5 tips for using Twitter in your business
“We’re not on Twitter because people would say negative things about us.”
It’s surprising how many people seem to be afraid of Twitter for this reason. They think if they join, unhappy customers or even non-customers will suddenly crawl out of the woodwork and bad-mouth them in public. My advice is always this: if people are going to say something negative on Twitter, they’ll do it whether you’re there or not, and wouldn’t it be better to have the chance to defend yourself?
If you’re going to sign up for Twitter for your business, here are my top five tips:
1. Language: Just because it’s social media doesn’t mean proper language should go out of the window. Spelling and grammar should be of the same high standard on Twitter as you would expect on your website or brochures. If you use “your” when it should be “you’re”, or “their” instead of “they’re”, people begin to doubt your professionalism. Make sure the staff members running your account are aware of this, and will double-check everything before they tweet.
2. Engage: Think of Twitter as a networking event. Many people make the mistake of signing up, shouting their message and then logging out. That’s the equivalent of walking into a room, yelling a promotional slogan and perhaps handing out a business card or two, then leaving – it just wouldn’t work. Instead, see it as an opportunity to engage with your local community and build an easy rapport with potential customers. Promoting your business will be more effective if you see it as a secondary aim.
3. Community: No matter where your business is based, you can guarantee there will be other local businesses, organisations and individuals tweeting in your area. Spend time looking for them, following them and engaging with what they’re saying. If you support them by responding or retweeting, it’s likely they’ll do the same for you.
4. Complaints: It’s unlikely anyone would raise a serious complaint via Twitter, but your staff need to know how to respond if they do. Should they reply openly on Twitter? Should they send a direct message (DM)? Or should they encourage the unhappy tweeter to get in touch by phone or email so you can go into more detail and sort it out privately? Whatever the answer, your tweets should remain polite and professional – and it’s vital you respond in some way. Ignoring a disgruntled tweeter will only wind them up, no matter how trivial their complaint!
5. Keep it up: Twitter shouldn’t be seen as a quick-fix marketing solution. It’s a slow burn, so many businesses get bored and abandon their accounts after a few weeks. Don’t let that happen. Remember, you’ve got to put some time into Twitter in the first few weeks and months to get your account off the ground. Once it’s up and running, it will gain momentum and prove a vital part of your publicity package.
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