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!

 

 

Have you heard about the changes to Facebook’s Promotional Guidelines?

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Now all of those Like and Share contests are actually OK. I think it’s a good idea to scrap unenforceable rules don’t you? You no longer need to use a 3rd party application to run contests – that makes things a lot easier for businesses wanting to promote their wares with a give away or contest.

The official announcement is here: https://www.facebook.com/facebookforbusiness/news/page-promotions-terms

Make sure you take creative advantage of this feature to increase fan engagement in a huge way. Your fans will love winning more often and with these rules relaxed you can offer smaller, more frequent contests. For instance – 50th fan to LIKE this post gets a free lunch, etc.
Will these new guidelines encourage you to use contests on Facebook more often?

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.

10 Things You Should Do When Using Facebook for Business

1. Claim your username – If you haven’t already, go here and claim the name that best fits your page. This makes it much easier for people to find you and for you to pass on your Facebook contact info. For instance, “Find me at http://facebook.com/AlisonStoodleyEnterprises”  is a lot easier to pass around than “Find me at http://facebook.com/Alison-Stoodley-Enterprises-5867746382450084673932”.

2. Stop focusing on numbers – It is better to have 25 engaged customers who actually buy what you are selling than 500 who only signed up for the giveaway and not only don’t engage with your content, but don’t want your product/service.  An organically grown, targeted, engaged audience is one of your most valuable business assets – focus on creating that, instead of boosting numbers.

3. Create a custom landing page for new arrivals. Using one of the many 3rd party applications available, (some great ones here) create a page with a call-to-action to ‘like’ your page. You can also create a fan gate that rewards your likers with exclusive discounts or information that makes them feel valued. These apps can be used to create a mini web page within your Facebook page so go ahead and get creative!

4. Keep in mind that competition for eye-space is fierce on Facebook and staying in your prospects Newsfeed means earning that space with engaging content. Create a posting schedule, test the best times for engagement with your fans and then stick to it. Lack of consistency is one of the main reasons that pages disappear from Newsfeeds – sending out fabulous content doesn’t matter if no one sees it.

5. Create a ‘Sign Up for my Newsletter’ tab on your page. Companies like Constant Contact make this incredibly easy to do. If you don’t have an account with them try it hereherehere for free. Email is still very important in the marketing mix and a permission based list of clients is an incredibly valuable business asset. Remember the difference in cost of acquiring a new customer and in getting a repeat sale? Email marketing is a proven way to keep your customers engaged with your brand, so take advantage of your Facebook page to beef up your email list.

6. Post your Facebook page link at every point of contact. If no one knows you have a page they will be much less likely to find you right? Get your link out there – on your sign on the door, your newspaper ad, your business card, your directory listing, your industry association listing, your letterhead, your invoices, your email signature, your car bumper, your desk, your counter, your cash register, your brochure….get the picture?

7. Make sure you’re receiving email notifications of page activity so that you can respond to comments and posts in a timely manner. Nothing says “we care” quite like an immediate response, just like the opposite is true when someone has to wait hours or even days, for a response.

8. Don’t lock your page down. Building customer relationships is a communication based activity. If prospective clients and customers can’t communicate with you on Facebook you have completely missed the point of “social” media.

9. Don’t shy away from negative comments. Just as you would do everything in your power to make it right if someone complained about your product or service in real life, Facebook should be no different, except that you get to solve the problem while your potential customers watch. Everyone understands that occasionally things go wrong so being up front and open about how you handle customer complaints is a wonderful way to gain customer loyalty. Having said that there is an exception to this rule – if you are slammed without just cause or spammed, simply delete the post without comment. If someone inquires about the deleted post, assure them that your page is reserved for constructive comments and the deleted post did not fit that criteria.

10. Don’t give up. If at first the throngs of new customers don’t come out of the woodwork and surround you with fists full of cash, don’t despair. A Facebook marketing campaign is not a quick fix. It takes time to develop a relationship with your audience and testing what works, is part of that process. You should be looking for results by the end of your first year of actively building a Facebook presence. Results that include increased engagement, increased positive sentiment about your brand and increased sales.

Now it’s your turn. Share your Facebook for Business tips in the comments below, we would love to hear what makes Facebook work for you!

Tweet Much?

No, seriously, tweet much?
Most of the clients or friends I ask answer that they don’t. They don’t because they think the mundane details of their lives are ridiculous and if they haven’t got something relevant to their business to say, they say nothing… (insert crickets here).

The problem with that is they think all the people on twitter are doing the same, waiting until the perfect inspirational, call-to-action tweet pops into their head and only then sharing it with the twitterverse – So. Not. True.

The reason Twitter works for business, and for pleasure, is because tweeters are people – and people want to connect with people.

If you only communicate on Twitter in business form, using business speak to discuss business issues, you’re missing the point and more likely, you’re boring your audience to tears.

The reason Twitter works is precisely because of the mundane details that connect us all – cheering on your sports team, watching your favorite TV show, hating on ridiculous drivers, talking about the weather and yes, sharing what you had for lunch, even immortalizing that salad in a picture.
Yes, we do business, but we also do life in general, and it’s that general part where most of us find some commonality.

If you’re resolving to get your tweet on in 2012, or you want to increase your impact on Twitter give this a try: take off your business suit, move away from your desk and tweet instead from the couch, in jeans – sweats even – and see if you don’t make a connection that just might someday lead to a little business.

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