Don’t Write Twitter Off Just Yet

Published: May 17, 2011 / No Comments

Recently, the always excellent Jay Baer, who speaks, writes and consults about social media, did an interview with Steve Lundin of Big Frontier about, well, social media. It’s a great interview and I highly recommend that you watch it. There’s just one thing…

During the interview Jay explains his belief that Twitter has become a sort of niche news service packed with useful links, but where real conversations have been severely compromised, and which only get increasingly harder to have as you get more successful at it. Maybe, but I think there are still plenty of ways companies can take advantage of Twitter to have excellent, on-brand, real-time conversations with influential individuals – especially if you market to moms.

Here’s my list of ways to use Twitter to connect with moms on-line:

1. Twitter Parties: It’s hard to think of a better medium for moms to get together and party than Twitter. After all, we are busy, tired, probably wearing sweatpants and have drastically different schedules depending on our kids’ ages. We also don’t love paying a sitter. Enter Twitter Parties: join when you can, from home, in between everything else that you are doing. Even better, since you are partying with other moms, if you get interrupted, everyone understands.

Indeed some of the very best, most active parties on Twitter are run by top mom bloggers and influencers, including Jyl Johnson Pattee of Mom It Forward’s Girls Night Out (#GNO) fame, Amy Lupold Blair of Resourceful Mommy; and Amy Bellgardt of Mom Spark Media, just to name a few.

Whether you are brand-new to Twitter or have been using it for years, it’s a piece of cake to hop onto a Twitter party related to your brand’s topic area and join in the conversation. And I do mean conversation.

Not into “mom” topics? That’s Ok, there are chats on Twitter about EVERYTHING, including travel (Travelers Night In is on Thursdays – just follow#TNI); food (Foodies Night In -which I co-host – is on Mondays at #FNIchat)… you get the picture.

So whether you run a hotel, a food exporting company or a local hair salon, the chances are pretty good there’s a Twitter party that makes sense for you. But don’t think of it merely as a way to get noticed. Think of a Twitter party as a way to LISTEN to your target audience. And if they talk about your competition, or if your competition shows up, please for goddsakes, LET IT RIDE. Unless you want to pay some fancy-pants marketing agency a fat fee for a competitive analysis. And even then it won’t be as good. Trust me.

2. Hashtags for Events: I know, I know for the really big events like Blog World Expo and SXSW, the hashtags are so overloaded with traffic, it’s almost meaningless. But there are plenty of small events where the hashtags are a GREAT way to listen, connect and yes, make an impression for your brand. This is particularly true of the smaller and mid-sized¬† mom blogger conferences.

Now this is important: If you are not actually at the conference, it is absolutely a great idea to follow the conversation via Twitter and LEARN. It’s also OK to jump in once in a while with RELEVANT comments. But it is absolutely, positively NOT OK to pretend you are there, hog up the stream, or send overt marketing messages. This is really bad manners, and if you get busted will result in a level of widespread ridicule you most assuredly do not want to incur.

Come to think of it, this is bad manners even if you are at the conference, so either way, DON’T do it.

3. Customer service. In many cases, this should be right up at number one on the list. If you do NOTHING else on Twitter but answer questions from current customers and prospects, then you are still putting it to good use. You would be AMAZED at how happy people are when they send a “help!” tweet and actually get a response. I have personally seen people turn 180 degrees around from, “This product sucks” to “Wow, what great service!” within just 24 hours. THESE are the people who go on to become your most passionate offline word-of-mouth advocates. Especially if they are under-appreciated moms. (And is there any other kind?)

So please, with a cherry on top, don’t give up on Twitter yet, OK?