Twitter is a funny tool that can seem irrelevant to small business. Is it just Britney and Ashton that can make it work? And does it really work for them?
There is a place for Twitter in your small business or charity, however it needs to be one plank in your overall communications strategy. Unless you are a major celebrity or a well known brand – Twitter is unlikely to be a silver bullet, if that is what you are looking for. You need to find the right tone, the right people and then use it wisely. Like most social media platforms, Twitter requires a long term strategy. It is not a short term revenue generating tool.
When used effectively Twitter can give your business access to thousands of people who want to hear what you and your business have to say. People on Twitter can search under terms they are interested in and providing you follow a few simple guidelines, you will come up in those searches (we will cover this in a future blog). Twitter posts also come up in Google and other search engines, so if you use your keywords wisely, you can be accessed by many people who may not otherwise come into contact with your business.
Here are our Top 3 Tips for using Twitter in your small business or charity to generate a positive result:
1. Twitter is about social connection – not direct marketing. When you Tweet make it personal, make it relevant and make sure that it is something that people will want to share, question or comment on. This is the key to ensuring that your post is read and has a wider reach than just those on your own follower list. If you have a special offer – then of course share it – but make sure it is a small part of an overall ‘value add’ communications approach. Through building trust, credibility and connection – your direct marketing approaches will be received in a very different way than if you constantly push out your sales agenda through Twitter. And…… avoid automated functions like auto follow and messages when someone follows you. Twitter needs to be hand fed! At Social Mediology we have been guilty of not doing this. There are times that we are so focused on our clients social media that we neglect our own and connect a couple of platforms to feed each other. Our experience is that when we do this – the conversation stops, the click throughs dry up and people stop sharing our stuff.
2. Engage staff – One way to increase your Twitter following and lighten the Twitter load for your business is to engage your staff. You want to have a clear policy around this and if your staff are already Twitter users and post their weekend shenanigans, you may want your staff to create a business profile as well. That way they are not writing about your business or charity in amongst their social life! One way to generate conversation is to have your staff Tweet about what they are working on (that is relevant to your customers) and have the business account comment on your staff’s activities. By mentioning eachother – you invite others to participate in the conversation.
3. Post for Re-Tweeting – Now that you have killer content and your staff are engaged you want to make sure that people share your message. Use short urls (we use bitly.com for their great reports!). Leave at least 15 characters as space for their Twitter handle and/or comment – otherwise your message may get cut or they just won’t share because they have to figure out how to shorten the Tweet. And don’t ask to be re-tweeted. If your post is good, people will want to do it on their own (and it feels more special when you see that they have!)
In future blogs we will focus on more fine tuning, but these 3 tips should get you started in the right direction. Got any questions about Twitter or future blogs?