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July 15, 2009
Three Incontrovertible Tenets of Twitter Marketing

The rate of product development on the Internet is staggering. This creates a dilemma for the business person wanting to use the Internet as a marketing platform. There are so many options…so many ways to go about it…how does one know what to do? What will bring tangible marketing results, and what is a waste of time?

It’s not really my intention to answer that question for you. Any online marketing device can provide value to you if you use it strategically and correctly. What you cannot afford to do is make a half-ass effort at everything that comes along. There are just not enough hours in the day to properly use every option there is. Not even if you hire a person to do it full-time. You need to pick your weapons and get really, really good at using those weapons.

One such weapon that I am going to provide some advice about using is Twitter. Use Twitter properly, and it will produce results. Use it wrong, and you will waste your time. Here are three incontrovertible tenets that, if obeyed, will improve the effectiveness of your Twitter-based marketing.

Tenet one. Concentrate on your neighborhood. What I mean here is that your tweeting may be more effective if you focus on building up a follower and followee list of people in your industry or who are somehow connected to your industry. Or if you provide a service in a geographically-limited area, then try to get lots of followers who are located in your geographic market. If you sell products to lawyers, then try to get followers somehow associated with the legal industry. If you provide a service to businesses in Chicago, then try to get followers located in Chicago. Focusing your efforts in the area where you do business increases the odds that one of your followers will want to do business with you.

Tenet two. Add value. This doesn’t just apply to Twitter, but to everything you do. A lot of people don’t really add value; they just add clutter. If all you do is tweet links to web pages for affiliate programs, or post sales messages, then you are not adding value. You are just selling. Likewise, if all you post is drivel or things that don’t really work to enhance your brand, then you are not really adding value, either. If you want people to be interested in what you are saying, then say something of substance. Give your opinion on issues affecting your industry. Post links to interesting or entertaining articles that deal with your industry. It is certainly okay to link to your own web pages and talk about your products or services to an extent, but mix it up.

Tenet three. Be systematic. Again, this is advice that could be applied to any area of your marketing, but you especially need to keep this tenet in mind if you are going to use Twitter. If all you do is post once every few days, then you are not really going to get a whole lot from it. You should tweet multiple times per day, every day. If you’re like me, this is a difficult situation because I just stay too dang busy to post tweets all day. Not only that, but I manage Twitter accounts for a couple of clients, so there is no way I could sit and switch back and forth between accounts all day to post tweets from different accounts. That is why I recommend the use of automation to ease the burden of constantly tweeting. I am not suggesting you rely on software to keep your account updated, but rather use it in addition to a manual process. My favorite tool is Tweet Later, which you can try out at www.trytweetlater.com, although there are several other programs that all do basically the same thing. The idea is to pre-schedule recurring tweets, so that even if you are unable to post to your account at all, the software will post for you.

The tenets listed above are not at all revolutionary and could apply to any advertising or marketing platform. What I want you to go away with here is that it doesn’t really matter what platforms you choose to promote your business (Twitter, Facebook, SEO, paid search, LinkedIn…whatever), you can make it work if you create a formula for how you are going to use it and apply it systematically.

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Jerry Work is president of Work Media LLC, a Nashville SEO firm that specializes in orchestrating Internet marketing campaigns that blend organic search, paid search and social media. He is also the author of "Be the Magnet," a new book on using social media and content distribution to promote websites. For more info, click here.

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