Twitter can be an important tool for any business. It can help a company in its marketing, brand awareness and generating more traffic and sales. Plus it can even assist in customer service. It is a tool that can help you engage with your customers, bringing them closer to you and even making them more loyal to your business.

If you’re not using Twitter for your business, then ask yourself why are huge brands such as Pepsi, Dell, TESCO, Boots, Shell, Topshop, etc using it? They are using it because it benefits their business. Many of your customers will be on Twitter. By using Twitter a business can not only engage with its customers, but it can also help it understand what companies in its business sector and customers are discussing.

There are many ways you can use Twitter effectively for your business – here are 8 ways to get you started:

  1. Pitch to your followers

    Tell them about your product/services and the benefits of using them. How will they help your clients? E.g. save them money? Increase their security? Save them time? Avoid a common industry problem?

  2. Post discounts, coupons, special offers and package deals

    Twitter can help you raise awareness of any special offers you have, and sometimes your followers will re-tweet the offer to their followers, thereby resulting in even more business for you.

  3. Target niche audience

    Depending on your type of business you can target specific niches that might be interested in what your business has to offer. For example, easyspace works with a lot of new business startups – providing domain names and web hosting services for them. One way to target niche audiences is via related “hashtags” on Twitter e.g. #startups.  Many of these type of potential clients will be monitoring such hashtags on twitter to find info directly related to them.

  4. Track conversations mentioning your name or your brand

    Using the Twitter search function you can find conversations on Twitter that have mentioned your business name or brand. This can provide you with independent feedback on your business – good& bad. You then have the opportunity to build upon this feedback, and take action if necessary.

  5. Respond to tweets talking about you and your brand

    It’s important that you are active in engaging with those who are talking about your brand. For example, if somebody makes query on Twitter  about your business product/service then respond by providing a link to more detailed information, guide or FAQ page, etc. Don’t ignore tweets that criticize your business (no matter how much you want to) e.g. customers complaining about your product/service. Research has shown 70% of companies ignore customer complaints on Twitter. Ignoring a Twitter complaint is a bad decision for two reasons:

    a) It’s an opportunity to turn an unhappy customer into a happy one. People that are using Twitter to complain are already disproportionately upset. The people complaining on Twitter are doing so because your company already failed to satisfy them in your existing customer service processes.Often upset customers are just looking for a sympathetic ear, and resort to venting their frustrations in a public forum. Just the fact that the company acknowledged the problem and showed it was listening will help improve a damaged customer relationship, and provide a starting point on which to re-build the relationship.

    b) Other customers & potential customers are able to see if you are ignoring an unhappy customer on Twitter. They are also able to monitor your brand and business name when they are consider doing business with you. You need to listen, respond and deal with complaints. Ignoring them will show potential clients that you don’t care and this will damage your business. Better to bite the bullet, publicly acknowledge a complaint on Twitter (i.e. respond for all to see) and deal with it – this will actually show potential clients that you will treat them professionally, which will give you credibility and gain their trust./

  6. Do market research and gain knowledge with polls and surveys

    For example, using a survey is a simple way to engage your followers and gain feedback. It’s a great way to collect insights and tips from your followers, which can help your business e.g. which features of your products are people most interested in? If you can understand the minds and lives of the people you’re trying to serve, you’ll have a better idea of what your customer wants – Twitter research can help you discover this.

  7. Share info/tips that may be useful for your clients to enhance your reputation

    This will help you engage and connect with you followers and ultimately gain new ones. For example by sharing helpful & interesting articles, tips, guides and news etc  with your followers, you will develop a reputation for sharing interesting links, tools, etc then your followers will look forward to viewing your tweets. This popularity will help the reputation of your business. However, only link to your own content wisely and sparingly to avoid looking too promotional/spammy.

  8. Participate in Twitter chats related to your industry or business

    The benefits of doing this is you could learn from the experience of others in your industry, you will widen your network and your opinion will be heard. In time your standing and reputation in the industry – of yourself and the awareness of your brand will increase which is likely to result in more business for you.

Using Twitter

When you first setup a Twitter account for your business you need to be careful what you write (tweet). Try monitoring how other respected brand names use Twitter – use them as your role model.  Be nice, even when you have a different opinion.  Don’t repeat the mistakes of those that have used Twitter unwisely e.g. Habitat UK (home furnishings retailer) spamming Twitter by piggy-backing sales messages on grossly inappropriate hashtags. Habitat UK caused offence after accusations it exploited unrest in Iran to drive online Twitter users to its products.

We recommend that you review Twitters official ‘Twitter for Business’ guide before starting: https://business.twitter.com/.

Avoid hard-sell tactics, instead focus on relationship building. Occasionally promoting products/services you offer is fine – but do it too often and people won’t follow you for long. Make sure you spread your tweets throughout the day, rather than posting all at once, since people tend to check Twitter at different times of the day.

Publish your Twitter ID on all marketing material, including business cards, email signature, email newsletters, web sites and brochures, so prospects can learn more about you. Mention when you’re attending or speaking at an upcoming business event/conference and include a relevant hashtag if the event has one e.g. #InternetWorld, #FashionExpo, etc.

Case Studies

Zappos.com Tony Hsieh, CEO said, “We’ve found that Twitter has been a great way for us to connect on a more personal level with our employees and customers. We use it to help build our brand, not drive direct sales. It’d be like asking how does providing a telephone number for customer service translate into new business when they are mostly non-sales-related calls. In the long term, Twitter helps drive repeat customers and word of mouth, but we’re not looking to it as a way of driving immediate sales.”

Dell Outlet Twitter is good source for not only raising awareness on deals but to interact with customers. Dell posts some offers exclusively on Twitter and makes sure to use twitter only a few times a week to avoid spamming their followers. They add  tracking to URLs they post in Twitter to monitor and determine what users like most. Dell found that  Twitter deals do increase their sales. Dell Outlet has more than $3 million in revenue via its Twitter posts. Also, their research shows that their brand awareness of the outlet has grown too.

Cadbury – Wispa Cadbury used Twitter to resurrect one of their products, Wispa Gold. After Cadbury ended production of the bar, there was significant public demand to bring it back. To aid in its relaunch, the company decided to use Twitter to build up awareness of the product. Cadbury revealed that since it launched its Promoted Accounts and Promoted Trends campaign, positive mentions of their Wispa Gold product and the brand increased by over 1,800 per cent. They also drove a 25 per cent engagement rate for their “Retweet for Sweets” promotion.

So if you’re not already using Twitter for your business then hurry up! Your competitors most likely already are…

Sign up to Twitter today via the link below: