(Photo by Mashable.com)
Twitter is one of the largest and most active social networks, with over 200 million active users sending more than 400 million tweets per day. Often referred to as a micro blogging service as it limits your status updates to 140 characters, Twitter is a real-time information network that encourages its users to share and discover interesting content. Businesses have utilized the benefits of Twitter, recognising that it is one of the quickest ways to get a message out to people who may be interested in your products, services, ideas or events and also gives the chance to get real-time feedback from customers. Perhaps the greatest feature of Twitter is the ability for your followers to share your tweets with their following at the click of a button, this is called a ‘retweet’ and is what cements Twitter as a successful word-of-mouth platform that can help your message reach an entirely new audience of prospective customers.
How to build a following and amplify your impact
Writing your tweets is only the beginning. The next challenge is to promote your tweets in order to get maximum exposure and attract attention. Rather than relying solely on people finding you, there are several other key techniques you can employ to help get your content noticed.
- Get talking…
Central to building your followers is interaction and creating conversation. Asking questions is one of the best ways to get conversational on Twitter, but just as important is to participate in other people’s conversations and provide information to them that they will find engaging, relevant and useful. The key to maximizing your impact and gaining followers is to share ideas with and reply to those who have shared interests with you, therefore write your tweets with your target audience in mind rather than trying to appeal to a generic wider audience. Include content that contains specialised information and ideas that those interested in your services or in your sector would read. Be conversational about topics that will be of interest and provide value to others and this will encourage your followers to reach out to their own networks and help spread your message and build your brand following.
- … and stay talking
Building an active following takes time and requires a daily commitment to sharing content. With millions of tweets been sent daily it is very easy to get lost in the crowd if you don’t maintain a strong presence on Twitter. It is therefore vital that in the very beginning you figure out a comfortable tweeting routine that works with your editorial calendar, be it tweeting 5 or 20 times daily, and stick to it in order to maintain consistency and maximise your impact.
- Use your followers to get more followers
Create Tweets that encourage your followers to retweet. A common method is to announce that you’ll offer a discount or some other benefit to everyone who retweets your offer, but only if you get a certain total number of retweets. Offer your customers a reward if they mention your business — a discount, free trial, or extra service, whatever is relevant for your business. It’s also a good idea to include a link to the terms and conditions of your offer in the Tweet.
- Promote your Twitter @username
Anywhere your customers interact with your brand is an opportunity to encourage them to follow you on Twitter. Once you begin tweeting, remember to promote it across all your other social media platforms and that includes mentioning it on your e-newsletter, your email signature, business card, product packaging and anywhere else your customers will see it. This also applies if you’re an active participant in a forum or membership site, placing a signature with your Twitter link will direct more attention to your page.
Examples of companies doing it right
ASOS operates several different Twitter feeds for fashion updates and customer services, which is a common and successful strategy as it means that marketing messages don’t get mixed up with customer care queries. The women’s fashion account responds to hundreds of @mentions each day, mainly from customers who are excited about a recent purchase. The social team adopts a casual, friendly tone that reflects the brand image and is a great way of building a relationship with customers and improving brand loyalty. It also adds to the excitement around the customer’s purchase and is a way of replicating the personal touch of in-store customer care. The ‘Here to Help’ customer care account is excellent at promptly responding to customers and deals with queries with via direct message and a follow-up call or email from customer services. This means that all conversations are moved away from public forums and reduces the likelihood of a public complaint.
To see the ASOS Twitter page click here– https://twitter.com/ASOS
As with ASOS, Nike also successfully operates several Twitter feeds for each of its sub-brands with each one interacting well with customers and followers. For each of the feeds the focus is centred on responding to @mentions and customer queries rather than pushing marketing messages. The brand operates a Nike Support feed to resolve product questions and technical needs in addition to a Sport feed that responds large numbers of @mentions each day and to offer training advice, product information and encouragement to other users. Nike’s Twitter strategy is a very successful approach in turning customers into brand advocates.
To see the Nike Twitter page click here– https://twitter.com/Nike