One of the more startling events in the last five years has been the introduction and growth of Twitter, an idea that seemed to many to sum up the uselessness of parts of the web – 140 characters including spaces. What can you say with that?

As it turns out, quite a lot. Twitter has more than 50 million people signed on every day, and over a hundred million users that are regular followers and posters. One of the most startling things that has occurred is the way that different people have taken this micro post format and done so much with it; the addition of pictures and video makes it even more effective.

From the deepest social awareness efforts to real time information on disaster scenes and where to go for services, aid and succor. From actual news that is coming from a witness in real time (you do have to be careful here, as it is never the whole story) to the lightest peace of fluff about a cute kitten jumping into a box (hey, everybody does find that just adorable) or what you had for breakfast.

That last one actually has relevance, especially if the person also said what kind of waffle iron they used. This is better than any other advertising, and it can get handed down through different circles as retweets. In marketing terms, retweets are where it’s at in dealing with Twitter. Retweets of your posts or that mention you means you are breaking into new circles of people; this will expand your ability to put your community to use.

It is essential to get the whole benefit of Twitter you cannot just post the same thing day after day. ‘Vinnie makes great pies!’ might be great once a month, but about the fourth time in two days it will lose its appeal. You must make fresh posts which offer people something or entertains them or helps them with a problem they tweeted about. That is why it is so important to listen to people who follow you; follow them also, and interact when you can help or offer advice.

Specials and well done advertising blurts can quickly spread through a large group of people as well, and Twitter is great for micro-targeting people in your local area – not just Chicago, but Lake Bluff and Western Springs. Go after specific groups with messages to people leaving concerts or ball games. Many businesses are surprised, once they start with followers who have no local connection, there are people in your area that became aware of you from a retweet or some sort or another.

It is possible to build not just a good network of people, but a local one as well. Of course, for online businesses this really doesn’t matter, but more and more small brick and mortar businesses who don’t do any business at all on the internet are beginning to realize what a great tool the web can be to attract local customers.

This was not true in the early part of this century, but smart devices and new programming like Facebook and Twitter have changed the game when it comes to local advertising as well as advertising for web based businesses.

All the tools developed over the last few years, and the way we use social media like Twitter, and the web as a whole can now benefit any business, no matter how local or how small it is. People don’t even use phonebooks to look something up any more; they use one of the search engines.

One sure way to get your website, with a map to your store and your phone number near the top of those search engine results is to have an active Twitter account with a lot of followers as part of your online marketing platform.

It is best and much more effective when your Twitter account is working in conjunction with a Facebook account and a blog on one of the blog services. They all interconnect, which helps your search engine ratings even more, and you will get bleed over; people who see you on Twitter will go to your other online presences and vice versa.

Twitter is by far the best tool for reaching out to people with instant news and specials or sales; it has a quick ripple effect that the other social media has a hard time capturing. This is due mostly to the way the app is set up – it is no more difficult than executing a text to someone, and that is second nature to so many people now it is not remarkable to see anyone texting.

One of the most effective ways to get Twitter to the point where you can use it effectively as a marketing tool is to hire a company that specializes in providing real, live Twitter accounts to follow you. Companies like have a great reputation and provide real, verifiable Twitterites – getting this initial critical mass is just the thing you need to tap into a truly effective network of circles on Twitter, but there is some prep work.

As mentioned above, the Twitter account should be part of an overarching marketing effort that involves at least three aspects of a web presence; Facebook, a blog and Twitter, and an actual website if appropriate. Most business owners find hiring specialists to perform this work is much more efficient than trying to get one of their full time employees, who already has a job that needs doing to double task. Before you hire a Twitter Follower Service make sure that you have the infrastructure set to make use of the new followers.

The same company may also be able to help you with this; there are varying levels of service, but the return on investment from this strategy is excellent. So before you pull the trigger on 5000 followers, make sure you have a month’s worth of tweets ready to go. These will be daily things; they should be entertaining and well written but are basically advertising blurbs and can be written in advance.

Many services also provide this writing and posting service, but you should also either contract for a ‘live’ poster to make daily tweets, watch relevant traffic and try to reach out to people or assign that task to someone. Again, unless you have an internet marketing staff or an IT staff, many businesses find it easier to hire this task out.

Twitter can help any business – contact a professional to get more details!

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