by Aliza Sherman
Hi there, The Digital Marketer here, ready to help you put the power of the Internet and technology to work for your business.
Today we're going to explore the big world of microblogs. What are they, how do they work, and most importantly, why would you want one...or two...or three or more of them?
First some background, and then some tips.
A microblog is a site that combines the publishing power of blogging with some social networking features like “friends” or “followers.”
Some microblogs, like Twitter and Jaiku (J-A-I-K-U), limit your posts to 140 characters or less and let you send and receive posts through SMS or text messaging. That is 140 characters, not words. The character limit really challenges you to condense your marketing messages into truly bite-sized pieces.
I like to think of my microblogs as watercoolers, especially Twitter. Imagine you with 20, 100 or 500 or more “friends” following your posts. That means that all of those people have access to what you post and you have access to what they post if you are following them back.
Because it is so fast and easy to microblog from the Web, from a handheld device or mobile phone, or even from small desktop applications you can download onto your computer, people have gotten into the habit of posting often and about practically anything.
Since we're talking about using your microblog for business, a quick and dirty tip is to limit your mundane I-had-a-chocolate-muffin-for-breakfast posts, and stick to interesting business items such as what you're reading or hot industry topics. People like it when you include a link to the blog post, website article, or Web applications you've discovered. If you point people to things they find useful, they'll have a reason to continue reading your posts.
If you are thinking of using microblogging as a marketing tool for your business, here are a few things to consider:
- Do you have a solid business reason to be posting to a microblog? Not every company or organization has a real need to disseminate information all the time. Do you have a reason to post that could have a positive impact on your company's bottom line? A good example of a retail business using Twitter is Bella Boutique in Anchorage, Alaska. They post about once a day--which is plenty for their purposes--and a recent Tweet read: "Come down and see us at the Anchorage Women's Show!" Clearly only Anchorage-area residents could look for the company's booth at an expo. However, they know their audience and target messages specifically to them to drive more traffic to their retail location and to build their brand.
- Do you have the time to post often? The most popular microblogs are updated at least daily and more often several times to many times a day. You need to post often to build a following-- make sure you can co that before you start.
- Is your audience following microblogs? With any marketing tool you use, you need to pick and choose based on what your customers are consuming. Just because you know your customers are online does not mean that they have the time or interest in following a microblog. Visit my website for a list of tools that will help you do a little bit of market research before you set up a microblogging page.
- How will you keep your microblog from being a boring commercial? You'll have a hard time getting loyal followers if all you do is post about your company products or services or other purely marketing and promotional messages. Make sure you can broaden the topics in your microblog posts to capture and maintain your audience.
On the one hand, microblogging is quick and easy to do. On the other hand, keeping up the pace of microblogging can be exhausting.
To find out more about microblogging, visit my website at quickanddirtytips.com to find links to my microblogging pages, the links I mentioned in the show, and more examples of interesting ways people are using microblogs.
That's all we have time for today. Visit the show’s website at digitalmarketer.quickanddirtytips.com for links to all of the sites mentioned in the show. If you'd like to ask a question or request a topic for The Digital Marketer, email me at email@example.com or leave a message by calling 206-339-6279
And thanks to MKinMotion on Twitter for helping me identify a site for this podcast.
You can visit some of my microblogs at www.twitter.com/alizasherman, www.pownce.com/alizasherman and www.jaiku.com/alizasherman. Note that I'm mostly active on Twitter, however, I use a tool called HelloTxt.com to cross-post when I am marketing and want to spread the word more broadly. Other microblogs include Pownce.com and Tumblr.com.
Nonprofit organizations are using microblogs to draw attention to articles online that are specifically about the issues they cover such as the World Wildlife Foundation using Twitter to reference current news about endangered animals. And, of course, there are those who use microblogs to promote projects they are working on.
Tools for Twitter Research
You can use the search function in Twitter to find people in your region as well as a variety of other web sites that work with Twitter such as: