Through the evolution of technology, the way in which businesses communicate with their customers has consequently had to change also. Access to smart phone technology means consumers are now able to find out about anything, practically anywhere, at any time.
Furthermore, the explosion of social media has led to consumers spending more time online, proactively seeking information and discussing products and services with others. In short, greater consumer sophistication and fragmentation of society continues to have a diminishing effect on the impact of traditional marketing communications. The playing field has indeed changed.
To stay relevant to your customer this change must be embraced. Whereas businesses before primarily went about forcibly bombarding messages to consumers via advertising, they must now adapt to the social media way of doing things – by actively encouraging, participating in and managing discussions with their customers.
Capable of doing this, Twitter is, if used correctly, a powerful marketing communications tool available to any business. Communicating with users publicly offers the following marketing opportunities to businesses:
- Brand building and personification
- Relationship marketing
- Customer service and support
- PR tool to facilitate relationships with the media, journalists, bloggers, opinion leaders
- Promoting other business content such as blogs, video, podcasts posted elsewhere
- Stimulating interest surrounding activities
- Measurement and tracking of discussions regarding brand, product, service
- Generating sales leads
Below are some Twitter guidelines which any business should keep in mind:
- Keep it in perspective
Thinking about the perspective from which tweets are written will, or ideally should, determine the type of account that is used. Business accounts should focus on keeping users informed of products and services, events, press coverage, relevant news and provide customer service and support information.
- Brand/personalise your account
The company’s brand name and logo should be used for the Twitter handle (username) and avatar for obvious reasons. Just as you would for your products and services, your Twitter account represents your company online therefore branding of the account is essential. This should include changing the twitter background image of the page, and completing all fields in the profile page with company information such as the company website URL, and a bio (limited to 160 characters) of the company, its products, services, slogan and so on.
- To tweet or not to tweet?
What to tweet about varies greatly, and as already mentioned the type of account or ‘persona’ you have setup should be reflected in the messages. Most tweets are that of personal observations, referencing to content, plans, conversations, and ‘retweeting’ (or rather, the relaying of tweets from other users).
- Be the thought leader
It is critical that the tweets posted hold some value, since if what you’re saying is not interesting, why would anyone want to hear it? Make sure your tweets contain useful information and relevant tips, linking to either your own content or that of a third party. This will help you be regarded and respected as a thought leader in your particular industry.
- It’s all public
All tweets on Twitter are publicly visible therefore care should be taken when writing. Keep it professional.
- Engage and follow to get followed
To attract a following, or rather the number of users who subscribe to your tweets, you must invest time and effort in deciding who else to follow. Following other users, building networks and taking part in conversations are what Twitter is all about and can be enjoyable and valuable. Twitter’s “Who to Follow” feature and search engine can assist with this. An easy way to encourage users to follow you back is to initiate or participate in conversations with them on topics they have posted. Additionally by connecting with industry-relevant journalists, bloggers, opinion-leaders, on Twitter will allow your company to acquaint themselves with the press.
- Promote content to drive traffic
Promoting new content published on your company website via Twitter is an easy way of keeping your followers up to date about you. This might include an interesting article, newly launched product, or an event etc. Furthermore this allows the possibility for followers to spark a conversation regarding your tweet/content and to further re-tweet to their followers, thus increasing the reach of your initial tweet.
- Brand Monitoring
Keep track of what people are saying about your company and its products/ services, using the search tool provided by Twitter. This will provide an insight into real-time perceptions, as well as allow responses to be made.
- Make it easy
Advertise and integrate your Twitter page on your website, blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube channel and any other affiliated site, to enable users to easily follow you.
Checking the effectiveness of your presence on Twitter and how it is affecting your business is vital. Number of followers (reach), tweet response rates, number of company/products/service mentions in tweets (awareness), and website traffic generated from Twitter page are useful indicators to start with.