Seven Twitter tips for business

Man with megaphone standing on chair in street shouting. Twitter. Social media. Business. Blog.

Big noise: Twitter can amplify the impact of blog posts better than Facebook or LinkedIn

By DAVID BOYES

TWITTER has the power to supercharge corporate message delivery in ways that other social media platforms just cannot match.

Yet many businesses use it only sparingly or not at all – a behavioural trait I put down to three factors: prejudice, a preoccupation with the over-hyped pulling power of its “big brother” Facebook and a desire to “lean into” LinkedIn’s “credibility” limelight.

Anti-Twitter sentiment frequently runs deeper than just the widespread dislike of the 140-character restriction on message size. Twitter is regularly criticised for being “boring”, “irrelevant”, “banal” or “not for business”.

Granted, Facebook is the “big beast” of social media, with more than a billion subscribers worldwide but, if you are a business, it is not the best channel through which to connect with an audience.

Statistics show that Twitter (with about 200million users) does a better job of driving traffic to websites and blogs and connecting like-minded people in real time than Facebook, which blocks a high percentage business page interactions.

The micro-blogging platform is also more successful than LinkedIn in terms of extracting maximum bang for buck in the communication game.

A Twitter message can trigger an average 33 visits to websites and blogs, compared to only 14 for Facebook and 10 for LinkedIn, according to statistics in a survey by Eventbrite.

Another big difference is that the events that unfold on Facebook or LinkedIn tend to remain there, while Twitter-based messages (with included links) usually spark off activity elsewhere, which means it is perfect for promoting blogs or attracting attention to new website activity or content.

Business credibility will also be enhanced by a Tweet that tumbles through Twitter’s reverse-chronological feed alongside those of major news outlets and big corporate players.

Finally, there’s the physical convenience factor. Twitter is “at home” on smartphones. Facebook’s mobile experience (like that of LinkedIn) can be unrewarding, glitchy and frustrating, which is surprising, given that 80 per cent of people using Mark Zuckerberg’s platform do so through a mobile device.

Tweeting from a smartphone, on the other hand, will always be simpler and faster because Twitter was created as a mobile network. Facebook and LinkedIn came into being as websites, but they had to adapt, as all websites must, to the mobile domain.

So what are the best ways to use Twitter to maximum effect for business? Here are seven valuable tips:

FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT

Twitter requires users to supply a minimal amount of detail in order to activate their accounts. Anyone doing only this is missing a trick, because Twitter’s recently updated features (which were recently covered by WordMediaCo here) allow businesses to showcase themselves in a detailed and visual manner. Always include a full biography, profile picture AND header image, web address and geographical location, so that any interested party clicking back to a user gets a concise snapshot of the company.

DON’T TRY TO BE TOO POPULAR

As stated earlier, everyone wants to be liked, especially on Twitter, but it’s easy to make the mistake of following too many people at the beginning, especially popular accounts. This can lead to “over-follow”, which means the number of accounts a user follows hugely outstrips the amount of people following them. It’s best to follow those who are likely to return the compliment and be of interest to the business.

BUYER BEWARE

It’s possible to buy followers on Twitter and Facebook. In my opinion, it’s not a good idea to invest in false friends. Businesses may well be tempted but, unless they know for a fact that the followers are not fakes (which is common) and that they are going to stick around for a long time, it’s money wasted. Remember, there are no quick fixes on social media. Organisations who use it need to make an investment of time and imagination.

RETURN THE COMPLIMENT

The best response to the message “You have a new follower on Twitter” is to immediately follow them back and send a message that welcomes them, commends the business website or gives thanks. That way, they’ll realise they’re not following a spambot.

MAKE A LIST

Twitter’s Lists feature is a useful tool that can help businesses cut through the chatter and connect with new followers. WordMediaCo covered this topic here.

DON’T BE EXCLUSIVE

The subject matter of messages sent by an organisation may not appeal to every follower all of the time. So try to spread the topics to keep the interest going. And if anyone messages you with a query, give a prompt reply. Hang on to followers if you can.

TOGETHER IS BETTER

Link your Twitter account to blogs/websites in the back-end programming settings so that each new post is automatically Tweeted, with a link back to the blog. This will guarantee three desirable outcomes:
1) A blog post will gain maximum exposure.
2) The possibility of further prominence through Retweets.
3) Targeted traffic will be driven to the website or blog, where the process of deeper engagement or selling can begin.

©WordMediaCo Ltd. If you wish to reproduce or translate this article, you may do so, provided you add the following credit: This article was written by David Boyes. He is a media consultant and trainer who empowers businesses to use social media more strategically. For more information visit: http://www.wordmedia.co