Many executives ask us if Twitter has a place in their business. As with most tools and strategies, one size does not fit all. It is easy to get cynical about a channel primarily used by celebrities (and worse, teenage non-celebrities) to vent or share trivial life details. If you can look deeper, you will find Twitter is what you make of it by who you follow and how you use it. Here are a few ideas to help your business make the most of Twitter.
If some marketing upstart talked their embarrassed executive into it, follow the competition and get their latest news, even on the go. You can create a folder of followers called “Competition” to cut down on the information overload that sometimes is Twitter. You can even get text type alerts if you really want to know ASAP. Alternatively, assign monitoring duties to staff and have them filter down the information to share the most important content with you.
Likewise, follow clients or potential clients; you can jot them a note of congratulations, sympathy, or whatever is appropriate as you stay connected with their world, efficiently. It's like the world’s largest water cooler.
Many recent events emerged first via a mobile phone and a tweet instead of traditional news sources. The tweets spread - fast; this is particularly important if your business, or one you know, is mentioned.
You can follow anyone and some percentage of them will likely follow you back. If your target audience is school districts, go follow every one of them on Twitter. If 10% follow you back and see your messaging, it could yield future results. To go a step further, unlike the email lists of old where the subscribers were a big secret, you can look at your competition and see their followers and follow all of them. A portion will follow you back. Yes, you are riding on the coat tails of their hard work and someone else will do it to you, but it works and can give you a boost when getting started.
Thinking big picture, remember all of the work doesn’t have to rest squarely on your shoulders. Leave the strategic planning and content construction to your lead strategists. Allow the intern to research and follow appropriate customers.
Sometimes Twitter feels like ‘experts’ just talking to each other instead of engaging current and potential customers. And, touché. But another large group of users on Twitter are reporters looking for stories to fill the 24 news cycle. We can credit several clients getting TV coverage to a simple tweet (after we took the time to follow the reporters on Twitter and they followed us back, of course).
Creating content is the hard part. Now you want to distribute it on as many channels as possible. Some audiences have a preference for where they listen, and many rely on Twitter. It doesn't take that much effort to package up a link to your new content on Twitter and get some additional eyeballs on it. Remember, then it’s easy for those people to share with their audience.
If you have a brand people can get especially passionate about, you should be a part of the conversation. At the very least, you should be listening to what they are saying on Twitter even if you choose not to react. With this power comes some responsibility to respond, and while it can seem overwhelming, the pros outweigh the cons of being a connected brand.
This could be a subset of the community idea above but worth mentioning separately. Many consumers will jump on Twitter if they are having a problem. They will look to you or fellow followers for answers. Rather than answering the same question 100 times on the phone, answer it once here and save some time for you and your fretting consumer. It’s easy to put a short comment or link to a video that solves their issue. They may share it; again, this saves you even more time and lets your community help themselves.
We have discussed why your business should be on Twitter. What about you, the person who runs the company? If you are the face of your company, or one of them, Twitter can certainly be a way to humanize the ivory tower CEO of old. It allows you to give your brand a personal feel by how you post, by the occasional response to a fan and so on. Again, no one strategy fits all but something to consider in building your personal brand.
Okay, that may not be every reason to use it and not all may be applicable to you, but hopefully at least one or two can be put to use in your organization and you can be less #embarrassed the next time someone sees you tweeting away.