Whether you’re a new business or a tried and true business trying to make it in a world with continually evolving technology, you need to know about Twitter and you need to be using it.
Whether you believe that things like Twitter have made our collective attention span shorter or it is a tool reacting to our increasingly decreasing attention span, it is one of the most common tools for communication these days and learning to utilize the 140 character format to your advantage will definitely help you stay up-to-date in your market and elevate your chances at success or increased success.
Twitter updates are great because of that decreased attention span; 140 characters, especially with a direct link are just about what most consumers can handle before getting bored.
Tweets can include links, pictures and even PDF documents and videos. Twitter also offers tremendously easy interaction capabilities; people can follow your Twitter, you can follow other Tweeters and you can pay attention to hashtags and trends so as to boost your visibility to the world. The more you interact, especially with stories, trends, jokes, memes having to do with your target market, demographic and industry, the more you’ll draw potential clients to your page, your brand, and your business.
When it first emerged on the social media market, it was touted as Facebook with just the statuses. That’s pretty much what it is. One thing I appreciate about Twitter compared with Facebook is that it still shows updates in real time instead of tailoring algorithmically to just show me what I want to see. (Remember that’s how everyone thought Hillary was going to win—at least in part).
So, on Facebook, the more you interact with certain users or types of posts, the more Facebook will show you posts from those users or those types of posts. On Twitter, there is a section of your feed that will do that, but for the most part, it shows you what is being posted as it is being posted. That means that even if people haven’t been interacting with your posts they’ll still come up in their feeds, giving you continued opportunity to be “discovered.” Of course, you’ve already been discovered if they’ve followed you; but, if you post something that is truly eye-catching, they’ll be more likely to see it in their feed on Twitter giving them (and you) more of an opportunity to Retweet it and share it with their followers, which is how you build your following.
Your Twitter starts with your profile. My advice is to remember your platform; if your posts are 140 characters, your profile shouldn’t exceed that. It should be concise, understandable, informative and interesting in a way that it’ll catch attention. You’ll want to connect to your other social media and your website; your goal is to get people off of Twitter and to wherever they can give you their money.
Your profile—your picture, your profile description, and your username—are part of your brand. Note that you can use two different images on your Twitter page. This can be the opportunity to feature one of your products along with your logo, a picture of you along with a picture of your store, some graphic background along with your brand, or more. The more information you can fit into the profile, the more people will know about you, the more there will be to draw them in. make sure your choices are on brand.
When you start Tweeting, the goal is to communicate to your target demographic. You may want to keep things strictly professional or you may want to make it highly personable. Whatever your decision, you aren’t married to it; but, remember, that consumers are often looking for consistency so that they know they can trust your brand. Again, make sure everything is branded.
Twitter can be used for promotional purposes, to direct your customers to online or in-store sales or events, to give them an exclusive deal for being a Twitter follower and more. You can engage with news, pop culture, trending memes or stories to further enhance your “real-life” appeal, making people feel like you’re an actual friend. Just remember that you’ll always want an element of professionality in order to avoid anything inappropriate that could be damaging to your brand or business.
Twitter is also an opportunity for your customers to communicate directly with you. Nothing goes viral more quickly than a witty, funny, or adorable personalized reply to a customer’s’ question OR a snarky reply to a Twitter troll (someone online just to harass and bother people, often utilizing racism and vulgarity). The trend currently is for brands to pick sides on the political battleground because consumers are more and more “voting with their wallets;” so, if you believe in your base you can take this kind of risk. Ben and Jerry’s, for example, trusted in their marketing base well enough to promote “controversial” ideologies like their support for marriage equality and Black Lives Matter. This boosted their popularity with enough consumers that it wasn’t detrimental when it diminished their popularity with others.
You can use Twitter like Instagram to promote new or popular products with images and short descriptions; you can promote your website’s blog with longer form content or you can post news about your company or brag about your successes or your awesome employees.
Go on Twitter and look around, explore and get a feel for it. if you’re truly unfamiliar with it I recommend getting a personal account and learning as you go a little bit or hiring a social media person. These days, you can offer an internship program and benefit from the services of the generation who were born with Twitter feeds for the cost of high school or college credit. It will probably be best to make sure you have a way to give consistent content if you are only going to be using temporary Tweeters, so keep that in mind. If you need a starter course this site walks you through starting out on Twitter from the bare minimum.
You can also use Twitter’s own business tips and tools for businesses to boost your performance. This includes the ability to track how effective your Tweeting is which will help guide you to your optimal Twitter performance. You can get in on Twitter ad campaigns which are like commercials for Twitter and you can have your brand and your profile promoted even to people who don’t follow you directly. Twitter starts out as a free means of promotion and you can decide how much you want to invest in further promotion on the site. Their analytics are free at least, to begin with, and if your Tweeting is interesting enough or your brand popular enough, you should be able to build a following without having to spend money you don’t have.