Using Twitter for Business

Love it or hate it, if you are in business of any size, your business needs to be on Twitter. Social Media is a significant part of your digital marketing strategy and Twitter is one of the largest and most important platforms. For many businesses, it is a powerful tool to reach, inform and influence your target market. It is also extremely fast and highly cost-effective.

With more than 500 million Tweets every day, Twitter cannot be ignored. Twitter’s own research found that their users are open-minded, actively seeking out new things and eager to be amongst the first to try them. In the current competitive business environment, it makes good sense to use Twitter to help you achieve your business goals.

Why use Twitter for Business?

Grow brand awareness

Consumers are bombarded with an overwhelming amount of marketing messages every day. Getting or keeping your brand top of mind is increasingly difficult, even with a large marketing budget. Twitter is a cost-effective way to reach your target market and grow your brand awareness. This is even more effective when combined with other media and platforms.

Inform the market of new products and developments

Twitter users are naturally curious and eager to learn. It is a fast and inexpensive way to launch a product or create awareness around exciting company news. Make it interesting enough and the message will spread organically with great power and reach.

Generate direct sales and accumulate leads

Twitter provides a platform that will allow you to grow your lead base and even sell directly. It is a numbers game so you will have to box clever but you can certainly get great business directly from Twitter.

Your competitors are using it

More than 75% of businesses that are online use Twitter. If you ignore it while your competitors are using it, your company or brand will be at a disadvantage.

It drives customers and potential customers to your Website

While Twitter is powerful, there is only so much you can get across in a Tweet. A big advantage, however, is it is a very cost-effective way to get traffic to your website. Here you can actively engage potential customers and develop a sales funnel.

Studies show that nearly half of all Twitter users that follow a specific brand on the platform are more likely to visit the website as well.

The link and interaction between Twitter and your business website will also boost your SEO which is an ongoing challenge but vitally important to your brand.

Twitter can give your brand great exposure

Your brand presence on Twitter gives it exposure to people that like to interact and engage with brands and companies.  This is exactly what your brand needs. While it might not be completely free, this sort of exposure and commentary from engaged Twitter followers could give your brand exposure that might otherwise cost a fortune.

Twitter allows you to keep an eye on your competitors

A great advantage of having an active presence on Twitter is it will give you great insights into what your competitors are up to at all times. In the past, this could be a slow and expensive exercise. You can also gauge what consumers feel about your brand as well competing brands.

This information is invaluable in fine-tuning your marketing and promotion efforts.

Creating real customer engagement

True engagement with customers is a growing challenge but Twitter is the ideal platform for this. It allows you to hear what your customers are saying, good and bad, and gives you an opportunity to talk to them. Done correctly, this can create loyal fans of your brand. Engagement is obviously a two-way street so it essential that the Twitter account is actively managed and not used merely to Tweet promotional messages.

Improve customer service

It is a well-known fact that most people do not complain to the company itself but will generally tell many friends and colleagues if they have a bad consumer experience. Many people will take to Twitter when they feel wronged by a brand or company. This actually presents a great opportunity.

Addressing negative feedback quickly will give you an opportunity to make amends and sort out the problem. This will result in less unhappy customers and allow you to develop an image as a brand that cares. People will come to notice those companies that respond well and those that don’t.

You can also measure trends to see if complaints and compliments are increasing or decreasing. These insights need to be used to correct issues or reinforce strengths. Positive feedback should be acknowledged to create a loyal fan of the brand.

Again, one can also look at competitors to see their feedback and issues in order to leverage off of their weaknesses or respond to their strengths.

Advantages of Twitter

Apart from the above reasons to use Twitter, there are some additional benefits it offers.

Extremely cost-effective

Given the volume of active Twitter users, you can create powerful marketing for very little cost. With purely organic growth you can reach and influence a huge amount of people for free. Paid Tweets are, however, far more effective and are great value for money.

Target your audience

One of the biggest advantages of Twitter, and the reason paid ads are such great value, is there is very little waste. You can accurately target who you send paid ads to very specifically by demographics, interests, geographic location and a range of other factors. This means that the people receiving the ads are highly likely to be part of your target market.

Speed

Setting up most marketing and advertising campaigns can be a time-consuming process that takes time to get out to your target market. A Twitter campaign, with a bit of thought, can be done very quickly and sent out immediately.

Given the fast pace of modern business and the constant changes, this is a massive advantage.

