Twitter, with 241 million monthly active users, is a social platform you cannot afford to ignore. As an entrepreneur who wants to engage the attention of a perceptive target audience, there can be no better friend than Twitter. It’s a great tool for community building, extending brand awareness, connecting with other businesses and listening to conversations about your brand. But not every businessperson or marketer who uses this network ends up benefiting from it. In fact many use Twitter so poorly that their brand image takes a hit.
This is the reason why entrepreneurs need to stick to a list of ‘Dos’ while implementing a Twitter strategy. Let’s take a look at some of them:
1. Be Yourself
Here is what Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter, has to say about using his platform:
“Be authentic, be genuine, and talk about what you are doing every day to highlight your business. Hearing updates on what you, the entrepreneur, are doing to turn the wheels and make your business operate is going to get your customers excited and bring them in your door.”
For entrepreneurs, being honest about themselves, their intentions and their business is the key to building a strong Twitter influence. Do not be what you aren’t. Your social media personality should be a strong reflection of your individuality, your brand identity and all that it stands for. Remember, your audience can (and will) identify a fake when they see one.
2. Respond Quickly
Say you own a pizzeria and someone complains about the quality of your pizza on Twitter. The very mention of your product, brand or business should trigger an immediate reply. Do not ignore it. If someone’s tweeted a complaint on Monday afternoon, don’t take until Wednesday morning to react (especially when their tone is not positive). It is imperative you respond immediately, calm them down, take their details, identify and resolve their problem. A negative comment has a habit of festering till it becomes a threat that can destroy the reputation of your brand.
A tweet can go viral in quick time, and you don’t want a negative tweet about your business going viral.
Otherwise, you might end up going through what British Airways had to – a disgruntled passenger taking to Twitter to lambaste the company’s poor customer service. There’s also a sunny side – Delta Airlines received a shower of love from a happy customer who turned out to be influential on Twitter and even went and spoke at a conference about his great experience with them!
Now, you might think these are big brands. But make no mistake, the digital world knows no boundaries and what applies to one, applies to all.
Use Twitter to protect your brand reputation by solving customer problems quickly and satisfactorily.
3. Keep Records & Mine Them Regularly
Twitter has the potential of triggering some really enriching conversations with customers and potential customers that give you new insights into how you can grow your business. At some point of time you would like to come back to these conversations to understand them better and put your learning into practice. Therefore, keep records of what you, your customers, your employees and all your stakeholders say on Twitter.
A basic Excel/PDF file made with a free tool such as twdocs could suffice to back up a single account’s tweets and interactions, but is not ideal for everyone. Depending on the depth of your business processes, you could use SaaS backup software like Backupify to save brand data and configure options in your CRM so that your marketing team can analyze them later to gain awareness on customer engagement. And you can manage the whole process with cloud based project collaboration software like WorkZone.
The idea is to make the most of your presence on Twitter and make sense of all the valuable interactions that are taking place between your brand and its audience.
4. Follow Everybody Who’s Following You
Ideal Twitter courtesy is to follow everyone who follows you. Don’t worry about sinking in a quicksand of public tweets; just deal with tweets that address you, your company or your products using @mentions or hashtags, and the direct messages that your followers send.
If you’re still not convinced, Ted Coine, who is #9 on Forbes’ list of Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers and #13 on Huffington Post’s Top 100 Most Social Pros on Twitter, might be able to persuade you.
Following people back not only helps you build a list of followers – many of whom are your customers (both existing and potential) – but also enables you to track conversations that could be important to you. As you keep adding to your followers list, you increase your chance of identifying even more people who are talking about your brand. Twitter is a cool “listening device,” and the great thing about it is that it’s two-way – you can always jump in if you think a response is in order.
What’s more, you can contribute to conversations that might not necessarily revolve around your business or industry, and still try converting them into leads.
5. Broadcast Ideas
Have a great idea for a product or service? Not sure whether your target customers are ready for it? Just tweet it to your fans and followers, and get set for the avalanche of opinions, criticisms, and appreciations that will follow. Twitter is a fabulous broadcast tool which is great for announcing not just new ideas but also the launch of a new product, a discount offer, or the start of a shopping festival. And you can do all this in 140 characters! For those of you who like to go into the details or visualize things, Twitter’s expanded images will help you add wings to the idea.
For an entrepreneur, the ideal situation is when you simply broadcast a thought and your stream turns into a brainstorming hub, with your target audience coming up with their own versions of your idea, improving it, reimagining it and often turning into reality!
If you want to learn what’s important to your audience, there is no social channel more targeted than Twitter. By engaging with your patrons on this platform, you can get a clearer picture of what they want. It also allows you to reach out to them one-on-one as an individual with a personality, characteristics and emotions. Ultimately, that’s what builds trust, authority and influence. All in all, Twitter is a bottomless source of good news for your business!
Author: Rohan Ayyar works at E2M, a premium digital marketing firm specializing in creative content strategy, web analytics and conversion rate optimization for startups. He is an avid blogger, with posts on MarketingProfs, Social Media Today and Moz, among other places. Rohan hangs out round the clock on Twitter @searchrook – hit him up any time for a quick chat.