What Do People Say About You Online?

Social media is quickly moving beyond the realm of “buzz” and is being recognized as a marketing landscape game-changer. Twitter has exploded, and Facebook had more traffic on Christmas day 2009 than Google did. To survive in this new marketing world, you better know how to navigate it’s waters.

The Power of Twitter

Twitter has become a powerful medium through which people all over the world are connecting to each other for a multitude of reasons. It has become the pulse of the online community – and indirectly the offline community. People are using Twitter as their up-to-the minute news source; getting all of their information about current events in a real-time stream of data that keeps them so informed that the only ones that know more than them are the ones reporting the news from the trenches. It is used as a stock-ticker, with people following financial institutions the provide real-time tweets about specific stocks. It is used in countless other ways.

Why Care?

With over 18 million adults in the US alone who access Twitter on any platform (web, desktop app, iPhone app, Blackberry, etc) on at least a monthly basis in 2009 – and a predicted 26 million by year-end 2010 – the numbers alone should be enough to care. But beyond the numbers is the powerful grassroots environment that give Twitter is foundational strength. By merging the best form of marketing a company could ask for (word-of-mouth) with a streamlined online resource (Twitter), companies that choose to ignore the social media up-and-comer will in the end be ignored themselves by the market.

By listening to what people are saying about you and/or your organization on Twitter you position yourself to learn from their criticisms and raves to improve your message, position, brand, etc. When you proactively engage your customers and prospects as they raise questions regarding you and/or your organization, they realize that you have enough interest in their concerns to listen to them and sometimes, that in and of itself is enough to turn a negative customer into a raving fan.

Find Out What People Are Saying

Twitter offers an incredibly powerful resource in it’s built-in, real-time search engine (http://search.twitter.com). Perhaps said best by Twitter itself:

Every public update sent to Twitter from anywhere in the world 24/7 can be instantly indexed and made discoverable via our newly launched real-time search. What was that loud noise outside your apartment? Did you just feel an earthquake? What do people think about your company, your product, or your city? With this newly launched feature, Twitter has become something unexpectedly important—a discovery engine for finding out what is happening right now.

Join The Conversation

People are probably talking about your organization/business, and if they’re not, they are talking about your competition, or they are undoubtedly talking about your industry. Listen to the pulse of those that are broadcasting their voice about you, your competition, your industry. Proactively engage the discussion participates, and learn how best to serve your market. Offer discounts via Direct Messages to people that have expressed positive comments on Twitter. Offer to do whatever is necessary to make right a wronged customer – again via Direct Message. Don’t directly engage specific customers via the public timeline as it may come of as self-serving, send them private, direct messages instead.

Have Class. Don’t Say Things You’ll Regret

When you speak, make sure you do what you can not to offend. Here are some resources for Twitter etiquette: