Twitter is one of the best marketing tools for small and medium businesses, it allows you to interact with your customer base in an unprecedented way and in my opinion has revolutionised marketing for the better.
It provides a great platform to allow you to get your product, service and brand in front of your customers, basically for free - if you're excluding the cost of time!
As Twitter has completely changed the marketing landscape, a new set of rules, tactics and best practices has had to be thought up. Although Twitter has been around for a couple of years now, most people have now heard of it but when it comes to using it as a tool for your business, people's awareness and knowledge is still coming up short.
This article aims to identify some common mistakes and to share some advice on how to use Twitter for business, for people are new to this social media channel:
1. Is Twitter right for me?
What can be very damaging to your social media reputation as well as a huge waste of time, is running to the first social media platform you can find and blindly posting updates. You should first consider the best social media platform for your business and try to avoid jumping on the 'fad' bandwagon.
2. Social media is written in pen, not pencil
That is one saying that has stuck in my mind since my early experience with social media accounts, and I think it's more true now than ever before. Read and re-read all your tweets before you post them, there is no space for spelling or grammar errors in 140 character posts. Whoever you put in change of posting updates you should be confident in their ability to express themselves (read: brand image) properly.
Be careful and considerate when replying to tweets, especially complaints. Don't allow yourself to be drawn into a slanging match, it's not pretty and it's not smart and ultimately your brand will be what sticks into witnesses heads. Even if you write a tweet in anger and delete is within seconds, email notifications, screenshots and other twitter plugins (tweet deck/hootsuite et al) may not delete the tweet straight away - meaning your dirty laundry could still be aired in public.
You probably won't need a better example of this than the following string of tweets (Get your popcorn *wink*): https://twitter.com/AlanBishop85/status/326722006869479424
3. Knowing the different between tweets, mentions, replies and direct messages
A normal tweet will include your message and a link or an image and will be broadcast to all your followers. Simple.
A mention, is when you tag someone, @jamiecourtnell for example, in a tweet and it will be displayed to all your followers.
A reply, is very similar to a mention. If your tweet starts with a twitter handle "@marketingmyj Hey guys!" for example, it will only be displayed on the twitter feeds of your mutual followers. Allowing you to have twitter based conversations with your followers without non-mutual followers having their timelines flooded.
This is why sometimes you see conversations taking place with a full stop at the start of the tweet, enabling the reply to act like a mention so all your followers can see it - good tactic if your reply is answering a common question and may add value if your entire follower list saw it.
Direct messages are private between you and the sender and are typically used to gather more information from the tweeter, such as an email or phone number so you can contact them in a more formal manner.
Twitters tweet types are fully explained here: https://support.twitter.com/articles/119138-types-of-tweets-and-where-they-appear
4. Have a conversation not a shouting match
Generally over the past decade marketing on a whole has changed. It's less about the old techniques of advertising at someone, rather now about advertising with someone. What I mean by this is that marketing has undergone a paradigm shift and a large focus is now on conversations about your brand, brand advocates and mass collaboration.
The same rules apply on twitter, yes it is important that you get your message out there, but you should look at splitting your tweets into 3 categories of equal share.
One third should focus on promoting your content and products with traditional awareness advertising, such as links to your blog, company news and promotions. The second third should cover sharing news-worthy content that your audience will find interesting, in the form of retweets and favourites. The final third should represent conversation. Engage with your customers and monitor your brand mentions.
If someone mentions or retweets you, reply to them to thank them or carry on the conversation and give them a follow. Twitter is reciprocal and if you communicate and share with your followers they will be more likely to share and comment on your tweets.
5. Write your tweets with the expectation of a share
This subtitle might be a tad misleading, I don't mean write whatever you want and just expect your favourite and retweet count hit the roof. I mean take into consideration your character count when posting tweets, try and limit yourself to 120 characters. This allows people to quote your tweets when replying. Not only does this increase the likelihood of someone to respond but when they do it becomes a mention rather than a reply, adding exposure to their entire follower list.
Have you got any advice for Twitter newbies? Let us know in the comments below.