Twitter is a fantastic medium with which to expand the social reach of your business network, manage your company or brand’s reputation and interact with customers. With more than 200 million users around the world, every business- large or small- has the potential to access a global audience.
While we’ve all read articles on ‘when social media goes wrong’ (and admittedly, these social media horror stories do make good reading), there are also many success stories out there that show social media really can enhance the reach of small businesses. Gone are the days when Twitter, Facebook and the rest could be dismissed by stating the belief that “it’s just for kids”, social media has a real-world impact. Maintaining a presence on social media and knowing the best ways to use your chosen platforms will undoubtedly benefit your business in the long run.
Resources such as this site here (Twiends…!) can be a fantastic way to grow your online following, but there is more to becoming a Twitter master than just having a healthy number of followers.
Do you find you have a high turn-over of followers and that many don’t hang around for long than a day or two?. What you need is some advice and guidance. So without further delay, here are five simple rules of thumb that will see your Twitter following grow and your business potential soar.
1. Engage 80%, Market 20%
If you use Twitter entirely to promote your business to your followers, they will get fed up and may unfollow. Decide on a company tone of voice and stick to it. If it is suitable to your business, engage with followers in a light hearted and humorous way, if the nature of your trade requires a more po-faced and serious approach, do that- but be consistent. A good rule to stick to is to share opinions, useful links and engage followers 80% of the time while using the other 20% to talk about promotions at your business, new products or services on offer; this is where the main marketing stand of your tactic will come into play. Remember with this ratio you can still tweet often, maybe a few times a day, varying the content each time, but keep the balance away from sales. That unfollow button is very easy to click.
2. Reply to tweets
To engage with your customers it is really important to respond to any user that mentions you in a post, whether they follow your account or not. This means that you should log on regularly to check for feedback or setup email alerts so you are notified whenever your @-handle is mentioned. Things move very fast in the world of social networking, so be prompt and courteous with your responses, especially if the feedback is negative. Social media management tools like HootSuite and Tweetdeck enable you to schedule tweets throughout the day to free up time, but always make sure you reply to any mentions in person- automated replies are cold, impersonal and likely to lose you followers.
3. Save keyword searches
Occasionally a Twitter user may have something to say about your company but forget to (or choose not to) mention your company’s Twitter handle in their tweet. What then?
With a saved search of your company name spelt as it usually is (that means minus the @), you can keep tabs on every single mention your business gets. The official Twitter client enables you to save searches, while Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and similar management tools enable you to keep a live stream of your search open constantly. Simple!
4. Use hashtags to grow your reach
Keep up to date with any developments that are relevant to your industry by tracking hashtags. This is a great way to organise your Twitter feed, keep tabs on all the latest updates and find followers that are relevant to your industry. A little research should turn up a selection of oft-used hashtags that are relevant to your business and followers.
5. Create your own hashtag
Once you have built a steady following, you can test your reach by running a competition through Twitter, using a specially-designated hashtag. By asking followers to tweet using your hashtag to win a prize, it is possible to witness the power of social media for yourself as your saved search begins stacking up with tweets containing your hashtag.
Twitter can be a wonderful tool for reaching new customers and turning them into loyal ones. Never before have so many effective marketing tools been so freely available.
By taking the time to think about and develop a plan on how your business uses Twitter, you may find that your @-replies and mentions increase, along with your website traffic. It may happen slowly at first, but as you become established as a useful and authoritative account, the rewards will become evident.