Twitter has become the primary platform for brand expansion and customer engagement. While tweeting is an excellent tool for promotion and dialogue, it in itself does not necessarily translate into leads, sales and traffic. A high volume of Twitter followers will not guarantee a high volume of sales.
To succeed with Social Media you need to do more than simply tweet. You need a strategy, you need to know your target audience and you need to measure, measure, measure (measurement provides the impetus to your forward movement). Above all else, however, you need to understand what Twitter is and why you are on it. Here are a few things to consider.
1. …Your Homework, Do it!
Twitter offers and unprecedented medium for dialogue with your customers. It offers insights, trends and direct communication channels with the people purchasing products and services. Use it to to garner Market Research. This market research will quickly multiply your success potential. Speak with your audience, search out your target market and begin the conversation. Ask the questions – what matters to them? what are they looking for? how do they feel about your brand? how do they feel about your competitors?
Twitter offers an enormous opportunity to accumulate the feedback necessary to build your brand.
2. Make A Plan.
Don’t dive into the deep end with your water wings! Every business, big, small, wide and tall needs a strategy. This strategy should address key concerns such as:
- Who is handling your monitoring and communication?
- What are they posting?
- How often are they posting?
- Who (market target) are you chasing and engaging?
- What is your brand goal once you have followers?
- What message do you need to communicate?
- How do you communicate this?
- What is your contingency for customer feedback?
For tips on sourcing a good specialist, or for what is required to succeed in Social Media we recommend checking out: TIPS TO FINDING A GOOD SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALIST and IS YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA OPERATOR QUALIFIED?
Before you roll out your tweets we recommend taking part in the Twitter community. Log on and follow some tweets, get a feel for what people in your industry are doing. Understand the general zeitgeist surrounding your target market
Think about what you plan on posting – is it relevant and interesting? Be realistic about how often you can post, schedule less if you need to, in order to remain consistent. Social Media is all about consistency and creative content.
3. Make Your Brand Known.
Get out and spread the word. Pass along to clients, industry partners, and relevant contacts that your brand is on Twitter. They may not be on Twitter yet, and partnering with them in your efforts can often be beneficial.
Begin engaging others on Twitter. Follow relevant feeds (IE experts, competitors etc). Begin conversing with established brands. Create content that will position you as an expert in the minds of your audience. You want to develop credibility and build your reputation. The more of a presence you make the more people will take notice.
Remember that you want to remain consistent to your Brand message. Your Social Media efforts should never appear fractured from the rest of your business.
Small Business success hinges on relationships and customer service. It is not often that the small business can compete on price point alone. Success is almost always determined by the brand loyalty one develops through nurturing their customers.
This is seldom easy, however it is highly rewarding (and profitable). Despite its online nature, Social Media is a great platform for developing these relationships. It is all about engagement, communication and dialogue. If your Twitter feed is a monologue then you are doing it wrong.
Talk to your customers, seek them out and begin the conversation. Doing so shows integrity and can instantly earn appreciation. Customers want and need to feel that they matter, by going to them you are reinforcing this association with your brand.
5. Be Human.
Remember in all of your engagement to be real, be honest and be human. Brands spend thousands of dollars annually, attempting to “humanize” themselves, to make themselves accessible to “Joe Consumer”.
Be human and authentic, create a friendly banter and enjoy a good conversation. Don’t take offense to their feedback, but use every opportunity provided to show your customers that you are a customer as well, and your brand understands.
This is one perk to being a small business. It often comes more naturally and requires less red tape.
6. Build A Following.
This is achieved through three key steps.
- Build relevant and creative content. Give your audience a reason to want more.
- Post on a consistent schedule. Maintaining an active presence is absolutely key to building and KEEPING a following.
- Post a consistent message. Whatever your content, ensure that you maintain a consistent brand message and meet the expectations of your followers. If you are plastics manufacturer, do not suddenly post LOLCATZ. You can change things up every now and again to keep it interesting – but always keep it relevant.
Keeping an active presence will ensure you build and retain your following. The value here is three fold:
- It allows for quicker spotting of unhappy customers – which you then will engage.
- It allows for more thoroughly spread updates to your audience.
- “Viral Spread” – The more people are talking about your brand, the more are people hearing about your brand. The bigger your following, the quicker your content will be shared en mass.
7. Know Your Lingo!
Make sure you know how and what to communicate on Twitter. Here is a quick beginners breakdown:
- Tweet: A message of 140 characters or less.
- Retweet (RT): A reposting or sharing of someones else’s tweet.
- @johndoe: The means by which you directly address another Twitter user within your tweet.
- #Hashtag: Placing the hashtag (#) in front of any word or sentence turns it into a search reference for the Twitter search engine. It can also be used to accentuate the point behind your tweet.
- “Via”: Source or author of the content being shared.
- OH: Overheard. The means by which you share a rumour or story.
- #FF: The Hashtag (search reference) for Follow Friday. The means by which you share people you follow with your followers, “paying it forward” if you will.
Search Engine Optimization is fairly easy to utilize on Twitter. First of all make a list of industry relevant key words. Implement them into your Twitter handle, your profile description and as often as possibly into your tweets. This will ensure that these key words are being associated by search engines, with your Twitter efforts (Further Info Here:)
9. Measure, Measure, Measure.
Hurrah! You have begun tweeting, you have followers! What does that mean? How do you measure the value? There are a number of tools to helop you do this. Consider Social media tools likeTweetdeck and Hootsuite. Both are easy to learn, easy to use, and can be downloaded free (Hootsuite also has a paid service).
You may also want to investigate Klout.com which can link into all of your Social Media efforts and using a series of algorithms and measurements, provide you with an “influence” score between 1 and 100.
Small business owners face many challenges, the world of Social Media has, in effect, provided us with a wide array of tools – free tools – to engage and build our brand. By utilizing platforms like Twitter small business owners can engage and develop their client base.
Use Twitter to build your brands association with expertise and service. Dialogue with your customers one on one and as a group. Broadcast your small business and brand and you will not be disappointed.