Mention Twitter and some people get excited.
Yet many still look perplexed, express confusion or worse, dismiss this huge social platform as complete nonsense.

But with over 500 million users posting over 6,000 tweets per second (with an investment market value of over $20 billion!) the real value of Twitter is self-fulling for anyone trying to run or grow a business.

Why avoiding Twitter could be perilous for an online brand.

According to Social Media Examiner who surveyed 2,800 marketers from around the world, asking about their attitudes and plans for social media usage, 80% reported social media—including Twitter—has increased website traffic for their business.

And there are lots of other great reasons to use Twitter too. Some of them include:

  • | Build awareness of a brand, business or person
  • | Support & demonstrate your expertise in your category of business
  • | Foster domain authority for your website
  • | Share relevant content and images instantly and globally with followers and friends
  • | Enhance customer service
  • | Participate in “tweet-ups”, conversations, direct messages and other networking opportunities
  • | Get a consistent and continuous, unfiltered stream of news, perspectives and ideas in realtime
  • | Gain insight on the digital pulse of content trends locally and around the world

Following with enthusiasm.

As a user that has posted thousands and thousands of times with a modest community of followers, there’s only one reason that Twitter matters to me.

It’s is one of the most effective methods to drive traffic to our website and the content which we post on our blog. As a result, Twitter is our “go to” digital distribution network that extends the reach of what we create so that others see it and can engage with it.

Over 1400 Followers | @Paul_Pruneau
Build a quality community one follower at a time | TeamworksCom

This great post by Martin Lieberman of Constant Contact reminds us that the holy grail of social media is not likes, but shares and retweets. Social sharing is today’s digital version of word-of-mouth marketing that drives new business for a brand or business. And there is no better way to do that than with Twitter.

According to the analytics that we look at daily and often, Twitter consistently delivers the highest social media referral traffic to our site.

Why’s that important? Because Twitter expands the reach and pass-along-value of the expensive content assets that we create. More opportunities for eyeballs, shares, comments or favorites of what we produce is something that we value.

It’s no secret that publishing content today is just not enough. Distribution and maximizing reach must be part of an ongoing Content Marketing program.

Increasing search engine influence.

Search engines have begun to incorporate social signals (retweets, Facebook likes, +1s and so on) to inform their search results. We know that our tweets help our search results ranking because when people query keywords related to our content, our tweets often show up in the SERPs. Because we frequently query key content terms, we see our tweets show up in the search results and know that’s the result of our tweets on Twitter.

Bots, scam artists, and posers won’t deliver the audience you want.

Software bots or questionable suspects who claim to deliver hundreds or thousands of followers for a fee are selling nothing more than BS. Interestingly, that sounds a lot like what you used to get with old-school advertising—turning to a “paid” media source to deliver an audience for your message based on size and speed rather than quality. Take my advice—don’t believe them and avoid them at all costs.

What we’ve learned is that rather than attempting to “buy” an audience of followers, it’s much more effective and much more valuable to organically grow your audience of qualified prospects and influencers one follower at a time.

Why? Because it gives you the opportunity to screen and qualify each and every one of the people you consider as a follower based on a number of criteria, including:

  • | profile summary
  • | tweet stream quality
  • | post frequency
  • | number of followers
  • | interaction attitude with followers
  • | content on their website + blog

By not qualifying each and every person to meet your specific requirements of who you allow into your community, you run the risk of creating a community that won’t be interested in your content or what you have to offer.

And who wants to have a rotten apple in your community that mucks up the quality of content that you and your followers are sharing with one another.

Amazing distribution that’s real work.

To realize maximum value from Twitter, you’re going to have to work at it. And that means producing content—consistently and frequently. Not just stuff that is curated, stolen or retweeted. Original, well-crafted content that addresses the needs and interests of your followers is essential.

And as anyone who is an active user of Twitter, a blogger or other social networks can attest, consistent and frequent participation is anything but a set it and forget it exercise.

No looking back.

As I’ve disclosed, Twitter offers you and your business some very compelling benefits. And many businesses are successfully using Twitter as a marketing platform to improve customer service, communicate better with customers, increase traffic to their website or blog, follow trends and competitors closely and connect with an ever-growing community that they curate and foster.

So if you’re still not convinced using Twitter has real value, you could always go back to mailing postcards, printing flyers and paying to run print ads, right?

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