As a business, you know that you need to have a Twitter presence, but after setting up your account, it can be hard to know what to do with it. After all, with 335 million active monthly Twitter users and 500 million Tweets sent each day, cutting through the noise as a business account is proving more and more difficult. One thing is for sure, gaining a Twitter following takes more than sending out the occasional pithy tweet or product announcement—it requires real engagement and interaction.
For businesses, Twitter’s main purposes are to share information, interact with customers, network, manage their reputation, and define their brand. Unlike other platforms where brands are simply presenting their content, Twitter is all about the back and forth. Here are four ways you can get in on the conversation and make sure your tweets are standing out above the rest.
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make on Twitter is trying to appeal to too wide of an audience and never finding their niche. You probably already defined your ideal customer when you created your traditional marketing strategy. This is the same customer you should be speaking to on Twitter. Your target audience should drive the formation of your Twitter persona and guide your Twitter strategy. Using a tool like Twitter analytics or audience insights will give you information about your follower demographics, interests and purchasing behavior.
Once you have defined your target audience, now you need to use Twitter to listen to what they are talking about, and what things are important to them. Because it is an open conversation, Twitter offers businesses a wealth of information, not only about their target audience, but also about how their business and competitors are viewed. The most successful brands are using Twitter to listen to their community. There are many tools like Hootsuite, Twitter Advanced Search or Social Mention, that will help you listen to what Twitter is saying about you, your audience, and your competition.
Listening should give you an idea of where your business could add value, whether it is a problem your core audience is facing or an area your customers perceive your business or similar businesses are lacking. But Twitter users want more than just information, they expect interaction. Each Tweet should be both helpful to your audience and generate conversation. Amway is a good example of a Twitter account that opens the door to communication with its target audience. Instead of simply tweeting links to articles or advertising products, Amway poses questions its audience can relate to like “Do you have a picky eater on your hands?” or “Struggling to get your little one to take vitamins?” Nike has also focused on creating interactive content, using its account to livestream events that are interesting to its audience, like marathon runners attempting to break the 2-hour marathon.
Once you’ve opened up the conversation with your audience, now you need to participate in that conversation. And you need to participate in this conversation in real time, particularly when it comes to customer complaints. You should strive to make your interactions with followers timely, helpful and personal. Look at fitness brand ClassPass and clothing store Zappos for examples of businesses doing a great job of providing customer service that is conversational, prompt and stays true to their brand personalities.
With so many businesses on Twitter, it can be hard to rise about the fray. Make your brand stand out on Twitter by understanding your target audience, listening, creating conversation-generating content, and then participating in the conversation.