We’ve all heard of, and maybe even have a personal account on, Twitter and Facebook. These social networks are a great way to extend your company’s reach and actually help you locate new customers and keep in touch with returning customers. I’ll break down the dos and don’ts of each social network and walk you through how to get started on each. Today we’ll be focusing specifically on Twitter.
First Things First
We need to set up a twitter account. You can do that here. You’ll need to pick a username. This will be the name that all your new potential customers will see and associate with your company, so pick something close to your company’s name. For example, my Twitter username is inlandsolutions.
On the next page, Twitter is going to give you suggestions on people you might enjoy following based on a list of categories. We’re going to skip this step for now as there are much better ways to find interesting people to follow and we’ll touch on those later.
Step two gives you a chance to import your contacts from Gmail, Yahoo Mail and AOL Mail. I suggest doing this. The list of people in your address book is a great place to gain loyal followers as you already have had contact with these people and therefore they are less likely to block you. Note: Importing your contacts from your email provider does not send them a message or alert them in anyway, unless you want them to be notified.
The final step gives you a chance to search for people already using Twitter. Feel free to do this if you like. The idea behind Twitter is communication, so the more people you have to communicate with, the better.
So now your account is setup. You’ll need to activate your account via the email you used to register, but that can be done at a later time. Now we need to get the word out that your company is now on Twitter. The first and most important thing to do is have a Twitter widget placed on your companies website. Be sure to check out Twitter’s widget page for a few different widget types. We’re interested in the “Profile widget”.
Now that your website has the profile widget installed and running, we need to spread the word through more traditional means. That means, email signatures, business cards, print advertisements, television, radio. Whatever your traditional means of advertising, be sure to include the address of your Twitter account. Note: Your Twitter address is Twitter.com/username. For example, my username is inlandsolutions, so my Twitter address is http://twitter.com/inlandsolutions.
I know, this seems like a lot of stuff to do before we even get to start using the service. Just trust me, we’re almost there. But before we dive in and start telling people all about your next big thing we need to set a few ground rules.
There really isn’t a trick to posting on twitter, but if there was one, it would be to not sound like a radio advertisement. Don’t use twitter to push advertisements to anyone who will listen. That’s counter productive. No one will want to listen. Instead, use the service to let your customers know “What’s going on in your world”, or better yet “What has your attention right now”.
Tips on What to Tweet
- Don’t tweet about your product or business more than 50% of the time. No one likes a spammer.
- Do post about the people inside your business. This makes the customer become just that much more a part of what’s going on.
- Do tweet about other people’s stuff. The “retweet” function is perfect for this. Anything that makes you look less like a business and more like a handful of people that work together, the better.
- Don’t be afraid to reply to people. That’s the whole point of twitter, conversation. The quicker you figure out that Twitter is a way to connect with people, the more success you will have using it.
- Do keep your tweets short. You only get 147 characters!
A great way to kick off your time on twitter is to start using search.twitter.com. Search on a few terms that deal with your industry and see what people are saying about it. Also, search on your own business name. This is a great chance to not only protect your brand, but connect with customers already talking about you and your services.