It’s fair to say that Twitter hasn’t enjoyed a comfortable 2018. Ongoing associations with trolls and fake accounts have further damaged its reputation, while younger audiences are drifting away towards encrypted communications platforms like Snapchat. However, there are still compelling arguments for using Twitter for business, providing it’s done correctly…
Up your service game
An estimated 85% of small-to-medium firms use Twitter for business tasks like customer service. A rapid reply to a negative tweet can reassure a client or resolve an issue in moments, demonstrating proactive service to the watching world. Although direct messages aren’t publicly visible, they may be republished in a screen grab, so treat any customer correspondence as effectively being in the public domain.
If customer service demonstrates the effectiveness of Twitter for business, marketing demonstrates how little people understand about customer engagement. It’s difficult for a new, local or unknown company to build large numbers of followers. Even tweeting every day for years won’t significantly improve follower numbers or engagement by itself, since user timelines are assembled according to past interactions and proven engagement rather than simple chronology or how often an account tweets.
Engagement is pivotal to establishing a reputation, and that means talking to people. If anyone responds to a tweet, acknowledge it by liking it and/or continuing the conversation. Don’t just retweet existing posts – acknowledge the author before adding your own observations or questions.
Keywords and hashtags are also significant. Tools like TweetDeck flag up mentions of a specific word or phrase, enabling you to respond and get involved. This establishes your brand as a proactive voice, potentially ensuring your comments are seen by people who’d otherwise be unaware of your business. Hashtags are handy for trending topics, but it’s very easy for a comment to disappear in a torrent of hashtagged messages. Instead, try to engage with key influencers – people with high follower volumes. The more you converse, the more likely your future posts are to appear in their timelines.
Messages should be kept short and focused. You don’t want to use all 280 characters, so instead, split lengthier posts over a multi-message thread. One or two hashtags might attract new audiences, but multiple tags will look spammy. Photos and URLs are eye-catching additions, though the latter should be compressed through a website like bit.ly to save characters. Write like a journalist, placing key points first and substantiating them afterward. Justify opinions with statistics or links, and invite comments or feedback.
On your profile page, pin the most relevant message from your timeline to create a strong first impression; people who don’t go any further will still learn something. Your account description and photograph should be strong and engaging, with the former emphasizing industry expertise. Make sure your firm’s location or headquarters is tagged, alongside a website hyperlink. It’s also crucial to keep personal opinions out of a business timeline – this isn’t the place for rants about politics or soccer. Create a personal profile if you need to vent, keeping your corporate account focused on products, services, and marketing messages.
Follow the numbers
Analysis tools like Twitonomy and Twitter Analytics handle engagement insights, competitor analysis, and statistical reporting. It’s easy to blunder around ineffectively on Twitter if you’re not studying response rates and comparing engagement levels. If a particular activity achieves high levels of engagement, replicate it until its effectiveness wanes. Your ability to successfully use Twitter for business purposes will be affected by future algorithm updates and strategy announcements, so keep in touch with news and reports regarding Twitter itself.
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