumer and have clearly defined goals,” she says. “This begins with having a solid website that’s user-friendly, up-to-date and as professional as possible.”

Your website is the transaction point, she says, and channels like Twitter are marketing tools to drive traffic to your point of sale. Whalen also recommends installing a web monitoring program like Google Analytics (free to download) to monitor traffic on your website, allowing you to benchmark your success once you start tweeting.

It’s all about the message

Twitter is not the right channel for sales pitches. At least not right away.

“Posting personal antidotes, "re-tweets" of useful information or links to articles you are reading is what makes you a worthwhile person to follow. Then your followers will be more likely to listen to a sales pitch here and there.”

The person delivering the message is every bit as important as the message itself, says Whalen, who cautions against letting just anyone be the one to tweet on behalf of your company. The person behind the tweets has to be articulate, able to comment on behalf of your brand and have a clear understanding of marketing communications.

Whalen cites the following brands as good examples of successful tweeters:

  • Southwest Air - 60,707 followers
  • Pizza Nova (the "pizza guy") - 1835 followers
  • Marriott - 10,075 followers including media, customers
  • Shamu (Seaworld) "   - 4,188 followers

“In general, dedicated “tweeters” are having great success,” says Whalen. “But there is a lot of ‘noise’ out there, people who are just on the fringes, curious about Twitter. To be an effective business tool your business needs to have a strategy, commitment and the right person to do it so that you can build up a brand voice.

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