7 Ways Twitter Can Help You
As a social media platform, Twitter enables both content creation and dissemination while providing for one-to-many, one-to-one and many-to-many communications. While usage numbers vary, Twitter continues to grow. 20.6 million US adults will access a Twitter account at least monthly in 2011, up 26.3% from 16.4 million last year according to eMarketer’s estimates. Numbers from other sources include duplicate accounts and Twitter quitters. Twitter is projected to continue double-digit growth through 2013. Aiding this trend is mobile, which had 7.8 million US Twitter users in January 2011, up 66% from the previous year based on comScore.
7 Ways Twitter solves business problems
The way to leverage Twitter is to think about how it can solve your business problems. Here are seven business challenges where Twitter can help.
- Build an audience. To start, check who’s influential and worth following in your niche. Think in terms of stakeholders, journalists, thought leaders, bloggers and others. Use various Twitter-related tools to help with this effort. Use enticing content to attract readers and give them a reason to follow you. Curate content from other sources or create your own on Twitter or other social media platforms. Use your existing internal (or owned) media to source new followers from your website, blog, catalogs, and other media.
- Distribute your message. While every marketer longs to actively push their promotional communications through Twitter, followers tend to react poorly to being bombarded with these messages. Therefore, use a broad array of social media content formats such as how-tos and other information that your audience will find entertaining and want to share. Keep straight promotions to a minimum and add relevant hastags (#) to broaden your reach.
- Engage customers and the public. Take advantage of the conversational aspects of Twitter’s platform. Pose questions about your industry to stir reactions; provide insights and opinions on current events and praise colleagues.
- Build your reputation. Your standing on Twitter is developed over time as you build relationships through a variety of methods. Among them are sharing strong content that supports your perspective, participating in the on-going social media conversation, and being active in group discussions such as Twitter chats.
- Answer customer questions. Part of the value of listening to customers and the public on Twitter is to supply them with the information they need, whether it’s related to a sale or using your product. It doesn’t have to be your content. It just has to be relevant and useful to the recipient.
- Provide customer service. Twitter enables you to service prospects and purchasers. Be aware that this tends to get great press in the early phases when there are very few users but can be more challenging as your base grows. Like other forms of social media, the expected level of service is high and the anticipated response time is fast.
- Get customer input. Ask your customers and prospects for their feedback. Find out what they like and don’t like about your offering and how you can improve it. What a company often thinks internally is more limited than the answer the public will give since they’re not restrained by organizational preconceptions.
Realize that although some Twitter activities can be automated and scheduled ahead of time, it still requires human monitoring to ensure that your company message remains consistent and that customer questions are answered.
Has Twitter helped resolve other types of business issues for you? If so, what were they and how did Twitter help?
Here are some related resources on Twitter:
- Do You Need a Twitter Strategy If Only 6% of Adults Use It? [Research]
- How to Create a Twitter Strategy
- How to Create Twitter Bait
- To Tweet or Not to Tweet – 10 Twitter marketing tips
Photo credit: Egan Snow via Flickr