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The Reach and Influence of Twitter

Twitter is Taking Over the Internet

Daunting as it can be at times, Twitter seems to be gaining quite a bit of ground on a daily basis in the war for control of the internet. A recent announcement by Twitter CEO Evan Williams informed the world that Twitter has passed 145 million registered users. That number may only represent half of the people that actually pull information from Twitter, thanks to the open nature of Twitter posts and the ease of sharing information. With so many people talking at once about anything and everything, Twitter has become an invaluable resource for monitoring brand reputation and taking an active role in discussions with customers.

Top 5 Reasons Businesses Should Use Twitter

  1. Monitor your brand reputation – your customers are already talking about you, so if you aren’t paying attention to Twitter then you are missing out.
  2. Improve your SERP rankings and build SEO efforts – search engines give priority to social media pages, so bump your competition off that coveted first page!
  3. Turn potential customer problems into new opportunities – by responding quickly and positively you show everybody else that you care about more than the bottom line.
  4. Learn on the ground floor what your customers are looking for – why pay thousands of dollars for focus groups when you have free access to millions of people on Twitter?
  5. Engage with your customers and create positive buzz – people love to be loved. Thank your fans for their support and give them exclusive deals, and they will love you back!
  6. [Ok, I can’t count.] Influence Google Search – Google’s new realtime search depends heavily on Twitter. If you get on and talk about your brand it will be your message that pops up on Google rather than somebody else’s.

Twitter’s Reach

Through a combination of widgets and programs making use of their API, Twitter extends far beyond Twitter.com. Even people for whom a “Tweet” is still something a bird does have a difficult time surfing the web without coming across some Twitter-happy user incorporating various streams into their content.

In non-techno speak, that all means this:

Twitter posts are being displayed in real time on the websites and blogs of major corporations. JetBlue has their blog set up to constantly display all mentions of their brand on Twitter.

Twitter feed on JetBlue's blog.

Twitter feed on JetBlue’s blog.

Facebook users can’t escape Twitter’s reach either, as many users automatically update their walls with anything they post to Twitter.

Twitter feeding directly into Facebook

Twitter feeding directly into Facebook

And for those who like to consolidate their news in a customized fashion that works best for them, they may never click the mouse once on Twitter.com, but can stay constantly up to date with all of the happenings and stay active in multiple conversations through the use of applications like HootSuite, TweetDeck and CoTweet (to name a few).

Search Engine Incorporation

While some of what is being posted can be written off as noise, the sheer amount of information and the speed at which it is shared on Twitter is unparalleled, and search engines are listening in.

A recent post on SEOmoz by Casey Henry details en experiment in which he tested how sharing links on Twitter affects the speed at which the GoogleBot indexes new content. You can read the full details here, but the quick and dirty is this: tweets about new products that included a link and were retweeted three or more times were indexed measurably faster by Google. Of course take this data with a grain of salt – if everything you post is for the machine you run the risk of losing good followers.

Aside from indexing, search engines are incorporating data from Twitter in other ways. Yahoo! Search Assist uses the latest trending news, stories and events to suggest relevant search terms for its users.

As for Google – well, it seems that their realtime search would not provide nearly the robust results that it does, were it not for Twitter.

Google's realtime search relies heavily on Twitter.

Google’s realtime search relies heavily on Twitter.

Know Your Followers

If all of the free Twitter info bouncing around the web still doesn’t pique your interest, consider the fact that engaging with the right Twitter users can get your brand traction in many other places. According to recent research done by the email marketing company ExactTarget, the users who are most active on Twitter – post at least once a day – are the most influential users on the internet. Getting an active Twitter user on your side means that it is much more likely that you will see your brand mentioned on a blog, in forums, reviewed on sites like Yelp and much more.

Twitter is Not Las Vegas

With so many conversations happening at once on Twitter it can be impossible to keep up with everything – so don’t. Instead, use Twitter to your advantage by monitoring what other people are saying about you, and getting involved at the right times with the most passionate users. You can’t stay in touch with everyone, but by engaging your customers who use Twitter on a daily basis you can build them into effective mouthpieces for your brand.

What happens on Twitter does not stay on Twitter.

Have you seen any new or unique ways that Twitter is spreading its influence throughout the internet? Let us know in the comments below!

Contributed by Mike Supple, Milestone Internet Marketing, Inc

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