By Jill McCubbin

A recent conversation with Alykhan Jetha (AJ), CEO of Marketcircle, inspired this blog post. AJ had heard some interesting things about Twitter as a PR tool.

Twitter is the micro-blogging and social networking service many of us think is mainly used to broadcast irrelevant minutia. However, clever business-minded Twitter users have found ways to put Twitter to work. Kiruba Shankar, CEO of Business Blogging and founder director of F5ive Technologies, writing for the Business Standard, suggests building your Twitter community and using it for advance notices and sneak previews of products or services. Shankar’s article, Business benefits of Twitter deserve consideration, also describes Twitter as a tool for listening to your market:

“If you’re in the tech industry, you should be paying attention to what’s happening on Twitter. If you are a brand that targets the youth, just by listening you can gauge what are their newer interests and what’s the next new thing that they are latching on to. It’ll help fine tune your marketing strategies.”

The Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) posted examples of how Twitter provides business benefits (originally from a blog post by Paul Young at his Converseon blog). Paul cites many uses for Twitter. Here’s one example: It’s a clever Recruiting Tool because recommendations from key influencers result in business gained or a service found. And the following are quotes from Doug Haslam’s Media Bullseye article, Twitter: Where’s it @ for Business:

“Might be hiring someone as a direct result of posting my “recruitment video” to the Twitter stream.”

“We won a contract with (major media brand) from a tweet request for a Java expert.”

A Twitter post can provide specific business benefits where a longer, detailed blog post might not – yet a blog post generates other benefits – and this blog of mine for example would not have suited Twitter. Kiruba Shankar has this last bit of advice to corporate heads and marketing people, and it’s applicable to micro or regular blogging, “Jump right inside and be part of the conversation. The only way you’ll know if it works for you is when you try it out.” On Twitter you can identify a whole new batch of influencers – like Kiruba himself - read his Twitterings here.

(Jill McCubbin is a Communications Architect with market2world communications inc., Ottawa, Canada's Web 2.0 tech PR and product launch agency.)