Have you seen the commercial with the group of guys driving around in the big yellow Wheat Thins van? You know the one showing them driving and reading people’s tweets on Twitter that mention Wheat Thins?
The way the commercial goes is the passenger has his laptop open and searches for someone tweeting about the tasty snack cracker. When they find someone that tweets about Wheat Thins (or that they ran out of Wheat Thins) the van crew physically locates that person.
Then the Wheat Thins crew delivers an entire pallet of Wheat Thins boxes all in shrink-wrap. Neat eh? But what does this have to do with growing your business online? Everything. Let’s talk about Twitter, shall we?
Twitter is a micro-blogging service that allows you to publish 140-character messages in a public (or private) feed. People can follow your messages and you can follow other tweeps (Twitter has its own silly language; users are called Tweeps).
Most people use Twitter to post personal status updates about what they’re eating for lunch, the smelly person they’re sitting next to at the DMV, or general bathroom usage. I don’t recommend any of these practices (but feel free to tweet about such things if you enjoy being laughed at and ignored).
What the Twitterverse really offers is free mining for market research. While you can glean a lot of advertising and marketing inspiration from the service, you should still bear in mind that basic social etiquette applies. No spamming and don’t pitch your products and services repeatedly or people won’t like you.
Using Twitter Search
Twitter search is a great way to drill down and find people, right now, that have a problem that you can solve. The Wheat Thins commercial didn’t outright show the Twitter search URL as their source for finding tweets; I just know it comes in handy for this.
Mind you, what the video below will show you isn’t the most effective use of your time when it comes to marketing. It really is a one-customer-at-a-time approach. But that can be good for a small business owner. It allows you to devote VIP customer service to each and every customer while trusting that your goodwill will spread by word-of-mouth.
Here is a video I shot giving you the quick and dirty tour of using Twitter search to target your market:
Click here if you can’t see the video.
Being Generous On Twitter
It’s important to give more than you receive on Twitter. That’s actually true in many facets of life but especially true on social networks. If you read up on Chris Brogan he’ll tell you that you’ll want to tweet 12 times to promote others for every 1 tweet of self-promotion. That’s not a rule but it’s a great reference point.
People will quickly unfollow you if you consistently tweet links that are self-promoting or link out to sales order pages. Use common sense, folks. You’d be surprised how genuinely taking interest in and promoting other people will pay you back in spades.
Go Tweet Your Market
Give it a shot! Start connecting with [targeted] people and see if you can spark up a conversation. Have you tried this approach with Twitter search before and, if so, what were your results?