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Twitter for Business

Twitter for Business is Crucial

Image of Twitter for business

Twitter for Business

 

A key element in creating an online business is to use social media to your advantage. One crucial element in your social media toolbox is Twitter for business (http://business.twitter.com/basics/best-practices). By following the best practices procedures that Twitter lays out for you, the odds are stacked in your favor that your efforts will garner you a significant return on your investment. ROI is not always strictly direct sales either. Using Twitter for business to your advantage can often mean building a personable reputation online as you interact with your followers. If your company creates an approachable personality via its Twitter account, both customers and potential customers are far more likely to engage with you and purchase whatever product your online business is promoting. Engaging with your followers on Twitter does not mean tweeting out untold numbers of auto-posts or product data. Providing relevant and informative information to your network that they will find useful is crucial. Engaging with your audience by asking questions or offering polls will enable you to build a relationship and increase your following. Taking part in Twitter conversations that matter to your network will also help to solidify your business’ reputation online as approachable, informed, and engaged.

Use Twitter for Business Communication

One of best opportunities that Twitter provides is an immediate chance to respond directly to customer questions and complaints. By responding in a proactive way to help resolve customer issues, you cement your company’s reputation once again as an engaged firm that truly takes customer feedback seriously. When you are able to turn a potential problem into a selling point for your company, you not only save the initial customer relationship but you also leave a positive impression in the mind of anyone following your Twitter conversation. The old adage of two friends telling two friends definitely comes into play when Twitter is used as a means to resolve customer concerns and complaints successfully. The next time that your business’ name is mentioned in real life conversations, chances are good that your proactive approach to customer service will be mentioned in a positive light.

Lead Generation

Twitter is also a fantastic tool for lead generation for your company. By using Twitter’s search function, you can instantly find conversations that are relevant to your firm. When you search for hashtags that pertain to your business, you are able to respond directly to fellow Twitter users. Whether a Twitter user is tweeting about a product like yours that they are looking for or simply bringing up your type of business in conversation, being able to contribute to the conversation already in progress gets your foot in the door. Doing so in a tactful way that provides value to the Twitter user is extremely important. You do not want to appear as if you are forcefully thrusting your business card into the conversation. Whether you use humor or an informative link to add value, the key is to be helpful without being overbearing or intrusive. No matter what type of business you are in, taking advantage of Twitter’s search function is invaluable.

Analytics for Twitter

Twitter has recently announced a private beta testing of their web analytics tool (https://dev.twitter.com/blog/introducing-twitter-web-analytics), which will provide another valuable resource to users once it is rolled out to the public. Buzz is already swirling in the Twitterverse in regard to just how useful the analytical tool will be. From seeing which of your tweets are producing the most engagement to measuring the effectiveness of your Tweet buttons, the ability of analytics to assist you in tailoring your Twitter feed will be incredibly useful.

Growing your followers, and thus your potential customer base, is another element of Twitter that cannot be overlooked. Think of Twitter as a customer service tool and not as a marketing tool. If you keep that thought foremost in your mind, your customer engagement will reflect that attitude. By focusing on serving the needs of your customers/followers, you will grow your following in a very organic way. There are all sorts of ways to increase your following in non-organic ways (Twitter bots for example) but in order to attract followers of influence you want your network to be one of value and not just of numbers. You can have thousands of followers but if those followers are not engaging with you (and you with them) in a positive way, you are not taking full advantage of the opportunities of that relationship. A terrific way to grow your network in a natural way is to use prompts in many of your business actions. Encouraging anyone that interacts with your business to tweet about it is a wonderful way to grow your following through positive word of mouth. Add prompts to your invoices, place them in your email signatures, and even occasionally tweet them yourself. By encouraging word of mouth you once again advertise to anyone within view of the Twitter conversation that you are a company that takes its customer service relationships seriously. A network that is engaged and invested socially in the success of your business is likely to be profitable and persuasive.

 

New Twitter Features

All Aflutter with the New Twitter Features

For anyone that uses Twitter for business, it helps to stay up to date on all of the latest changes happening with the site. Recently, Twitter has made a number of extremely useful upgrades to their system that will allow you to get even more out of your social media exchanges with your followers. Being aware of these updates is the first step in being able to take full advantage of their ease of use.

Automatic Url Shortening

Many Twitter users in the past have had to resort to third party url shorteners like Bit.ly to shorten the length of the links that they tweet to their network. One of the recent upgrades made to the system is that there is now a shortener built right into the system that automatically shortens any link of more than 20 characters to Twitter’s T.co shortened url. No longer do you have to rely on a third party url shortener to get your message out to your followers.

