Many small business owners jump into Twitter with both feet, tweet for 2-5 days and give up.
“What’s the point?”
Is what most ask, as they close their browser window and never look back. Their poor little naked egg profile photo left to rot in cyberspace.
The point is an important one: your expectations must be aligned with the platform.
Knowing what Twitter is most useful for in relation to your business, is probably the most important thing to understand before you get started on your way to “success” in the twittersphere.
I use the term “success” in reference to Twitter loosely because success isn’t as measurable as some other mediums of internet marketing. Success on Twitter comes often times in the form of engagement and customer relations first, with sales as a secondary benefit of these things.
To start, it’s important to understand what Twitter is and what it’s not:
What Twitter is not:
- A means to instant wealth or quick and easy sales
- A place to talk exclusively about yourself, your products or your business
- A social network where everyone that follows you will instantly love you and buy your stuff
- A place to sign up for an account and never pay attention to it
What Twitter is:
- A place to interact and share with customers and people you would like to have as customers
- A great place to follow industry trends, get fresh ideas and keep up with the latest from your industry favs.
- A social network that requires a bit of thought go into each Tweet
- Where you can grow a following of people over time that actually pay attention to you
Knowing those concepts from the get-go, will help you from feeling deflated when you don’t instantly get a stream of people making a bee-line for your cash register. Knowing how to apply those concepts to your business will require a bit of planning and thought. But, lucky for you, this article is here to help you brainstorm!
Consider your customer’s and prospect’s interests
First things first; Let’s think about your customers. I mean literally — think about yourself as your own customer. Now, think about the things related to your business that you, as a customer or prospect might find interesting, useful or helpful. In everything you tweet, think of your customers and prospects first. Not everyone that will follow you will actually fit into one of these categories, but these are the people you want to talk to and get more like them to follow you.
Sharing is caring
Go to websites you enjoy that regularly produce this type of content and sign up for the RSS feeds or email updates. Set aside some time each day to go through the latest content from these websites and share things that you’ve found that your audience might find interesting in some way. Also, retweet interesting tweets from those you follow. Some of the most successful businesses on Twitter spend much of their time sharing content that they didn’t create, and they do it because they know their followers enjoy it.
It’s okay to be yourself
Don’t be afraid to speak as yourself – the human with a face and personality behind the business. Whether you are a business owner or a social media manager, it’s okay to be human and add a personal touch to your tweets. Just avoid getting too emotional or over the top with tweets. Remember that you are representing a business and while you should be personable and friendly, you should also be professional.
Ignore followers at your own risk
It’s important to make sure that you are present to engage with people when they reach out. People follow your brand for one or several reasons, but leading that list of reasons is the ability to interact in real time with the business. Mainly, people follow a business to ask questions, get help, hear the latest news and find out things about you that they couldn’t have elsewhere.
Ignoring people when they need help is the equivalent of ignoring a potential customer when they walk in your store or call you on the phone. People who are reaching out to ask questions before buying are usually ready to buy. Don’t ignore them!
People with a customer service question or even a complaint are far less likely to leave negative reviews online if you make it easy on them to resolve the problem or answer the question. This makes for loyal future customers – So don’t ignore them either!
The lifespan of a tweet is pretty darn short and unlike other social networks, posting something more than once is okay. However, be sure not to leave a string of the same tweet over and over on your profile. If you are going to be tweeting an offer throughout the day or week, make sure that you tweet other things in between each of your deal tweets. This will ensure that when a person visits your profile, it doesn’t appear as though all you do is tweet the same ‘ol thing over and over. This will deter new followers in a hurry.
Mix it up a little
Try and share different types of content – blog posts, photos you take, photos others have taken, your own observations and thoughts, news, events, etc. Your followers won’t fit into a one-size-fits-all mold, so it’s impossible to interest every follower with every tweet – even after you’ve thought long and hard about your followers interests.
Tweet exclusive offers
With all of this Tweeting and sharing of other people’s stuff, its okay to share some things of your own! Think up offers on a regular basis that will add value to your existence on Twitter. Followers will appreciate exclusive offers and giving them something they can’t get elsewhere via your website or other social sites will keep followers interested in what you have to say.
Don’t sign up without a plan
This is perhaps the most important concept. It’s so important that you plan how you will use Twitter before signing up to represent your business. More often than not, small businesses don’t have time or the staff to devote to using Twitter in a way that followers would appreciate and it actually ends up hurting your brand more than it ever helped.
Even if your plan is a simple one that just uses the concepts included here, you are going to be far better off than having no plan at all. Your followers will thank you for it and your business will see the benefits over time of having an audience that knows they can reach out to you on Twitter and get an answer.
Twitter users are much more likely to purchase from a business that follows through and answers their questions when they have them. So what are you waiting for? See you on Twitter! 🙂