Twitter is certainly an interesting phenomenon. On one hand, it’s all the rage these days and whattwitter-thumb21 practically everyone is talking about. On the other hand, most people try it once and never return. In fact roughly 60% of users fail to return (Nielson Wire), so it’s clearly a tool that only web savvy users are sticking with. It’s not so much because Twitter is a difficult tool to use, it’s just that for most normal, every day people, it’s a useless distraction. Unless you’re a celebrity or a professional athlete, most people do not care what you had for breakfast, or what the person next to you in line smells like.

However that does not mean that Twitter cannot be a useful tool. In fact, it can be a tremendous asset to those in business, or looking to promote anything whether it be themselves, a project, a good cause. Twitter’s main asset is it’s ability to track and direct. For businesses that means another channel to connect current and new customers to your product or brand. For websites it means another traffic building resource.

I originally was one of the 60% when I signed up for Twitter, but after attending some interesting lectures on the service, I gave it another shot and since then have found some use for it. I’ve been able to increase my blog traffic roughly 25% simply by employing some basic Twitter usage in to my blogging routine.

Here’s how you can take advantage of Twitter depending on your situation:

  1. Traffic Generation. An immediate benefit of Twitter usage is the ability to drive traffic to your website(s). By simply using Twitter to spread information about your website, you’ll instantly see a spike in your site’s traffic. Obviously the larger and more relevant your following is, the stronger results you will see.
  2. Find Customers. Twitter can be a great tool for finding new customers. By simply using Twitter Search you can find relevant users that will find value in your offerings.
  3. Branding. Whether personally or for a business, Twitter can be a powerful tool to extend your brand. By developing a casual persona in the Twitterverse, you can establish yourself as a connected social personality.
  4. Hire People. Traditional methods are a dying breed. Like Craigslist, Twitter can be a valuable source for hiring. And it costs you nothing to post.
  5. Increase Your Network. Sometimes you just want to extend your social or professional network. Use Twitter Search to find relevant individuals to connect with. Use tools such as Social Too to auto follow those that follow you.
  6. Feedback. Whether it be an online survey, or you simply want some feedback on your product line, use Twitter to get the word out and increase your results.
  7. Event Coverage. If you’re hosting any type of event, Twitter can be a great tool to give real time updates to those either in attendance or those unable to attend. It also makes your company or organization look with the times.
  8. Cross Promotion. Most users of Twitter use Facebook and vice versa. If you have a blog or company website, your best bet is to integrate all 3 with each other by visibly having your Twitter and Facebook identities on your site, and utilizing Twitter and Facebook’s cross posting features. That way no matter where you post information, it aggregates everywhere saving you time, and ensuring your message gets maximum exposure.
  9. Learn. Despite popular belief that the only thing people post are meaningless daily activities, there are plenty of users that share interesting articles. In fact, in many cases late breaking news hits Twitter before any of the major sites or networks.

I’ll be writing more about my Twitter experiences and sharing best tips and practices in the coming weeks. Feel free to get started by following me.