The federal goverment recently posted a request for information for a social media monitoring application. Why? The FBI realizes what many businesses already know, there’s a lot of life in a tweet, and a lot of data.

The days of a tweet's value lasting a few minutes, or only as long as it graces people's home timeline is a thing of the past. You can now embed tweets, curate them, assign them, save them, act on them. Their value should not be ignored or underestimated! Whether it’s marketing, customer service, engaging or even measuring, there’s a lot of life in single tweet.

Here are 5 ways to extend the life your 140 character updates:  

#1: Embed Tweets

You can now actually grab a tweet and let it live for all eternity on any site. This takes twitter testimonials to a new level of interactivity.

Not only are these tweets a testament to you how wonderful your service is, but users can reply and retweet right from your site.  This was super smart by the folks at Twitter, who knew all too well that the life of a Tweet was typically a little closer to a fruitfly than a tortoise.

How Do I Embed A Tweet?

Select the Tweet you wish to embed and click on details.

This will bring you to a page showing only that tweet, click on Embed this Tweet

You can now select the code and put in on your website using HTML.

Pro Tip: Tell the person that you have embedded their tweet. They will be very thankful for the interactive mention and are very likely to share your and service.

#2: Curate Tweets

Social curation is a new buzzword, but what does it mean? When you socially curate you listen to what is relevant and filter out the noise. This means approaching Tweets from a different angle. Instead of something fleeting, consider the information being offered.

Is this something that you should save? Should you share it? Have you visited the link tweeted before sharing? Is this a customer support request?

These are all questions you need to be asking yourself and taking the time to find the right answers. Ask the editors at any newspaper; choosing what is the most important and relevant is often more important than creating content. You cannot underestimate the time needed to curate your tweets or you will be undervaluing the leads they can create, and in these tough times, you don’t want to leave any money on the table.

Think of it like e-mail. Would you forward on every email your friends sends you with with jokes or photos of animals doing funny stuff? Would you send that onto your business contacts? You must look at Twitter in a similar way. The information you choose to share across it represents your company. Some tweets need their lives extended, while others need to be quickly “killed”!

Pro Tip: Use MarketMeSuite to “Flag” tweets for different purposes without worrying about losing them in the heat of the moment and easily mark relevant tweets as leads.  

#3: Assign Tweets No social media department is an island. It’s time to start collaborating. You can’t always answer everything in your business, and Tweets are no exception. Knowing now that Tweets have a life longer than a few moments, you can find the right person to answer it.  

Tweets = Customer Service

Tweets are often the first line of defense in any customer service strategy. Airlines are even changing people’s flights during bad weather all over Twitter while the less social media savvy waited for hours to get rebooked using conventional methods.

Take Zendesk, for example. They realized there’s a lot of value to a tweet, especially one that has clear customer service needs. Their “Twicket” integration allows users to find support requests, and turn any tweets into tickets that go directly to your Zendesk powered support desk.

Pro Tip: It’s worth tweeting someone back “Got your tweet, looking into it” immediately, just so they know you are taking care of it while the right person is working on getting back to them.

#4: Schedule Tweets You take time to craft each tweet to make sure that it will have the best effect, but are you making sure your entire follower base sees it?

Scheduling tweets is a way to make sure that your great content is pushed through the social sphere at times when your following is most engaged. You may be tweeting during business hours, but your target customer may do most of their ‘reading’ in the evening. 

Using “Social Timing” you can increase the probability of a tweet being read, retweeted, and clicked, giving a much longer shelf life than a mistimed tweet read by 2 people.

According to data put together by Kissmetrics, 5pm is typically the best time to get retweets, but noon and 6pm are primetime for CTR (click through rate).  

Pro Tip: When do you notice you’re getting the most replies? When are you dead times?  Each business is different, so analyze your own engagement to find out the best times to tweet.

#5: Analyze Tweets A tweet is more than a microblog. It’s a message that goes across the social web that you can track and learn from. You can learn a heck of a lot by looking at your collective tweet data. An interesting study was done by Twitsprout showing the true Retweet counts of the “Twitter Elite”.

As you can see, when a tweet catches fire the message can be amplified, and the life of a single tweet is majorly multiplied. Of course, we’re not all Kim Kardashian, but, then again, our tweets don’t have to go quite as far to have the desired impact for our small businesses. Get your message retweeted by enough key players in your niche and you’ll see a lot more traffic coming to your website and a lot of relevant people talking about yoru message.

Pro Tip: The folks at Twitsprout make it easy to see some of this data for free. They’ll assemble a “one page dashboard” showing just how well your tweets are performing in how they related to follower increase and even hourly change in followers.

Key Take Away Twitter is real-time, but that doesn’t mean that your Tweet needs to live and die in moments.  As a small business you can extend the life of each Tweet and use it to help you run your business. Be it customer support, curation, testimonials, amplification, or as a valued source of data, Tweets have a lot more to offer than a fleeting 140 character update.  

What Do You Think? Have you found unique ways to extend the life (and value) of the Tweets you send and read each day?  I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please tweet me @tammykfennell.