Social Media Columnist
Talking with customers and prospects using social media brings about challenges within the daily operation of a business. Integrating Twitter into your marketing requires some specific tactics to make it work for you.
It’s a great way for customers to communicate with companies they do business with but you need to have a Twitter marketing plan in place before you take to the airwaves.
Consumers often use Twitter to communicate with brands. I recently was having trouble getting my insurance company to help me with an issue. After a week or so of frustrating phone calls and emails that featured little more than canned responses and a no-reply address, it dawned on me that I could tweet them.
I tweeted something that clearly got their attention and the company replied virtually instantly. My issue was handled within 24 hours of the tweet.
Social customer service isn’t the only reason businesses can use Twitter. It’s a valuable tool for driving leads and sales. However, many people are confused by the medium, which precludes businesses from realizing the benefits of Twitter marketing.
It’s one thing to like the idea of Twitter marketing for your business; it is another thing entirely to venture out into Twitterdome to see what it’s like.
If you are serious about succeeding at Twitter marketing, I present to you my top 20 tips to help generate leads and sales.
Build your followers thoughtfully. Use tools like refollow.com and tweetadder.com to find established users who have customers similar to yours.
Load in the list of their followers and start following them (50 or so per day so you don’t look like a spammer). Not everyone will follow you back but like we used to say in sales training, “Some will. Some won’t. So what.” Use a tool like manageflitter.com to weed out those you’ve followed who didn’t follow you back and who aren’t providing quality content for your feed.
Keep your followers by publishing the content they want to see and share. If you aren’t sure what to post, work with a content strategist who will help you differentiate your business from all others by defining what you want to say.
Follow thought leaders that will help you improve yourself and your marketing. Follow all the people and blogs that inspire you.
Don’t let your free real estate look like an abandoned ghost town. Look objectively at your profile and bio and ask yourself, “Would I follow this brand?”
Install a brand-specific Twitter background and header. If you’re not a designer, spend the money to have these created for you. Beautiful design helps welcome visitors and you stay consistent with your message.
Figure out your customers and prospects’ questions and answer them.
Answer consumer questions just like you would if you were talking to them on the phone or in person. Reply to everything (except spam of course).
If you’re out of ideas on what to share, refer back to your documented content strategy. Always post relevant, useful content that your followers enjoy. Make it a priority to consume content (blogs, etc.) on a daily basis. This is important because you want to stay inspired. Take the time, do the work and you’ll never run out of ideas.
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. (Translation: Give, Give, Give, then ask). If you haven’t read Gary Vaynerchuk’s book of the same name, you’re missing out. Twitter is one of the best platforms to publish useful content and converse with potential customers. Give them quality information, start engaging and networking. Then, ask for the sale.
Practice gratitude. When you get re-tweeted or mentioned, thank that person and then follow with a genuine question that you’d like to know. Example: @pammktgnut Thx Pam for sharing my post. How are things in Tampa today?
Share awesome quotes. A lot of people see this as a crutch to get more retweets, and if your intentions are not in the right place, then they’re right. However, when I find great quotes that speak to me, I post them. They typically get a lot of retweets and I’m smiling because I got to make an impact on those who passed the quote along.
Use #hashtags thoughtfully and with purpose. On Twitter, a hash sign (#) turns any word or group of words that directly follows it into a searchable link. This allows you to organize content and track discussion topics based on those keywords.
Participate in Twitter chats. Twitter chats are held typically once a week at a certain time and many are industry-specific. You meet a lot of cool people in Twitter chats (some turn into prospects) and if you participate often enough, you’ll increase influence and visibility. Be sure to follow those in the chat too because those are some connected people.
Share pictures as often as possible. Why? You get noticed. You get more retweets. Your tweets get “favourited” more often. You get more click-throughs.
Take advantage of Lists. Lists give you the effortless ability to group customers, thought leaders and influences into specific lists to which you can refer quickly to catch up with tweets you may have otherwise missed.
Never send auto-replies. Some users have auto-replies set up so that when you follow them, they send you an auto-reply back. You only get one chance to make a positive first impression. Automated replies and DMs (direct messages) make me want to scream. Followers see these as annoying.
Use social media tracking software to monitor your links and progress. There are a lot of options out on the market and one we use is Sprout Social. You can’t manage what you don’t measure. You need to know what your followers are responding to and for that, you need tracking software.
Use Hootsuite GeoSearch or NeedTagger to monitor tweets in your market area. Listen in to conversations going on in real time about the products and services you sell.
Be authentic. Join conversations with humble intentions, not as an opportunity to promote your product or service. When sharing content, ask yourself, “Would I follow this brand based solely on this one tweet?”
Refrain from broadcasting. Broadcasting is using old school advertising methods on new media. Twitter is a social network, not a place to constantly bombard people with specials and deals. Keep sales-related content to about 10 per cent of your overall Twitter marketing content.
Leverage content scheduling tools to manage your time. Hootsuite is a free tool that I use to schedule tweets so that I can spend more time interacting and networking. Sprout Social also allows you to schedule content.
With all things that involve time, effort and budget, make sure you have the tools in place to meet your Twitter marketing goals. If you’re not sure, ask for help. A little spent now can turn into a lot of revenue later.
Kathi Kruse is an automotive social media marketing expert, blogger, speaker, coach and founder of Kruse Control Inc. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.krusecontrolinc.com