The Perfect Storm Guide to Using Twitter in Online Retail – The Conclusion

Twitter and SEO benefit
On March 24th 2009 influential tech blog TechCrunch reported that the title tag on Twitter had been reversed so that any person/brand on the service has their main Twitter name first in the tag, and the words “on Twitter” after. This may seem like a minor change, but since search engines read from left to right and place more importance on the keywords they read first, this change is already having an impact on how Twitter profiles are ranking in the natural search engines. Your Twitter profile is never going to outrank your own website on a search for your brand, but since Google is effectively a “reputation management service” then it is beneficial to have a branded Twitter feed occupy a spot on the first page for a search of your brand, and not any negative press / articles which tend to service every now and then. Twitter allows you to dominate a greater proportion of the search results page with a positive brand message.

Final Word: is it worth the effort?
One of the challenges of engaging to advertise over social media is the significant investment of time required. It is not enough to create a profile and expect users to stumble across it – businesses need to be proactive and engage. Some businesses on Twitter do just this with a combination of announcing business news while also chatting with potential and existing customers. Other businesses use Twitter as a broadcast only platform. Yet others create a profile and abandon it. Only those who engage and use it as an extension of their customer service arm can reap any benefit.

Most social media from MySpace though Facebook to Twitter can only be used for marketing through engagement. Creating then abandoning social profiles can reflect badly on the brand and will not be as effective at communicating to customers with. Engagement needn’t take a tremendous amount of time. There is no doubt that Twitter has hit a tipping point and that it is this year’s big thing. There is a risk that as Twitter look to monetise the critical mass of users they have on the service they may alienate their core followers and they’ll move on to the next big thing. However, Twitter’s beauty is its simplicity, and for that reason we predict it will be around for some time yet.

In 2009 Twitter are expected to reveal its plan for how to monetize the service and this is includes charging companies for “more features” on premium accounts. It’s early days yet, and the founder of Twitter has come out and said that companies and individuals will always be able to use Twitter for free; the for-sale features will be add-ons. If you are undecided about whether to engage in Twitter then ask yourself if your core audience are already interacting on this space. If they are (search and find out!), then there is good reason to engage with them here, and use Twitter to push brand awareness, solve customer service issues and create brand ambassadors. People online are sharing their experiences with your brand and products with their friends right now. It’s important to decide how you interact with them, it could well be worth the effort to take those 140 steps and join the conversation. Engagement
is the key to success.

At Perfect Storm, we regularly keep updated with changes and developments in Search, please visit our blog again for our latest recommendations and opinions.

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