Okay, so we've all heard that Twitter works for business, but cracking into it for the first time is justifiably daunting.
Here are some key things to consider to take the pain out of your first Twittering steps.
Understanding how it works
Those of you with a longer attention span will recall the very first Marketing blog ‘The Reluctant Twit', which was basically the BoozeMonkey team putting Twitter into the petrie dish and watching what happened. Admittedly, we were sceptics wearing our knocker hats, but we were honestly surprised by what we learnt that week, and we have now embraced the Twitter phenomenon with great success.
Fundamentally, Twitter works very simply – communicating directly, indirectly or listening.
‘Directly' is the simplest and often the first foray into Twitterville. Posting your company PR, links to your website, special offers, celebrations etc are all valid and basically extensions of your traditional marketing/PR content delivered in a new medium. While it is a safe place to start, it will have appeal to existing customers but perhaps won't extend your reach into new customer brackets. Remember the power of Twitter is its personal engagement – it is YOU communicating with YOUR community. The normal spin of a sales brochure isn't engaging or personal enough, you need to delve deeper to use Twitter successfully.
Moving on to ‘Indirect' Twittering – this is a very contentious area amongst businesses globally. Indirect tweeting is when your employees or your brand ambassadors twitter about your company, products, happenings etc. On the positive side, this is a great way to expand your company profile and humanize it. It can reinforce your brand by being less advertorial, and can be very personable. Negatively, it can have the reverse affect. However, remember that people are talking about your brand anyway (or should be) and my advice is to set the boundaries for the company and its people, then TRUST them to be as passionate about your product as you are.
Like all good networking opportunities, successful use of Twitter is as much about listening (or inbound signalling) to others as it is about spruiking your news.
Twitter can provide instant, honest and direct feedback, consumer sentiment, and trending for your industry and is therefore one of the simplest forms of market research you can do.
My favourite example is a restaurant (PF Changs) patron who tweeted his displeasure at how long his meal was taking, which resulted in management waiving his bill, because an off duty staff member saw his tweet and alerted the manager, who was able to act to salvage the relationship.
Examples such as that one show the power of social media and the vast opportunity it offers to get in touch with consumers. Not only was that customer happy, but the story has been relayed around the web many, many times which is great PR for the company.
In the next installment, we'll talk about HOW and WHAT to Tweet.
As always - don't hesitate to drop me a line!