1st February 2016
Twitter: Fact or Fiction? – How To Use Twitter For Business As a Credible Communication Tool
The questions I have been asking myself recently are “Can we really believe what we read on Twitter?” and because of this “Is Twitter a credible marketing channel for businesses?”
As a daily user of Twitter, I am often perplexed by both the vast amount of useful, valuable and reliable information shared every day and the huge amount nonsense, speculation and individual opinion - often fuelling heated discussions. With such a high density of information flowing through our news feeds every day, how can we know whether the information we are receiving is fact or fiction?
A person visiting your Twitter profile is likely to make an informed decision based on their first impression of your profile, tweets, images and engagement with other Twitter members. Because of this, when using Twitter for business it is essential that your profile is recognisable, professional and relatable. However, this does not mean your profile has to be stereotypically sterile and corporate. You can still be light hearted and fun, as the bottom line is engagement with a focus on:
- Customer service
- Brand enhancement/recognition
- Driving website traffic
Not dissimilar to Facebook, Twitter is a goldmine of personal information accessible by marketers, including personal opinions, preferences and much more. With 80% of active users now accessing Twitter on a mobile device, this further enhances Twitter’s marketing potential. However, there are a multitude of different people and businesses on Twitter and you will never please everyone, so it’s important to know and understand your audience.
There are a number of ways you can make your Twitter profile seem like a credible source of information. In terms of using Twitter effectively as a marketing tool, there are some basics that if done well, will keep you in front of your customers and ahead of your competitors.
1) Profile Appearance
Firstly, having a professional appearance to your Twitter profile is vital. The old saying “First impressions count” could not be more applicable in this situation, with each visitor likely to form their opinion of your business after a brief scan of your profile. Your profile will need to include: appropriate branding in the form of a profile photo (which is important as this will be seen on every tweet you make) and header image, brand colours in the profile theme, a memorable Twitter username (handle), a clear and concise bio (160 characters) to sell your business and a website URL to authenticate your profile and help potential customers find your website. In addition, you can also use the ‘pinned tweet’ feature to highlight best performing tweets to first time visitors.
2) Build a Content Strategy
Secondly, your activity and messages on Twitter will need to be consistent. Building a content strategy will enable you to create a plan, ensuring your followers receive clear and consistent tweets, knowing that they can interact with your content on a regular basis. Your content strategy will need to factor in a variety of communications, not all sales messages. Create a mixture of content including:- promotions, behind the scenes specials, tips, reviews, industry knowledge, charity work, sales messages, follower focus and staff focused content. As with more traditional forms of marketing, you will need to test which communications are most effective with your followers.
3) Write Effective Tweets
Thirdly, with approximately 500M tweets sent per day, 302M active monthly users and the lifetime of every tweet ever shortening, it is important that your message is not diluted/missed. You need to ask yourself, “What makes my tweet worth reading” and “How can I stop someone scrolling?”. The answer to these questions is simple, offer varied content that is valued by your followers. This is achievable by providing a mixture of content types, such as interesting copy, images (photos, infographics, diagrams, memes etc.), videos, links to your website and other reputable sources. You will also need to join relevant conversations using appropriate hashtags in your tweets - this will increase your reach and engagement.
4) Interact and Engage With Your Followers (Community Management)
Interacting and engaging with followers is extremely important. Provide incentives and promotions which give followers a reason to interact with you on Twitter. Drum up anticipation for events, product/service releases and the release of important information. Offer target based rewards e.g. 50% off when this tweet receives 500 retweets and initiate conversations using hashtags to create a buzz around your brand and products/services.
5) Gain More Exposure
Furthermore, you will need to grow your community (increase your ‘following’). Follow potential customers, suppliers, local businesses and notable individuals. Remember to favourite and re-tweet tweets from followers to make them feel valued and that they have a connection with your brand. Encourage re-tweets from followers to expand the reach of your tweets. Additionally you can invest in some Twitter advertising to advertise your profile to a wider audience or use Twitter’s Quick Promote feature to drive more attention to your content.
6) Measure Impact and Success
Moreover, measure impact and success by setting objectives for your Twitter marketing strategy. Working out whether you want to drive website traffic and sales, generate leads or sales enquires or use Twitter as a promotional and brand enhancement tool will ultimately impact your measurements of success.
7) Become A Verified Account
Finally, becoming a verified account by Twitter is the ultimate way to prove your brand credibility within Twitter, and can also improve your profiles social search presence, making it easier for potential customers to find you. Twitter chooses who gets verified and does not accept requests. Follower and tweet count are not a factor in the verification process. Twitter reviews accounts on an ongoing basis and prioritises highly sought after accounts. Essentially, becoming verified is a waiting game, and Twitter recommends you to “…continue using Twitter in a meaningful way” and you may be verified in the future.
To conclude, although Twitter is a social networking platform that is extremely crowded with information, if used correctly it can still be an extremely effective marketing tool. Messages that are targeted appropriately and consistently can have the desired effect and ultimately help you meet your marketing goals. If you would like Twitter or social media for business advice, or help incorporating Twitter/social media as part of your online marketing strategy, please don’t hesitate to contact us at SilverDisc.