10 Ways to Rock #Twitter for Business

So, your company is on Twitter, that’s fabulous! Let me ask you, since you’ve been here have you garnered any leads? Seen an increase in customer engagement? Noticed a difference in bottom line sales?  If not, you may want to give some of these ideas a try. If Twitter is a good fit for your business getting creative might be all you need to do to see a real return. Twitter for Business with logo

  1. Follow your customers and encourage them to follow you back. This is easiest of course if you are a smaller business and know their names, if you’re larger make sure you follow back.  If you reach out first they will love that and you can DM each other if there is ever an issue either of you would rather not have play out in the newsfeed.
  2. Delight and surprise your followers when possible. This can mean anything from a shout-out to a random upgrade – can you image the share potential here? (In my opinion ALL airlines should randomly upgrade a Twitter follower each day – the engagement would be off the charts and even disgruntled customers would want in on that game! e.g. “If you’re flying in the next 4 hours tweet us your flight # – someone’s going first class baby!”  See?
  3. Tell your business story using your customers experiences and mention them when you do. You’ll be helping them build an audience and they will appreciate that.
  4. Listen to your customers and offer them solutions to their issues. For example, if you’re not in the pizza business and you know a business that delivers on time, pass on their info when someone complains about wait times. The key here is to provide value to your customers.
  5. Use Follow Friday (#FF) and fill your tweet with customers. Caveat – don’t go nuts, one or two tweets each week is enough to call out your customers but not enough to tick the rest of your followers off.
  6. Ask your followers what they want. Make sure you reach out to your audience and see how you might be able to do better – they will likely tell their following if you implement one of their suggestions.
  7. Do not leave them hanging. If a customer complains, comments or just gives you a shout-out be sure to respond as soon as possible. Less than 5 minutes is optimal. No matter what they are complaining about they will remember that you responded promptly with an offer of help. Set up notifications for your phone if no one is monitoring the account 24/7.
  8. Speaking of offers – give loyal followers exclusive Twitter offers – Have them tweet to the cashier for a special discount or fill in a promo code they only get by DMing you. Get creative if you can’t manage all those DM’s.
  9. If you have a large following and a large number of customer issues, consider creating a separate account for customer service. That way you can keep the brand account for the fun stuff and handle complaints without them falling through the cracks.
  10. Have fun. Show the less than serious side of your business at times. People want to engage with people, not businesses so don’t be afraid to show your human side.  Oh, and if there’s more than one person tweeting make sure to sign your tweets so we know who’s who.

Your turn – what’s worked for your business on Twitter? What have I left out? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

Happy tweeting!

Why You Need Twitter in Your Business Social Mix

Image I always say, you don’t need to have a presence on every social network, just the ones that your customers are on. These days more and more of them are flocking to Twitter. Maybe because it’s the perfect place to let your personality shine.

When I first joined Twitter about 5 years ago, I had no idea what the attraction was so instead of diving right in I sat back and watched for a few months and when I saw an opportunity to add to a conversation I took it. I recommend if you’re new to Twitter, you start the same way, except, if you want to dive right in, go for it. With a caveat.

Be careful when you engage in the same controversial topics that might get you negative attention offline, religion and politics. NL has a hugely popular local political scene that hang out on Twitter. They spend a lot of time cutting each other down and arguing incessantly. If that’s your thing then go for it but you may want to consider your reputation as a business person and how it would be affected if it appears that you are putting on your short pants and playing in the mud puddles with some of the most vocal political characters. 

If your customers are local, do searches for them and follow as many as you can. Let them know you’re there and take part in their conversations, but don’t sell to them. Of course there are times when you will want to promote your wares but use the 80/20 rule and you should be OK. Better yet, find creative ways to mention products and services without outright selling and you will have found a way to get your company’s story out there which, on Twitter, will be much more appreciated than a direct selling effort.

 I’ll admit I am not the most prolific tweeter on the block but I do enjoy the time I spend there and I am realising more and more the benefits of my Twitter presence when it comes to my business.  I take part in many local conversations (because most of my clients are local), tweet about events I attend and answer questions about my industry whenever possible, I also tweet relevant articles about social media that others post to their blogs as a way of helping my followers stay current.  

Large brands and even some small ones have adopted Twitter as their preferred mode of delivering customer service, and it’s working. Customers get heard with minimum wait times and no annoying phone line ups and they often tweet about how wonderful their experience was when dealing with companies on Twtter. Be warned however that excellent customer service on Twitter means 24/7 monitoring of your account(s) and knowing how to respond to sometimes irate customers with tact. If that’s not your level of commitment it might be something to work up to, especially if your customers start reaching out to you.

Lastly, once you’ve signed up, promote your Twitter account everywhere – on other social networks, on your email signature, on your business card and through word of mouth when networking. Once you are up and running, there are many ways to build your following, watch my Twitter account (@alisonstoodley) for some great articles on that and many more ideas for your social media marketing.
Happy Tweeting!

 

 

Frequently Asked Social Media Questions Series

“To save time shouldn’t I connect my Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts?

Short answer: No, no and definitely no.

