Twitter has taken the country by storm. Previously brushed off as a way for teenagers to let each other know what they’re doing by the minute, new applications for the internet platform were discovered this year, and the end result is that there are now over 100 million Twitter users world wide. It is now not uncommon to hear Twitter mentioned on CNN and other big news networks, and major companies like Apple. Twitter played an important role in creating a “real-time” minute-by-minute account of major events that occurred in 2009, such as the presidential election, the California wildfires, and the Iranian protests. In a nutshell, Twitter enables people all over the world to instantly let anyone who’s willing to listen know what’s going on in their neck of the woods.
In case you aren’t familiar with Twitter, it’s basically a website that allows a user to post a message up to 140 characters long and broadcast it to their “followers”– other Twitter users who decided to “follow” that user (receive the user’s posts, or “tweets”). All you have to do to “follow” another Twitter user is to click his Twitter Follow Me icon, wherever its posted.
Once you sign up for Twitter, you log in and you have your own page, which you can customize. This is where you view the tweets of those you decided to follow (your tweets show up as well). Many people choose to follow celebrities like Lance Armstrong and Madonna. Some people, like the actor Ashton Kutchner, have over a million followers. Imagine the possibilities of having that number of people read whatever you write!
Twitter continues to evolve. Features recently added to it include the ability to search Twitter for certain keywords. In fact, when you first go on the site, it’s a search box, much like Google’s. Let’s say you live in San Francisco, it’s Friday and you want to try out an Italian restaurant you’ve never been to. You can go on Twitter and search for “favorite Italian Restaurant San Francisco” and you’ll instantly get a list of recent tweets containing this phrase.
Now, if you’re a business owner and have been keeping up with Twitter, you should be able to recognize the commercial applications for Twitter. There are two basic ways. The first one is to search Twitter for the phrase “good chiropractor” every day, and see if there are any recent tweets containing this phrase. Most of these tweets will be from people asking their followers for a recommendation for a good chiropractor. If you have a Twitter account, you can even reply to these tweets. Tweet something friendly, like “Sorry to hear you’re in pain, our chiropractic office is on 345 Main Street; we have appointments available this week if you wish to come in.” Have your chiropractic assistant tweet this; in fact, have her do a Twitter search every day, or even a couple of times a day, and respond to those local tweets.
The other approach is targeted tweets. Since you know that people are now searching Twitter for services, you can tweet phrases that subtly promote your chiropractic office. Obviously, include the words “good chiropractor” or “recommended chiropractor” and so on, in your tweets. When someone conducts a search on Twitter for “good chiropractor” your tweet will show up. You can even test it yourself on Twitter; it’s quite fast! And, you can even include your website’s URL in your tweets. It will show up as an active link.
Twitter recently paired up with Google for Twitter searches, so now if someone Google’s “chiropractor san francisco”, Twitter tweets including this phrase will show up on Google’s search results pages.
To summarize, it’s a good idea for chiropractors to use Twitter to look for and attract patients needing your services. It’s free, and it’s currently popular. However, the only caveat is that Twitter is relatively new, and how long it will remain popular with the masses is yet to be seen.
Dan Perez, DC
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