This is the second in a four-part series that will offer a brief look into the basics of social networks for businesses. Think it’s time for your business to make the leap onto Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or YouTube but not sure where to start? Read on.
Why does my business need a Twitter page?
There are many reasons for your company to join Twitter, including connecting with clients and partners, increasing brand awareness, rewarding customer loyalty and strengthening your crisis management capabilities.
But — and this is a very big but — don’t expect to join Twitter and immediately reap its benefits. You must strategically utilize this tool for your company to increase its social presence.
How do I get started?
Intimidated by Twitter? No idea what “hashtag” or “retweet” mean? Fear not. We’ve got the perfect guide for you:
1) Choose a @username, photo and bio that reflect your company’s identity.
Blame it on Mom, but when it comes to Twitter, people seldom follow strangers — even those with candy. Your account should reflect who you are and what you do, so that existing customers will easily recognize you, and prospects will get a general idea of what you’re all about.
First, choose a username that represents your company — the simpler, the better. Next, you should complete your Twitter bio so that it includes who you are and what you do. You should also include what you will post about. Is this account intended for customer service inquiries? News from and about your company? Special deals and discounts?
Finally, upload a photo. Keep your photo visually appealing and simple — it will appear as a small thumbnail in your followers’ timelines. Your best bet is to stick with your company’s logo.
2) Choose 3 to 5 topics to talk about … and stay on message.
Determine the issues and topics that your organization has expertise on. Keep your content focused on these topics so that followers know what to expect from you. Doing this will help you to build a more focused and engaged group of followers.
3) Join the conversation—identify users who are already discussing the issues you care about.
Twitter is a conversation tool. The best way to join the conversation is to follow others who are already speaking about the topics you plan to focus on. It’s also a great way to get new followers, since many accounts will return the favor and follow you back. However, it’s important that you are strategic — don’t just follow anyone. Find users who share similar interests by searching for certain keywords or conversation topics on Twitter or using a tool such as Mentionmapp. Once you start following these users, take time to read their tweets in order to learn how they communicate and interact via Twitter. Who are the thought leaders? Who are the influencers?
4) Monitor what others are saying about your company, industry, etc.
On Twitter, how you listen is often more important than what you say. In the Twitterverse, it’s vital that you monitor what others are saying about your organization, your products and your industry. I recommend using a tool such as HootSuite to monitor these conversations, as well as specific hashtags and keywords that are relevant to your company and industry.
5) Start tweeting.
Now that you’ve done the prep work, you’re ready to start posting. At first, it may seem as if no one is really interested in what you’re sharing, but keep at it. Keep generating thought-provoking, interesting content, and people will eventually start to follow (and look forward to) what you’re posting.
6) Interact with other users.
To be an active part of any conversation on Twitter, you must listen (monitor) and then, when appropriate, respond. Following users is important, but you must engage with these users. Don’t be shy!
- The most common way to interact with others on Twitter is to @reply to their tweets. By putting the @ symbol in front of a user’s handle, you tag that user in your tweet. This can be done to give him or her credit for information or to directly (but publicly) address another user. The user gets notified that you mentioned him or her and can @reply back to you to keep the conversation going.
- You can also interact with other users by retweeting their posts. This means that you share another user’s tweet with your followers. You can retweet in two ways — by simply sharing the tweet or by quoting the tweet and adding your own comment.
- Mind your manners. Be sure to thank followers when they retweet you, link to your content or speak about one of your products. Strive to be civil and gracious at all times.
7) Be patient.
Twitter is a valuable tool for your company, but it can also be fun! Keep these steps in mind and remember to be patient. If you have interesting ideas to share, the Twitterverse will notice. Remember the wise words of Dory from Finding Nemo and just keep swimming — or tweeting.
Interested in learning more about the role social media could play in your business? Give Matt Ferraguto, our Client Services Director, a call at 919-858-6914 or shoot us an email. We’d love to have a conversation with you.