I’ve got to admit that since I discovered Twitter, the last couple of months I have been totally fascinated by it and it’s abilities. I wasn’t convinced at first, but after experimenting I soon realised the benefits of getting to know people, particularly other professionals in my field of work, but also companies I have a strong interest in.
Twitter can be used as an online marketing tool, not only to promote services or products, but also aid online PR and customer relationship management. Below are my top ten fundamentals Twitter business users can’t afford to ignore:
1. Businesses: follow your followers.
Customers can only use the direct messaging system on Twitter if you are following them, so be available for them to contact you. Also, by following your customers you can read their tweets (including replies to you) and therefore understand what concerns they currently have. This may open up new marketing opportunities, but most importantly, it means you can respond to queries or complaints positively and publicly, thus enhancing your online PR. Twitter is a fantastic opportunity for online customer service and relationship management.
2. Twitter is a ‘pull’ medium. What’s in it for your followers?
Twitter users select to follow you, not the other way around. If a customer of your’s has chosen to follow you make sure you reward them for doing so. Twitip has an excellent article on adding value to your Tweets. Give your followers a reason to follow you, enhance their lives and reward them for their interest. Some ideas are providing summaries and links to your news or blog articles, or giving positive helpful tips relating to your products or services.
3. Use your full name or business name
As Ryan Carson from Carsonified tweeted, use your real name on Twitter so people can connect and relate to you. A nickname or online name, unless it’s a well established brand, isn’t as easy to trust.
4. Be honest
Businesses using Twitter will reap the most rewards if they are honest with their customers. That includes admitting problems such as service down times. Naturally you will want to keep your tweets positive to promote yourself, but Twitter works best when you are honest rather than pretentious.
5. Keep (mostly) on-topic
Your followers will expect you to post tweets that are mostly related to you or your products or services. However, occasionally it might be appropriate to lighten the mood and break from the routine. For example, sharing a link to a humourous website (related to your sector if possible), or seasonal greetings. Adding a personal touch and character to tweets can make you appear more approachable. Be careful not to over do it though, you want to remain professional.
6. Make use of the Twitter Search
It may take a while before you attract many followers, so visit the Twitter Search page frequently to learn about your customers and what people are saying about you. Try a search for your business name, website address or even related services to see what the latest buzz is for competitors.
7. Thank your followers
Frequently overlooked, thanking someone for following you or when someone ‘retweets’ what you have said can go a long way. Remember to keep all your messages personalised. A generic automatic reply could have a negative effect.
8. Provide unique insight from your perspective
You have unique views, experiences and knowledge. Share that with your followers and distinguish yourself from the crowd.
9. Back to basics: good grammar please!
It should go without saying that all your tweets should be checked for spelling or grammatical errors. Some shortening of words due to the 140 character limit of tweets is acceptable, but should be last resort.
Update regularly to keep the conversation alive. Now you’ve got followers, don’t let them forget about you. Twitter is yet another way to enhance your online presence and build your brand, so make sure you take advantage of it.