Do You Have a Twitter Strategy? If Not, You Need One

Posted By Joe Pulizzi on April 09, 2009

Twitter, the micro-blogging tool, just hit 10 million unique visitors in February. It's a true force that all businesses need to consider having a significant presence in.

Even with this growth (up from 6 million in January), most marketers are still trying to figure the social media tool out.

"I don't get it," says one marketer.

"It's silly," says another.

These are common comments from those who don't use it enough to see the value.

The biggest issue with finding true value is actually very basic. 

First, many marketers don't set an objective for using Twitter. Using any social media tool still needs to have an underlying objective. Comcast and Dell use Twitter as a customer service tool. Kodak uses it for community building. Whole Foods uses it for research (click here for more). Without an objective, with any marketing tool, what's the point?

Second, quite a few brands see Twitter as a distribution mechanism first, and a listening tool second. That's a big problem.  Never has there been such an effective tool for listening to customer and prospect comments in real-time.

So, what's a marketer to do?

These four points will get you started:

  1. Never answer the Twitter question, "What are you doing?" Your customers don't care what you are doing, they only care about their own needs and challenges.
    The solution: only distribute valuable, relevant content that your customers would be interested in. If you do that, you will no doubt build a following (and fans).
  2. Assign ownership. Playing around with the tool doesn't serve you or your customer. Someone in your organization, if not a team of people, needs to be responsible for your Twitter updates.
  3. Be democratic. Even if you are sending out valuable "tweets" on a consistent basis, no organization has a corner on relevant content. Promoting content from other organizations (even your competitors) gives you credibility. Show that you are out for your customers' best interests, no matter the source of content. You'll get more followers in the process.
  4. Be human. As you assign ownership, be sure your followers know exactly who the PERSON is who is maintaining your Twitter account.  Your customers want to talk to other people, so don't stop them.

By setting your objective, listening to your customers first, and then following these four points, odds are you will be very successful using this tool.

Sure, Twitter is the latest fad, but many brands are driving real return on objective with Twitter. So can you.

Comments (3)


Jennifer Neal

April 09, 2009

Thanks for this Joe! I love it and will re tweet it everywhere. I just finished an article for masthead on line I'd like to include this with your permission.

Joe Pulizzi

April 09, 2009

Sure Jennifer...just include the source. Thanks for spreading the word!

Kerry Manaster

April 13, 2009

Great point of view. Thanks for sharing!

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