I’ve been following the whole TWITTER phenomenon very closely. At first, I was VERY confused; who would use Twitter and why? More importantly, why would I use Twitter, and what would I tweet? After months of following fellow-tweeters, tweeting, searching tweets, reading tweets, re-tweeting, something dawned on me: Not all Twitter users are created equal! In order to best understand and utilize Twitter, I had to decide what kind of Twitter user I was or wanted to be.
Most Twitter users fell in the following 4 categories:
Tweeters – These guys have something to say, and they are out there sharing IT with the world, or at least, the twitterverse. In the real world, these are generally your authors, writers, politicians, radio personalities, teachers, educators, speakers, advocates, socialites, personalities, class clowns, etc. Instead of a book, magazine, stage, forum, class, radio, soapbox, etc. – they use Twitter to get their message out.
Followers – are exactly that. They follow the tweeters. They are the audience. In the real world, these would be readers, subscribers, students, supporters, etc. In the twitterverse, there is more opportunity to INTERACT with their tweeters than in the real world. AND, almost more importantly, that INTERACTION is shared with all fellow followers AND the collective twitterverse.
These are the TOP 2 types of twitter users. In the business world, and in our multi-family apartment industry, the following 2 lesser known types are KEY to marketing and sales:
Listeners – these are not just followers – these Twitter users are out there listening for very specific topics or trends. In the apartment industry, we must learn to listen on Twitter. Find out what our customers, clients, competitors are saying – especially what they are saying about our apartment communities, our markets, and our competitors! That’s a LOT of listening! Listening is one of the KEY components to effective communication, and as an interactive communication tool, it PAYS to listen on Twitter. Listening is akin to being in a busy restaurant and overhearing someone at the next table talking about your apartment community! Except on Twitter, the next table is the entire twitterverse. Listeners who are active and respond to the needs of their customers can help in strengthening an apartment community’s brand, image or message and extending the customer service arm. You listen, you respond = YOU CARE. Now THAT’s something to tweet about!
Miners – these are the most diligent and proactive business users. These guys, not only listen for specific topics or trends, they are mining the twitterverse to FIND prospects and leads! In the real world, this would be similar to standing in a busy restaurant and hoping to hear someone mention they are looking for an apartment – being the diligent manager/leasing agent you are, you chime in and let them know that you work for an apartment community down the road and give them your card and contact info. On Twitter, you don’t have to be anywhere and wait for the stars to align to catch this conversation. You can use Twitter search engines to mine for prospects and leads by searching for key words such as “apartment hunting New York” – and then sending those prospects a direct message with a link to your property’s website.
I should mention: I don’t think mining for prospects should be an apartment community’s only marketing plan – however, there probably aren’t that many prospects out there who just happen to mention your key words “apartment hunting New York” but if your traffic is slow or nonexistent, being proactive and mining instead of waiting for prospects to walk in the door, might not be a bad option.
I’m still learning more and more about twitter every day, and have learned to LOVE it. I love how fast it moves, LOVE all the random and not so random things I have learned following others, listening for trends, and when it DOES happen, finding those leads.
The most active Twitter users participate in all 4 categories. Everyone is focused on tweeting and following to learn and share more. For apartment marketers & lessors (or any business marketing/sales personnel for that matter!) the biggest opportunities are in listening & mining