Using Twitter to draw and connect with Customers
It has been often said that “desperate times call for desperate measures”, we are in desperate times, economy is down, companies are cutting down their budgets including their marketing budgets. The solution is social media, where the marketing playground has been leveled for both the start-ups, small & Medium businesses versus the big corporations; I say give it all you got.
What is Twitter?
If you didn’t hear by now about Twitter, I have to ask where have you been?. Twitter is a micro-blogging application that started in 2006. The updates are called Tweets, they can be of a maximum 140 characters, as you need to have space for your handle or user name. The 160 characters were derived from the mobile text messages model or SMS messages that are a maximum of 160 characters so 140 characters and the characters for the handle will make the 160 characters. The heading on Twitter is “What are you doing?” No one really cares ing unless it is really interesting. Use Twitter as a communication and conversation tool. Twitter is not an advertising medium. Posting one marketing message after another isn’t effective. It doesn’t attract prospects or engage customers, and actually can costly dearly.
Why should you use it?
Twitter is the fastest-growing social-media site, with an estimated 14 million unique visitors in March 2009, (Source: Compete, Inc.) Most of the users are age 25-54, with the largest segment the 45-54 age groups. (Source: comScore Media Metrix)
The growth and activity provide an opportunity for you to get your message out to customers and prospects, to grow your audience and followers.
How to start tweeting?
You need a plan, because building a following requires a consistent message and continual updates. If you are not actively tweeting, you defeat the purpose. Have a goal for tweeting. Your mission statement or unique value proposition should have already been set, but they might evolve as you progress.
Guide to how to implement Twitter
After you have defined your purpose, follow these 10 steps:
1. Create tweets that fit your product, brand and goal. Since the maximum number of characters is 140 try to keep your tweets at 120 so they can be RE-tweeted, you can mention your product or service with a rate of 90% to 10% and mixed, not in your first tweets though.
2. Choose your handle name/user name as your business name: Complete the profile, including the bio, and include the names of all those who post. Make it personal; people like to connect with humans.
3. Add a uniqe picture or a unique avatar& create a unique background. If you are the business have your photo (same one that you use across the board in all other social media platforms), or use the corporate logo, whatever fits your brand. There are free services like www.twitterbackgrounds.com where you can have a free background if you use your logo or picture or $4.95 if they upload up to 20 pictures for you as a background or $99 if they totally personalize the background for you. Make sure it follows the theme of your brand. Not everyone has the latest and greatest technology.
4. Determine the best days/times to tweet, and make sure that some of your tweets lead back to your website. You could time your tweets using applications like www.tweetlater.com Select a scheduler to post your tweets. Run them 24/7. You can choose to run them for an 8-12-hour cycle and then repeating. Make it easy for people to link back to your website, make sure to use keywords in your bio
5. Engage with your followers: Thank whoever retweet your tweets, thank who follow you, and respond to your DM (Direct Messages). The idea is engagement, building relationships, and not blasting
6. It is a lifelong mission: You can’t procrastinate or get lazy; it is a constant day in and day out duty. Be persistent
7. Monitor your Twitter profile as far as number of followers, the number of the people you follow should be lower than the people that follow you. Followers VS. Follow(ees)
8. Communicate your brand through your tweets. What you tweet is what you become, even if you delete your tweets, they still show up in a search.
9. Have fun. Make your tweets engaging, entertaining, understandable and most of all helpful, solving your audience problems or offering them solutions, even if they are not yours.
10. It is OK to ask for help or guidance if not sure.
Till we tweet again.