Twitter is a valuable tool for any business, big or small. Whether you’re a one-person operation or part of a large social media team, creating a presence on Twitter is a great idea. There is more than one way to use this versatile social information tool, however, so we’ve listed 7 ways businesses can use Twitter so you can see which one(s) are right for you.
Before you get started implementing these different ways to use Twitter for your business, you’ve got to have a business Twitter account in place. We’ve got a guide to setting up a business Twitter account, complete with how to choose your name, profile picture and background image, so you can get tweeting right away.
1. Branding and Visibility
Simply having a Twitter account is a good first step towards creating a cohesive brand image online. However, you’ve got to use it in a way that is engaging, interesting, and fits with the image you’re trying to create.
Just like with any marketing exercise, your Twitter account must have a consistent message and brand in order for its visibility to be beneficial. You want your followers to know that your Twitter account is the go-to place for the latest industry news, customer service, deals, etc.
Consider the following when branding your business Twitter account:
- Twitter profile picture – is it a logo? A headshot? This will set the tone of your Twitter account. A logo is more professional, while a headshot is usually more approachable. The one you choose is up to you.
- Twitter background – you’ve effectively got some free advertising space in your Twitter background, so make the most of it and customize it to add to your branding efforts.
- Twitter bio – the “about” section of Twitter is crucial to creating a consistent brand. You can include a link to your company’s website here. Writing a targeted bio will help you find those followers who are most interested in your brand – and thus most likely to become customers.
2. Customer Support
There are some great examples of business Twitter accounts being used for customer support. You can use Twitter to respond directly to customers who have questions or problems, providing an instant channel of communication to mitigate a lot of potential issues.
Check out the Bank of America’s Twitter account: they have scheduled times in which customer service representatives will answer questions and troubleshoot problems for their customers. If you don’t have the resources for a team of professionals to run this type of Twitter account, you can still reach out to customers who have @mentioned you and help them with their problems on Twitter when you have a spare moment here or there.
3. Customer Outreach/Feedback
Twitter is also a great place to get feedback from your customers, and to reach out to them to share company news and changes.
Your customers will often @mention you when they have something to say that has to do with your business. It’s good Twitter practice to reply to this feedback, even if it’s just a thank you. By letting them know you’re listening, you’ll encourage your customers to continue to offer their 140-character feedback.
Your business Twitter account can also be used to share company news, like an acquisition or changes in product offering. Being transparent with your customers in your Twitter outreach will make them trust you more, and it will strengthen your Twitter account.
You can use Twitter to network with other professionals in your field, or businesses you’d like to see a potential partnership with. Because of the somewhat informal nature of Twitter, it is a great place to strike up a conversation with another business account or individual who you might like to network with.
Twitter is also full of networking events like hashtag chats. You can also use Twitter to follow hashtags related to specific conferences, in order to meet up with someone and network in person.
5. Internal Communication
Some businesses use Twitter as a means for their employees to communicate with one another. Although there are other services, such as Yammer, which offer this functionality in a more private setting, you might want to consider this approach if you’re create a very open and transparent business.
6. Lead Generation
It’s possible to find leads through Twitter. You can search for keywords related to your business, and send @replies directly to the individuals you find who might be interested in your services. For instance, if you own an apartment building in New York, you might want to search for “two bedroom” “apartment rental” or “NY apartment”, and find possible leads through the search results. Be careful of being too pushy with your unsolicited @replies though.
7. To Support Other Online Presences
Finally, Twitter is just one of many social media tools that businesses should be using. Twitter can be a great complimentary channel of communication, if used in conjunction with Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube, for instance.
Many businesses produce slightly or completely different content for each of their social media presences, catering to their respective audience. If you are using more than just Twitter – and we recommend you do – to promote your business online, be sure you give your Twitter followers a reason to follow you. Don’t just repeat yourself across all social medium.
Lastly, be sure to link all of your social media presences together. Don’t be afraid to tell your Facebook fans about your Twitter account, and vice versa. You should also link to all of your social media on your main company website or blog.