8 Tips on Using Twitter for Your Business

Twitter hand-drawn logo.  Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cbhdesign/

Twitter is a fast paced and engaging forum where your company should definitely be part of the conversation. While most businesses are eager to engage their customer base in this dynamic relationship, many are uncertain how to maximize their presence. By following these eight tips to advance your business' presence on Twitter, you will be able to confidently expand your customer relations to the next level. These are the tips based on my personal experience while I was running a Twitter campaign for a real estate community in NYC.

1. Know your audience. Before you begin throwing out information about your business, consider assessing your current clientele. Utilize a short survey or questionnaire to ask customers what information they would like from your business and which forms of social media they utilize. Knowing your customer demographics allows you to tailor your conversation on Twitter.

2. Tailor your message. Once you have looked closely at your customers and have an idea of what they want, find new and unusual ways to communicate with them. Consider special promotions only for Twitter followers or use Twitter to have customers vote on a favorite product. But try not to use Twitter simply to promote existing advertisements, as you will quickly lose followers if you do.

3. Listen. Remember that Twitter is a conversation, and as you learned in communications class, that means it is a two-way street. Don’t only promote your business; raise questions, address concerns or complaints, and try and give customers an opportunity to inform you. Promote other businesses and community events, support your customers, and don’t be afraid to advocate for causes your business cares about. If your audience asks for something, try to give it to them and say "Thank You".

4. Be retweetable. Create content that customers will want to share with others. While statistics show that cute animals and happy children top the list of frequent retweets, consider what will add value to your customer's experience. Promotions work, but if overused they become expected. Consider tips, useful links, news relevant to your business or product, and humor.

5. Use humor. People like to laugh. Life can get rough and sometimes a little levity goes a long way. Humorous content does not always need to relate to your business but be sure to keep it clean.

6. Be Consistent. In essence, commit or get off the pot! It is better to tweet less often but on a regular basis than to have days full of tweets and then nothing for an extended period of time. Slow and steady wins the race on Twitter. Businesses should spend approximately 2-6 hours every week posting to social media (which of course includes Twitter), and 1-4 hours responding to comments and questions.

7. Experiment. Think of your Twitter presence as the cool younger sibling of your business. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different kinds of posts. Ask questions, try different promotions, have a contest, solve problems, share successes and yes, even mistakes. Twitter is a focus group waiting to be utilized.

8. Measure Your Success. Now that you have listened to you customers, provided them with valuable content, and are consistently tweeting, make sure you are measuring what works. There are a number of different analytic tools to choose from that will help you identify what content had the highest click through rate, which posts were retweeted, and the keywords most frequently searched in conjunction with your business. Use this information to set goals regarding your social media engagement and build on your success.

Twitter may seem intimidating or overly time-consuming but the reward is worth the challenge. Set aside time to work through these tips with your team and be sure to promote your Twitter presence in all your marketing materials.

About the author: Ben is a passionate blogger and an Internet marketing consultant. Here Ben shared with us some of his best tips about Twitter marketing, based on his own trials and errors while he was running a social media campaign for arvernebythesea.com, reputable real estate NYC company.

For more small business marketing tips and advice, follow us on Twitter @TouchPointD.

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