I have been a Twitter user for almost 4 years now and have benefited greatly from being active on the network, professionally and personally. In honor of Twitter's 7th Anniversary today (Yes, SEVEN!), I have decided to devote some time to explaining a few techniques to help you create a successful presence for your business on Twitter. (These tips could relate to your actual business account or your personal account that you use to make professional connections.)
Who To Follow
- Figuring out which people to follow on Twitter will always be an ongoing process. As a golden rule, it is certainly best to follow any legitimate Twitter users who mention you (either directly or indirectly). If someone is purposefully talking about your business you should without a doubt be following them.
- Follow local journalists, news anchors, and other people of importance in your city. Chances are that once you start following these people, they will remember your business name, look at your Twitter bio profile which could lead them to your website or a mutual follow.
- Follow anyone who may be interested in your service or business. Don't be afraid to snoop a bit on Twitter for people who have the same interests as yours. If you come across someone's bio who mentions they love food and you own a cupcake shop, the chances of them having an interest in your business are pretty high! There is also the possibility that this Twitter user has heard of your business before or has even done business with you but had no idea that you were on Twitter until now. Score!
- This cannot be stressed enough: The most powerful and advantageous use of Twitter is LISTENING. I can't tell you how many times I have impressed my client's customers with a simple and quick response to an issue or compliment all because I was taking the time to listen to their customers online. The open API of Twitter makes it incredibly easy (and cool) to be able to see all tweets that mention a certain topic or keywords.
- Within Twitter, you should be able to search for tweets that include your business title. Also, Hootsuite, a social media management tool, will even allow you to create certain streams where you can listen in on ALL tweets that include keywords at all times. For example, if your bakery is named Charlotte Cupcakes, it would be wise to create a stream that you monitor daily for those keywords and respond to those talking about your business, whether it is good or bad.
- If you own a brick and mortar store, Twitter is also a great way to keep an eye on people who are checking in to your business via FourSquare, Yelp, or other geo-location services and then are sending those check-ins to Twitter.
- Twitter today has over 200 million active users and more than 400 million tweets are sent out every day so needless to say, it could be very easy for your tweets and presence to get buried in all of the noise. Keeping a steady flow of tweets will remind Twitter users that you are there to stay and that you can be reached through the outlet whenever they have a question or even want to praise your business.
- One way that Twitter is superior to Facebook is that every single tweet can be seen by your followers (as long as they are checking their stream). Facebook's algorithm changes constantly and prevents 100% of their users from seeing 100% of posts from pages they follow. With Twitter, your posts will be seen by more of the people who are following you so be sure to take advantage of that by tweeting daily.
Get To Know and Reward Your Loyal Customers/Followers
- I think this is the #1 Twitter technique that most business owners ignore. If you notice the same few people eagerly tweeting about your business, you should be doing several things:
- Thank them for being so vocal and passionate about your business! With every positive tweet you receive, you should always respond with a 'Thank you!' or 'We always appreciate your business.', etc.
- Reward the people who are the most passionate about your business by offering them a special discount for their next service or visit. You could even send out a public tweet telling your other followers how awesome this person is because they support your business. People on Twitter especially love when they get special shout-outs or praise.
- And of course, make sure that you are following the people who frequently mention your business. It would mean a lot to them to know that your Twitter relationship is mutual.
Talk Like A Person
- People on Twitter feel like they can relate to business Twitter accounts that talk just like they do. For example, Taco Bell, as big of a brand as it is, will sometimes respond to random tweets mentioning them and they also send out really funny tweets that remind you that they're going for personality. The exchange below was between a random follower and the Taco Bell brand today. Pretty neat, huh?
- Furthermore, It would be a good idea to respond to people who you follow even when the tweets do not pertain to your business or industry at all. Usually if someone asks a question on Twitter that I know the answer to, I will answer it from my client's account. This more often than not will result in a 'Thank you!', re-tweet or an instant follow if they weren't already following. Win win.
- Don't afraid to be creative! Show that your brand has personality and sense of humor by going out of your way to interact. One day a few months ago I saw that a loyal customer of one of my clients tweeted "Someone remind me later to get bread and milk." I sent him a tweet a couple hours later reminding him of his to-buy list and he was ecstatic. He re-tweeted my client's response and I'm sure that also gained my client some cool points as well. It pays to be be human online.
Although Twitter is such a fast-moving stream, there are so many ways to be heard by your loyal customers and new brand advocates as well. Don't be afraid to be creative and think of how you would personally want a brand to respond to you online. If you make the effort, eventually you will gain a vast Twitter following and create a channel where your customers will want to chat with you on a frequent basis. Good luck out there and Happy Anniversary to Twitter!
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