Twitter for business: Does it make sense, or is it just another time vampire?

Eyes front... photo credit: law_keven

Let’s look at it for a bit.

People are more and more wary of giving out their email address. Many are not clued in to RSS (and don’t want to deal with readers, etc). They want up-to-the-minute info, and email in many cases just isn’t fast enough or dependable enough.

They might be driving, or unable to check that particular personal email address, or they’re in a store, or on the golf course.

Yet they want the info you have, and they want that info to be fresh.

Sure, you might have to sell them on the value of taking the time to create a Twitter account, but the value is the info they want and how fast they want it.

Remember, Twitter messages (“tweets”) can go to SMS-capable cell phones. They also can be read by Smartphone apps like TinyTwitter and by mobile phone RSS readers.

Let’s look at how you might actually make money with what appears to be a colossal time waster at first glance.

What do people want to know about right now? Depends.

  • If you are in the real estate business – In an area where people are in a hurry, or where there is competition for certain types of housing (cheaper homes, or homes with immediate move-in, you know what the niches are).
  • In the mortgage business – clients want to know when an approval has come in, you want to know when other events occur.
  • In retail or service businesses- what about special orders? Special sales? Special hours?
  • Customer service, regardless of your business.

Think about the New York city apartment market. While I’ve never tried to find an apartment there, I hear it takes some serious work.

Wouldn’t it be nice if apartment rental web sites and property managers had a Twitter to monitor? They could have one for each type of apartment, or each part of the city, and combinations of both. IE: Uptown, SOHO, Eastside and then Eastside2Bedroom, SOHO1bedroom, etc.

If you’re a Realtor who specializes in investment property, you could tweet your properties to a private Twitter feed that only your investment clients have access to. Sure, you could email them, but will it be delivered? A stockbroker could do the same.

Information marketers and similar content providers can use Twitter as a replacement for Aweber. Sure, you should be able to convey the value of joining your list for what you will deliver, but a less threatening (is email threatening??) option would be to send the same updates out via a Twitter feed.

Any automated notification that could go to SMS text messaging (which requires that the sender know your phone number) could just as easily go to Twitter (which reveals little or nothing to the sender), with the same result. Net: The privacy that some crave.

On 9/11, when NYC cell phone networks were jammed, outbound messages from the towers could have gone out to relatives outside the city via Twitter. Certainly that’s a need we hope to avoid, but it will work as long as the net is up. In fact, it is common for text messaging to work when a cell signal is too weak to carry a phone call.

Last weekend, I posted a note about a California firefighter who saves lives using Twitter.

It isn’t just for people with nothing to do. Like any other tool, in the right hands, it can do good things. If you listened a while back and setup Google Alerts on your brands, business name and executives, I suggest you do a TweetScan for the same reason.

Other posts on this topic:

How To Use Twitter For Business
Add Twitter to your Reputation Monitoring
How to Get Customer Service via Twitter
Social Media: Is Twitter Right for Your Business?
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