Thoughts on Twitter
Twitter was once for celebrities tweeting about their lives, but in the last few years, it has grown into a fantastic business tool.
Over one hundred million people are on Twitter and the biggest age group is 35-49 year-olds. Social media encourages two-way conversations. People feel a closer connection to products and services when they know and like the people behind the brand.
You can use this platform to increase brand awareness and to foster the image of your business as a progressive company. By participating on Twitter, you share tips and news with your followers and learn of competitors’ ideas and promotions. You can build relationships with industry people as well as locals. In short, Twitter is easy, free and versatile - and we should use it to its fullest.
Twitter page. This page, just like all pieces of marketing, should have your corporate branded look. Use your logo, photos and standard colors where possible. Search under “your business industry” and see how other companies in your space are leveraging Twitter. You can decide to tweet as your company name, but have a manager’s (or owner’s) name as the author (giving a human face to the company). Or simply tweet under the corporate brand. Either way, I would recommend tasking one or two people to manage your Twitter account.
Connect with Facebook. To save valuable time, and so your tweets will show up in your public updates on Facebook, make sure to connect the two sites. You can do this from your Facebook admin page.
Twitter tools. To truly leverage Twitter, here are a couple more advanced tools to give you more control and flexibility over your social media accounts and overall strategy.
- www.tweetdeck.com - this desktop client can help you monitor certain keywords and group people to follow. It helps you sort through the static and lets you focus on what you want to see.
- Update on the move by downloading the Twitter app for your iPhone. Get it through iTunes.
Build a list of followers. The best way to build your list of followers, is to start following others. Focus on making connections with past clients, companies/people you hope to do business with, local business organizations, local civic organizations, and industry organizations to ensure we maximize your exposure and business opportunities. Perhaps you can get the names of the people who’ve left great reviews on review sites and find them on Twitter.
Once you start following someone, that person usually follows you back. You may want to send each new follower a welcome message. Then search their “followers” and see if you want to follow those people. Your network and creditability as thought leaders will grow.
Use the keyword search box on the sidebar to see who tweeted “your business industry” or to find people with related industry interests.
Use “who to follow” button on Twitter. This will present you with more names that you might choose to follow. Build a little each day. Your goal should be to attract a core group of followers who share your concerns and may be interested in the things you have to say. And of course, publish your Twitter handle on all direct mailings, email signatures, business cards, flyers, ads, invoices, website, marquis sign out front, etc., to encourage followers.
Begin tweeting. In addition to your products/services, your audience will be interested in your industry/business tips. Twitter allows users to create marketing that doesn’t look like marketing. We want to develop advertising that is too valuable to throw away, a piece of communication that delivers a real and compelling benefit. Nothing evidences thought leadership like original material. On the other hand, have fun and tweet a few random thoughts and show some personality as well. Here are a few examples of both:
- Take people behind the scenes of your company. Post pictures from your offices, people, trucks, etc.
- Talk about who you are, why you got started, why you do what you do. Give a friendly face to your company.
- Track click-throughs on any link you post in a tweet. Many URL shortening services let you track click-throughs.
- Answer common customer questions. You could tweet some of your FAQs from the website.
- Retweet articles from your industry thought leaders and sites. Be the one to break industry news in your local area.
- Pass along local events information. Give recognition to your local neighbors.
- Share insight and opinion. Pass along interesting links and posts, not just about your industry/company.
- Tweet links showing your company features on other websites or mainstream media. Talk about your charity sponsorship, in a way that you’re shining the light on the charity, not your sponsorship.
- Announce awards you’ve won or accreditation you’ve earned.
- Ask silly questions and see if anyone answers.
- Find referrals and offer referrals.
- Connect with vendors.
- Hold contests.
- Offer Twitter exclusive coupons or deals. We can use a unique code to track conversions.
- Invite people to your store. For example, a morning tweet could be, “We just picked up bagels and coffee, stop by to have some.”
- Highlight employees.
- Tweet about job openings and the benefits of working at your company.
- Ask for feedback if you’re thinking about adding a new feature/benefit.
Track mentions. Another way to interact with your customers is to track “mentions.” They are comments or questions posted by your clients about your service or business. Twitter Search can help you listen for your company name, your competitors’ names and words related to your industry. Through an application like Hootsuite, you can monitor keywords across all your social media accounts and respond as needed. You can then simply thank customers for their patronage, their referral, or you can answer their message.
Tweetups. Once you’ve engaged the community, built strong relationships and have a decent social bank to pull from, you’re ready to host a party. You can invite your Twitter followers and their friends to a “happy hour,” “art show,” “fundraiser,” or “networking event” at one of your locations. Here you can show gratitude to your customers, fans and local businesses who have supported you. The person who brings the most friends can win a prize. People can RSVP through Facebook. This a great way for marketing your business, generating a buzz and attracting new customers by bringing an online community offline for a special event. When you get to this stage, I have some thoughts on how to get started and how we might plan to structure the event.
Need help with Twitter? Let’s talk.