Here’s why. These 3 platforms could not be more different and one of the best ways to show you aren’t aware of how they work is to connect them.

Look at it like this, Facebook is the backyard barbeque, Twitter is the local bar and LinkedIn is the corporate networking event. All social, but all with completely different agendas and acceptable practices.

Connect Accounts What could go wrong you ask? Picture this, a bank manager who is also an avid hockey fan tweets passionately about his team losing, using a little ‘colourful’ language. Arriving at work the next morning he is horrified to realize that every one of last nights tweets (and there were many) is greeting each of his professional contacts as they glance over their LinkedIn newsfeed.

Now, what if his boss is also a connection, or worse, what if he is looking for work?

Using social media effectively for business is about gaining awareness and exposure that translates into qualified leads, leads that increase your bottom line, right? So, saving time, although a valid idea, becomes less important when your efforts are paying off. In fact, if your social media presence is helping to increase business wouldn’t you want to do more of it rather than less?

Knowing your audience and giving them appropriate content on each of the platforms will get the job done. Connecting your accounts might not only hinder that effort but could have it blow up in your face altogether. Just ask that bank manager….

5 Reasons to Stop Putting ‘Like & Share’ Contests on Your Facebook Page

 

To all you “LIKE and SHARE my Picture Contest” Facebook page owners;

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Please stop. Here is why:

  1. You are in violation of Facebook’s Promotional Guidelines – all those ‘likes’ you get from people who only want to win your prize can disappear in the blink of an eye when Facebook catches up to you.
  2. Speaking of all those LIKES, please explain to me how having thousands of LIKES from people who only want to win something free is a good Facebook marketing strategy?  An effective business presence on Facebook means
    you actually get business from your efforts. Contest entrants are not interested in what you are selling, they are only interested in what you are giving away for free.
  3. The myth of SHARING as contest entrant criteria. The only way to see who shares your content on Facebook is to be personal friends with that person, AND for them to have their privacy settings set for their friends to see their shares. When you tell your entrants that their shares make them eligible this can only be accurate if you are friends with all of your page’s fans. You cannot see who shares your content even if they like your page, so there’s a very good chance you’re not including people in your contest who have actually shared your content.
  4. It fills the newsfeed with clutter. Real fans – you know, the ones who actually want to purchase your product or service – get sick of all these contests plugging up their newsfeed so they hide your posts – most don’t bother unliking your page, so you won’t even know they’re gone.
  5. It’s a waste of your precious time. If you really want to gain qualified leads, consider a targeted Facebook ad campaign. That way you can sit back and let your ads garner interested customers, instead of spending your valuable time adding up mythical shares and unqualified likes.

5 Point Plan to Get You Up and Running with Social Media

Your social media strategy needn’t take a month to define.  Follow these simple steps and you can be producing relevant, engaging content in just days.  [tweetmeme source=”alisonstoodley” only_single=false]Your strategy should reflect your company’s needs and it doesn’t have to be like anyone else’s. Testing and tweaking are big parts of the process so don’t expect to accomplish your goals without them.  Finally, if you don’t have time to do social media effectively, hire someone to train you, or to manage it for you or don’t do it at all because what you don’t say with your social media says just as much about your company as what you do.

  1. Decide what you want to accomplish with social media
  2. Research to determine which social media tools will do the job – Google is your friend
  3. Implement one at a time, becoming used to each one before adding another
  4. Determine the best way to measure your results depending on the tools you are using – see #2
  5. Tweak and test until the results you achieve are in line with your goals.

Time Management?

The most frequent complaint I hear from people when I ask them why they haven’t kept up on their social media is that they ‘don’t have time.’

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Now, as a business person and a single mom I get that – time is a very valuable commodity.  But then again, so is your business and if your business depends on word of mouth, then so is your social media presence.

If you are one of the time challenged many try looking at it from a different perspective.  Time, as it turns out, cannot be managed  it’s coming and going whether you get your stuff together or not, but commitments can be managed and looking at yours with a critical eye for results might shine a light on pockets of available time you may have overlooked.

When it comes to your social media commitments make sure that where you are spending your time is where it will pay off and whittle back your commitment until it is manageable. Posting regularly to one medium is much better than not posting at all to five.

Who’s the Expert?

I have taken a number of webinars on social media.  I have been using it for my business and that of my clients for almost 4 years now and I have studied everything I can get my hands on about the subject, but there are days when it feels like I am starting at square one.  [tweetmeme source=”alisonstoodley” only_single=false]

I am amazed that people call themselves experts in this area mainly because the arena changes faster than you can spell expert.  I understand the idea of positioning yourself as a specialist or an expert in your field but can anyone say that they are up to date on all the social media sites and applications when there are hundreds of new ones with increased functionality added each day?

I am not a social media expert.  There, I said it.

What I am is someone who knows the most popular tools in social media and has become familiar enough with them to see actual results for myself and my clients.  I am learning more and more each day.  I understand the scope of the social media network and can easily see the potential in utilizing these tools for business.  That is the experience I share in my workshops and one-on-one training in hopes that my participants can see what I see:  the unlimited possibilities of a communication revolution based on social media tools – sounds good doesn’t it?

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