Twitter – A Bigger Search Engine Than Google?

English: a chart to describe the search engine...

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It’s come to just about everyone’s attention that Twitter is HUGE. Twitter is used by almost every company, every celebrity, every wannabe celebrity, and every band to update clients on their goings-on, as well as inform future clients of their services. Most people,even those who aren’t on Twitter yet, also know that Twitter has it’s own search function that allows you to find accounts of people and companies that you would want to follow.

The Twitter search engine allows you to find users by post, by name, trends, and even tone. Trends often show what is popular on Twitter, from funny users that have quick quips to news reels from bigger celebrities and companies. Basically, it’s a 100% organic search engine that allows people to decide what shows first.

There are some good sides to this that can’t be achieved with a regular search engine. Spam sites and malware aren’t going to be in Twitter search results, unless you click outside links. It encourages conversation, followers, and also wit. The question remains – is it a bigger search engine than Google?

Well, yes and no.

It’s bigger in the sense that a lot of users can generate a lot of results in the Twitter feed, a lot more tweets probably are online than websites. There’s a much lower chance of viruses, and there’s a lot of companies that are using Twitter to advertise their services. There is a lot that Twitter offers as far as a community goes. And, the user base is massive. One of the most beneficial things about Twitter is that the tweets that are displayed in the search engines are always the newest that they have. Google and the others can’t say the same thing.

But, like with any search engine, Twitter has its own problems. You can’t separate business from personal accounts on Twitter. The results that you get from most searches aren’t as in-depth, nor are they even spelled correctly. If you are looking for grammatically correct musings from followers, searches, or otherwise, Twitter might not be the best choice.

Another issue a lot of people mention is that though Twitter’s user base is very large, it isn’t universal. There are a decent amount of people who aren’t plugged into Twitter, and therefore would not be likely to receive any message that you have there. The thought of nonusers using the search engine doesn’t make much sense, either. Would people choose a certain business because of their Twitter account?

Twitter has a very active community, but search engines like Google and Yahoo will always have the advantage when it comes to attracting a wider audience. Before you give up your SEO marketing campaign for Google, Yahoo, and other search engines, remember that the user base is much larger on these internet juggernauts. Instead, opt to blend both your Twitter and your website into one optimisation strategy that will keep you in the spotlight for all to see.

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Advanced tips for Twitter – you need to read this!

First off, an admission – this isn't MY post. It's from the fab Chris Brogan, and he's said that it can be reposted as long as he's given credit. Here's the original post: 50 Power Twitter Tips

Rather than just repost his thread, I've picked out my favourite of his tips from each section  – please do read his original post to get all 50!

Intent (Human Artist)

  • Don’t read EVERY tweet. It’s perfectly okay. You have permission.
  • Promote other people 12x to every 1 self-promotional tweet.
  • A lot of @replies shows a lot of humanity/engagement.
  • Promote the new/less followed more than the “names.”
  • Everyone does it their own way. You’re doing it wrong, too- to someone.

Technical

  • Leave 20 characters or more space in each tweet to improve retweeting.
  • Make hashtags small and simple. We need room to tweet.
  • If software allows you to “post updates to Twitter” as well as to the app, don’t do that. We rarely want to see them.
  • If you develop software that pushes updates to Twitter, be VERY explicit how that works.
  • Every time you use OAUTH to give apps permission to use your account, you open a potential security hole. Check your permissions monthly.

Business

  • Spamming us repeatedly is okay. We just unfollow you.
  • Finding people who need what you’re selling trumps advertising to us.
  • Your customers might not be on Twitter. Use rapleaf to find them.
  • Invite your customers to Twitter, then make it worth it for them.
  • Use Twitter as a personalized communication tool, not another blast.
  • Just make money and then the boss won’t ask about ROI any more.

Integrated Usage

  • Apps like TweetChat.com make following event chats really easy. Put in a hashtag and go.
  • Tweeting the content of events is nice, but so is occasionally making a real live connection with the speaker.
  • It’s okay to tweet your blog posts, but try asking a question that leads readers into the post.
  • Can you invite Twitter followers to your other social platforms, like LinkedIn or Facebook? Sure you can.
  • Tweets that point us to photos and/or video and/or music, etc, are always a great way to enhance the experience.

