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Mike Duncan at online marketing firm Sage Island gave an informative presentation Friday at the Board Retailers Association Summit about online marketing and social media.
Since Twitter is all the rage these days, I focus here on some of his tips and resources for businesses that want to use Twitter to promote their brand, products and/or stores.
According to Mike, Twitter is the third largest social networking site after FaceBook and MySpace. Twitter has six million active users and over 55 million monthly visitors.
A key is finding a Twitter strategy that works for your business, Mike said.
Decide who you want your audience to be - consumers, businesses, industry experts, bloggers, colleagues.
Decide on your tone - corporate or casual? Mike says research shows most users prefer a casual tone.
Who will Twitter - You may want hire a community manager to engage in social media or appoint a certain employee. You need to have strict standards though about what can be said because it everything is public and linked to your business.
Even if your business doesn't Twitter yet, claim your business name now. Also popular are employees plus brand names, and CEO names.
Start discussions around your brand
Listen to what people are saying about your brand. Be proactive about responding.
Keep it positive and manage your reputation
Respond timely to replies
Keep things interesting by varying tweet style and subject matter
Don't toot your own horn too much
Don't bombard followers with links. Instead, introduce links with useful and meaningful discussions.
Don't disrespect the Twitter community
Don't have a cavalier attitude about Twitter
Avoid low quality replies that make followers think you are a robot
Don't sound like a broken record
Mike also provided several useful Twitter links
Tweetscan - Set up alerts for mentions of your brand and related key words
TweetBeep Twilert - Like Google alerts for Twitter
Twollow - Auto-follow people that mention your brand
Twitterless - graphs your followers and tells you who stops following
Twitter Search - Helps you find your audience
We Follow - User powered Twitter directory
Just Tweet It - A good Twitter directory. Make sure you are listed
Mr. Tweet -Discover new people, get relevant followers and usage stats
TwtQpon - Create coupons for Twitter and give incentives to follow you.
StrawPoll - Poll your followers. Ask questions about your brand, get instant feedback.
TwitPic - Share interesting photos of new products, office antics, etc.
Post video on YouTube or photos on Flickr
Post to all other video sites
Post to profiles
Alert friends and fans on social sites
Alert bloggers with Blog Outreach
Email blast to house list
RSS feed release
Posting to blogs
Promote with paid media
Track report and analyze