Finding and Engaging Customers via Twitter

There are more than 6 million active users on Twitter. Isn’t it time that you position yourself or your client as an expert on this communications platform?

Twitter, a free microblogging service that limits users to 140-character statements, is the latest craze. Newspapers, magazines, radio and television shows alike have all gotten involved with Twitter, covering it and participating as users. Celebrities have Twitter accounts so that their fans can follow them. Even corporations like Kodak, Comcast and Zappos have Twitter accounts so they can interface with their consumers.

Social media enables the general public to converse with small and large businesses. It is the ultimate word-of-mouth marketing technique because the message is back in the hands of the consumer. If a consumer likes or dislikes a product or service, he or she will tweet about it.

Twitter enables small and large companies the opportunity for brand recognition and also enables the company to converse with their consumers. By having a conversation, the consumer feels a connection with the company. It also allows for companies to gauge customer satisfaction from the feedback that customers tweet about. In addition, Twitter can help generate sales leads.

Lastly, Twitter increases your search engine optimization, which helps your Web site go up the list on a Google search.

How do you get started? After signing up, make sure to start building your community. Start following other leaders in your industry. Run a search by typing in search will enable you to search by topic and industry. Read what others are saying and click on their links. Then, start to follow them.

You have the opportunity to follow people who follow you or “unfollow” people who unfollow you. There are dozens of applications that help with your Twitter experience, including:

TwitPic ( Allows the user to post a photo, and then share the Twitpic link via Twitter.

Twhirl ( Lets users keep Twitter open on their desktop all day in real time. The messages are on continuous scroll and the user will see the message instantaneously.

Tipjoy ( Lets users send small amounts of cash to charities and businesses across Twitter and then tweet about the payment as another way to share news about donations and purchases.

Twibs ( Provides a list of businesses on Twitter with links to their Twitter accounts. This enables the user to learn about new products and promotions. It also enables businesses to build a following.

TweetDeck ( Provides desktop software so that users can organize their tweets into columns, such as @replies, direct messages, groups and keyword searches.

Twitterholic ( Ranks Twitter users by number of followers. The more followers, the more the user is considered an expert.

Twitturly ( Tracks the URLs that are most popular on Twitter based on how many times they’ve been shared by Twitter users.

After you build your community, start to send out valuable information. Mix it up with random thoughts throughout the day so that it makes your comments seem more real and personal. Make sure you link to your blog and your Web site as well.

In addition, continue to read what others write and direct message (DM) people. Also remember to re-tweet (RT) something that is interesting to you that you think others will appreciate. You can also reply to people and leave the comment for everyone to see by using the @ symbol before the user’s name.

The more you post, the more people will notice you. Before you know it, you will have hundreds and even thousands of followers. As you build a community, you will position yourself as the expert in your field.

It seems that the news media and everyone else these days keep talking about Twitter, and there is obviously a reason. Try it and get yourself and your clients noticed. PRN


Hilary JM Topper is the president & CEO of HJMT Communications, LLC. She can be reached at