Using Twitter to meet your Business Goals
What is Twitter?
Twitter is what’s known as a micro-blogging platform, which means that it allows people to broadcast or blog in short messages, in this case just 140 characters, the ubiquitous 140 characters that gave birth to a thousand newspaper headlines. For this reason and many others, not least of which its overwhelming growth rate, you would be forgiven for believing that Twitter was simply a storm in a teacup. It may well prove to be, but right now and for the foreseeable future, Twitter is important enough not to be ignored by any vigilant marketer.
Twitter has many positives that are present in a good deal of social media channels – it is simple, viral, accessible and mobile, but it also has some pretty unique plus points too. Some of the major benefits of using Twitter can be seen below:
- Not reciprocal. Unlike Facebook you do not have to be mutual Friends to be allowed access to one another’s content on Twitter. You can Follow someone on Twitter who does not Follow you back, and vice versa, this means that everyone’s Timeline is completely relevant to them as only tweets from people they wish to follow are displayed.
- Knowledge/Interest focused. The people that get the most out of Twitter use it as access to smart people 24/7. Or if not smart, then interesting and knowledgeable about topics that interest them or where there is shared passion. The fact that Twitter creates networks of people with mutual interest and value is one of its most useful traits.
- Real Time. Although many other platforms could be described as instant, none have been used to capture breaking or real time news and developments in the way that Twitter has. It has been used to cover conferences, natural disasters, find missing children, reveal oppression and report acts of terrorism.
- Aggregates around Topic. Twitter can show you all the tweets from a certain person but most people use it instead to sort by topic or event. Tweets are categorised by keywords or hashtags, which look like this ‘#trend’ and when a certain level of volume is reached they become trending topics, alerting people to the most talked about topics in their area at any time.
If you haven’t yet considered entering the Twittersphere with your business then words like Twittersphere are probably enough to put you off for good. But don’t be alarmed, there can in fact be a very strategic outcome when Twitter meets business and we can help you uncover it.
Much as when deciding to launch a Facebook Page, or with any new investment of time or money, be rational and focused about what you want to achieve with a Twitter profile. The first step can be understanding what it is about you or your business that offers you a unique perspective or opportunity to communicate that would be of interest to your customers or prospects. Given the benefits of using Twitter that we discussed earlier, do you get the chance to do anything that would allow you to leverage one of Twitter’s key selling points? For example, do you:
- Get to attend interesting conferences?
- Trial new products?
- Meet interesting people?
- Have specific knowledge, either personally or within your business?
Below are some examples , big and small, of how other businesses have chosen to focus their Twitter energy:Mashable: Mashable report breaking social media, technical and digital news and analysis. The @mashable Twitter account is used to drive traffic to the mashable web site where tech stories and reviews are shown in full and where interaction and sharing are paramount. Chevrolet: the car brand in Europe uses their @chevroletevents Twitter account only from the big European automotive events, such as racing and Motorshows that they get to attend, in order to give Followers behind-the-scenes- coverage and promote their activity. Best Buy: A great example of mobilising your workforce in order to make excellent customer service everyone’s business, the Best Buy @twelpforce are always on hand to help with any technical questions about Best Buy products.
How to build a Twitter Following
So once you have decided what your strategy should be, where to start? Well there are a few basics to get in place first, such as a profile picture, a Bio (a description of your business/how you will use your new Twitter account- a challenge in 140 characters!), a background image and your first Tweets. Remember you don’t want to start following people, only for them to go and check you out and land in the desert of your virgin Twitter account, devoid of pictures, context or your twitterings.
Get those basics sorted first, we can help you, and then start by being altruistic. Social media and Twitter in particular, is about give and take, but it normally starts with you giving. Follow first. Listen to conversations. If you can be genuinely useful, join in. If people are interesting and fit with the goals of your Twitter strategy, #FF them (this hashtag stands for Follow Friday and is a Twitter convention – people take the time to be giving on a Friday and recommend some of their favourite Twitterers to their other followers on a Friday!).
If you like someone’s tweet, you can re-tweet it to your followers, answer people’s questions, find your customers, colleagues and industry peers online and check them out, follow them if you think they are valuable, and finally, give up the goods. If you have interesting content, opinions, events you are attending, photos, reviews and news (which is why you are here in the first place) tweet and share. The rest is all organic, baby.
If you need any help getting started, creating a Twitter account or defining an ongoing Twitter strategy, just contact us at Gritt, we’d be happy to help.