Article by Paul Kirk – www.paulkirkdesign.co.uk
So you’ve heard of Twitter but are a bit puzzled on how could it help your business? Well you’ll be glad to know it’s not all that mysterious once you start to explore its possibilities. In fact once you’ve familiarised yourself with it you’ll wonder why you hadn’t tried it before.
Twitter is a social media platform to connect, engage and listen to other people and businesses – think of it as virtual networking. Don’t treat it as a platform to just tweet about your services or drop in the obligatory website url – it should be more personal than that. Update followers on what you’ve been up to, be interested in what your followers are doing, ask questions, give advice, share content you think they might be interested in and likewise share content from other followers too. Be true to yourself and be interesting. People are more likely to recommend you – someone who’s conversed with them, given them advice and become a respected source of knowledge and information, than someone who just tweets impersonally.
Twitter is also a great customer service platform, customers are quite ready to use social media to vent their frustration over an issue they’re having or even a tell people about a positive experience they’ve just had with a company or service. For the company themselves it’s also a fantastic way to show customers and followers how you listen and you’re ready to help resolve any issues they have. Customers who actually get their issue resolved quickly are more likely to become converted advocates for the company and retweet how their problem was solved. Many companies are now using Twitter as their frontline customer service platform.
If you’re not familiar with Twitter at all yet there are three types of message (tweet):
Public updates are known as tweets, these are seen by everyone who’s signed up to follow your account.
@replies are aimed specifically to the @recipient and are designed not to interrupt your other followers. Conversations are more effective and targeted using the @ symbol.
DM (Direct Messages) are like text messages are are only seen by the recipient and are ideal for sending people information that you don’t want to be in the public domain of your followers – like a meeting time, telephone number and the such like.
Then of course there’s the RT (retweets) this is when you retweet someone else’s tweet to your followers that you think they’ll find interesting.
#ff (Favourite Followers or Friday Friends) are a way to acknowledge new followers or friends you’ve spoken to during the week. Creating a #ff generally ensures your twitter name is retweeted across your followers and seen by their followers.
If you’ve done a few searches or even just browsed Twitter you’ve probably seen the hashtags, for instance #norfolkhour. What are they? Well the best way to think of them is a kind of public bookmark on a theme, topic or interest. Adding a new or existing hashtag to your tweet allows you to follow, join in and be followed on interests or topics that other people are talking about. To see what other twitter followers are saying about something just search the hashtag.
Ok, so you’ve got a basic understanding on Twitter now what should you do?
1. Create an account (its free)
Choose a sensible Twitter name. Give this some thought as it’ll need to be memorable and in keeping with your company image. Familiarise yourself with Twitter and customise your Twitter account with your own logo, background and colours. Remember that Twitter is no different to your other advertising mediums and so your branding should be consistent across your printed materials, website and social media.
So whats the first step now you’ve set your account up? I would suggest doing a bit of research and find out what people are saying about you or your industry by using Twitter search. Try searching your company name, geographical location or even terms that people might use to find you or your competitors.
2. Schedule time to dedicate to it
As with any type of interaction you’ll need to schedule time to not only tweet yourself but to follow others, reply and engage with them.
3. Use an App to help you manage it all
Theres a variety of free and paid Apps available to help you keep track of your social media. My favourite is Hootsuite – like many Apps of this nature it allows you to collect all your social media platforms in one place and even schedule tweets or posts across the social media platforms. Using a combination of scheduled and live tweets/posts is a great way of keeping your social media presence current, engaging and informative.
4. Track your success
If you’re adding urls to your tweets I’d recommend using a URL shortener like www.bit.ly – signing up for a free account will enable you to paste any URL into it and generate a short URL that’s unique to you. Then when you attach this to your tweet and followers click on it you’ll be able to record each click and determine which of your tweets are most popular with your followers.
Whatever you do in Twitter make sure that you always try to respond to followers whether their tweet is complimentary or not. Always try to ensure that you resolve any customer issues or comments in a professional and friendly manner and if you follow the principles of listening, engaging and sharing content with your followers you’ll be well on your way to a successful Twitter presence.
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- The ingredients for a ‘perfect’ tweet?
- Twitter Lists – How You Can Use Them For Your Business
- What does Twitter’s backing of video streaming mean for the future of this technology?
- Is it time to review your Twitter presence from a different perspective?