Off-Twitter

  • Are your tweets really what you want to show in your sidebar? Doesn’t that direct people away from your site?
  • Apps like VisibleTweets.com are neat, but can be very distracting at events.
  • Don’t forget to invite people from off-Twitter to follow you on Twitter. Include your actual Twitter ID (I see lots of “follow me on Twitter” with no details).
  • Asking questions on Twitter makes for very interesting commentary and opinions for blog posts.
  • If your only marketing efforts are on Twitter, start building an email marketing list. Never put your eggs in one basket.
  • Start thinking in 120 characters (remember? save 20). Every bit of this advice is tweetable.

As always, fab points from Chris – be sure to visit his original post and let others know about it!

3 things a day can help to promote your website

Eternal clockOne of the things I hear most often when I talk to people about promoting their websites themselves, is that it ‘takes too much time’ and they ‘don’t know where to start’.

Well, while I can see where they’re coming from on the second point, the first one doesn’t ring true with me. It’s not about spending loads of time every day, it’s about doing SOMETHING every day and seeing the effort pile up and bring results. It’s about not giving in because you ‘don’t have the time’ and not putting things off because you’re ‘not sure how’.

Promoting your website can be done by you, it can be done a little every day and it doesn’t need to take up your time.

I’m challenging you right now to do 3 things every day to promote your website. That’s all – 3 little things that take up less than half an hour of your time.

Here are a few ideas to get you started – pick 3 and do them today!

  • Post a blog – it doesn’t have to be 1000 words, just something you think people would be interested in. Make a comment about some news related to your industry, write about a new product or service, announce a new client, offer some tips and help (like this blog!) to help others – it shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes.
  • Schedule some Tweets. Use Hootsuite or similar to schedule a few tweets throughout the day – links to your website, blog or services, but also relevant news, funny things you’ve found, thoughts you’ve had. It should take about 5 minutes and means you have a steady presence on Twitter throughout the day. Don’t forget to still check in and post in real time too though, don’t automate the lot!
  • Add something to your Facebook Fan Page – a link to your site, a video you found on YouTube, a news item, a new discussion, or just ask a question in the status. Another 5 minute job, if that.
  • Add a client testimonial – hopefully you’re always asking clients to say nice things about your work – instead of hoarding the testimonials to post all at once, add one every so often. After all, this also gives you something to talk about on your Facebook and Twitter profiles. Time: 5 minutes!
  • Comment on a blog. Read a blog related to your industry and make a comment – you’ll get a link back to your site, and might even generate some discussion. The more you comment he more you will become known. Make your comments relevant and knowledgeable though, not just ‘Me too’ type posts. Time: 10 minutes for reading and commenting.
  • Post on a business forum. Again, a great way to link back to your site, share knowledge, help people out, get help yourself, and get yourself known. Time: 10 minutes to read and post.
  • Add yourself to a directory. Find a local business directory, or one related to your industry, and add your website. Some directories provide great backlinks, and some have good traffic. Time: 2 minutes.

There you have it, just a few things you can do off the top of my head – and that’s before we’ve started on SEO, landing pages, newsletters and articles!

What 3 things are YOU going to do to promote your website today? Do one right now by commenting below 🙂
Creative Commons License photo credit: Robbert van der Steeg

Using Twitter for Business – part 3 – Marketing with Twitter

Recently business has realised the potential use of Twitter as a tool for marketing products and services directly to new customers.  If you and your business want to capitalise on Twitter’s application for marketing, here’s some advice on running your Twitter marketing campaign: 

  • Set up your Twitter account and profile using your company name.  When it comes to filling in your profile details, make it keyword rich, so if a potential customer is searching for companies such as yours, they have a great chance of finding you on Twitter.

  • Unless you run a REALLY informal company, you should aim to keep your ‘Tweet’ messages business-focused.  Potential customers don’t need to know what you had for lunch.

