Twitter for small business applications is quite a bit different than a Facebook, Pinterest or Blog account. A small business owner who attempts to use the same principles on their Twitter business account as their Facebook or Pinterest account will not be optimizing their content or conversation for the 140 character limited social media platform.
The key to using Twitter for small business purposes is frequent communication with customers and clients. You do not have to optimize your tweets for long term interest, and you don’t have to spend hours agonizing over them. Keep the following 5 points in mind and push ‘Tweet!’
#1: Tell the story of your brand
As is the case with all of your online efforts, your Twitter business account should not be by itself or separate from your other social media accounts or your website. Your Twitter account must be part of a larger marketing plan with consistent:
● logos and colors
● marketing goals (customer service? drive sales? sign up for newsletters?)
Your biggest fans, the ones who go from profile to profile to discover your brand, should not notice a difference from one profile to the next.
#2: Drive conversions
Twitter works for small business owners because it allows you to build a targeted group of followers. This is commonly done with the use of hashtags (these: #example) that collect like minded people, effective use of these finds the people who want your products.
You can then use effective calls to action to speak with this audience and drive your sales. Most sales are not made directly on Twitter. You will want to use tools such as the mighty Google Analytics, or TweetReach. These tools allow you to see how many sales result from your tweets.
#3: Give your Twitter followers a deal
Nothing gets the attention of consumers like a coupon code or promotion! Remember that you don’t have to actually tweet out the coupon code, you can:
● alert people to where one is located (website, Facebook, print)
● build anticipation of an upcoming promotion
● hyping a promotion that is going on in stores ‘Right Now!’
This is a great way to grow your following as not only will people see this and join, but they’ll want their friends to save as well – the ReTweet button can be your new best marketing tool!
#4: Customer service is now everywhere
Your customers are going to contact you through Twitter for customer service issues and complaints. When people complain to you in public it can be, at first, a problem. But we’re all marketers and professionals here, right? Take that negative comment and turn it into a positive experience by:
1. Publicly acknowledging the complaint so that other followers can see that you really do care.
2. Asking the person to discuss it privately through a direct message.
3. Handling the matter privately. Avoid a ‘flame war’ or mud slinging in a public manner.
4. Follow normal customer complaint procedures.
Handling customer service online, in a public forum like Twitter, can actually build better relationships with all of your followers as you show them your dedication to their satisfaction. Remember that it is the customers who don’t complain that you can’t help and make happy. Social media is allowing you more chances to make things right, take the opportunity.
#5: Talk to your customers every day
This is a prime example of using Twitter the way it is intended to be used, not by following the same route as Facebook. The short conversations on Twitter need to be kept up consistently in order to be effective. Brand mentions should be replied to promptly, direct messages should be handled even quicker.
The key for you will be direct conversations with your customers. Scroll through your messages and pick 5 a day to just say a few sentences to. You don’t have to share information that will change the world, just be friendly and personal!
This is also another way that you can keep generating new tweets – user generated content. Retweeting great tweets is an effective way to ‘talk’ with your customers, build loyalty and keep your small business Twitter account active. And you’re doing all of this without having to think for any longer than a minute, all thanks to your followers!
Matthew Yeoman is a freelance writer currently living abroad. He writes for blog.devumi.com, several website design companies, and enjoys soccer about as much as any 10 year old boy. He resides in Cape Town, South Africa at this time.