From the outside Twitter seems like a challenging beast to tame, especially if you’re a smaller brand rather than a person or company with ‘influence’. In reality, Twitter for business can be incredibly rewarding. Keep reading to find out about the Twitter for business dos and don’ts we’ve learned through the direct experience of taking over existing accounts and building them from scratch.
DO prioritise social listening
Social listening is basically using keywords to search for your brand, competitor brands, products or anything else relevant to your business or industry. You would then use this information to analyse the space. You will be able to see what extra products and services competitors are offering that clients seem to be excited about. You can also see how what you’re offering is better compared to your competitors. You will also be able to monitor industry trends, news and customer perceptions around what you’re selling.
You can use this important information to adjust your social media strategy or your product and/or service offering based on what people want in real time. Intrigued? Here are 5 tips for effective social listening.
DO engage in customer service
This point ties in closely to what we discussed about social listening above. The important thing to remember about people is that they often won’t use Twitter (or any social media platform) as effectively as they could. If they are complaining, complimenting or querying on Twitter, a large portion of your customers will mention your brand by name, but won’t tag you. Another portion will simply mention a specific product or service you offer, without mentioning your brand at all (maybe they’ve included a photo, so it seems redundant to mention your brand if it’s visible in an image).
Either way, you need to get into the habit of hopping onto Twitter at least once a day and searching for your brand. Anything that mentions you that you haven’t been tagged in will come up, and you can respond accordingly. The same goes for any specialised, trademarked or registered product or service names that belong to your business.
When it comes to Twitter for business, you should also do the same with your competitors. Search for their names and take a look at posts they haven’t been tagged in. They may have not seen these themselves, giving you an opportunity to reply to let them know how your product/service could be more beneficial, as well as to let them know what you offer that your competitor doesn’t.
DO host and attend Twitter spaces that are topical and valuable
Most people will know by now that Twitter for business isn’t really a place to sell things. You can’t Tweet out your catalogue or pricelist and expect to get a huge amount of new leads. Twitter is about value and feedback. Find some Twitter spaces that are happening in your industry and attend them. Engage and allow your voice to be heard if the host asks for opinions or experiences.
If you’re keen on hosting your own Twitter space, don’t use it to flaunt what you’re selling. Rather invite your customers to question, query and complain in a space where they can get immediate feedback. If you want it to be more educational, choose a topic that you think will interest other people in your industry, and you can all have an open discussion together. For customers, maybe you talk about how to maintain the products they buy from you, cool things they can use them for, product hacks and more.
Stay on message and always add value.
DO post consistently
If you use Twitter for business, you should be Tweeting every day. It doesn’t always have to be complicated. Even a simple ‘good morning’ or ‘happy Friday’ can go a long way to keeping your account active. Not only are more active accounts more discoverable to people, but new customers and clients will do their research. If they land on your page and see that no-one has posted for four years, they worry that your customer service might also be neglectful, or that you don’t follow through. If you don’t have big news or something educational to Tweet, greet your followers, ask them questions and wish them well on special occasions.
DO follow influencers and thought leaders
No matter what industry you’re in, you always want a foot in the door. Follow thought leaders for insights and inspiration. ReTweet their content if you feel it’s relevant and comment on their posts. Basically, take up space in your industry.
The same goes for local influencers. You never know who could approach you, or who could become a collaborator or ambassador. Influencers buy things just like everyone else, and it’s their job more than yours to hard sell products on behalf of the brands they partner with. They are able to get away with this where you can’t, because their followers are an intimate part of their everyday lives, and so trust the opinions of people they feel they really know well.
DON’T use unnecessary hashtags
Twitter has a character cap. We all know this. While this can be frustrating, Twitter is also one of the only current platforms that has an excellent search function that doesn’t need hashtags. If you have something to say, use your full character count to say it, without having to worry about leaving space for hashtags. The exception here would be if you’re running a campaign, for example. The hashtag would be the name of your campaign, and it would be purposeful in giving your Tweet context and a cue that it is a part of something bigger. Aside from that, as long as you include keywords and phrases in your caption copy, people using the search bar on Twitter will find you easily.
No one on Twitter necessarily wants to know how good your service warranty is, how competitive your prices are, or what you feel makes your brand special. All of these things are extremely important, but they won’t make many sales because their focus is on you. You need to create content that focuses on the customer and offers them value. Do you sell a hard-to-find food ingredient? Tweet delicious recipes using it, rather than talking about the ingredient itself. Do you own a gardening business? Talk about what people could do in their gardens on their own between services. You are the expert, show your audience that you know your stuff and that they don’t have to pay for your expertise, and they will trust that what you’re selling is as valuable as what you’re giving away.
DON’T argue on Twitter
Don’t disagree with customers who are complaining. Even if you’re in the middle of a service delivery or product crisis, your tone and messaging need to remain the same as they are on any other day. Instead of arguing, engage, Ask more questions, offer to have an agent call or visit, encourage people to email you more detailed descriptions and photos of the problem. Even if your customer is wrong, Twitter for business isn’t the place to battle it out. Show them, and other followers, that you are reasonable and have the confidence to listen to their complaints. Again, it’s about giving back. Even in the worst kinds of customer service situations, many people are happy to let things go if they feel you have genuinely heard them and tried to help as best you could.
DON’T Tweet about controversial topics
Your customers really don’t need to know which political party you, as an individual, are voting for. They don’t need to know your individual stance on abortion rights. They don’t need to know if you personally think lizard people are among us. You need to stay on message. If it’s not relevant to what you’re selling, stay out of it. If it is relevant, for example, you care for the environment so none of your packaging will be single-use any longer (and yes, this kind of thing is controversial), this is the only time you should be taking a public stance against bigger issues.
DON’T get personal
It is more common than you’d think that business owners with access to their company’s social media, have posted on by accident by not switching accounts, posted on behalf of the business in a heated emotional moment or while under the influence, or tried to give their product and services brand an influencer-style vibe. Mistakes happen, but we’re mentioning this here so that fact that it does happen so often can be present in the back of your mind. You can make a personal appearance in a video or Twitter space as an expert in your industry, but it shouldn’t get more personal than that.
Need help? We have guided clients who already have Twitter through the process of completely turning around their online presence for the better. We have also built up new brands with new Twitter accounts from the ground up. Successfully. If Twitter seems overwhelming to navigate, we can help. Get in touch with us for a Twitter audit, management strategy or campaign plan-of-action.