Remember that social media is about sharing information and having a conversation, and not about promoting your company. The best way to market on social media is to express [professional] opinions about your industry and company.
Personal account VS. Business account
When you create a Twitter profile for your company, be sure to create a separate business account instead of simply using your personal account. The reason for having a separate business account is to ensure that you always present a professional image by avoiding a “follower” adding a personal comment that could offend a customer. Social media sites should be treated as a professional communication medium that enables you to casually engage in a conversation with a visitor, so do not waste it with a post that does not professionally interest your visitor.
Engage with people
Social media is an opportunity to engage in a conversation with a current or potential customer, vendors, industry leaders, or anyone else. It is not an opportunity to sell or promote your business, and you can alienate your customers or followers if you constantly sell your wares. Social media is about sharing relevant, insightful, and interesting information with your circle.
Follow Me and Be Followed
Following is the action of either following another user’s Tweets, and the primary aim of Twitter is either follow someone or to have people follow you. Who you follow will depend on your business and industry. Take the time to consider who are industry leaders, top businesses, authority figures, and purchasers of in your product/service category.
For example, if you produce Organic Candles, then your aim might be to find people that might be interested in candles. So you may consider following My Favorite Scented Candle Company because it is likely that the people following Scented Candle Company may be people that have an interest in candles, buy candles, write about candles, or sell candles. In other words, these are people that may be potential customers, reviewers, or suppliers. You may also follow publications that write about home products, candles, or decorating since the people interested in the publication could also interested be in candles or home decorating.
Now that you are following other users, you may find that users are also following you. It is advised that you follow anyone that is following you. But do not forget to review who these followers are and what they Tweets about so that you are positive they are in line with your company and product.
Once you have an account on Twitter, you need to start Tweeting. Tweeting are comments or posts, similar to a Facebook status update, and they show on your profile and on the profile of anyone following you. You can either Tweet a comment, reply back to another user, or Retweet a comment. Think of Twitter like a cocktail party and just dive into the conversation, even though it may feel awkward at first.
Tweeting an original comment or post can be done in a variety of ways, which are addressed in the next section ‘What to Tweet About’, but you can also simply reply or Retweet to a Tweet another user has already made. For example, if you are following a new publication and like an article they published, then you can quickly Tweet @NewsPublication I really liked the article on widgets, very insightful. Additionally, you can include a link to the article.
Also, if you are following the same News Publication that Tweeted about an article, you can Retweet by saying RT@NewsPublication Our widget article is out Great article, comprehensive take on widgets
Tweeting Format and Options
Tweet follow up comments
- The format to Tweet a specific user is: @UserName Then your comment.
- Add an AT symbol (@) before the name of the user (UserName) and then type your comment. Be sure there is not a space between the AT symbol and UserName.
Retweet a post
- Similar to Tweeting to specific user, but Retweeting is basically repeating another user’s Tweet and then adding your own comment to the end.
- How you Retweet is : RT @User: Orginal tweet, you can add a comment after the original Tweet by enclosing it in parentheses. But do not modify any short link in the original Tweet. You can also simply Retweet the orginal Tweet, and your followers will see the orginal Tweet.
You can send a direct message, but follow the same rules you would use to send emails. Do not spam the people that you follow or are following you. Direct Messages (DM) can only be sent someone that you are following, and this also means that only people following you can reply to any direct message you send.
Communicate with customers
Socail media sites offer you a prime opportunity to communicate with your customers, and to either thank them or resolve their customer service issues. Using Twitter you can turn a negative situation to a positive situation. If a customer has a negative comment, this is the chance to save a customer and turn the negative into a positive. For a positive comment, thank the customer and retweet the compliment.
Twitter also allows you to save tweets to your favorites, and which act as a mini testimonial page of positive customer feedback or reference. Do not forget to take the time to Tweet customers about special in store or company events that you are hosting and invite them.
What to Tweet About
Now that you have an account with Twitter, Facebook, or another social media site, the time has to come to post content. The content that you post should be quick bursts of information that your visitor can use or wants to read. But sometimes thinking of relevant information to post is the most challenging aspect of a social media site.
Posts can come from a variety of topics, including:
- A piece of news from your business, such as a new client, product, testimonial, or anything else you can think of.
- Post an update on a new whitepaper, case study, or additional content that you posted on your website.
- Post a link to an article that you read, and that is relevant to your business, industry, or customer.
- Tweet (aka Post) a comment that is directed to or responds to someone that either you are following or is following you.
Use twitter to post information that is not promotional, but useful. For example, Whole Foods posts articles about healthy living or skin care; and about special events around the area.
When posting or Tweeting on your profile, be aware that Twitter has a limit to the number of characters that are allowed on a Tweet. One way to reduce character count is to use short links that redirect to the URL link you want Tweet. For example, if you see an interesting article of FastCompany.com that you think your followers will like read, you can visit www.tinyurl.com or http://bit.ly and create a short URL that will automatically redirect a visitor to the full URL at FastCompany.com/monthissue/article/titlename.html (this is not an authentic URL structure, and is only for illustration purposes).
Twitter allows you to add a personalized background to your Twitter profile, so add one. This is a prime opportunity to add information about your business, products/services, and how you can be reached. Take advantage of the personalization settings on Twitter and incorporate a background that complements your existing website branding.
A quick and simple method to personalize the background is to use the existing background from your website. You can also take your background a step further by personalizing it with your logo, company information, and contact information. The only drawback is that the any information on your background will not be a hyperlink and can be copied, so be sure that it is easy to read.
To change your Twitter background:
- Log into your account
- Go to your account settings by clicking on the ‘Settings’ link on the top right hand corner of the screen.
- Then when the settings page comes up, click on the ‘Design’ option on the menu
- After the page comes up, you will see a variety of designs for you to select from. To import your own design, scroll to the bottom of the page, and select the ‘Change Background’ link.
Profile image and Contact information
Two additional ways to personalize your Twitter profile are to (1) add your logo as a profile picture and (2) add your company website URL in the contact information. The options to change your profile image and contact information can be found in the Profile settings.
Connect Twitter to Your Facebook Account
Both Twitter and Facebook have options to connect together; this will allow you to update both simultaneously. By connecting the Facebook with Twitter, you will only need to update one site and the other will show the same information. An added benefit is that any hyperlink sent in an update submitted via Facebook will automatically be shortened to fit into Twitter.
How to connect Twitter to Facebook: Use Connection setting to link your Facebook page to your Twitter account
Add Twitter Feed to Your Website
Now that you are an active user of Twitter, why not add your Twitter feed to your company website? This is a quick way to update your customer on a special promotion, new product, news, or anything additional. The process of formatting the feed and obtaining the HTML code can be completed inside of the Twitter site, and then added to your website or blog.
How to add a Twitter feed to your website: Use the profile setting menu to get the HTML code to add Twitter to your Blog site or Website
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