Twitter has been around since 2006, and started out as a simple text messaging service that allowed small groups to easily communicate. Since 2006, it has grown globally to the point where there are now 974 million Twitter accounts, and while not everyone is active on the platform, it is still an important one for businesses. Like all social media, success is based on the right strategy. How can you use Twitter to benefit your business?
- Connections: You can connect with customers, potential clients, and others that are active in your niche. Twitter levels the playing field to an extent by making access to people that are influential much easier than it would otherwise be.
- Information: If you need to find something out about business or marketing, Twitter is a great place to look. Using #hashtags makes it simple to track information related to your business-- from new technology to competitive ideas and data.
- Branding: One of Twitter's best uses is for branding yourself and your business. Sure, you may only have a small business--but you are building brand recognition for FREE by the time you have a thousand followers.
- Feedback: Customers can provide instant feedback on Twitter, and do so in a public way. This allows you to capitalize on good feedback by sharing and retweeting, but better yet, allows you to "fix" any issues in the public eye as well. This is actually a great perk, as potential customers see how well you deal with problems.
- Customer Service: Twitter is many customer's platform of choice to contact a business when they need customer service. It is quick and easy, and it is to your benefit to quickly respond to them.
- Marketing: This is probably the reason you are most interested in, even though all the others mentioned already feed into it for sure. As we mentioned earlier, Twitter requires the proper marketing strategy.
Step one of your strategy should be identifying your target audience. Who do you need to market to? Local residents? All users of beauty products? Dental assistants or business owners? Obviously, knowing your target audience is key to seeking out those people on Twitter.
Step two is identifying the proper hashtags for your niche. The heart of Twitter is the #hashtag. It makes it easy to search for bits of information about anything or anyone. Hashtags help you to monitor your brand, your competitor's brands, and to engage people. These things are what allows you to hang around where your target audience does, and to build solid business relationships by having conversations.
There are many tools which can help identify the right hashtags to use, and Jay Baer did a great job of talking about them and how to use them in this post: http://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-strategy/how-to-identify-relevant-hashtags-for-your-business/. While his method is pretty in-depth, it will help you find out who the influencers are in your sphere, if you are new to it.
Of the tools Jay mentions, I really like Twitonomy. You can input your Twitter name, or anyone else's for that matter, and find out all sorts of data about it that is useful for marketing. The image at the left is a screenshot from Google's Matt Cutts Twitonomy report-- see all the useful information you can glean from it?
Step three is your content strategy. Content is one of the best ways to get your message out to the world. While you cannot impart a whole lot of information in just 140 characters, you can definitely utilize it to amplify your message from blog posts, and to share links to other relevant and value-added articles and visual content surrounding your niche. Think about micro-blogging when you are crafting content-- and be sure to have some Tweetable snippets in your blog posts--and use them like a boss! If you use WordPress for blogging, you can add Click to Tweet, a simple plug-in that makes it so simple to share those snippets.
Decide how often you want to tweet and the types of content that you feel will resonate with your audience, and then implement your plan. With Twitter, consistency is one of the most important things. Use a scheduling tool like Buffer or HootSuite to drip feed Tweets regularly.
Step four is to measure effectiveness of your plan, tweak it to fit best and repeat! The reports on Twitonomy are great for this-- as are TweetStats and Twitter Counter. Seriously, it's as simple as that. If you find that your audience loves visuals with awesome quotes-- post more of them, and figure out ways to incorporate your business messages into visuals as well.
If you go through these steps and give it a month, I am sure you will see phenomenal growth and engagement in your Twitter account. What is your favorite TwitterTip?