“I am eating a banana.” “Just got off the phone with mom!” “I’m ironing my clothes.” “Making some coffee.”
Sound familiar? Sounds like Twitter! That is, it sounds like my impression of the infinite drudgeries of Twitter before I attended the breakout session held byLocaltweeps at the Rock Stars@ Work Conference.
Localtweeps is a new business based out of the Twin Cities that helps localize Twitter by connecting people in the same geographic area. They also offer consultations for companies on how to use Twitter to promote business.
To promote business?! I thought Twitter was a 140 character micro-blogging machine used to shout out banal phrases about your day. As it turns out, Twitter can be used to garner business and engage your customers.
Don’t believe it? Punch Pizza used Twitter to promote a location that was chronically slow. As a result they had a 400% increase in business at that location.
The guys at Localtweeps listed several ways Twitter can enhance your business: managing your brand, establishing yourself as an expert, connecting with current customers (customer service), finding and engaging new customers and job prospects, and promoting specials and events in real time.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should spam people to get the word out. That is a turnoff for anybody. Keep it authentic, make it personal, and word will spread.
Let’s take a brief look at each of these five functions:
Managing your brandPeople are tweeting your business, and it’s important to engage them, said the Localtweeps folks. You can’t control what they say, but you can control the image you portray. Is there an aspect of your company that most people don’t know about? For instance, are you dedicated to social justice? Twitter’s viral nature makes it a great (free!) tool for getting the word out.
Establishing yourself as an expertIntelligent discussions do happen on Twitter. Participating in them is one way to show your expertise(and build your list of followers). What would you do to establish your expertise in the real world? Can you condense that to 140 characters?
Connecting with current customersI think this is one of the best uses of Twitter. As a consumer, I really value customer feedback because it tells me the honest truth about a product. Twitter is a forum where you the business owners can interact with customer feedback and turn it into customer service, or even positive publicity. You can see what people are saying about you, respond to questions in real time and follow up on complaints. Maybe there is a simple solution to someone’s complaint that can turn a potentially damaging comment into positive buzz. Or perhaps there is something wrong with your product that you didn’t know about, but now you can fix.
Finding and engaging new customers and job prospectsHere are some tips from Local Tweeps on how to do that. You want to have a nearly one-to-one ratio of followers to following, because if you are following 1,000 people and only 3 are following you, it looks like spam. To avoid that and build your followers, follow 10 people for three days. If they don’t follow you, un-follow them and follow others. (try saying that 10 times fast!) Find these people using competitors, trade associations and keywords. And make sure you are putting out authentic tweets the whole time!
Promoting specials and events in real timeThis one is self-evident. However, I would have to say that it’s one of the best ways to get people to follow you. If they are receiving deals, they are more likely to patronize your business and spread the word.
I hope these words of wisdom from the experts help! Don’t be discouraged if your venture into the uncharted Twitter-land doesn’t thrive immediately. Wouldn’t you rather gain 5 loyal customers rather than 1,000 unengaged followers?
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