Integration of Mentions and Retweets

Another handy upgrade that frequent Twitter users will enjoy is the integration of @mentions and retweets into a single @username tab. No longer will you have to toggle in between the retweet tab and the @mentions tab to find out who is retweeting your tweets or mentioning you in their timeline. This handy new addition to the system will also advise you of any new followers as well as advising you when someone favorites a post that you have tweeted. It is unclear yet if this upgrade will be part and parcel of the entire Twitter system or only on select accounts.

Share Images Directly from Twitter

Picture of the new Twitter Features including image sharing

Image Sharing with New Twitter Features

One of the most popular recent changes to the site is the implementation of image sharing without the assistance of a third party image sharing site like Twitpic. There is now a tiny camera icon built right into the window where you create your tweets. Simply click on the camera icon to upload your image of choice for your followers. While this upgrade may not have thrilled the third party image sharing sites, it is a real plus for most Twitter users.

Tweet “To” Option From Profile Pages

This useful new tool will allow you to instantly tweet directly to a Twitter user from their profile page rather than having to return to the home page. Simply click on the “tweet to” button while you are on a user’s profile page and your post will be tweeted directly to them.

Activity Tabs

The newly created activity tab will display retweets, favorites, and the follow activities of the people that you follow on Twitter. As a way of helping you to discover other interesting Twitter users to follow, the activity tab is expected to be a great addition to the site once it is rolled out to all accounts. The initial roll out reported to be only to select accounts and not system wide, but as with most social media site upgrades the popularity factor will definitely influence its full integration.

For the creators of Twitter, the focus has always been to create as enriching an experience as possible for their users. This recent blitz of upgrades goes a long way towards doing just that. The best way for you to get the most out of your Twitter time is to experiment with the many new features to see which options can best be utilized to help you grow your business. From tweeting images of your latest product release or ebook to tweeting links from like-minded individuals and companies you have discovered from your Activity tab, the opportunities to build your brand via Twitter will have you feeling like a kid in a candy store.

Twitter Automation

As with any form of social networking, Twitter works best when used on a personal level; however, they may be times when using a Twitter automation tool is desirable. The most popular and successful Twitter accounts work so well because they act and react with other users in mind, they don’t simply push out self-serving links when it suits them. Few companies making use of the service keep their tweets completely link-free, but the ones that post nothing but directions back to their sites are the ones that will be ignored, blocked and often banned.

A busy account can, however, streamline its actions with a few automated tweets. If you know you have a sale coming up, it’s easy to set up a service that will post your message at a designated time. This alarm clock style service means you’re sure not to mistime (or forget!) any important tweets, you won’t be sitting online with your finger hovering above your enter key waiting to share your news and you won’t need to pay anyone to stay late or work overtime just to get your message out. Pre-writing certain messages, for example, if you have a weekly preview tweet to tell followers of things to look out for, can be an efficient way of managing your Twitter time.

The most common way to use this tool is to update a Twitter account every time a site or blog is updated. Many blogs allow plugins to do this work, while other services take the information they need from an RSS feed. The obvious advantage is that this saves you time. If you’re going to tweet every update, or at least every update that you put into a certain category, it means you can do something else productive with your time. The downside is that this, like many other forms of automation, can quickly make an account look spammy, so it’s vital that if you use this sort of service you continue to give Twitter automation a personal touch, sending out your own messages, retweeting and replying to your followers more often than your account distributes automated messages.

People with personal accounts can use this service as well, particularly to send messages to people in other time zones – be the first to wish someone a happy birthday – or to announce something that you may have to hold back for a certain period of time. Perfect for the user too busy to be on at certain times, or who likes to stick to a certain sleep pattern.

Automated tools come in many forms. Twuffer starts at the most basic end – a simple calendar system that places scheduled tweets in a queue, ready to go when you decide they should be published. Twaitter takes things up a level, allowing you to repeat messages every day/week/month (to be used sparingly) and links up with Ping.fm to allow you to send messages to other platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn. If you control more than one Twitter account, you may want to make use of CoTweet which allows you to send out the same message to many places.

No matter what level of automation you use, you need to be sure to check in to your account regularly to check on @replies and direct messages – unanswered messages is a sure way to annoy or lose followers.

So while Twitter automation can be a useful tool for saving time, if you make use of any of these services it’s vital that you don’t use them to take control of the running of your account. Every successful account has a personal touch and joins in conversations, makes comments outside its own personal interests and makes posts that are more for its followers rather than itself. If you’re using Twitter merely to tell people about yourself or you’re company, you’re doing it wrong.

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