For the second in a short series putting popular social media channels in the spotlight, we take a look at Twitter.
According to the Technical Marketing home page (@technicalmarket) we signed up for Twitter in March 2009 - so four and a half years and 612 tweets ago.
What is it?
Launched in July 2006 Twitter is sometimes described as a micro-blogging site. Basically the headlines without the body copy. In fact the messages are limited to 140 characters which sounds little, but is surprisingly adequate for sending concise messages, even embodying short form url links to redirect to the meat of the story. Well if there is a story. The Twitter universe is divided into people tweeting and people following. Popular discussions are said to 'trend'. In short it is ephemeral gossip and chatter of the moment.
How do I use it?
As with blogs, it started life as a trial which I have mainly used to send out news headlines with a link (using a shortening tool) that readers can click on to reach the full story or reach more detailed information, even pictures. For me it is another news channel and indeed is clearly used and monitored by leading news organisations. However. I don't follow anyone other than our clients any more because the sheer volume of tweets rapidly became unmanageable and frankly overwhelming.
What does it do?
Various features have been added, but in essence it enables 140 character messages to be sent to 'followers' and also be read by people who are not signed up. In some ways it is kind of a replacement to the now largely defunct RSS news feed service.
Does it work?
Like other social media it depends what expectations you have. It certainly delivers messages but whether it delivers sales leads is entirely another matter. Writing a tweet is a skill if you want customers and prospects to engage or at the very least to be aware of your business. Do you want readers to read a tweet and want to know more? For example a tweet such as "England win third test by 200 runs" tells cricket fans all they might want to know about a match result and not bother to visit a web site for a ball by ball analysis. But a tweet such as "ABC Engineering's new machine cuts energy bills by half" might start a sales prospect checking out the link to your web site.
As regards our Twitter account - well I have not tweeted for sometime!
Next time - LinkedIn