Twitter is commonly mistaken as a social media tool restricted to younger generations, but professional businesses everywhere are using it as a way to grow and communicate. Twitter allows you to refine your brand, network, stay on top of industry news, and most importantly, engage your customers. As a full-service communications firm, we know that businesses without a Twitter presence are missing out on big opportunities and lowering their competitive stance. So, how do businesses use Twitter in a professional manner? This seven-step guide should get you off to a great start.
Set a tone and voice for your business. What do you want to say and who do you want to reach? Your content should be consistent with these goals. The person composing your tweets should be knowledgeable about the company and understand its primary objectives.
Follow people, but not too many. Focus on quality rather than quantity. Having a smaller group of influential followers is much more effective than having a large number of insignificant followers. Requesting to follow someone on Twitter opens up the invitation for him or her to follow you back, but no guarantee. Start off by following industry leaders, clients, and local resources.
Tweet. This is where you can have fun. Keep your messages light-hearted and add some humor when appropriate. Also, keep in mind that you aren’t limited to your specific business. Change it up and include information about big industry news, holidays, and cultural events. This will engage your followers and show them that you are an active member of the online community. Remember that you are limited to 140 characters, so go light on the adjectives and pack in the action words.
#Hashtag. Many people are confused by what this symbol actually means. A hashtag marks keywords and topics in a tweet. It categorizes messages so that Twitter users can search for and view related conversations. In simpler terms, it expands your audience. Hashtags are more effective for specific events. For example, in the image below you will see that people used #WorldCup2014 rather than #soccer. By doing this, the conversation is much more explicit and makes it easier for people to connect through a certain event. Hashtags are also a great way to add in some of that humor (see step 3). They can be used as jokes or to give your tweet a unique flare. We recommend a maximum of three hashtags, though some would argue two is best practice. Just remember, too many hashtags becomes overwhelming and annoying.
Add a picture. Visuals work wonders when it comes to social media, especially when limited to 140 characters on Twitter. Make sure that the picture is relevant and interesting. A photo is one of the best ways to highlight your tweet, so use it wisely.
Retweet or favorite someone else’s post. When you retweet, you are choosing to share information with all of your followers. It will look exactly the same as you saw it, but will be distinguished by the retweet icon and your username. In comparison, when you favorite a tweet, it will not be shared with your followers, but will be displayed on your Twitter account. Also, depending on your followers’ settings, Twitter will send out emails notifying them of your favorited tweet. Favoriting is a way of letting the original author know that you enjoyed their post (similar to a Facebook “Like”).
Repeat steps 1-6. Between Twitter noise and varying schedules, it’s not unusual for tweets to go unnoticed, so tweet on different days and times of the week. Change it up so that you can reach every follower. Tweet often, but don’t go overboard. More tweets do tend to generate more traffic, but only if they have meaning. For example, McDonald’s uses Twitter effectively to address cultural events and products. Burger King, on the other hand, tweets excessively and without purpose.
In closing, it’s important to note there are no strict rules with Twitter. As a rule of thumb, however, make sure that your content is informative and entertaining. Experiment and identify what works best for your business’s purpose and don’t forget to add your account information to your website and blog. By building a presence on Twitter you will engage your customers and ultimately, achieve a good return on investment.
Confused, or still need some help? Contact us to learn more about our social media services.