Twitter for business: Before any of those questions are answered, it’s important to understand what Twitter is.
Twitter is a bit different than most social media platforms.
It’s defined as a microblogging service that allows sending short messages (tweets) up to 140 characters long to the people who subscribe to you (followers).
It has continuously evolved over 9+ years of its existence (It started on March 21, 2006) and has added new features to its platform, most of which came from the suggestions based on community feedback.
Your tweets can include pictures, videos or links to any web content like a blog post, website, PDF, or anything hosted on the web.
People follow each other on twitter to get their updates and interact with them through replies, retweet (sharing), favourites, or through direct messages (one to one communication).
However, the core of all these services is to connect and network and even though the methods may be different, businesses and individuals have learned how to use these tools for their advantage.
Let’s look at how businesses have done with Twitter over the years.
- Presenting the Brand – Businesses can create a Twitter account and choose a username and upload profile images that reflect their brand well. There is a header photo and profile photo. You can even customize the background picture for your account. Next are the bio and link to the website. It’s very important to complete the twitter profile to make sure Twitter recognizes and identifies your business and makes it a verified page which adds to the authenticity of the business.
- Marketing the Brand – Once the account is created and profile details are filled in, it is time to make sure that the business follows the right kind of people because your twitter experience is defined by the people you choose to follow, not by who follow you. You may want to scan your email address book and add contacts automatically. It’s also advisable to accustom yourself and use the features which twitter offers and categorize the people you follow in lists for easy organization. In general, start following people in these categories:
- Your customers
- Your business partners, suppliers, contractors and vendors
- Your competitors or peers
- Trade organizations or professional organizations for your industry
- Businesses in your neighbourhood
- Businesses run by people you know (your professional network)
Stay focused on who you follow and do not worry about the followers you get while you are setting up your account.
Start interacting with these people to make sure they know you have a twitter presence now once you feel comfortable.
Also make sure to give yourself enough time to focus on quality rather than quantity and talk smarter.
- Providing Customer Support – This has been an indispensable part of twitter for businesses. A lot of people are on social media and the reach of these platforms are worldwide. Your customers might share their experiences of your services/products online on these avenues and it is a great opportunity to address their concerns, solve their queries and also receive feedback, both positive and negative. Given the nature of Twitter, customer service can be easier and faster as compared to other options and can provide customers a great experience from the brands. Customers have the assurance that they are valued and heard and the company cares to solve their issues on social media too. Twitter has emerged as one of the most popular avenues for customer support by companies worldwide enhancing their brand image and helping them tremendously. Here’s an example of Mercedes Benz twitter account handling customer support well.
- Running Special promotions/offers – A lot of companies have understood the tremendous power of social media and how it benefits them. Twitter is a great medium to run special contests, sweepstakes, or promotional offers and drive brand recognition and get people interacting with the brand. Businesses do regular contests on twitter and gain insights of how common people view their brands and what they expect from them. Contests can also give valuable data like what people like or hate about a brand.
- Driving Traffic to their website/blog – Twitter promotes creativity because the space is limited and the message has to be delivered in 140 characters or less. To achieve this, companies mostly use links and create compelling tweets which would make people click on the link thus driving traffic to their websites/blog. When you use Twitter.com, the Twitter URL shortener uses just 20 characters for your web address, no matter how long the actual web address.
- Connect their online presence – Twitter bio and description for any account shows the brand details but you can expand twitter to your website with the twitter timeline widgets or twitter buttons and get double the exposure for your brand by connecting all the online presence. You can also insert a tweet in any of your blogs by using the embed feature and adding twitter share buttons on your website and blogs.
- Research the company you are interested in – If you apply for a job, you can find the people who are in the top management on twitter and you can follow the industry news and updates. Twitter’s openness allows to easily connect with people you don’t know as compared to other social networks. Plus there is transparency between candidates and companies.
- Expand the audience with hashtags – Twitter hashtags are normally used to emphasize something or categorize tweets in a particular topic and finding tweets about them easily. This is achieved by the use of # sign (Pound or Hash Sign).
#FF is used for Follow Friday,
#IFA is for the Consumer Electronics fair held in Berlin every year
#MWC is used for Mobile World Congress
Hashtags can be about a topic, an event, and is normally categorized as trending topics on Twitter.
It’s a great way to highlight a product or service quality or to chime in by a brand and show its creative side.
A tweet with the hashtag becomes clickable and shows all the other tweets with the same hashtag.
Businesses can use hashtags for their taglines, new product launches or even providing customer support.
Individuals also have been very creative and have found novel uses of Twitter to gain an edge in their careers.
Here are a few examples of how people have used Twitter as a great communication method for benefitting professionally.
- Research the company you are interested in – If you apply for a job, you can find the people who are in the top management on Twitter and you can follow the industry news and updates. Twitter’s openness allows to easily connect with people you don’t know as compared to other social networks. Plus there is transparency between candidates and companies.
- Apply jobs via twitter- Twitter has experimented with a lot of features and one of them has been job applications through twitter. There have been even tips for applying for jobs through the platform. Resumes won’t become obsolete any time soon but the online presence of a candidate matters a lot too these days in the recruiting process.
- Network with like-minded people – Twitter is a great platform to connect with strangers and it becomes much easier if you involve yourself in meaningful conversations rather than just retweets. Recruiters know that if they hire you, they also get the benefit of inheriting your network so invest in building a strong network both inside and outside the industry.
- Create a professional identity – Use twitter as a destination to showcase your other online presence like website or blogs and direct people to them. Also make sure that twitter shows your personality and gives an idea about yourself. You can create an image for yourself through your interactions and create meaningful and useful content. Interacting and responding regularly with your network will add value to the community and build a strong candidature for you.
- Find job opportunities through twitter – A lot of job opportunities are advertised by people on twitter all the time. If you follow a good amount of industry people you are interested in, you will easily find some opportunities. Moreover, many companies have job oriented twitter handles. Following them is much better way of finding job opportunities than scouring their websites.
Do you feel comfortable to jump in and get some value out of your twitter accounts? Are you ready to approach twitter with a fresh new perspective? Use these suggestions and let us know your experiences here. We would love to hear your views.
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