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Does Twitter have a business application?

After signing up, my initial thought was this: Where is the marketing potential?  The fact you can know what a complete stranger had for breakfast, lunch and dinner at first threw me.  

After a while I started to think that the ability to find fellow Twitterers on a map and know exactly where they posted their last blog from was inviting trouble. In fact, I came to the conclusion that Twitter would be fantastic for stalkers!

But I decided to I look for the good in this, and found out who was already in the top 10 Twitters. At number one is the founder of Digg, Kevin Rose. At number two is Senator Barack Obama and at number nine an organisation you may have heard of – CNN. So if it’s good enough for them…

Top Twitters are mainly by individuals but I started to think of some potential for business, and here are ten ideas I came up with.

1. You run a nightclub and when Saturday night comes you find it’s looking a little quiet. So you post a Twitter to your ‘followers’ (people who have subscribed to watch your Twitter) saying “free first drink to any entries in the next hour.”  This would go out instantly to phones, PDAs and PCs, alerting your social network to the offer.

2. You are a school or community-based organisation Twitter and you can quickly update parents about events and emergencies such as a closure or the late return of a school trip.

3. You subscribe to a music group or a professional speaker’s Twitter and want to stay up-to-date with appearances, dates and times.

4. You subscribe to a network of IT professionals and regularly Twitter problems to your network for fast advice and solutions on how to solve problems.

5. You run a recruitment or contractor business and need fast responses for requests to fast placements. For example, you need five waiters tomorrow night for a last minute event or you need  an emergency plumber to go to a call out.

6. A news-oriented business can post the latest news as it happens throughout the day or night.

7. You are working in collaboration on a global project and want to keep all parties up-to-date instantly with the project’s status.

8. A major High Street retailer who wants to update customers with daily offers. Boots could publish a Twitter each time they are doing a 3 for 2 offer or Asda could alert shoppers to in-store offers or links to special online shopping pages only available to Twitter followers.

9. A large corporate outsources a great deal of print and allows a group of printers to tender or bid for the work. These tenders can be placed on Twitter and then printers can give their best price to win the contracts.

10. Your professional consultant has a daily blog, but people need to visit your blog to read it. So you post the headlines on Twitter to alert your followers to the latest blog being posted.

It is really simple to start Twitter and simple to use, which is the real key. But it’s not my favourite social network tool; I’d look to Facebook for that. However, Twitter has potential and seems to be growing exponentially, so what have you got to lose

Send me a Twitter and let me know how you get on.

Real Business is also on Twitter*Damon Segal is a marketing and SEO consultant

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