17 Ways to Use Twitter for Business and Some Not

More and more small business folks are giving in to what seems like an insurmountable mountain of hype and jumping on the twitter bandwagon.

But, some people still look at twitter on the surface and conclude that it’s one big waste of time. I can’t say I disagree completely, however, like all social media and marketing tactics, before you can determine if something makes sense you need to analyze your objectives. So, instead of asking why you would use it, ask how it might help you achieve some other already stated objectives.

1) Would you like a way to connect and network with others in your industry or others who share you views? It’s a good a tool for that.

2) Would you like a way to get instant access to what’s being said, this minute, about your organization, people, products, competitors or brand? It’s a good tool for that.

3) Would you like a steady stream of ideas, content, links, resources, and tips focused on your area of expertise or interest? It’s a good tool for that.

4) Would you like to monitor what’s being said about your customers to help them protect their brands? It’s a good tool for that.

5) Would you like to extend the reach of your thought leadership – blog posts and other content? It can be a good tool for that.

6) Would like a way to quickly find vendors, partners, tech help, even employees for your organization? I can be a good tool for that.

7) Would you like to promote your products and services directly to a target audience? Not such a good tool for that, but it can light a path back to your web site!

Now, if that weren’t enough, the open nature of the twitter platform is spawning uses far beyond what was ever imagined or what many people can grasp – and this use of the technology will only get bigger.

Here are few things you may have never considered

8) Publish your Flickr photos on twitter – Visit twittergram and set-up an account and then just upload to Flickr but tag your photo twitter and it goes into your twitter stream.

9) If you use online todo list Remember the Milk – you can set it up to flow into twitter – this might be a way to assign todos to remote teams

10) Using strawpoll you can create mini polls into your twitter stream – great for flash feedback

11) Use twitter to keep up on traffic jams with commuterfeed

12) Have twitter alert you when you have a meeting with timer

13) Get and fill current job openings with tweetajob

14) Track FedEx, UPS and DHL shipments with TrackThis

15) Get help quitting smoking

16) Keep a diet journal

17) Get a tweet when your plants need water – – okay this one would be way cooler if it simply tweeted you when the plant watered itself.

Illustration: Pasquale D’Silva

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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • thanks a lot for this article john. I came to know about few new ways to use twitter. Especially I liked the twitajob.

    the world is moving fast and guess the next gen tool is the twitter. Thanks again.

  • Thanks for this, will certainly take a look at strawpoll

  • John,

    Great list! Maybe I should use it as a reminder when I grow my chile pepper plants in the near future?! 😉

    I got a great tip on how you could use Twitter in order to capture the “carpe diem” moments during your “work-life” day. Please read my post, Three Good Things On Twitter, and then Pluck the Day! I send out a direct message with a link to my tip and a welcome video message to my new followers.

    Click on my name (Martin Lindeskog) if you want to read my post.

  • I wrote the whole URL instead of only the Twitter ID, so a wrote another comment! 🙂

  • Hi John,
    Here’s a twitter app that missed your list – uladoo.com. Uladoo lets you create charts by sending tweets, like this “@uladoo users 140 Big marketing push today”. Sending this tweet creates a chart at uladoo.com/TWITTER ID/users wth an initial value of 140. You can add more values to it simply by sending more tweets with the same format.

    Small businesses can use uladoo to create and share data that their customers/potential customers might be interested in.

    Uladoo.com is a very new app – it was only launched a few weeks ago. The charts are pretty basic right now, but we’re adding to it all the time. Check it out.

    Dave

  • Thanks for the post John!

    Isn’t it interesting how the human need to network is driving Twitter to ever greater heights?

    And because it’s a very human tool, where many can meet, interact, form groups, and still keep in touch, it is VERY resistant to anyone who tries to use it for outright advertising.

    I reckon the more connected we are, the more the World becomes a smaller place too!

    You clearly demonstrate that, whilst business can take part, it cannot take over – we all know & love the person-to-person feel we get from Twitter – long may it reign!

    Thanks again for all your efforts too! Fantastic blog content, as always!

  • I can believe any answer would go over 140 characters. It really has become the place to comment on blogs, but it also makes good content very viral. Great tools.

    Remember the milk? hmm

  • It is true that one can waste hours of time on Twitter, but you are correct that it can be very useful for small businesses. I actually don’t post too many good ideas for my real estate businesses because I know that my competitors are following what I say. One of them even blogged about it.

