How to Build Customer Relationships With Twitter [Chart]

10 Ways to Use Twitter to Enhance Customer Relationships

Twitter attracts marketers because it appears to be another push media. Yet, the reality is that consumers have different expectations when they choose to follow a brand on Twitter. About 9% of online consumers are active on Twitter and about half of them have followed a company according to recent research from Exact Target.

On the downside, about half of Twitter users are no longer active. Of these 52% found Twitter pointless, 38% thought Twitter got boring, and 23% thought that Twitter was too chaotic based on Exact Target’s finding. (Note: Multiple responses were allowed.) This is attributable to the learning curve associated with using Twitter.

In addition to becoming familiar with Twitter’s unique lingo, new users must find and connect with like-minded individuals on their own. It’s not like other social media platforms that facilitate finding friends and other connections via integration of third party services that enable matching of contacts. Further, until a user builds a larger audience, it feels like you’re talking to yourself. You put out messages but no one’s listening or responding to you.

10 Ways to build customer relationships on Twitter

To help marketers engage prospects and customers on Twitter and build longer lasting relationships with followers, here are ten suggestions.

  1. Provide continuous information flow. Curate an interesting content offering. Bear in mind that it doesn’t just have to be your information. Become a source of useful information on a specific topic.
  2. Don’t repeat the same message again and again. No one wants their content to be like a bad burrito that keeps repeating. Keep your tweets new and engaging.
  3. Avoid being a bore. Get rid of the marketing-speak. Instead, be human and personable in 140 characters. No one likes people who only talk about  themselves.
  4. Don’t use Auto-DM to push marketing messages. Followers consider this spam.  If you feel an auto-dm is necessary, such as your business is closed, then carefully craft one.
  5. Offer occasional deals. Since most consumers are on the prowl for bargains, create targeted Twitter specials. (Of course, understand that these promotions will have a viral component and spread to more customers.) That said, remember followers are looking for a varied diet of content. Unless you’ve created a special account for daily deals, then it’s critical to share more than just your deals.
  6. Limit company-related tweets. Only promote your firm once for every ten tweets about your customers, related organizations and other people. Over-promote your firm or brand and followers will stop following you.
  7. Focus on your Twitter audience. Like other social media platforms, it’s not about you. Get over yourself—it’s about your customers. What are they looking for? Remember followers are thinking: What’s in it for me? How can you help them?
  8. Show interest in your Twitter followers. At a minimum, thank them for following you, mention them in your tweets, and retweet their tweets that are relevant to your business.
  9. Engage with your Twitter audience. Have real time exchanges with individuals and groups. (Understand that it can take time until you get the hang of using Twitter and its multi-directional communications.) Host, guest moderate or participate in Twitter chats.
  10. Don’t hog followers’ Twitter stream Use good judgment in terms of the number of tweets or followers will unfollow you. Once or twice an hour during business hours is the maximum, unless you’re in a conversation, answering customer requests or need to supply information for customers (like travel information.) While it’s helpful to tweet information from a live event or to participate in a Twitter chat, let your followers know that you’ll be tweeting more than usual so they can choose not to follow your tweets.

Used properly, Twitter can be a highly effective marketing platform for developing connections to customers and prospects and for providing information to the public. For many marketers, the challenge is moving from a push mentality to an engagement approach.

What other suggestions would you add to this list and why? Please use the comments section to share your views.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Here are related articles on Twitter to help you with your marketing.

Photo credit: Ron Sombilon Gallery via Flickr

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