When Twitter was created in 2006 even its creator Jack Dorsey didn’t know the possibilities of Twitter for business. In a photograph of an early design for the popular website (over 200 million users in about five years) Dorsey scribbled two “tweet” examples, “in bed” and “going to park.” This is how many early users interacted with the site.
Twitter has developed from being used as a journal to being a site used for publishing information to large groups of people and a great way to quickly and directly talk to customers/users. About 200 million tweets are generated per day and there are over 1.6 billion search queries per day. As Facebook replaced MySpace, Twitter seems to be the next step of social media. The 140 character limit helps people be more direct and concise in communication.
Twitter is great for small businesses for many reasons. It is one of the best ways to stay in touch with customers. In retail or even some service situations the communication between the customer and business is limited to the purchase or an infrequent reminder. Twitter is one way to more frequently remind customers of your presence and new products. It is one of the quickest ways to get a message out to a group or one person (direct messages, @ replies, etc.). Have a new product coming out or an update to your service? Let your customers know in a quick friendly manner using a tweet. If the news is popular enough people might even begin to retweet and spread the news.
Twitter allows for both formal and informal communication. You can have separate company and personal accounts. The owner or an employee can interact with customers making the experience feel much more personal. The possibility of positive word of mouth is tremendous. Letting customers know about offers or even just keeping them informed about plans is a great way to keep them engaged more often. Thanks to trending and the ability to retweet and comment on other users’ tweets if a tweet is interesting it will easily spread.
There are tons of ways to use Twitter thanks to some great applications (apps) available to everyone. Twitter’s own applications are available for iPhone, Android, iPad, Blackberry and Windows Phone 7 as well as desktop browsers making the website widely available at all times. They do a pretty good job of putting the features you want up front and still allowing advanced users to dig deeper to find all the other features popular on the website.