One of the Internet’s fastest-growing social networks is good for more than just casual socializing--strategic use of Twitter can help businesses grow their brand and online presence, turning a steady following into a loyal clientele. Tweets alone won’t suffice in these endeavours, however; rather, a well-planned approach, careful monitoring, and thorough research together can push a company in the right direction.

The business benefits of Twitter are many: it’s instantaneous, versatile, cost-effective and global in scope. It’s a great way to spot trends and competition, and find top influencers who may be willing to help promote your brand--or, at the very least, serve as an example of the do’s of the Twitterverse. And ultimately, it can’t be beat for networking. But before you embark on a Twitter marketing campaign, consider a few key actions:

Photo courtesy of MDG Advertising: Social Media V. Search Engine Marketing

What you need: Lead generation.

What it is: Stirring up interest in your products and services and satisfying customer inquiries.

What works best: Search marketing trumps social media when it comes to lead generation.

Why?: If a customer is actively looking for a product or service, he or she is much more likely to search for it in a search engine, than to hang out on a social media site. The goal of the company is to use the customer’s search to guide them to your company website. SEO is much more effective in directing a keyword search to your website than a search on a social media site.

 

My grandmother was an ad woman. It was her job to know her demographics. My dad remembers standing outside The Beer Store with her and having her name what kind of beer a customer would come out with based on their age, gender and make of car--which suggested their income level. She was right every time. Knowing your customers inside and out in order to influence them to buy a product is an example of traditional marketing.

The advent of social media, though, has brought new advertising and marketing techniques that change the way people buy products and the way companies engage with their customers. The questions are: Where does social media fit into today’s marketing and advertising landscape? Has social media advertising eclipsed traditional marketing?

At least one man is saying social media is the only way to go; so we should dispense with traditional marketing because it has already lost its influence over customers. Bill Lee (no relation!), in his provocatively titled essay “Marketing is Dead”, sees all traditional marketing as passé. Lee says, “Traditional marketing — including advertising, public relations, branding and corporate communications — is dead.”