Twitter is a great tool for business. The instant nature of ‘tweeting’ (posting micro-blogs of 140 characters or less) appeals to people who want immediate access to up-to-date information. Often, information is purposely posted or leaked on twitter long before it’s officially announced in the mainstream media. While individuals use this immediacy to stay informed about friends, celebrities, people and products they admire, business can use the power of Twitter to connect and build deeper relationships with their customers.
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Businesses that tweet have a distinct advantage over their non-tweeting rivals. For instance, consider these examples:
- Business owners can promote their products and services directly to a target audience by focusing their efforts on people likely to be interested. For instance, a store selling BMX bikes can find people in their local area that tweet about BMX bikes by using the ‘advanced search’ feature.
- Getting instant access to what’s being said – this minute – about your company, people, products, or brands enables professional and responsive brand management. Also, monitoring the negative comments about your competitors enables business owners to swoop in the moment unhappy customers are ready to jump ship.
- The ability to quickly connect and network with others in your industry opens up opportunities for collaboration and reciprocation. It can be a good tool to establish relationships with potential suppliers and even potential employees.
- The constant steady stream of ideas, content, resources and links helps you stay informed and enhances your knowledge in your field of expertise.
- You can extend the reach of your thought leadership by sharing your blog posts and other content.
Tips for effective business tweeting
The most common mistake businesses make on twitter is losing the human touch. If your twitter time-line for your business is solely focused on announcing to the world ‘BUY OUR PRODUCTS NOW!’, you’ll quickly be seen as spam and people will avoid you like the plague. Of course, you want people to buy your products, but to do this on Twitter involves building and interacting with a community, rather than non-stop pimping of your stuff.
Commenting on tweets and re-tweeting posts is a great way to get involved with your community. However, in order to build trust with your community, the comments you make must add value to the conversation. Simply saying ‘great post’ to everything you read adds no value whatsoever. You need to use your area of expertise, whatever it is, to show that you are an expert in your field, or at least a competent participant.
Share links and point to nifty content in your community, even if its your competitors. Remember, its not just about you. If you find something that grabs your attention in your niche, tell your followers and share it. It’s far better to be seen as a great source of quality information, rather than a self-absorbed exclude-a-bot (narcissistic robot).
If your website has an RSS feed, you can post it straight to your twitter account using an app called Twitterfeed. This neat app posts tweets about your new web content automatically, saving you the hassle. You can also configure it to post on other social media sites like Facebook and LinkdIn. If you have a blog, this app is an absolute necessity.
To find people in your industry, use a Twitter directory like Twellow. Add a listing for your business if you haven’t already. Sometimes following and interacting with people who have a large number of followers can lead to more people following you. If your goal is networking, however, it can often be a good idea to find people who are also just getting started. If your goal is to keep tabs on your industry leaders, then spend more time focusing on finding and interacting with them.
Make your website Twitter friendly by adding twitter widgets, tweet buttons and follow buttons. Third party clients like Followerwonk or SocialBro can give you amazing insights such as when the best time to tweet is (based on when most of your followers are online). You can break down and analyse your followers by location, bio, who they follow and how influential they are. By tracking when you gained and lost followers, you can see how your twitter behaviour translates to growing your social media presence.
Finally, consider using the ‘promoted products’ feature of Twitter. Unlike traditional ads, this feature places your tweets in front of the right people at the right time (people who have already shown an interest in your products or services). You don’t pay for simply showing up on someone’s page – you pay when they click or interact with your content (see video below).
If you would like more information about using Twitter for your business, please contact the friendly team at IT Itch and we’ll see how we can help.