A client recently asked how much effort should really be put into Twitter. Their understanding was that it was just a platform for voyeurism at its finest, where kids and adults can share intimate or inane details to people who may or may not care. As someone who has been following Twitter for quite some time and who has seen it evolve heavily just in the last year, I was a bit surprised by this assessment. I quickly realized that the benefits that Twitter can have for a business, if used correctly, are not on the surface obvious, especially for those still thinking about marketing in the most traditional sense. Twitter can be used to promote and spread the word about traditional marketing campaigns. But it can also be a great venue for less structured, more grass roots, marketing (think scrappy marketing).

In response to the question, I outlined why our SEO efforts do include Twitter:

1. Businesses ARE using it.

From announcing corporate changes, news, events to offering deals on new products and services, businesses both large and small are getting the word out in this new venue for open conversation and information exchange.  The big corporate names are out there but also a lot of local mom-&-pops looking to relate to their customers online in the same personal way that brings loyal customers to their brick and mortar stores.

2. Businesses are just a culmination of people working to the same end.

Even if employees/managers are twittering about their day with the kids, they are also reading tweets with the thought of what can help me/my business/my life.  If your business can offer a service that helps them, they are more apt to take that one step further and make a purchase, bring it to the attention of a higher-up or incorporate it into their next project, business strategy or campaign.

3. Business should not isolate themselves into too small a niche.

Good online marketing takes interaction with customers, whether other businesses (B2B) or individuals (B2C). You have to know what the masses are thinking if you are to relate and exchange information productively. You may think that a follower has no interest in what your company offers and honestly, they may not. But they may know how to connect you with someone who does.

In the end, Twitter is about expanding your marketing reach and gaining mind-share in a broader audience.  It may not be the top online marketing tactic for your specific company but it can be a powerful arsenal in your marketing campaign.

~Corrie Herman, 2009