It’s easy to spot the salesman. In retail stores: the person marching up to you as you first step foot inside the store. In car lots: the one herding small groups from car to car, doing all the talking. And on Twitter – a place void of nametags, business suits and vocal pitch – it’s just as easy. Imagine going out to eat with your friends. You’re discussing what you want to order (A bacon cheeseburger sounds good. Or maybe the smoked salmon?). All of a sudden, a man sits down at your table and tells you that he has a killer recipe for smoked salmon pasta that uses Land O’Lakes margarine. And then he walks away.
Confused? Irritated? I should think so. Like I’ve discussed in my last article, Twitter is first and foremost a social platform. A place for people to engage in conversation. No one likes that guy who interjects a semi-related monologue into the middle of a fluid conversation.
So, how can businesses use Twitter? Media marketing guru, Chris Brogan, offers 50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business, but here are four simple tips to get you started:
1. Listen before you tweet. After you register your account, use Twitter Search to hear what people are saying about your business, your competitors or anything related to your industry. This will not only help you enter the conversation more smoothly, but you’ll also gain insight into the current issues or interests within your field.
2. Prove that you’re human. Add a photo. Tweet about non-business things. Ask questions. Talk to people about their interests. There’s truth in what Shannon Paul says – that “people follow branded social profiles for different reasons than they follow people.” But that doesn’t mean the etiquette will be any different. Twitter is a springboard for conversations, not a place to host newsletters. People get turned off by businesses that keep their personas too professional.
3. Respond to @ tweets directed at you. You don’t need to reply to all of these, but keep yourself involved in the dialogue. Regular interactions give Twitter users the impression that you’re trustworthy, and even a valuable source of information.
4. Make your self-endorsing tweets useful. Twitter has a wide-reaching audience – you’d be remiss not to use it as a tool for your business. It’s a great way to update your customers on new products, discounts and other news on your business. But it’s also a great place to offer advice and provide links useful to your followers. If people learn to look at your Twitter activity as a valuable resource, you’ve got a loyal customer who’s likely to spread the word – and word-of-mouth is some of the most valuable advertising for businesses.
But most importantly, you should develop a strategy before you begin tweeting. Decide exactly how personable you want to be, how you want people to experience your online presence and what you hope to provide to your audience that they probably don’t have now.
For more information on social media marketing, visit VEM Global™ or call us at 1.866.757.8229.