Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Closer Look at Advertising: Utilizing Twitter

Let me just get it out there now: I have a history with this idea.  Active Worlds doesn't have a very big presence on the Twitter scene, but I think we get fair use out of it. Flagg's twitter feed, for example, currently boasts 77 followers as well as having the feed displayed on several websites, such as this one.  SW City Interactive has had its own 'Switter' feed integrated for a couple of years now that is actually fairly popular around town.

Twitter gets a bad rap sometimes for over-emphasizing the insignificant, but when you're dealing with virtual worlds the potential for rapidly changing or spontaneous events makes a quick and easy solution like Twitter a desirable tool to keep on our belt.

Content creators in Active Worlds stand to benefit from the use of Twitter in a couple of ways.  The first is its ease: everything has been done for you.  You don't have to design a website, you don't have to pay anyone; you've just got to set it up and go.  140 characters or less, preferably.  Twitter, or any social media situation really, is a quick platform for providing quick updates to people who are interested in the same things you are.  If you already have a good following, this is cake!  If you don't, it isn't to hard to spread the word. :)  Read on!

When I first became interested in using Twitter to promote Active Worlds, I only saw the benefit in AWI joining the fray.  It's become more apparent to me lately, though, that if you think about it, this is inconsistent.  Twitter is founded on buzz, and things trend on twitter because, well, a lot of people are buzzing about the same thing.  AWI joining Twitter has been great and they've done some great things, Active Worlds needs its virtual community to join with them so that they all don't get lost in the noise!

So if this has all interested you and you're considering promoting your virtual building, community, or whatever else via Twitter. I've got a few tips.  A lot of these were originally written with AWI in mind, so I'm re-tailoring them for more general use.  Keep watching in the coming days, because I may expand on some of these!
  • Followers
    • Your most direct audience will be your immediate followers, who receive your tweets as you send them out.  If they re-tweet your message, it will be sent to all of their follows.  Many people who use twitter never actually tweet, but still follow many people because this is a useful way to receive news and updates about organizations that they are interested in.
    • Followers will be the bulk of your audience, and the people who are most interested in what you have to say.
  • Gaining Followers Via...
    • Twitter: Encouraging your followers to re-tweet will probably be the most effective way to gain followers through twitter. You can also follow people or organizations related to you, and they may return the favor by following you back!
    • Active Worlds: Don't ignore your source!  Get the people who enjoy your work in-world to follow you on Twitter!  They benefit directly by being able to see your progress as it happens. Promote your twitter feed in world to get your immediate followers, who can then back you up through re-tweets and replys!
    • Web: Twitter provides profile pages from that you can post on a website or blog.  This provides direct visual access to people on your web space, and gives them easy access to your twitter account.  As far as promotion goes, tying your efforts together in ways like this go a long way to get your word out!
  • Tweets
    • The content and quantity of your tweets are both important to successfully utilizing Twitter. If your messages are boring, your followers may pass over your tweets, and if you don't post often enough, they may not even see them!
    • Keep your followers engaged.  If you don't have any new content to share, try asking a question or sharing a link to something you're interested in.
    • Twitter users are more likely to retweet if they have incentive.  If you're running an event that you'd like to promote, consider offering some sort of prize as a random drawing for everyone who retweets your message!
These are just some odds-and-ends thoughts that I've shared before and am publishing for the first time.  I'll post some more blog in the future that provide in-depth examples on getting the most out of Twitter.  Before I go, here are some links to Twitter accounts that are solely dedicated to AW content or activity:

If you know of more, let me know and I'll share them by adding them to my "What's new in AW?" widget on our sidebar.  Now if you'll excuse me... I need to go tweet about this post!!!


  1. If you're going to talk about Twitter, I would *highly* suggest reading "All A Twitter" by Tee Morris. It goes into the basics, but also goes into the philosophy about what Twitter is and how to effectively gain followers that are loyal to you. Essentially it comes down to participating in the conversation.

  2. Yeah I'll give it a look! "Participating in a conversation" sounds a lot like what I'd like to see by migrating more content creators over to Twitter, because the flaw in only having a few people interested in the subject there seems to come back to that difficulty of conversation. :P Nobody to talk to!

  3. That's true, but a lot of the point of using Twitter as marketing (and I use that term loosely since that idea connotes a kind of top-down pitch and sell method, which you WANT to avoid) is joining the already existing conversations of users who are talking about similar things. Not the same things. In many ways it is forming your own personal network that is separate from the AW CommunitY. :)