The internet is a powerful business tool that allows you to connect your business with people—and potential sales leads—on a massive scale. One of the greatest ways to connect with people via the web is with social interaction by way of social networking. When used right, social media will allow you to connect with people on a human level, creating a stronger customer relationship than an advertisement ever could.
One social network that has emerged as a must-have for any company serious about their social media strategy is twitter. People are flocking to this social network by the millions (they have 645 million users and counting) and companies, big and small, are experiencing business success by way of twitter right now. Broadway Books, an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, for example, was on the verge of shutting down until they used twitter to gain more customers.
But how was this possible? We are going to take a look at how your business can experience twitter success in three steps.
1. First things first: creating a business twitter account
Before you can start tweeting, you will need a twitter account. Just any twitter account, however, simply will not do. You must create a business twitter account.
What's wrong with using my personal twitter account for promoting my business?
While you may have already developed a great following and follower relationships on your personal twitter account, you are not your business. You need a twitter account that is solely dedicated to your business. This way, there will be no confusion as you work to build your company’s brand. You can use your personal account to direct people to your business account.
Also, you need a business-specific twitter account. A standard twitter account is great, but their capabilities are limited to posting and sharing. Business twitter accounts, on the other hand, offer a host of additional capabilities that will help boost you company’s ability to generate qualified sales leads via twitter. A few of these capabilities allow you to:
- Post and analyze the effectiveness of ads on twitter
- Get your company’s posts listed at the top of trends lists for more exposure
- Target specific audiences based on nearly any demographic
- Gain real-time analysis of your overall success on twitter
- Track follower growth
- Count how many times your website was mentioned or linked to on twitter
- Connect with outside business resources
- Promotional tactic coaching
These are just a few of the capabilities that twitter for business offers you; none of these can be gained with a basic twitter account. With a twitter business account, you will retain all of the capabilities available to you in a standard account in addition to the new resources listed above. Also, keep in mind that twitter for business has tools to fit any budget, so don’t worry about not having enough cash.
How do I create a twitter account for my business?
Creating a business twitter account is easy: all you need to do is visit business.twitter.com, click the “Start Advertising” button and allow them to walk you through the signup process.
2. Posting 101
At the end of the day, twitter is all about making posts. This is how you will engage followers, make offers and ultimately grow your brand. Here are the basics of how to post on twitter:
If you don’t already know, twitter has a strict 140 character limit for all posts. This includes spaces, hashtags, symbols and anything else that can be added with the click of a button on the keyboard.
The character limit does not, however, mean that you are truly limited to 140 characters. Entire novels have been posted on twitter, 140 characters at a time. That isn’t to say that you should constantly abuse this loophole, but you should be aware of it nonetheless.
What to post
What exactly you will be posting largely depends on your target audience. Everything you post should be somehow connected to the interest of the people who you want to engage; this should not be restricted to only discussing your industry. If you are a local business, for example, discussing local events in your posts is a great way to attract the interest of people near you.
Also, don’t be afraid to occasionally mention major happenings in the news—in and outside of your industry—as this is something that all people can relate to. Tasteful jokes and thanks to customers who have been identified on twitter make for great posts as well.
What not to post
Just because you can do or say anything on twitter doesn’t mean that you should. First and foremost, practice basic business etiquette on twitter. In other words, don’t discuss politics or anything else that would be a polarizing issue for people.
Also, don’t bother responding to trolls (people who make rude, wrong or otherwise incendiary comments just to get a reaction out of people). If you feel as though someone is being particularly harassing to you or your followers, simply block or report them.
People notice pictures before letters. As such, you should add interesting, relevant photos to your tweets every once in a while. Note that images take up 23 of your characters.
If you've spent any time on twitter you've seen the # or "hashtag" in a tweet. The purpose of the hashtag is to label and categorize your content. If you are a dog groomer and you post a tweet about clipping your dog's nails you would say something like, "Clipping your dog's nails every six months is ideal. See our blog post for more dog grooming tips. #harrysgrooming #dogtips" That is 123 characters. The hashtags are included in the character count. Now if someone on twitter does a search for "dogtips" it will bring up your post. Use the same hashtags often in your tweets while adding new ones in every once in a while.
3. Building your brand
Even if people dislike your company for any reason, you can use twitter to reconstruct your brand, if you approach it right. The CIA, for example, which has been one of the least trusted and most disliked government organizations for decades, is slowly developing a positive brand by way of twitter.
Here is how to approach building a brand on twitter:
Interacting with people
First and foremost, you need to interact with people. If you don’t, you will be perceived as an aloof corporation that only cares about getting people’s money. People love being noticed; interacting with people by thanking customers, congratulating people, etc are great ways to develop loyal followers.
Promoting other brands to develop relationships
Your company is not the only one on twitter. In fact, yours is one among millions. This does not mean, however, that it needs to be a wholly competitive environment. You can—and should—build relationships with other entities on twitter. This allows you to organically gain more followers from other organizations’ pools of followers.
Sharing a great tweet, also known as Retweeting, is a great way to gain notice from a poster and provide some great content on your twitter page.
Mentioning people is a great way to get someone’s attention and remind followers that you are human. Using the twitter mention function can be especially effective when engaging another company or a recent customer.
It is also a good idea to make offers via twitter. If you are having a blowout sale, for example, be sure to mention it. However, do not allow your twitter page to devolve into a cheap product advertising space, because this will hurt your twitter presence.
Twitter can be an excellent online resource for your business—if you use it right
The purpose of using twitter for your business is not to push your products on people. It is to build meaningful relationships that will lead to more loyal customers. Following the steps above will help you achieve this goal. For more ideas on business development see the classes we offer to aid in your sucess.