As a business owner, you undoubtedly hear a lot about Twitter and may wonder if it’s relevant for you. Can 140 characters really impact your business?
The answer is yes. Twitter is a powerful tool that can help your business thrive, especially when it comes to customer service, networking, and campaigns.
1. USE TWITTER TO IMPROVE CUSTOMER SERVICE
Tired of waiting to speak to a customer service representative, many customers turn to Twitter to get a faster response and make their voices heard. But you may not even know when customers are voicing a complaint if they don’t include your business’ Twitter handle in their tweet.
A great way to monitor what’s being said about you on Twitter is to create saved search feeds on TweetDeck or Hootsuite. These third-party clients automatically track mentions with the “@” symbol. You can create other searches with your company name and other words associated with your business. Customers who don’t tag your handle will be very impressed when you respond.
Many big companies are being proactive in responding to complaints and questions sent via Twitter. They see it as another way of controlling their brand and image online. Many post their Twitter handle on their company website as a recommended way to reach them with service questions. One great example is the Dutch Airline KLM, which goes so far as highlighting their response time. This is a great way to show that you care about what your customers have to say.
2. LEVERAGE TWITTER TO EXPAND YOUR NETWORK
There are many ways to promote your business’ Twitter feed, such as your website and social media. Though you may see hashtags on your Facebook feed (keywords preceded by a “#” symbol), the originator of this trend is Twitter. Hashtags allow you to maximize exposure to other audiences besides your current followers. For instance, if you are a restaurant, you might want to add the #foodies hashtag to your tweets to engage with like-minded Twitter users. Not sure which hashtags are relevant for your industry? Check out TagDef or Hashtags for guidance.
As with mentions, you can also build your own search feed to be alerted to specific hashtags. Many influencers leverage this to host Twitter chats. Twitter chats are a great way to bring together people across specific industries. For example, #TTOT (Twitter Talk on Travel) brings people in the travel industry together every Tuesday. To help you get started, check out this Twitter Chat Schedule. What’s important is that you participate in the conversations happening in your industry.
An even better way to get the word out is by listing your business handle on WeFollow. When you first visit WeFollow, it will ask you to list your business’ Twitter account in the directory and associate it with five interests. Users can then search for your feed in the directory. Below is a screenshot of a “small business” interest. WeFollow shows the top Twitter feeds in that interest area, ranked by influence. This search is also a great way for you to identify new influencers for you to follow. In addition, it identifies keywords in that interest area that you might want to search. You can also search for Twitter accounts by geographic location. This is a great way to find your competitors.
3. ENGAGE CUSTOMERS WITH TWITTER CAMPAIGNS
Take advantage of the power of the hashtag to create a special campaign for your business or join an industry-wide campaign. For instance, if you’re a restaurant owner participating in New York City’s restaurant week, be sure to promote that on your Twitter feed with #nycrw in your tweets. Whether promoting your local business or a bigger cause, campaigns let you engage users in several ways: you can give followers a call to action like retweeting a photo with a hashtag; offer users a giveaway as part of a contest; or send special coupons.
Take your campaign a step further by embedding tweets on your website with Twitter widgets. Just click Settings > Widgets, input your search, and voila: Twitter will give you the code to embed the tweets on your website.
What’s great about Twitter is that it tracks all hashtags and their influence. If you create enough buzz with your campaign hashtag, it will begin to trend and Twitter will feature it as a trending topic. This is something that you can track locally, and can draw attention—and customers—to your brand or business.
We hope this post has shown you how much of an impact 140 characters can have on your business. So what are you waiting for? Start tweeting!