So you've heard that Twitter is a great tool for connecting with customers in ways that haven't been previously possible. But you still don't get it, right?
As Steven Berlin Johnson wrote in his Time Magazine cover story on Twitter in June, "The one thing you can say for certain about Twitter is that it makes a terrible first impression." The service allows you to send 140-character updates to your "followers," he writes, "and you think, Why does the world need this, exactly?"
Not only doesn't it make obvious sense, but it's also marked by protocols and terms that can be perplexing to anyone new to Twitter. With a hat tip to Forrester's Jeremiah Owyang for inspiration, below is a comprehensive field guide to Twitter for business.
1. What is Twitter?
Twitter is a free social-messaging tool for staying connected in real-time. It is sometimes called a "micro-blogging service" that enables its users to send and read other users' short (140-character) updates, known as tweets.
2. I don't get it... What's the value?
Twitter by itself makes little sense. Its real value comes in following others and having them follow you. When you are connected to people you know or want to know, or with whom you have something in common, the platform can offer a rich experience.
3. Why does everyone talk about what they ate for lunch?
Ann Handley is chief content officer of MarketingProfs, author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Ridiculously Good Content, and co-author of the best-selling book on content marketing, Content Rules. Ann co-founded ClickZ.com, one of the first sources of interactive marketing news and commentary.