It’s official: Twitter is now important enough for every business to care about.
For many, the need to pander to the social media gods remains an annoying distraction, demanding time and resources which could be better used elsewhere but, with recent figures estimating the micro blogging behemoth to have around 250 million active users, and that total on the rise, it’s a distraction worth getting on board with.
If handled well, Twitter can offer businesses a remarkable opportunity to engage, interact and market to a vast, active community in real-time and, in the most extreme cases, have their brand be swept worldwide, 140 characters at a time, at little or no cost.
But what if it isn’t handled well? Here are a few things to watch out for.
1. Don’t act like a robot
Businesses are owned and run by humans but they seldom show it. Granted, humans can have a multitude of faults and foibles and, although you might not choose to take insurance out with the person which actually processes your contract, you’re happy enough to do it with the brand itself.
Twitter allows for personality – some would say demands it – in order to see the best results. Many of the most successful and widely shared brand tweets are those in which large, commonly faceless, corporations tip their hat at having a real personality and even a little dash of charm.
Here’s a few of the very best. While companies play this “we’re one of you” game at their own risk, playing too safe and pumping out dry, corporate sound bites, isn’t going to have followers flocking to see more.
2. Avoid having a one-way conversation
Twitter isn’t a one-way conversation. By it’s very nature, Twitter demands interaction and this is where the majority of the wins and losses in terms of recognition and gaining a substantial, loyal and attentive following can occur.
Brands which are able to hit the right tone when engaging with followers – both those with genuine questions/concerns and … not so genuine – can humanize their brand and receive endorsement and good will through, mentions, retweets and posts being “favourited”.
Many brands however have watched painfully as customer questions and issues coming across a company Twitter feed seemingly spiral overnight. Unless there is a way to respond efficiently and effectively on what is a wide-open public forum, businesses are liable to open themselves to a public flogging.
3. Don’t treat it like just another pin board for company flyers
We generally spend our lives being marketed to. Whether it be via the pile of pizza delivery flyers jamming our doorway after a weekend away, the waving car wash sandwich board guy or the insane pop ups which tell us we must download a whitepaper, we the public are mostly sick of it. The likelihood of us volunteering to receive your 10, thinly veiled, marketing tweets every day are slim.
Provide me with insightful and relevant industry news, something that makes me laugh or a great and/or exclusive deal on a company product or service and I’ll keep coming back for more and even share your tweets with my own followers.
Provide me with nothing more than a constant roll out of company promotion and I’ll likely just leave you. While you can slip in the odd bit of blatant marketing, try to keep it minimal – say one in every 15-20 tweets and reserve the rest for giving back.
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