The question of whether or not you should use Twitter to market your business has been answered and it is an emphatic, Yes! While this isn’t necessarily a definite call-to-action for you to begin using Twitter to promote your business, it does mean that you should consider it.
Earlier this year, Twitter announced that it had reached 500 million accounts worldwide, and 140 million accounts in the U.S. alone. Of course there has been some debate as to how many of those accounts are actively used by real people. But, the fact remains that even if only a fraction of those accounts represent real and active users, Twitter is one of the most effective social media outlets in existence to reach potential customers. And, even better still, it’s completely free.
All of this sounds wonderful, of course. And there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from opening a new tab in your browser right this second, signing up for an account, and starting to tweet away. But before you do, we recommend you do a little homework on proper Twitter business etiquette. And, you can start right now by reading the following best practices.
5 Do’s and Don’ts of Twitter Business Etiquette
- Pick a Twitter name (or handle) that both represents your company and is easy for users to remember. While you may not be able to create an account that is a complete replication of your business name, you should create one that draws attention to your brand. Do not use an incredibly long name, use a name with confusing abbreviations, or one that is completely irrelevant to your core business.
- Control your Twitter account just as you would any other marketing tool. Twitter is a social network and it is a good way to connect with customers and potential customers on a level that is more personal than a typical marketing campaign. Connecting to customers in this way can be very positive and can allow them to interact with your business in a way that is not possible through traditional media. However, it can also be very negative if you are not careful about the content you post.In short, the good thing about using Twitter to promote your business is that your message can be seen and heard by millions of people around the world in seconds. But, to ensure that message is a positive one, you must guard your businesses reputation by controlling who posts what, and when they post it. Therefore, as with all marketing campaigns having a good internal hierarchy for who controls your businesses Twitter posts is highly recommended.
- Keep it simple and don’t be arrogant. Keeping is simple is almost a given when using Twitter. After all, you are only allowed 140 characters per post to get your point across. But, there is more to keeping it simple than meets the eye, such as keeping the overall number of posts to a minimum and not overwhelming your followers with useless information.As a general rule of thumb, you want to keep your businesses Twitter account from collecting dust. However, you do not want to post so often that your followers begin to ignore you. This can be a delicate balance, but experts agree that posting between 5 and 10 updates per week will create positive user engagement. By posting less than that, you run the risk of under engaging your followers. Post too often and you will over engage them and they will begin to ignore your message.As for arrogance, do not to post solely about yourself or your business. Twitter is about engaging your followers on behalf of your business, not just promoting your business commercially. So, rather than only tweeting about business promotions or sales, tweet interesting articles or materials that relate to the business as a whole. For example, if you are a bug exterminator, you may tweet a link to an article about a surge in common bedbugs that suggests what steps people should take if they find them.Finding a good balance between promoting your business and simply interacting with your customers will help you maintain a healthy relationship with your followers.
- Interact, interact, interact. Twitter is about interaction. If you are not interacting with your followers they can quickly become disinterested. In general, if someone sends you a tweet you should try and respond. This doesn’t mean you should respond to every single tweet you receive. But, Twitter is a tool that can be used to directly connect to real and potential customers. So, if you have the opportunity to interact with them, you should seize that opportunity as often and as positively as you can. This will help build good customer relationships and can help drive new customers to your business.Posting comments that engage followers by asking them some type of question is a common practice to help build customer interaction. For example, if you own a burger restaurant, you may say, “We’re looking to add a new burger to our menu and we need ideas. What is your favorite weird burger condiment?
- Don’t blow it! Twitter is not the place for your business to host public arguments. Posting negative comments via Twitter can have an immediate effect on your business’s reputation. And, the last thing you want to do is to draw negative attention to your business. Have a plan for what to do when and if any negative comments begin to arrive and try to move those comments offline as quickly as possible in order to address them properly through the proper channels (i.e. phone, email, etc…).
Twitter can be an incredibly productive way to promote your business. And, it can allow you to connect to customers in a way that is simply not possible through any other promotional means. But, in order to be successful, you must ensure that those interactions are good ones and net in a positive experience for both you and your customers. So, before you create an account and start tweeting the world, doing a little homework and putting some thought behind the process will go a long way towards making your Twitter endeavor a successful one.