As a network, Twitter boasts over 271 million active monthly users and has attracted everyone from Cher to Chevrolet. It is a marketing force to be reckoned with. On the surface the network may appear to be little more than an outlet for users to indulge in shameless self-promotion or for businesses to crank out “content marketing”, it can not be dismissed in today’s user-centered society. When fully optimized by marketers and businesses, Twitter serves not only as a means to increase revenue, but as a substantial platform for universal connectivity between user and brand.
Fortune 500 companies and widely-recognized players have a few notable advantages when it comes to maximizing their Twitter presence: They are already well-known, they have entire teams dedicated toward maintaining social media presence, and they have the funds to support massive campaign opportunities. For growing brands, Twitter command doesn’t come as easy. However, it can still be worth cultivating because Twitter and the hashtag give your brand both a voice and a platform. If the focus becomes establishing an identity, rather than driving units of sales, Twitter is one of the simplest, best platforms available.
Understand how to sell yourself.
It’s easy to view Twitter as a goldmine for revenue generation and sales pivoting. So easy in fact, that the majority of businesses, both small and large, use the platform mainly as a means of paid advertising to attract customers. And why not? After all, 42% Twitter’s users seeks to learn about products and services and nearly 40% will purchase from brands that they follow. However, in the form of native content, tweeting solely with sales in mind is somewhat limiting. Twitter is generally considered a place for witty, informative, and captivating content that connects interested audiences. “Buy our new product, its the best!” updates tend to blend into the media advertising noise and can cause followers to become unfollowers.
Use language and exclusive content to attract an audience to your products without appearing gimmicky. Offer discounts and promo codes exclusively to your audience to demonstrate appreciation and use conversational tone to establish congenial relationships. IdeaPaint, a small company that sells dry-erase board paint, consistently draws in leads through their multi-media tweets on the importance of the creative process and how companies can collaborate using their product. They focus on the idea of brainstorming and present their paint as a tool that can enhance innovation. In short, they sell without selling.
Collect relevant artifacts from other brands.
Daily tasks and client responsibilities tend to take precedence over regulatory blog posting and social updating, which can leave your Twitter feed somewhat sparse content-wise. Be sure to follow credible companies and publications who offer insight to your industry and have comparable audiences to your own. Retweeting and quoting their material is not only a good way to increase your user engagement and show followers your industry awareness, but also to form relationships with like-minded companies.
If you’re a small B2B company currently struggling to connect to your users, look to Citrix GoToMeeting for inspiration. The remote meeting provider has close to 50,000 followers and retweets industry articles and business lists from other companies to solidify their relationships and show their awareness about the future of business and their role within it.
Provide your followers with information that transcends the benefit of your own brand and get to know trends and important topics of your industry. Doing so will provide your feed with exciting, informative content and convey credibility to your audience.
Establish your voice to create connections.
By now you should know that carefully cultivated content is the hub of the user experience. People follow brands based upon their products and services, but also because of the “cool factor”. This may sound somewhat abstruse, as the “cool factor” carries unique meaning to different users, but it is still vital to your brand image. Syndicating blog posts and constantly iterating on inbound strategy links are beneficial to tweet in moderation, but establishing your brand voice is crucial in the long run. Learn who your followers are, other accounts that they follow and brands that they interact with, and take note of common trends. Do they retweet quippy one-liners or use certain hashtags? What are they tweeting about? Establish instant and lasting connections by showing that you care about what they care about.
If a large portion of your fanbase shows interest in professional sports for example, there is no harm in throwing a tweet into your feed about the latest NFL buzz or fun fact. Domain registrar Namecheap has perfected the art of personifying their otherwise boring industry this way.
Their relatable posts and social commentary have helped them earn a whopping 116K followers. Your users want assurance that they are interacting with real humans, not computer programmed cyborgs. Be sure to show it.
Respond, respond, respond.
Favorite user replies you like, retweet ones you love, and “@ mention” everyone you can get your hands on. Hashtag your heart out. Follow your followers. Take your company’s UX to the next level by personalizing your interactions. Use your newfound voice to use Twitter as a two-way communication channel between brand and consumer. Even in a digital sphere, people like to feel important. Responding to your users can create genuine feelings that may lead to lasting brand loyalty. Offer contact and customer service insight to users who are concerned with certain aspects of your product or service. Even take the time to consider commentary that might not be so appreciative.
As a well-known yet relatively small airline, JetBlue uses Twitter as a primary channel for customer service. The company is notorious for monitoring praise, complaints, and suggestions, and frequently responding to commentary.
Turn skeptics and critics into prospective clients by offering them information about the benefits of your brand that they may not have considered. Treating your user as an individual will pay off in the grand scheme of things. Just ask larger companies who are doing it right.
The Twittersphere can transform your user’s perspective and cultivate organic relationships between brand and buyer. Dedicating time to understand your followers wants and needs, pain points, and daily lives can help you to not only optimize your brand’s potential on Twitter, but across multiple platforms. People realize when you care about them and when you are just trying to meet a sales quota. Appeal to their personalities and demonstrate their importance to your business’s goals. Engage, reply, and delight and you won’t be disappointed.
Feature photo courtesy of Business2Community