To Twitter or Not To Twitter

When the people who invented Twitter first came along, they really did themselves no favor in the name. Twitter and Tweet are almost too preposterous to be taken seriously. But, given time, the fundamentals of the important roles Twitter can play have caused many to overcome and accept the silliness of the name. There are still holdouts. There are many who don’t “get it.” And there are others who have entered the Twitter universe and come away disillusioned because it was something different from what they expected. Efforts just didn’t equal payoff.

Recently the capabilities of Twitter were explored in an O’Reilly webcast titled “#tweetsmart,” hosted by J.S. McDougall, a web developer, digital strategist and author of a book titled “#tweetsmart.”

McDougall admits to entering the world of Twitter like many of the rest of us as a “complete skeptic.” But, after some time, he began to see that, rather than a mere marketing outpost, Twitter is a conversation. And, he says, therein lies its potential.

His book is a series of formulas that he devised through trial and error to gain  attention to a publishing company where he was employed. By patiently building on what worked, he was able to bring substantial attention to the products the company offered.

According to McDougall, this forum “helps marketers be more interesting on Twitter, adding value and raising awareness in a way people enjoy and find fun.”

Those who have used Twitter merely to advertise their product have oftentimes had disappointing results. It’s been described as a trough that everyone is trying to feed from at once. Used that way, it’s easy to come away with viewing Twitter as a waste of time.

McDougall offers ideas for first determining if a company’s audience is even on Twitter. Then creativity can guide marketing efforts to inform and to make the interacting process fun. He suggests that a company start with monitoring a Twitter presence for 15-30 minutes twice a day and then “grow into it over time.”

And the crux involves optimizing all efforts, whether through Twitter or a website, to make it easy for a visitor to buy a product.

“#tweetspeak” is for sale through the O’Reilly website and Amazon.

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