Small Business Services

Twitter for Business: Using It Effectively

A couple of decades ago, the idea of addressing your customers effectively in 140 characters was hard to imagine.

Then along came websites and social media and text messages. The attention span of the population slowly shortened. There was too much to take in and not enough time.

Still, Twitter didn’t strike many social communicators as a serious business tool at the beginning. Today, it is. Small businesses and large corporations alike have established their Twitter turf for:

Sales, marketing, and website promotion.

Tread lightly here. Many social media experts recommend that you spend no more than 20 percent of your social activity on self-promotion. Today’s customers are well-informed, armed with facts and opinions that they’ve gathered from their own research. What they want to know is whether what you’re selling will benefit them in some way. Will it solve a problem? Will it improve their personal or professional lives?

If one reason you’re on Twitter is to promote what you’re selling, work on moving people from Twitter to your website. That’s where all of your company’s offerings are described in detail – and where prospects can become customers by ordering. So help them. Make their lives better. Use Twitter to promote the content you’ve carefully crafted for your websites.

Customer service.

One angry individual can cause serious damage. This is why someone must always be monitoring your Twitter feed(s). As soon as a disparaging comment appears, reply publicly and say that the appropriate person will respond to them privately. If the comment is abusive, threatening, or otherwise inappropriate, report it.

You should also search for your company name and keywords frequently on Twitter. Someone may be stirring up trouble elsewhere.

Relationship management.

The phrase “social selling” is hot. It means that you should spend some of your social networking time just getting to know your prospects, and letting them get to know you. Eventually, the theory goes, they’ll be more likely to buy from you because you’ve developed a rapport. The words, “share” and “engage” get used frequently.

Replying to Tweets, Retweeting, showing an interest in what your visitors are saying – it’s all part of building a sales relationship, and you’ve probably been practicing it your whole professional life. Keep practicing it, and be genuine about it. Your customers don’t want to be best friends, but likeability and openness in your Tweets will draw some people in.

Company news.

Consider which news items would be of interest to your customers, and remember that your competition is reading your feed, too.

You’ll of course Tweet about new products and other notable changes and improvements. But should you break important news on Twitter first? “Tweeted” has become almost interchangeable with “said” or “announced.” Take into consideration how active your feed is and who’s following you. Companies still dispatch press releases and call influential writers, which may be preferable in some cases.

If you can’t maintain a lively, informative, interactive Twitter feed, use your energy and creativity and time on other social networking efforts. Better to be absent than to look deserted.

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