It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that using Twitter to promote your company is easy. Technically, typing 140 characters *is* easy. In reality, you can do far more damage to your company's image and reputation with Twitter if you don't think things through and understand how Twitter functions. Esther Schindler and Brett Petersel do an excellent job of covering that topic in their book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Twitter Marketing. From a corporate or organizational angle, you really shouldn't start your Twitter marketing program without reading this book.
Contents: Part 1 - The Big Picture of Twitter Marketing: Twitter Marketing Basics; The Rewards of Twitter Done Right; The Pitfalls of Twitter Marketing Part 2 - Getting Started: Building Blocks of Using Twitter; Understanding the Twitter Community; What to Tweet; Finding the Right People to Follow; Building a Twitter Following; The Art of the Hashtag Part 3 - Twitter Marketing Campaigns: Designing a Successful Twitter Campaign; Logistics of Your Twitter Campaign; Your Social Media Team and Policies; Monitoring and Analyzing Your Twitter Campaigns; Tools to Tweet and Monitor Campaigns Part 4 - Tailoring Twitter to Your Business Needs: How Small Businesses Can Use Twitter; How to Use Twitter in a Retail Environment; Using Twitter as a Customer Service Tool; Using Twitter for Business Communications Part 5 - Integrating Twitter into Your Marketing Mix: Aligning Your Twitter Strategy with Other Online Marketing; Aligning Twitter with Offline Marketing Appendixes; Glossary; Index
There are a number of things that make this such a great book. For one, the writing style is highly conversational, and it feels like you're having a talk with a close friend who is explaining everything you ever needed to know about Twitter and marketing. The personalities of the writers come through (can you say "chocolate"?), and that's a good thing. It removes the barriers that a non-technical person would hit up against (confusion, boredom, etc). It's actually a fun read.
Second, there are real-life examples on every page. It's one thing to go on about how things should work from a theoretical or methodology perspective. Esther and Brett don't fall into that trap. Everything that's talked about in the various chapters is backed up with examples of how various companies have succeeded and failed (often spectacularly) in the real world. As such, it's easy to understand *why* you should or shouldn't do something that they tell you about.
Finally, Brett and Esther go beyond the "here's what you do technically" information and offer a comprehensive approach to a complete marketing program with Twitter (hence the title). You find out what metrics are best to track, why certain "obvious" measures aren't all they're touted to be (such as number of followers), and how to structure your Twitter activity to get the best response and the type of followers you want. There are cases where organizations have stumbled into a positive and profitable Twitter presence, but it's far more common that an unplanned or unorganized Twitter program will fall short of expectations (or will backfire and cause more damage than if you never ventured into Twitter at all).
I'll admit that I may be biased in that I've worked with Esther in the past and I've followed her online over the years. But everything that Brett and Esther cover in this book rings true based on my experiences and observations. If you're an organization of *any* size that wants to establish a presence on Twitter, you owe it to yourself to read The Complete Idiot's Guide to Twitter Marketing. It's a small investment that *will* have an immediate payback for your Twitter marketing efforts.