Since its inception, Twitter has become well known for its quirky and often parodied publishing structure. When it comes to marketing via social media, Twitter seems to be the social network that companies shy away from. I’ve seen businesses that were reluctant to use the platform because they just weren’t sure how to leverage it.
Not all social networks are for all businesses, but there are some great ways to use Twitter for marketing and other business-related activities.
Twitter for Service
When you hear “social media” and “business” in the same sentence, it typically means marketing, communications, PR or some combination of those things. For the most part, that is true, but social media can be used for whatever is effective. Zappos has proven that for a while now by leveraging Twitter as a customer service platform.
They even have a dedicated Twitter account (@Zappos_Service)that answers all kinds of customer inquiries from whether a certain product is in stock to when there is an issue with an order.
— Zappos.com (@Zappos_Service) January 24, 2014
I love Zappos’ example of using Twitter for customer service because it shows that you don’t have to use social media for marketing. It is a great medium for that kind of messaging, but you can also think outside the box and use it for other things.
You Want Images on That?
You can still only use 140 characters in your Tweets, which can be challenging, but a picture is worth a thousand words…or 5,000 characters…you get the point. Using images is important for marketing, especially if you have a product that lends itself well to imagery.
Domino’s Pizza does a great job of this in their Twitter feed, posting an image almost every other Tweet and using the hashtag #PizzaPics.
— Domino’s Pizza (@dominos) January 15, 2014
Images liven up the feed, make things more interesting and act as a good way to showcase a product (pizza, in this case). If you have a product or service where images are easy to use, share lots of them. Get your followers to share images of your product or service. The web is a very visual world, so make the most of it.
The Basics of Marketing on Twitter
How you use Twitter to market your business will largely depend on your goals, how you decide to leverage the platform and who your customers are. There are some universal protocols that you should be following, though.
Grow Your Following
Don’t get me wrong here. Followers aren’t everything. You could have fifty thousand followers on Twitter and still be considered a failure at using it to market your business. You do, however, need a good following if you are going to be successful. Here are some tips for growing your connections:
- Follow people (who you actually want to follow). They’ll follow you back.
- Engage with people. Favorite, retweet, and reply to their Tweets. This exposes you to their followers just as if their friends saw them talking to you at a party, and they wanted to come meet you.
- Advertise on Twitter. You’ll have to spend some cash, but it will work.
- Share content that your followers will like.
- Embed your Tweets on your website or on others’ websites.
- Interact and share consistently. Do it daily, weekly or bi-weekly. For the most part, more is better, but no matter how often you are active, make sure it’s consistent.
Get People to Engage
Only you know your goals for marketing your business on Twitter. There isn’t really a universal result or drive to use the platform. For most strategies to be considered even a partial success, though, a conversation is required between company and followers.
You have to get people interacting with you. You can’t just push content out into nothingness and expect your activity on Twitter to get you anywhere. Here are some tips for doing that:
- Be a real person, not just a mouth piece for the company. That is, don’t just spout information out. Post things in a way that gets people involved. After all, this is social media.
- Run contests that encourage and reward followers for engaging with the brand.
- Integrate online and offline marketing strategies that will drive engagement. For example, you might send out free versions of a product and get people to post images of themselves using it on Twitter.
Have a Goal
This should probably be closer to the front of this post, but as long as it gets mentioned, that is the important part. Before you go tweeting like crazy all over the web, sit down and think about a couple of questions.
- What does success look like for using Twitter to market your business?
- How will you measure that success to know when you’ve achieved it?
There is no right or wrong answer to these questions. You just have to answer them or your time will probably be wasted online. It’s very easy (even with goals in place) to get distracted and lose sight of your ultimate goal for using the platform.
Some common goals for using Twitter for marketing are acquiring customers, building brand or product awareness, serving customers in innovative ways or building a relationship with a target market. Whatever your goals are, make sure you write them down and revisit them often. The most important things to remember when using Twitter to promote your company are to be creative and have fun!
How do you use Twitter for business? Join in the conversation by leaving a comment below.