Marketing used to be a one-way street. Companies would push their advertising message to the masses and hope it stuck. Nowadays social networking websites have opened the door for consumers to respond to the marketing messages with their own voice. Twitter is one of the channels where consumers have become particularly vocal about their loved (or hated) brands and businesses. Many old school marketers and companies think it’s a cool medium but will have no effect on their bottom line. Wrong. The research shows that social media channels like Twitter can have a heavy impact on a business’ performance. Here are some tips to get started on Twitter.
Step 1: Listen to Existing Conversation
The first thing you should do is listen. Make your way to the Twitter Search Engine and see who’s talking about your business. Is the conversation positive? Is there an opportunity to engage your customers? The answer should be “yes.” If you run a search and nobody is talking about your business or brand, not to worry. That probably just means they are waiting for you arrive. You can start by surveying how your competition is using Twitter to work with their customers.
Step 2: Engage Your Customer Base
Here’s the fun part. You’ve taken the plunge and made an account for your business on Twitter. It’s time to engage your customers. Let’s examine case studies from successful brands to illustrate how Twitter is being used as an effective tool.
Customer Service: @GoDaddy is a great example of how a company helps customers on Twitter. By 2012, people won’t even want to call your help desk anymore; they will much rather get on their smartphone and send you a Tweet. Times are changing.
Being a Resource: @WholeFoods has a great social media strategy. The supermarket brand is often Tweeting recipes from their blog. Of course, the products mentioned are usually purchased at Whole Foods so they are helping themselves make money.
General Conversation: @JetBlue loves talking to their customers just like a friend would. You’ll notice there timeline is full of conversation with regular users and the occasional customer service. An example of a solid relationship building strategy.
Contests and Engagement: @DIRECTV asks questions and gives away prizes to their followers. They are another example of a company that has mastered engagement on Twitter.
Step 3: Monetize your Followers
Social media can have an effect on your bottom line. Everything mentioned in the “Step 2″ section will indirectly result in more revenue for a company. Customer service and engagement keeps a positive image in the mind of the consumer which ripples outward to their peers. The brand automatically grows. One of the biggest obstacles is building your original set of followers. Nobody pays attention when you have a few followers and everybody pays attention when you have a big following. There are 2 ways to building your account: the most obvious is the organic growth that takes tons of hard work. On the flip side, many respectable companies and individuals give themselves a jump start and simply buy Twitter followers. Buying followers is a legitimate method of giving a boost.
However you choose to build your initial following the important takeaway is that Twitter can have an effect on your revenue. Use it as a tool to your advantage. Twitter has been used to lead entire revolutions in the Middle East – why wouldn’t it be a potent tool to grow your business?