It’s a question that millions of people are answering multiple times a day. How often should your business be answering this question? Twitter has risen over the past few years in a way that no one truly expected. At first it seemed like a strange way for a normal person to promote themselves to all their friends and Internet buddies. Then one by one, major celebrities began joining the fold and finding a whole new way to interact with their fans and friends. A quick glance at Us Weekly or People magazine will immediately lead into a “Twitter battle” between celebrities that have become offended by what people “tweeted.”

Sure, there is a certain novelty to it. Maybe you have a favorite author who has a Twitter or your favorite musical group announces secret shows from its Twitter page. But the real question is, can Twitter help your company? Multiple companies in the industry have begun using Twitter over the past few years for a variety of reasons - some just to have a presence on another medium and others to actively participate in the social media landscape.

Danze Faucets, for example (twitter.com/danzefaucets), has posted more than 2,000 tweets ranging from interesting articles about the industry to tips for homeowners, and even specific sales that the company is offering.  At the time I wrote this, Danze Faucets had 1,310 followers and 2,308 tweets. To most marketing professionals 1,310 sounds like a pretty low number for a national company, but when you think about it, these are 1,310 unique individuals who have such an interest in the company that they want to receive constant updates and any sort of material that you may have to share. If all these individuals care enough to receive the updates, there is a good chance that they’ll be sharing their thoughts with their friends. Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most powerful ways to promote your company. Now through Twitter, it’s easy and free.

Twitter can be utilized in many different ways. Many top companies have moved beyond using it just as a venue to spout off about their company and are adding a dimension of personality to their business. Zappos.com’s CEO has a personal Twitter account (twitter.com/zappos) where he not only talks a bit about Zappos.com but also shares stories about his daily life and experiences that he has. This adds a certain level of personality that you don’t often see from larger corporations.

Twitter can also be used to gain customer feedback. I currently have Comcast cable service in my house and occasionally, as with all electronics, something breaks or goes wrong so that I need customer service. In 2006 I would have had to call their customer service line and wait to finally talk to someone. Now all I have to do is go onto Twitter and post my problem. Within 30 minutes I have a response from a Comcast representative, telling me what steps I should take in order to rectify the situation. This is just one example with a company that has an excess of resources. It will take some serious work by a marketing professional for your company to achieve this kind of response time.

As the cliché goes, Twitter is very easy to use yet very difficult to master. You need to give people a reason to follow you, you need to know the right people to follow, and you need to utilize the search feature and the short 140 characters you have.

A quick search right now for “faucet” reveals a strategy from a company that is trying to build interest in their company and gain followers. The company is offering a mere 3% off of the next bathroom faucet that someone purchases if they follow their company and “re-tweet” the deal. The purpose of a “re-tweet” is to have your followers share your message with all of their followers. Sounds a bit convoluted, but it’s just a quick way to expand your business presence through manufactured word of mouth.

Beyond that marketing ploy, there are many homeowners who are either displeased with their leaky faucet or clamoring over a faucet they saw somewhere. As a marketing professional, all you need to do is send a quick “tweet” to these people with your company’s Web site and possibly even offer them a deal if they “re-tweet” your company’s Web site address. It’s additional work, but an easy way to expand your presence in the social media world.

Social media continues to grow more each year. The movie “The Social Network” just won a Golden Globe award.  Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube are all growing exponentially every year. Increase your Web presence now, especially when it’s free and easy to use. 



Joshua Brown heads the marketing department at Metropolitan Bath (Reading, MA), a showroom division of Metropolitan Pipe & Supply Co. The fifth generation of ownership of the Cambridge, MA-based wholesale firm, he has worked in the plumbing supply business his whole life. To contact him, email brojos@metpipe.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/joshcbrown. For information on the company, visit www.metpipe.com.





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