An integral part of this constantly-connected world, social media enables users to instantly communicate a message to a vast audience all over the world. While the term “social media” may not sound exactly applicable to business, such platforms actually provide a unique venue for companies to communicate in real-time, not only with their customers, but a potentially wider audience – and a modern and savvy company will benefit from employing some form of social media along with other conventional marketing techniques
Every Company Needs a Twitter Account!
Twitter is an extremely popular social media platform that allows users to create a short, concise message (with an imposed limit of just 140 characters per message, called a “tweet”), and instantly send it into cyber space for all to see. Catered to the increasingly short attention span of the general public, Twitter is often used as a personal social tool by many average citizens and also by celebrities (of all statures) to capture the moment or spread their word. Beyond this, Twitter has also proved to be an increasingly useful marketing tool for businesses of all types and sizes to spread their name, promote their brand, and communicate with their (current and prospective) customer base.
Some statistics on Twitter usage*:
- 271 million monthly active users
- 500 million Tweets are sent per day
- 78% of Twitter active users are on mobile
- Twitter supports 35+ languages
With such astounding stats, it almost goes without saying that every company – no matter how big or small – should seriously consider launching a Twitter account alongside their current marketing efforts. As a free option that takes very little work to maintain, Twitter is as viable for mom-and-pop stores to implement as it is for huge organizations such as Dell Computers and McDonald’s. Easy to use and much less work to manage than a website or Facebook page, Twitter provides a real-time connection to a wide audience, allowing users to quickly transmit a message with just a couple minutes of typing and a few clicks of the mouse.
All businesses will ultimately use Twitter to enhance their brand, even in the most subtle way, and they do so in countless ways:
- to provide customer service, support, advice (as does Comcast, https://twitter.com/ComcastCares)
- to launch and sell products (as does Dell Computers, https://twitter.com/DellOutlet)
- to offer previews or sneak peeks of upcoming products
- to promote upcoming events, holidays, cultural gatherings, charitable endeavors
- to engage customers through shared interests, mutual concerns
- to communicate with clients/audience in times of urgency
- to provide clients with important updates, measures to take, procedures to follow
- to offer special incentives, offers, and deals
Twitter: A Connection Clients, Associates, The Public
Via Twitter, businesses can create a reciprocal relationship with both their customers and business associates. If your customers and associates follow you, follow them back. If they aren’t following you yet, and you find that they have a Twitter account, still follow them, to encourage them to follow you back. With this notion of reciprocity, Twitter provides an opportunity to get to know your audience/client base and understand their interests and issues, therefore enabling you to communicate them in a more beneficial and informative manner.
Research from @Nielsen (https://twitter.com/Nielsen) on why people follow brands on Twitter:
- 55% follow a brand because they love it
- 52% to be notified of special offers/promotions
- 51% to stay up to date with brand news
- 44% do so to be kept informed about new products and services
- only 38% are current customers of the brands they follow
- 38% to take part in competitions
- 34% because they tweet interesting/entertaining content
- 33% expects freebies
- 30% hope to get access to exclusive content
- 27% to give brand feedback
With so many different motivations for visiting Twitter, tweeting for your company really doesn’t need to be about blatant self-promotion – merely establishing a positive presence and tweeting about the right things can be enough to show how great your company is, without you ever having to say it! The best Twitter topics simply offer practical solutions to everyday problems, providing businesses with a great opportunity to impress their audience. If a company is known for its green endeavors, then its Twitter account might be dedicated to offering green tips; if a company offers computer repairs, then its Twitter account might offer helpful tips and support.
Developing a Twitter Image & Game Plan
It’s important to develop a Twitter content strategy to follow, managing your topics and scheduling your tweets – stats show 3 to 5 tweets per day (as appropriate) to be sufficient. When writing your own tweets, be real, authentic, timely, relevant, genuine, and provide quality, useful information. Engage the audience through mutual interests, causes, and of course, your amazing products and services, and include links, images, and videos to enhance interest and encourage retweets. When you choose to “retweet” another’s message, ensure that the message is still relevant to your audience. To encourage re-tweets of your messages, entice your customers with exclusive Twitter offers or provide them with reward incentives.
Establish a Twitter presence that clearly reflects your company and brand, creating a custom background and selecting images that are easily associated with your business for both your profile picture and cover photo. Your website, Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, should all employ the same basic concept, reflecting the company/brand in a similar way. Consider which images and logo(s) that you are using in other marketing efforts, uniting all of your marketing and social media efforts wherever possible. Cross-promotion through each avenue of communication maximizes your potential reach. Integrate your marketing efforts (Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, emails, Instagram, newsletters, blogs), and include your Twitter handle (and other ways of reaching your company) wherever appropriate:
- Your website (with a link)
- Your email signature (with a link)
- Your email newsletter (with a link)
- Your business cards
- Signs posted in your business
- Paperwork you give customers (receipts, invoices, statements, etc.)
- Menus and product information sheets
- All marketing literature
Twitter is an ever-increasing venue for businesses to effectively communicate with customers, associates, and the general public, but Twitter cannot, and almost certainly, will not replace conventional communications or marketing techniques. With so many ways to communicate with the world-at-large, most companies will employ a few different marketing efforts, and Twitter is a highly recommended, easy-to-implement addition to any well-rounded marketing plan.