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using-twitter-for-businessWhenever I speak with clients who are either interested in adding social media to their business plan or who have somewhat of a presence they are working hard to grow, the most common frustration I hear is:

I just don’t get Twitter. The other platforms I use and understand, but I can’t get my head around how Twitter works.

In taking a look across the most popular social media platforms, Twitter is unique in a lot of ways.

  • Speed Twitter moves fast! Well-known for it’s nearly-real time conversations, the pace of Twitter along with its capacity for a high volume of updates sets it apart from all other social mediums.
  • Character limitations At just 140 characters, crafting a strong message to tweet out takes some practice.
  • Lack of visual aids So much of what we hear and read is that we need to utilize photos to drive engagement. From blogging to Facebook to Pinterest to Google Plus, we’ve been trained to use an image with every update. But short of clicking a link to open a photo shared via a tweet, the only images you see on Twitter are the Twitter avatars of those you follow.

Along with the above unique features comes one more that may very well be the biggest fundamental difference separating Twitter from the rest of the social media pack:

Twitter allows you to see exactly what everyone else is thinking, feeling and curious about. All the users you follow are sharing their lives, tweet by tweet. It doesn’t matter if you are a brand or an individual; each tweet that you read and respond to is one more opportunity to build that relationship, solve that problem, support that cause, and share in that joy or frustration.

The difference between Twitter and other social media platforms is similar to the difference between Push and Pull Marketing. The brand-to-individual barriers do not exist on Twitter like they do on other social media platforms. With platforms outside of Twitter, you as the brand manager need to work very hard to engage and attract people to “like”, circle or follow your accounts for interaction between the two of you to occur.

Take Facebook, for example. As a fan page, you are severely limited in the information you can see and access from the individuals who “like” your page. You can’t initiate the personal profile-to-fan page relationship; you need to first lure that potential fan into liking your page for that connection to be made. And once they have, you still can’t see their personal information nor updates (unless they post public updates for all to see) in order to learn more about what that fan thinks and values, which would be extremely helpful in order to keep that fan happy, interested and engaged for the long haul.

So while becoming accustomed to Twitter may take some time and practice, the direct access to what makes your customers and potential customer tick is invaluable. Showing customers that you care about and have a genuine interest in them is where you build loyalty. If you are a business working to grow by using social media, don’t dismiss Twitter because it’s different than what you are accustomed to. Instead spend time learning the ins and outs of Twitter, and then put the power of Twitter to use for the good of your company. You’ll be glad you did.

*Photo credit Sepblog