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Could someone explain me what could be an advnatage of being on Twitter for a company website? Except the fact that it's on fashion right now. :)

I'm asking because on so many site I find the "little bird" with the words "FOLLOW us on Twitter". Cool I click on the bird and it brings me to the Twitter page of the company.

Ihave seen these Twitter's page on many sites, but these pages are always a list of short messages that I don't understand. Soem seem to be private message, some seem to be advertisments from others.

What should I FOLLOW in those messages? How should I read through those messages?

Could you give a real life example that shows what's a potenatial advanatge of being on Twitter?

Thanks


UPDATE:

Just some example of hosting companies useing Twitter. Plz have a look and explain me what's the catch, what are they getting out from these (to me useless) twitter pages?

http://twitter.com/inmotionhosting

http://twitter.com/arhoster

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Expanded my answer below in response to your update. –  mawtex Aug 24 '10 at 20:36
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3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

A raw twitter stream will typically look like gibberish for the uninitiated, especially when Twitter is used right. The short format (max 140 characters) typically force the tweeter to use very domain specific lingo, which may look weird for the outsider. This is why you might feel alienated when you visit certain Twitter streams.

You should only follow companies/people you care about, and you need not read all their tweets, at least not addressed messages (those tweets start with "@somename"). Create your own twitter login and follow those that interest you. When you follow someone, you don't see addressed messages to strangers and this typically remove the 'private noise' you see on their Twitter profile page. If you find the tweets from someone boring or just too frequent, stop following them. Tweet, re-tweet and reply wisely. When done well people will start to follow you.

Some companies tweet short sensible announcement, like a long boring list of short news headlines. The more savvy companies manage to engage with 'their followers' - people (typically customers) who somehow take an interest in what the company is doing. Companies who manage to do this have a 'direct line' to their most hard core customers/fans out there. They can chat back and forth with them both as a collective group and more individually.

I would say that Twitter has value for a company if - and only if - they can reach and engage customers, potential customers or relevant influential people via their Twitter activity. Twitter without engagement is probably a waste of time.

Obvious benefits of engaging relevant people via Twitter are keeping the outside world up-to-date with your products and getting feedback from people who care enough to give it, but you can also use Twitter to build up your brand as a caring company with great opinions on industry matters (react to feedback, share tips, voice you opinion on major relevant events). If you manage to do this you will probably get higher customer loyalty, and as a side effect you also get great input for future product development and voicing your opinions might also spawn of more awareness inside your company.

Some companies can benefit from Twitter while other would be wasting their time. If you sell high-end skateboards to rich teens, Twitter could probably boost your sales a lot. If you are a mortician I'd guess you wouldn't find Twitter useful.

Question UPDATE:

http://twitter.com/inmotionhosting

talks with customers and respond to positive feedback and negative feedback - those customers are probably happy being heard. He is also following people who contact him. Both can build loyalty.

He is sharing some tips and he is showing a social side of the company by tweeting about employees birthdays and pictures from social events - this is to try to make him interesting to follow and show a human face. He also has some personal “now I’m going to meeting” tweets which I guess he might as well not do – I expect no one cares.

In short he is engaging customers and showing a side of the company that would otherwise have gone unnoticed. The followers (that read his tweets) are often reminded of the company’s existence and get a more personal relationship with the company.

http://twitter.com/arhoster

just use twitter as a list of news headlines. They don’t seem to spend much time on it and they don’t seem to be using Twitter as a social media. They might be starting up their twitter activity – it takes time to learn Twitter and engage people.

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I updated the question with tow real life examples, if you have time to look one minute into them and tell me your thoughts about these tow specific examples, it could be easier for me to understand, thanks. –  Marco Demaio Aug 21 '10 at 14:46
    
i would like top upvote you more, sometimes with a real life example it's much easier to understand things. Thanks so much for the inmotionhosting vs arhoster explanation. I thought they wer both showing how useless is to tweet, but you really made me finally understand! Thanks again! –  Marco Demaio Aug 25 '10 at 9:19
    