  • Wow… I continue to be amazed with all the goodies folks are developing for twitter. Just last week @marismith gave out this nugget to hail a cab in Washington DC… just send a tweet to @TaxiNow. Genius!

    Donna
    TheWebCoachTips.com

  • Another great Twitter post. I like the way you worded this to make it as simple as possible for those that do not yet understand the benefits of the system. Twitter is growing, and everyday there are new tools for individuals and organizations to take advantage of. Thanks.

  • John Jantsch

    @Dave – I’m sure I missed lots as new ones are coming out of the weeks on an hourly basis Uladoo looks cool, I’ll check it out.

  • John Jantsch

    @Martin – love it Carpe Diem

  • John Jantsch

    @Claire and RBahavesh – let me know how Straw Poll and Twitajob work for you

  • John Jantsch

    @Joe – forced brevity is a really good thing I think

  • John Jantsch

    @Donna -Mari is great as I know you know – it will be interesting to see how local, community based mash-ups like TaxiDC come about.

  • I have resisted Twitter and LinkedIn, etc because I teach a process called JetNetting – being of service, paying it forward, building authentic relationships, etc and wanted to SEE people, read the body language, and felt that the Internet would not be as “real”. I am in the process of learning to combine the two – in the next few months I will have this figured out and put out the system. This article helped me a lot. Thanks so much

  • John Jantsch

    @Heshie – there is an art to combining the two and I think the most successful people in social media get that thoroughly – it’s still about relationships but we are exploring the boundaries of how authentic relationships can come about,

  • Dont forget tweet what you spend @twys , keep a record of your expenditure.

  • strawpollnow.com – “its an extra ordinary invention” it will be helpful to get reviews of products by the real users not just the webmasters.

  • Awesome list, John!! I’m going down rabbit holes galore here thanks to you. haha!

  • Great list with some real handy features. I like John’s improvement to the ‘tweet when the plant needs water’ (he suggests we get the tweet when the plant has watered itself; or the dog has walked himself; or the lawn has mowed itself; and so on – this would be great and give me so much more time to work on twitter)!

  • I agree that twitter is a great place for marketing but at the same time you do have to be very careful in my opinion as it can backfire if you get too aggressive. There is nothing worse than a company who comes along and follows 1000 people just looking for traffic. Using it correctly though can have massive benefits.

  • In the 2 months I’ve been using Twitter its definitely taught me a lot. I’ve not only learned about the market and online marketing, but on a personal level, its been hugely helpful in helping me become more spontaneous with my writing.

    You can’t be too analytical about every word if you want to communicate well on Twitter. You just have to learn to let it flow.

  • Under the “Some Not” portion, Don’t forget you can use Twitter as a stress reliever by catching a quick laugh. Especially when you can laugh about the crazy things that happen to you & others in day to day life.

  • Kim
  • Kim

    “Is Twitter right for your company? 3 things to ask”
    http://www.pageonepr.com/blogs/thepagewonders/2

  • What a useful post here. Very informative for me..TQ friends…

    Cheers,
    Buat Duit Dengan Blog

  • What a useful post here. Very informative for me..TQ friends…

    Cheers,
    Buat Duit Dengan Blog

  • Thinking about joining Twitter for business purposes and this was a great article. Two questions…Can I sign up as a company? Should I sign up as an individule or as a company? Objective is to accomplish 1,3,4,6,& 7 (increase website visits)in this article. I obviously don’t know much abut this service. Thanks.

  • Thinking about joining Twitter for business purposes and this was a great article. Two questions…Can I sign up as a company? Should I sign up as an individule or as a company? Objective is to accomplish 1,3,4,6,& 7 (increase website visits)in this article. I obviously don't know much abut this service. Thanks.

  • Robailey

    “6) Would like a way to quickly find vendors, partners, tech help, even employees for your organization? I can be a good tool for that.”

    last sentence intentional or typo?

  • Robailey

    “6) Would like a way to quickly find vendors, partners, tech help, even employees for your organization? I can be a good tool for that.”

    last sentence intentional or typo?

  • Robailey

    “6) Would like a way to quickly find vendors, partners, tech help, even employees for your organization? I can be a good tool for that.”

    last sentence intentional or typo?