If used correctly Twitter, can be a great way to promote your business and engage with your customers.
Nadine Bourne from XLN Business Services shares some top tips learnt from her experience of using Twitter as a promotion tool.
I got started on Twitter when I realised that our business couldn’t ignore the 500 million+ Twitter users as a potential marketing opportunity.
I already liked Tweeting for myself, but also reckoned I would be able to use a business Twitter account to sell, particularly as friends had told me it was both simple and effective as a marketing tool. So, how did I go about using Twitter to promote our business?
The first thing I realised about Twitter when using it with a business frame of mind, is that even though I wasn’t using it proactively, people were already talking about our business on it!
Check out Twitter.com and do a search for your company name to see what comes up – you’ll probably want to start up your account immediately! Searching Twitter for mentions, starting your own Twitter feed and checking it regularly are all important as they will allow you to keep a track of these mentions whether good or bad.
2. Build relationships
Another important step towards selling more was to build our list of followers. These followers read my Tweets, reTweet them or join Hashtags I start – and some of them have become customers.
So, to find people who are interested in the same topics as I am, I use the search bar (Fig 3) to search for key words e.g. small business.
I also look at their follow lists because more than likely the people they follow will be of interest to me. Alternatively I use the ‘Who to follow’ sidebar (Fig 4) which highlights people Twitter thinks I would find interesting judging by my follow list. I can also search for topics and information that interests me, and join in conversations on the way!
Once I have built up a list I can begin a conversation with the people I follow/follow me a few times during the day to start a relationship. Through this, their followers will see my conversation and be inclined to follow me if they find the conversation interesting.
Having a precise idea of what you want to use Twitter for is vital e.g. to build your brand, or to respond to customer tweets.
I don’t follow people if I’m not hugely interested in their Tweets as I will receive every Tweet they post on my news feed and I won’t want to start a conversation with them, which makes Twitter seem a bit pointless.
Moreover, as a business owner, you want some leads to keep up to date with issues such as, postal strikes, weather as well as developments within your industry, law changes, economic climate etc. which could affect your business.
It’s good to follow accounts which will update you on these leads and keep you in the know. The good news is, if you engage with people you follow this could give you traffic to your business as you can list your website/info on your profile.
A big part of promoting your business on Twitter is making sure people are saying nice things about you.
If you find an existing customer has posted about you on Twitter, you should always reply. It might be that you need to answer a question. You may simply need to acknowledge them if they praise a great experience they have had with your company. You may want to offer a service announcement or update. If they have some kind of problem or are criticising your company, you will need to reply promptly to help resolve their issue and maintain your good reputation.
When things go wrong on Twitter you can find lots of negative comments can arrive pretty fast – so respond quickly and you’ll find things will probably be okay.
5. Service updates
Because Twitter updates are public, it’s a great way for me to tell either customers or the public what’s going on with our business.
Transport companies and logistics companies regularly use Twitter to announce service problems and delays. We use Twitter to inform our customers if the network operators we have are having issues. These service update Tweets keep you in the mind of your audience – which will help next time they want to buy.
Good etiquette on Twitter comes in the form of advice, beginning a conversation, giving news and information and giving RTs to interesting, valuable tweets from your followers. This shows the person behind the brand. Bad etiquette includes not replying to direct tweets (unless spam), repeat posting of promotional material – followers tend to decrease if their news feed is flooded with spam. A good way of showing the person behind the brand is asking questions to followers instead of just spewing out boring and meaningless information.
Using these pointers and putting some valuable time and effort into Twitter, you will notice it pays off for your business as well as being fun!