By Irene Gomez, CIO, Corporate Media, Singapore
News, blogs, opinions – Twitter is one of the most popular social networks for spreading ideas. It has revolutionized the way millions of people consume news. With 288 million active users, Twitter is the world’s fourth-largest social network, as it gets ready for its IPO offering.
Twitter has proven its worth as the platform for breaking news. Tweets, i.e. the 140-character messages that make up the global Twitter dialogue, have become the preferred medium of communication for executives, celebrities, athletes and everyday people. Whether it’s President Barack Obama touting healthcare reform or Jennifer Aniston walking the red carpet, Twitter consistently trumps rival media platforms by breaking news, generating controversy and provoking debate in real time. If it doesn’t matter on Twitter, it simply doesn’t matter.
In recent years, usability advancements have helped Twitter to increase their following, and opened up possibilities for companies maximizing Twitter’s functions to achieve business goals. For example, employees of a media agency can share tweets and spread news of digital marketing, SEO and other trends on a selected Twitter stream – a neat twist for mainstream digital communications tools. For non-business social networking, Twitter can also serve as a communicative and resourceful tool that families and schools can benefit from.
Twitter is also increasing advertising dollars as its empire builds. Social media as an advertising medium is growing, and growing fast. For small businesses without the resources to explore conventional advertising options, Twitter presents a free and efficient alternative to promote goods and services directly to customers, exploiting the immediacy and intimacy that other channels simply can’t match.
So let’s take a closer look at Twitter and how best you can network and engage with your audiences effectively in order to grow your Twitter following and hopefully your customer base. By following these simple tips, you can use Twitter to its full potential.
1. Keep your tweets short
Make your tweets clear and uncomplicated, without too much shorthand. If you are including a link, use a URL shortener like Bit.ly or TinyURL. And leave enough room for people to retweet you without having to edit your original tweet.
2. Be responsive
The easiest and most vital step to grow your audience is to communicate quickly. If someone shows an interest in your company, let them know you’ve heard them. Your Twitter feed may offer the first impression future clients have of your company. You want customers to perceive you as approachable, customer-centric and professional. Answering questions and responding to comments is the best way to do that.
3. Stay positive
The informal nature of Twitter lends itself well to all kinds of tweets. In Twitter world, your company’s feed becomes a public face, so make a conscious effort to stay positive. While a few off-the-cuff remarks to your followers can make your company seem friendly and outgoing, do watch your tone.
4. Engage your followers
By engaging your followers, you can forge tighter relations with your customer base. For example, first look for the products or services that you offer and find one that appeals most to your existing followers, and base your promotion around it. Then consider how you execute the promotion. While a simple “retweet to enter!” strategy can be fast-moving and widespread, it won’t convey any useful information to potential customers. Instead, consider asking your followers to tweet about your products using a specialized hashtag for entry. This gets everyone talking and it will get the word out to a much bigger audience quickly.
5. Make hashtags a habit
The best way to accomplish this is to create a unique and memorable hashtag and use it often. It should reference either your company name or your most popular and recognizable product, and be short. Hashtags create a page that stores every recent tweet using it; potential customers who click on your company hashtag can be presented with a wealth of information. Be sure to also use situational hashtags, like the hashtag for an event you’re attending. These can pull in new followers who are monitoring those tags or use them regularly.
6. Ask questions
Start a dialogue; “crowdsource” an opinion. Asking questions is one of the best ways to attract attention and get your Twitter name retweeted. Instead of posting what you think, ask others for their opinions
7. Target influencers
Be sure to tweet at and strike up conversations with influential individuals and companies in your line of business. If you can offer similar type topics or interesting news for their followers, you may just reap a share of the wealth, and capture the he attention of some big names in the process. It’s a great way to network online and you may find an open doorway that leads to an inner circle of industry experts who could add to your business.
Remember, the sky’s the limit for Twitter as it continues to drive its presence with users and advertisers around the globe. Use it wisely and responsibly – bad news travels fast!
So let your fingers do the walking and keep tweeting – you never know, your company could just become the next big trending topic!