Too often the first thing a client will tell me is “I don’t believe in Twitter for my business needs” or “How can a company get its message across in 140 characters?”. I hear it all the time. A common perception of this application is one of self- promotion and wasted time. These concerns are valid. There is no argument there. However, if used properly it can also be a great extension for your other social media resources and even customer service. Oh, did I mention Twitter increases your search ranking and SMO! If used responsibly and professionally Twitter is a strong business tool.
Before any business can benefit from using Twitter its bio and profile must be strong. When you open your Twitter account make sure to include keywords in your bio and your web site. It may seem common sense but sometimes the importance of a well thought out profile is overlooked as well as the website.
Now that your Twitter profile is strong you can begin using this channel to listen, make announcements and drive attention to other social channels, a website or other online publication. Begin by searching out those who have similar interests to follow under “find people” and then “browse interests” or enter keywords in the tab “find on twitter”. By doing this you can begin listening to the conversations.
When you’re ready to begin creating your tweets be sure to create a call to action. For instance, lets say you have just launched a new product and want to let others know, tweet about it and link your website. Or, perhaps you have a blog and want to announce the latest posting. Tweet all about it with a brief description and link to your post. Perhaps others will see it and retweet (RT) your message. Then more people outside of your contacts will be encouraged by someone they trust to view your link.
If your call to action is in the form of a URL your post will most likely exceed the allowed 140 characters. It would be useful to tweet shrink your link. Tools available for this are bityurl and tinyurl. However, if you choose to use third party apps such as TweetDeck or Hootsuite this option is available automatically by setting up the rule on your tweets.
To optimize a tweet and promote certain topics/subjects the author must include keywords and hashtags. A hashtag is a text keyword preceded by a # sign. By adding the # sign, the keyword becomes a clickable link – a hashtag – leading to a specific “keyword grouping”. Then you can track discussions around these hashtags.
When Twitter is being optimized a business can monitor references to their product and company itself. This can help identify areas for improvement or you may find you are getting a good deal of kudos. Either way, this is an opportunity to listen carefully, reach out, engage and create a customer experience.
Imagine having an issue with an item and sharing that on Twitter. Then suddenly you receive a response acknowledging your concern followed by an attempt to resolve it? Wouldn’t you be impressed? Why don’t you try it? Set up a search for your company name or product. Go to www.search.twitter.com and enter your criteria. You will get a quick idea of what people think. Then set up a strategy to approach both positive and negative comments. You’ll be surprised how you can turn a bad experience into a new opportunity.
The beauty of brevity is also a big plus with Twitter. Keeping a message to 140 characters or less allows for a quick view and decision to continue to a link for the reader. Think about all the emails you get on a daily basis and the time it takes to go through them and act on them, if necessary. Twitter messages should provide a “to the point” message and call to action all within those 140 characters.
When you tweet, tweet responsibly and think about how it will be interpreted. Be helpful, useful and engaging. And if you liked this post please tweet about it!