Belfast Telegraph

If you're Tweetering on the brink, then give microblogging a trial run

Question : What is microblogging and can it really help my business?

Michael Burns from Invest NI's Corporate Marketing and Communications Unit, says:

Microblogging is posting short messages in real time via web browsers or mobile phones. It's a form of social media.

The most widely used platform at the moment is Twitter. Many businesses are already using Twitter and report that it is helping them build their brand and get access to people they would otherwise not be in contact with.

Its benefits include giving you immediate access to people, allowing you to see what your competitors are talking about and helping with market research.

It can also be useful in getting feedback on your products or service.

However, you need to understand that social media isn't just another marketing channel and that if you use Twitter or another similar platform for blatant marketing activity you will very quickly annoy other microbloggers and lose any potential benefit.

Microblogging is about conversation, not about plugging your product. You need to understand the protocols around 'tweeting' and 'following' and the etiquette of the medium. And it's very important to be genuine.

You need to consider how using microblogging fits with the rest of your PR and marketing activity and be clear about what you want to gain from it. And it's important to realise the time commitment involved in microblogging.

It's not something that you can dip into and out of now and then, you need to post regularly and respond to other microbloggers promptly.

The only way to find out if it works for your business is to try it out for a trial period.

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