When I read this morning that Twitter plans to index content in the near future, much like a search engine does, my head began to buzz with ideas on why businesses both large and small should take note of this. In fact, it is going to become increasingly important for business owners everywhere to make sure they not only have representation on Twitter but that they are deeply involved as well.
Twitter Search currently searches the text of Twitter posts. Using the service may help users discover conversations taking place around any particular topic such as a breaking news story, reviews of a business or product and the like.
Twitter wants to enhance this by crawling the links included in tweets and indexing the content of those pages. This will make Twitter Search a much more complete index of what’s happening in real time on the Web. At the same time, it will make them a more formidable competitor to Google Search with regards to people looking for very timely content.
As of now, I have encouraged our clients to get involved on Twitter so they can interact with other Twitter users who are discussing their products and/or services. Now, I’m going to point out the added benefit of making sure their content gets indexed by Twitter Search. And unlike traditional search engine crawlers, that is only going to happen if the business itself posts links to their web pages or Twitter users do so.
Along with indexing content, Twitter Search is also going to get a “reputation” ranking system. In other words, Twitter will take into account the reputation of the person who wrote each tweet and rank the search results in part based on that.
While they have yet to sort out exactly how this ranking algorithm will work, I think we can safely assume that it may be based on things like how many followers the Twitter user has, how many updates they have, how often they have been “retweeted” and possibly how often they tweet about any particular subject.
So it is not just going to be about getting on Twitter and posting links but rather building a quality Twitter profile and getting deeply involved in the service.
We are already seeing trends where companies are seeking to hire employees whose specific task entails managing the company’s Twitter accounts. This was most recently evident when Pizza Hut put out a request to bring on a “Twitter intern” who would be expected to tweet about all things Pizza Hut.
In light of these future developments within Twitter Search combined with Twitter’s ever-growing popularity, business owners can no longer ignore the fact that they have to get involved. This is going to require a lot of hard work and some pretty ingenious strategy.
While I won’t go into great detail here on how to effectively market yourself on Twitter, I will provide a quick bullet-style list of steps that at least I think one should take. Every business will be unique in how they can engage the Twitterverse as well as what they can offer but the basic steps to get involved should be similar among all companies.
- If not already on Twitter, sign up! Try to use your company or brand name as your Twitter user name (e.g., @Starbucks, @JetBlue).
- If your company does not have a blog, what are you waiting for? Every company who has a web site should also have a blog and start blogging.
- If you do have a blog, make sure every new blog post is also “tweeted” (posted to your Twitter profile). This is easy to do if running a WordPress blog. Just use a plug-in such as Twitter Tools which will automatically feed new blog posts to your Twitter feed.
- Crank out great content on your blog. Easier said than done but necessary.
- Make sure that great content is submitted to various social media sites such as StumbleUpon, Delicious, Reddit, Digg, Mixx, etc.
- Build a following to your blog with the combination of good content as well as making it easy for readers of your blog to follow your RSS feed.
- Invite your blog readers to follow you on Twitter. This can easily be done by adding a “follow us on Twitter” type of badge and placing it somewhere prominent on your blog as well as your company’s contact and about pages.
- Get involved with Twitter. This is also easier said then done. And keep in mind that you do not have to get involved with the entire Twitter community.
- Use Twitter Search to find users that are talking about your brand, your products or even topics related to your business. Then interact with them and maybe even follow them. You may discover these Twitter users following you back which over time can greatly increase your over-all following.
This is by no means an all-inclusive list but should provide some guidelines to at least get a running start for businesses that have yet to embrace Twitter.
Just as it has become crucial to have good visibility in organic search, especially Google, having a quality presence in Twitter is only going to become increasingly important over time to the success of businesses both large and small.