Limitations

Now that you understand the benefits and advantages of Twitter, it is important to also understand the challenges.  

Length of message

Twitter allows a maximum of 280 characters per Tweet. It is often difficult to get your message across with this limited space. There is an art to doing this and many companies can do it very well.

Negative feedback

As much as it can be a benefit, it is also a potential minefield. Some people just like to complain, it is a fact of life. Twitter gives these hard to please people a soapbox that can reach thousands or more people very quickly. Many people have learned to discern a rant from a genuine complaint but many have not. Negative feedback could hurt your brand.

It is critical that complaints are handled quickly and effectively by competent people. There are many examples of social media blunders where brands have done their image serious damage by not handling a problem correctly.

Staffing resources

Following on from the above, the Twitter account needs to be managed carefully by skilled and qualified people. This should preferable done 24-hours a day, depending on the nature of the business. This means it will require some staff resources to manage the account.

Twitter Tools

Fortunately, there are a number of tools one can use to make managing your Twitter account easier and more effective. Some will allow you to manage multiple social media platforms from one application which is a huge help.

While there are many of these third-party tools, we will just look at two of the most popular:

Hootsuite

This popular tool will allow you to manage Twitter as well as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and even YouTube. It will allow you to curate and manage your content and schedule posts. It also provides valuable analytics that will help you maximize your ROI on Twitter and other social platforms.

TweetDeck

Possibly even more useful for Twitter management is TweetDeck. The app is free and fully customizable. It is particularly useful for managing multiple Twitter accounts and provides real-time tracking. It is suitable for small, medium and large businesses.

Twitter Tips

Here are a few tips to get the maximum return on your Twitter business page.

Hashtag!

Yes, hashtags are important and they do work. While some may frown on them, they are an important part of the Twitter environment. Use them but use them wisely. They will improve your visibility and maximize the reach of your content.

Do not overdo it with the hashtags and make sure they are relevant to your message. You can also jump onto trending hashtags but as a business, do this with caution and ensure it is relevant.

Live Tweets

This has become a popular way of Tweeting and often gets a good following. If there is an interesting breaking news story that you can find relevance in, this can be used. Another way businesses can use live tweeting is at company/brand events where the audience gets involved on Twitter. With the right audience, this sort of live Tweet can grow quickly.

Use direct messages

Obviously, you do not want to spam potential customers but certain things should be handled through direct messages, complaints, and concerns especially. You can publicly comment that you are dealing with the issues and then address the person directly. You do not want everyone to see the whole interactions and DM's allow you more space to talk as there is no limit on characters.

Use photos, graphics, and gifs

Most people respond better to visual content than text. If you can capture the person’s attention with a great photo or graphic they are more likely to read the content as well. It will also help your content stand out from the text only Tweets.

Seek out influencers

This is becoming particularly important on social media, Twitter in particular. While large brands will pay a premium for celebrities, small businesses can also use this tactic. Even a small town will have a number of influencers in different fields. It can really boost your following and engagement if you are able to entice a local influencer to Tweet positively about your brand or business.

People are more inclined to listen to and believe a person than they are a company. It is a powerful engagement technique.

Invest in Twitter

Although you can create an account and Tweet for free you will get much faster and better quality results using paid ads or promoted Tweets on Twitter. Given the sheer number or Twitter accounts all trying to get the attention of followers, it is becoming increasingly difficult to be noticed. Paid ads will help you achieve this.

Due to the accurate targeting we spoke of earlier, this does not have to be expensive. The ROI relative to other forms of marketing is excellent. You can either promote individual Tweets or make use of promoted accounts.

Get Twitter followers from your website

While Twitter can be used to drive people to your site it works both ways. Ensure you have a Twitter button or widget on your website. This will remind people viewing your site to also follow you on Twitter.

Final thoughts

Twitter is an essential tool for small, medium and large businesses. It is a cost-effective way to market your company or brand. It allows for two-way, real-time communication with your target market and existing customers. This lets you engage, listen and respond. It will help you improve customer care which will boost your company image.

It also gives you valuable insights into your customers as well as your competitors. It allows you to keep an ear to the ground and track market trends.

While it can be time-consuming, use the tools that are available to make it easier and more effective. If your competitors are doing a stellar job on Twitter and you are not, it will impact your bottom line.

There are too many good reasons not to use Twitter for your business. Make sure you get started and invest a bit of time, resources and marketing budget to become a recognized force in your industry.