14
Apr
09

Twitter for Business

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I think the most frequent question I’ve received regarding social media is the one Naples Girl posted in response to my post yesterday.  How do I use Twitter for my business?  Great question.  I mean, after all, you’ve only got 140 characters to work with, right?  Through approximately 45 words to this point, I’ve already surpassed that number of characters.  So how am I supposed to use this for my business?  I’ve got a lot to say about my business.  The world needs to know what we have to offer them, but I can’t do that in 140 characters!  AAAGGGGGHHHHHH!

Hold on.  Deep breath in……out……good.  Now, let’s move on.  First, remember that your primary goal with Twitter, as with any social media, is to engage your customers.  Engaging your customers is MORE than just announcing you’re open for business, so come and buy, buy, buy.  Sorry, not interested.  And, now I’m offended.  I don’t want to be sold something on Twitter, but I might be interested in finding something that might help me.

One other thing to remember, you may be limited to only so many characters with Twitter, but here’s the question: how much value can you create in a limited space?  What can you tweet about that will provide the most value to your customer?  Just something to think about-you can post pictures, YouTube videos, links to websites and blogs in your tweets.  Take a look at the first sentence of this post.  I gave you 2 links in one sentence.  Those links are meant to enhance your experience with this post because you can see my post from yesterday and you can also check out one of my friend’s blogs.  The link to Naples Girl’s blog kind of makes it more personal.  Not merely just the generic “letter out of the mailbag” approach.  Get it?  Good.

So, how can you use Twitter to help your business?  Let me give you a few ideas.  These are merely general suggestions.  Real life examples would be dependent upon your business and industry.  Here we go:

  1. Promote your blog. I’ve seen a few companies that use this to promote certain individual’s blog posts.  For instance, the CEO, company president, IT guy, etc. Please only do this if this person’s blog engages the customer and provides something of value to them.  I’m kind of jumping ahead here, but I’ll let you know ahead of time what I’ll be posting later this week.  I use Twitterfeed specifically for this purpose.  Everytime I post on my blog, Twitterfeed sends a tweet to my Twitter account with the heading “New blog posting:” and then the title with a TinyURL link to the post.  Happens automatically-everytime.
  2. Give your customers an inside peek. If you have a fun corporate culture at your company, you could try this approach.  This approach assumes that your frequent customers understand the culture and what your company is about.  And, you probably are on a first name basis with your regular customers.  Let me put this in context: If Twitter were around in the 80’s, Sam Malone could have easily posted about the daily happenings at Cheers! A tweet could have merely read, “Norm!”  In this context, your regular customers will get it, and your prospective customers may dig a little deeper to find out what you’re about and jump in the fun.  Who knows, you may be able to inadvertently recruit a great employee who fits the company culture.  Just a thought.  WARNING: IF YOUR COMPANY CULTURE IS NOT FUN-DO NOT USE THIS.  YOU’LL SCARE AWAY YOUR CUSTOMERS.  NO ONE WANTS TO KNOW YOUR NEW POLICY.  Sorry.
  3. Share links to company or industry specific news. Did you find a great blog post or article on something that your customers would find valuable AND interesting?  Post it.  If you use Google Reader, you can do this through Twitterfeed with one mouse click.  If not, you’ll want to utilize TinyURL to shorten the link and make it fit into the space.  Remember, the two key words here are VALUABLE and INTERESTING, both from the customer’s point of view.
  4. Post pictures and YouTube videos. Twitpic can help with the pictures.  If you post the URL for the YouTube video in the tweet, it will automatically pull up the preview box for your visitors to watch it right on your Twitter page.  Pictures or videos of events where customers are having fun would be ideal.  Again, trying to show your company culture, if it’s worth sharing. 🙂
  5. Exclusivity/Insider Access. Ok, this is a direct sales pitch, but it might be a way to engage your customers with something of value.  I’m just throwing out ideas here. How about offering your Twitter customers a certain discount or % off a purchase for a specific period of time?  You can set up the stipulations, mention Twitter, tweet about your experience with our company, tell what you like about us, etc.  Shaquille O’Neal has been known to give away game tickets on his Twitter page.  This will make your Twitter customers feel special and like they have access to something the others don’t.  Oh yeah, make sure that they become “followers” of your feed and vice versa.

So there’s 5 ideas to get you started.  Kick them around.  Try them out.  Let me know how it works out.  Just general ideas.

Stay tuned.  More to come tomorrow!

Have a great day!

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