To Tweet or Not To Tweet?

In 2009 "Follow me on Twitter" has become as ubiquitous as "AOL Keyword..." was in 1999. And while tweeting may work for Ashton Kutcher, I'm still not convinced that all Fortune 500 Companies absolutely need a full blown Twitter strategy. I mean, does any consumer really care what their life insurance company is tweeting about? My company, Arkadium, has a Twitter account, but most followers are likely our competitors, employees or people closely involved in the gaming industry. But oh the pressure if you don't have a Twitter account! How can you be any sort of media professional and ignore the tide, even if you're not sure it will have any sort of positive return on your business or brand? Let's face it, if you've been brave enough to ignore the Twitter trend you're considered an old media fossil.

So now that we've decided to (begrudgingly) sit with the cool kids, and tweet, what can we do to make it effective? For one, this ain't "Field of Dreams": build it doesn't necessarily mean that they will come. In order to get your own following you need to seek out the people who are interested in what you may be writing about and follow them. Re-tweet their tweets and post comments and reply's to their stories. At first it may feel a bit like paying someone to be your friend, but the truth is that people you are interested in, often share a common interest in you as well. (It also helps that flattery is the best way to someone's heart. Even in this crazy new social media space.) Next, make Twitter only a part of your media strategy. Use tweets to draw people into your bigger stories, blog postings and news. Don't rely on it exclusively or expect it to take the place of other marketing efforts. Lastly, get it out there. If you have followers, hope that they re-tweet, but if they don't, use tools like, pingomatic, DIGG, Reddit, Yahoo Buzz and more to get your message out there, bookmarked and read.

In the last two years it's become more and more difficult to keep up with what people are really paying attention to but one thing seems to be for sure - Twitter isn't going away. At least not in 2009.