Tweet, Tweet for Rx/Dx

Here is some basic, practical advice from iMedia if you're considering Twitter for your company. Also a good article from the NYT about Twitter.

I like the line, as in life, it is what you make of it....very apropos.

Twitter is essentially an instant messenger made public -- the 140-character messages, or "tweets," can be seen by everyone, and the conversations are always free-flowing. While consumers use the service to blab about how badly they want a pizza or to arrange weekend plans, they also use it to discuss your business, brand, or product -- and they'll continue to do so, whether you participate or not.

But don't just start firing off marketing missives to the Twitter community. If you actually want to leverage Twitter as a marketing tool, you'll need a plan, and you'll need to stick with it for the long haul. Here's what you need to keep in mind before you start to tweet.

It's not a campaign
Social media is not merely a flash in the pan; and regardless of whether or not Twitter becomes the next great marketing application, a similar service will still be popular years from now. If you want to jump into Twitter -- or any form social media -- be prepared to invest a great amount of time. You can't merely spend one week talking to consumers and then vanish.

Before diving in, you'll need a plan, including figuring out what you want to accomplish, and why you are joining the conversation in the first place. When you log onto Twitter, you're asked "What are you doing?" But when marketing via Twitter, the most important question to keep in mind is, "What are you thinking?" according to Rodney Rumford, CEO of Gravitational Media.

"I share information that is unique and valuable to my followers," Rumford said, speaking at the Gravity Summit in Los Angeles. "Think about your target, your audience, and how you can give them information."

Listen, don't push
When you focus on providing value to your followers -- whether they're current clients or prospective ones -- it's important to remember Twitter isn't a push marketing tool. Don't beat your clients over the head with offers or use Twitter merely as a promotional tool. Instead, engage in real conversations.

Rumford equates Twitter to a river, and just like how a fisherman would set up multiple nets in the river, you'll need to set up multiple filters to listen in on the conversations that are already happening. lets you find out who is discussing your brand, product, business, and competitors. After you listen in, join the conversation with insightful commentary. "Be a fly on the wall, listen, and add value when appropriate," Rumford said. "There are great nuggets in this river, and you're panning for gold."

Twitter isn't merely for big brands either. By listening and joining existing conversations, small businesses gain equal footing with the big corporations, and can even take a bit out of some of their biggest competitors.

Check out the rest of the post at the link above.

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