Twitter is a microblogging site where users can post content and messages up to 140 characters long. The social networking system has taken the early adopter and evangelist community by storm and its user base continues to increase by leaps and bounds as it spreads to the mainstream community.

Although the twitter microblog was not created for the purpose of marketing it has been utilized by various industries as part of the main marketing mix, especially in the ecommerce industry.

Methods for utilizing Twitter

First and foremost, to get your users on twitter, direct them with a link to your twitter page and briefly explain how they can sign up within your about or contact us page (take a look at Zappos.com about page as an example).

Customer Service through Twitter

Companies now have the ability to communicate with all of their clients in real time and respond quickly to any current problems. Twitter’s social networking system allows you to send a private message to specific users for customer service issues or message the entire community for more general issues which are then archived. Your twitter page in essence will become a frequently asked questions page as well, so any consumers can search for an issue that may have been dealt with already.

By tackling customer service through twitter you not only assist your customers in real time, but also develop a community around your company.

Promotional Marketing through Twitter

Once the customer service program is well in motion you can start to tap into your new found community with promotional marketing incentives. To get a quick idea of how to utilize Twitter for promotional marketing you can take a look at Dell’s campaign. Through Dell’s Twitter account, @DellOutlet, the computer manufacturing company offered discounts to its followers who were taken to a specific landing page with the promotion code for the sale item. Just through this free channel Dell was able to make $1 million in revenue.

To get started on customer service and promotional marketing it would be worthwhile to first follow current companies including Zappos and Dell to see how it’s done through your personal Twitter account and if you want to create a more tailor made coupon you can also use the free third party site twtQpon.

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