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Social Network Closeup: Twitter - from "Social Networks: The New Reality"
By C.J. Mittica
October, 2009


How Best To Use It: Twitter

Number Of Users: 70.5 million

What It Is: The fastest-growing social media network (it grew by 1,382% from February 2008 to February 2009, for example, and has added another 50 million users since then), Twitter asks one thing: What are you doing now? Users post updates of only 140 characters, which can be read by people who follow you on their cell phones or computers. The movement has been called "microblogging."

How Best To Use It:
1. Designate a spokesperson. If you create a Twitter account, put a name on it rather than just your company or brand. Only top companies like Apple accrue devoted followings. "They know that when they’re talking to a company, they’re going to be sold to," says Bobby Lehew of Robyn Promotions (asi/309656).
2. Give that person some power. Frank from ComcastCares on Twitter draws raves because he takes care of people’s service problems immediately. Make sure your person has the power to implement changes. "It’s really powerful," says Jason Alba, author of I’m On Linked In – Now What???, "if you can go to where your customers are and say ‘I’m here, and I’m going to take care of you.’"
3. Use the power of cross-platforming. If you update your blog or make a post on your Facebook page, use Twitter to alert your followers and direct traffic to your sites.
4. It’s not all business. Post useful links, encourage discussion, reveal personal aspects of yourself – anything to make it more than just business. "Put people on these networks that can have a conversation and can interact on a deeper level. Don’t make it just a function of your marketing department," says Tara Hunt, author of The Whuffie Factor.

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