Ten Reasons Why Your Company Needs to 'Tweet'

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Affect Strategies, a boutique public relations and marketing agency, offers useful advice on how companies can utilize Twitter to strengthen business initiatives.

More and more companies are using it to communicate and create closer relationships with reporters, customers and prospective clients. Companies that aren't at least monitoring Twitter, if not actively participating, could be missing critical opportunities.

Affect Strategies, a strategic marketing and public relations agency specializing in technology, has compiled a list of top tips on how the social networking tool Twitter can be effectively leveraged for business. As Twitter becomes a more powerful business tool, organizations need to understand how to use it professionally in order to maximize the benefit. Businesses can now use Twitter for marketing, market research and analysis and communications with customers and business partners.

Twitter is a micro-blogging service that allows its users to send updates or "tweets" to their followers while following other individuals as well. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length (about two sentences long). Updates on Twitter are displayed on the user's profile page and delivered to followers who have signed up to receive them. Users can receive and send tweets on Twitter itself, a cell phone or PDA, and a host of other websites.
"Twitter has become an essential tool for PR, and has relevance for almost every type of business," said Sandra Fathi, president of Affect Strategies and chair of the New Media and Technology Committee of PRSA New York. "More and more companies are using it to communicate and create closer relationships with reporters, customers and prospective clients. Companies that aren't at least monitoring Twitter, if not actively participating, could be missing critical opportunities."

Affect Strategies shares 10 ways that companies can use Twitter for business purposes:

1.    Generate Awareness - Many companies, employees and consumers use Twitter to spread awareness. Whether a tweet connects followers to the company blog, or a CEO discusses industry trends, tweets generate awareness through an online dialogue that reaches a large and active audience that is seeking information about you or your company.

2.    Seek & Create Media Opportunities - Many reporters are now using Twitter to find sources. Reporters will tweet about their upcoming projects in order to help find spokespeople. By monitoring reporters' interests and news stories, PR practitioners can strategically position their clients or organization to become a part of the conversation. Twitter is also a great way to generate news about a new product or service.

3.    Foster Customer Loyalty - Companies can search tweets from their customers to see what questions and critiques they may have. After compiling that data, companies can decipher what are the most frequently asked questions and concerns and address them by tweeting back or providing individual answers and superior customer services. In this way, customers can use Twitter to get instant resolutions to their questions and strengthen their relationship with the company.

4.    Launch Viral Marketing Campaigns - Twitter is a useful tool for launching and maintaining viral campaigns due to its near-instantaneous updating capabilities. Brands can encourage users to follow them on Twitter in order to receive exclusive updates and news directly through device notifications (e.g. instant messages).

5.    Manage Reputations - Organizations that routinely update their Twitter account are actively sending messages out to the public. Companies that respond to individual customers that are tweeting about them will have an impact on their public perception. Corporate Twitter accounts can also address widespread customer service issues faster and easier through Twitter to help build and maintain a strong public reputation.

6.    Promote Products and Services - Twitter is an easy and free tool to share an idea or gather opinions from a large audience. Companies can promote products and services to their audience by simply writing a few sentences on Twitter without investing a great deal of time or money.

7.    Network with Customers - Companies that tweet on a consistent basis tend to generate a larger audience on Twitter. These businesses are able to insert themselves into conversations about their industry that are already taking place, in order to promote themselves and their company's brand.

8.    Enhance Your Company's Impact at Events - Companies can offer exclusive content and insights via tweets from the conference floor of an industry trade show or event. Instead of waiting until after the event concludes, conference attendees can engage in conversation with other attendees and presenters through group tweets.

9.    Hear About Trends, Breaking News & Monitor Your Industry - Twitter is already known for breaking news stories such as wildfires and earthquakes in California. But, Twitter is breaking news stories every day for vertical markets and industries. It's a great place to listen to chatter in the market and follow key influencers to learn what they are discovering on a daily basis.

10.    Recruit New Employees - Whether your company is recruiting prospective employees or clients, Twitter can be used to get the word out on all upcoming opportunities. Companies can tweet about job openings in order to attract potential new hires.

Although Twitter is the most widely used micro-blogging site, there are several other options for businesses that are interested in micro-blogging. Other sites that are similar to Twitter include Pownce, Jaiku and Plurk.

"As with any social media campaign, it is important to understand the medium, the culture and the unwritten 'rules' of the network," added Fathi. "All you need to do is sign up, start following friends, colleagues and other businesses. Within a few days, you'll start to understand the landscape and uncover immediate uses for it for your own business or personal use."

Fathi leverages Twitter to inform followers about new blog posts on her company blog, http://www.techaffect.com, as well as share her opinions and insights on public relations and marketing. She can be found on Twitter as @sandrafathi.

About Affect Strategies
Affect Strategies is a strategic marketing, communications and public relations firm located in New York. Established in 2002, the company combines strategy, creative and intelligent program development, impeccable execution and exemplary customer service to help its clients achieve their specific business goals. Specializing in technology and communications, Affect Strategies has also applied its marketing prowess to consumer goods and professional services. As year-round public relations counsel, or a single project resource, Affect leverages its business acumen and service excellence to achieve the precise results that its clients seek. For more information, please visit http://www.affectstrategies.com. For the company's blog, please visit http://www.techaffect.com.

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