  • Whenever you are writing ‘Tweets’ make your messages keyword rich, this way people using alerts and searches will be directed to your Tweets when searching for your product or services.

  • Use updates judiciously otherwise you will just annoy your potential customers.  Once or twice per hour is enough.

  • Use an IM-style program like Twitterfox and Twhirl, it sits on your desktop, so it will be quicker and easier to manage than logging into the Twitter website every time you want to send a message.

  • Tweetbeep is an alert service to let you know when people are tweeting about key phrases that relate to you and your business.  This allows you to reply directly to them if they are looking for help or advice.

  • Inform your newsletter subscribers, hot leads and CRM database that you are available to follow on Twitter.  Encourage your customers to sign up to Twitter by publishing special Twitter only deals, after all, a Tweet takes no time at all but a newsletter plenty!

  • Promote your Twitter account everywhere possible, your social networks, social bookmarking sites, on your company websites, in your emails, wherever you think customers will see it, the more followers that you have, the larger your potential audience/market becomes.

  • Finally, plan your Twitter marketing campaign carefully to attract the right attention and create the right buzz.  Don’t just tweet for twitter’s sake.  Know what you’re doing, plan out your strategy and implement it effectively.  Used properly Twitter really works as a great marketing tool.

Twitter is a highly effective tool for business users to connect directly with their potential customers.  If you need help attracting new customers through Twitter Marketing, email Nikki at nikkipilk@gmail.com 

And of course, you can ‘follow’ Nikki herself on Twitter by going to www.twitter.com/NikkiPilkington and clicking on ‘follow’.

Using Twitter for Business – part 2 – Making your Twitter life easier

Ten Ways to Make Your Twitter Life Better

The business world has already awakened to the power of Twitter as a promotional tool. This micro-blogging service has amazing potential to instantly provide customers with exclusive information, gain feedback and producing lightning fast market research.

Whether it’s for business or personal use, it’s fantastic to benefit from the best in Twitter technology. Here are my Top 10 ways for making your Twitter life easier.

1: TwitterFox is a useful little add-on for users of the Firefox browser. It appears as a tiny icon that instantly updates you on the Twitter status of friends. You can also use it to notify friends of your own current status.

2: The Twitter4Skype tool could not be an easier way to stay in touch. Users simply add Twitter4Skype as a contact on Skype. Any messages that you send to this contact appears on your Twitter instantly.

3: Using Twhirl, a desktop application for Twitter, one can use most of the functions of Twitter without having a webpage open. It also has the additional advantage of accessing Twitter user’s profiles and searching through public Tweets.

4: The FriendFeed service allows users to publicly share music, visited websites, photos and videos with others instantly. Best of all, Twitter messages can be shared as part of this service.

5: If you have a blog and you want to share it with your contacts on Twitter, the TwitterFeed application will allow you to publish your blog updates as instant Tweets on your favourite micro-blogging tool.

6: Twitterific is another great way to Twitter without needing to go to their webpage. Use Twitterific like any other IM program to instantly communicate with your contacts or clients. It’s specifically aimed at Apple Mac users.

7: The ‘Who Should I Follow’ website allows you to get suggestions on whose Tweets you should read. It searches your friends and uses that information to offer new contacts to ‘follow’. You can use the helpful sliders to adjust the results. This is a great way to make new friends on Twitter!

8: Summize is a search engine tool for Twitter. Search and explore the content of thousands of Tweets to discover information, attitudes and opinions to connect with like-minded Twitter users, or potential customers.

9: If you’re a lucky Apple iPhone owner, TwitterforiPhone allows users to get the most out of Twitter through their mobile phone. All of your favourite Twitter features are available in this version for the ultimate in mobile Twittering.

10: TweetLater is another helpful little tool for scheduling when you want your Tweets to be published. This is a very practical tool with great potential promotional application.

Now that the power of Twitter has been unleashed and you have discovered all of these new ways to make your life better, nothing can stop you from getting and staying connected.

If you would like to know more about promoting your business through Twitter, contact Nikki at Nikki@NikkiPilkington.com and of course, you can follow her Tweets on www.twitter.com/NikkiPilkington

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