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Authenticity and Consistency: The Recipe for Success on Twitter

Article date: Wed, 16 Feb 2011 17:51 GMT

roundtable eventSMEs are wasting time and money on half-baked social media strategies and are, in many cases, oblivious to the simplicity of using Twitter as a marketing tool. As rumours circulated around the possible £6bn sale of the social media platform - that celebrates its fifth birthday in March - six social media experts gathered in Manchester for a roundtable event that debated the benefits of Twitter as a marketing channel. Joining Jonathan Bowers, communications director at UKFast - the host of the roundtable event - was Laura Wolfe, founder and managing director of marketing firm Journey9. Wolfe shared her experience of winning a major contract through Twitter but was keen to point out that the business deal came about as a result of a conversation about her favourite football club, Manchester City. She said: "I started on Twitter by joining conversations about things I was interested in - I'm a huge Manchester City fan and I'm a working mum and those two things were at the heart of a lot of conversations I had on there. The business stuff came along later. I'm not on there purely for the business benefits at all. I'm very nosy and I like to chat so Twitter works for me and, because of that, it works for the business." While understanding the common teething problems of businesses using Twitter for the first time, the panellists agreed that Twitter should be a key element of any firm's marketing strategy and offered their advice on how to maximise its potential. They also felt a half hearted attempt at developing a presence on Twitter could be more harmful than ignoring it entirely. Leanne Forshaw-Jones, director of digital communications for PR firm Roland Dransfield, said: "You need to find the person in the business who will commit to maintaining the presence on Twitter. I've seen too many businesses who've created an account on there, it's got their branding all over it and there are two tweets on there or nothing at all. That's a fatal flaw. You need to find the person within the organisation who will be patient, stick at it and search for the relevant news or people to be linked to." Panellists agreed that SMEs should adopt a "personal and consistent" approach to Twitter and said it was important to find the right person to tweet. While big corporates can use the brand as their Twitter personality, SMEs should nominate one person to develop their Twitter status who should adopt a friendly and personal approach online. UCLAN lecturer in online business Tom Stables, said: "When you first get on there, no one is listening. Don't be put off by that. Get involved in the conversations and it will begin to make sense. But don't just use it as a forum to make announcements." Chi-chi Ekweozor, director of social media training and implementation consultancy,, said: "Have an idea of the key words that you associate with your business. Put those into Twitter search and you can see lists of people who also use those words. Start by following ten of them a day. The reciprocal nature of Twitter means they will follow back and you can build up a network that way." The Business Rules of Twitter: • Find the person who's genuinely interested in Twitter to do the tweeting • Don't go in for the hard sell. Fellow tweeters will turn off. • Listen from the outset and work out how you can get involved in conversations • Use the search bar - it's incredibly valuable • Share your wisdom and knowledge on Twitter and help others out where you can • Don't be afraid of putting your clients on Twitter. If your product or service is good, your clients will rave about you and show their loyalty to you. • Let your personality and interests dictate how relationships are formed.
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