(continued) it's probably the stream of information that confuses me. For instance when I see on twitter.com/inmotionhosting "@bestaccount Please send your email to manager..." I can see only the reply given by inmotionhosting to @bestaccount, then I have to click on "in reply to bestaccount" to read the original question. I suppose this is how it works or maybe in the Twitter acount setting you can change this and make it more readable? –  Marco Demaio Aug 25 '10 at 9:22
    
@maxwtex: (continued more) and another thing is that I see everytwhere "via CoTweet", via "TweetDeck", what are those apps? So after getting a Twitter account I need to install those apps in order to make Twitter be of any use? –  Marco Demaio Aug 25 '10 at 9:24
    
@Marco Demaio The "via" elements just show what program people have used to write that particular tweet - there are tons of clients. I guess Twitter has the info there to make the twitter client vendors happy (they get some exposure this way) but the information is indeed close to useless for people like you and me. It is pretty hard to follow a 'foreign conversation' but if you follow both persons that talk with each other you get all the tweets in your feed and it's much easier to follow. If you have a hunch that two people have an interesting conversation going on, follow them both. –  mawtex Aug 25 '10 at 14:05
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Why use Twitter:

  1. It's a great way to communicate quickly and easily to people interested in your product/service/company. Many people have Twitter running whenever they are on their computer or smart phone. Reaching them is as easy as a 140 character or less tweet.
  2. Tweets are easy to forward. Let your twitter followers advertise for you. It's not uncommon for tweets to go viral and big part of this is people see tweets from friends and people they follow to be more personal then random advertisements.
  3. It's easy. Seriously. There's a million ways to use Twitter and they're all easy to do.
  4. It helps you build a network. Not only are your followers part of your network, but so are their followers if they retweet you.

Don't use Twitter:

  1. If you don't plan on being semi-active. You don't have to tweet every day but if you don't keep yourself active you may no longer seem interesting or relevant to many followers.
  2. To post personal messages. Separate business from pleasure.

Randomness:

  1. Twitter is a great way to handle customer service issues. Many people will complain on Twitter but not to you directly. This is a great way to catch those and turn them in an excellent customer service experience. I've personally seen this done many times by large companies.
  2. Try to create your own hash tag. That will make it easier for you to find tweets that are about you.
  3. Follow people that are related to your product/service. They may follow you in return.
  4. Don't expect huge awesome things to come from Twitter. It's just one of many tools your company can use to market yourself and even do some good customer service.
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+ Interesting the handling of customer service issues. –  Marco Demaio Aug 21 '10 at 10:46
    
I updated the question with tow real life examples, if you have time to look one minute into them and tell me your thoughts about these tow specific examples, it could be easier for me to understand, thanks. –  Marco Demaio Aug 21 '10 at 14:47
    
Looks like those accounts are used for customer service issues, product announcements, company announcements (including internal announcements like birthdays), and general public communication. I'd say those are typical uses of twitter for companies. –  John Conde Aug 22 '10 at 13:23
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I have a client who is VERY social media saavy. She tweets multiple times daily in some cases, always with a bit.ly link to her latest work. Also, facebook and linkedin are kept up-to-date with her latest site updates.

Traffic-wise, the social media brings in twice as many people as Google (despite heavy emphasis on SEO) Her industry is saturated (think Realtors, Auto Dealers, and the like which are just over-advertised) so AdWords are scary expensive, but she's getting quality impressions for free thanks to social media.

Be aware, to do it right like she does takes determination, attention to detail, and most of all time.

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Actually on websites I manage all the traffic (and money orders) comes from Google. We placed some of these websites on Facebook creating the typical web page on FB, but it was only a waste of time, and really few clicks coming from there. –  Marco Demaio Aug 21 '10 at 10:43
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Marco, the thing about SEO is that just placing a site on facebook or doing a few tweets isn't enough. You have to stay on top of it, constantly updating your information and building links (and viewers). In the case of facebook, it's about cross-promotion between other facebookers and other sites, gaining friends, etc. Take a look at Famous Dave's facebook page for a great example of how to do it right. They're updating almost hourly. Doing a great job with SEO is hard work, no matter what those less-than-honest SEO wanna-be's might tell you. And if you truely do it right, it'll payoff. –  bpeterson76 Aug 25 '10 at 16:35
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