Twitter – True Customer Engagement
The most powerful aspect of Twitter is that it has revolutionized how customers communicate with brands. It has the simplest way to talk to any organization in the world, which makes people choose it over other social media websites. If you want to complain about a product on Facebook then you have to find out their page, open it, and then make a post with your complaint. Your complaint won’t even show up on the main page of the company, it will be shown in a separate small section.
Making Brand Communication Easier
On Twitter, all you have to do is type out the username of the company and send out a tweet. So, for example, if you wanted to tweet a complaint to Pepsi you will simply write “@Pepsi I have a complaint” and press send. The tweets are also publicly visible which enhances the visibility of your complaint. Another huge advantage is that there is much less of a violation of privacy through Twitter. Your profile doesn’t list as much information as Facebook, so you do not have to worry about people checking you out when you make a complaint.
2 Way Conversations
The best part is that Twitter makes it equally as easy to reply to any customer in the world. Anytime some tweets out to you by writing your username in a tweet you get an update. So anyone that complains can be swiftly replied to and dealt with. Most large corporations have people dedicated to solving problems on Twitter, because it is such a convenient way to interact with consumers. With the right response, not only can you satisfy the complaining customer but also show others how great you are.
Twitter is a loudspeaker
While Twitter may be great at one on one conversation, you have to understand that at its core it is a loudspeaker. Whatever you tweet out goes out to all of your flowers. You can have private conversations through DMs (Direct Messages) but that is not the preferred way to talk to customers. The only thing you should DM your customer about is verifying their purchase or account details. Everything else happens out in the open.
This makes it a very powerful tool that you have to use carefully. A mistake on Twitter can be costly, as many companies have discovered. Negative tweets can snowball until you have thousands of customers screaming at you. This also means that when you do something great it will be broadcasted to everyone. The best indication that your tweet was good is it getting retweets. Getting retweets means your message is propagated further to people who don’t even follow you.
Join the Conversation
Twitter doesn’t just allow you to initiate conversations or reply to them, you can also join the larger conversation going on in social media. Using hashtags and Twitter trends you can become a part of a conversation including thousands of people. Sending out the right tweet at such a moment means your tweet may reach people who don’t even know about your brand. This is especially relevant when there is a special event or day, such as the Super bowl or some religious holiday. You can tweet out something funny and increase your brand’s exposure.
Twitter for Small Businesses
While big brands have Twitter to market to their millions of followers and customers, small businesses can use Twitter to capitalize on their local presence. Remember that if you are a small business, you do not keep being a small business as your disadvantage. You own it and use it to promote yourself. What you need to understand is that people love small businesses. They only go to big name brands and stores because they trust what they will get there.
As soon as you become a locally known small business your sales will be more than big name companies, at least if we compare your business to their franchise in your area. People do not like corporations very much and like giving their money to small businesses instead, as they can relate easily to small business owners. Thus as a small business owner you need to embrace your size and use it to taunt the big brands.
Keep it personal
The first way to challenge big businesses is doing what they cannot do. If the big business is a huge truck then you are a dirt bike. They may carry your weight but you can go places they cannot. Big businesses cannot personalize their engagements too much. Pepsi has 2.96 million followers on Twitter, they cannot connect with them all and have to restrict themselves to mass marketing. You can, on the other hand, talk to people one on one easily. You can even initiate conversations with them and see how they are doing.
Reward Social Media Mentions
This is something we have been seeing local businesses do in some places and we think it is a fantastic idea. Here’s the deal, in order to succeed at social media you need to be talked about on social media. While there are many people who update everyone about what they buy and eat, most people do not. You need to make sure that the people who come to your store talk about you too, so you get brand exposure and more customers.
One of the restaurants near our office gives out free cookies if you send out a tweet about them. You just have to tweet about what you are eating at the place and you will have a free cookie. Tweeting doesn’t cost us anything and the restaurant doesn’t force us to say any marketing line, just to mention their name, so we do it every time we go. This means all the hundreds and thousands of followers we have on our personal Twitter accounts get notified that we ate at the local restaurant. This in turn makes them curious about trying it as well.
Companies used to do this previously with FourSquare, but FourSquare seems to have vanished. Encourage people to tweet about you and start winning at social media.
Talk about Local Events
Another great way to engage with potential customers is to be involved in local conversations. Again, this is something which big brands cannot do and thus you are at an advantage. Do not try to beat big brands at what they are experts at, bring them to your stadium and defeat them with your advantage. Any local festival or event should have tweets about it by you. Do not be negative, stay away from the controversial topics, and support anything that is good for your community. Local artists should be getting your support. Show that you are a citizen of the community and make people identify with you.
Blend Traditional Marketing and Twitter
You may have seen that most marketing campaigns nowadays have their own hashtags. It doesn’t matter what is being advertised, food, movies, insurance, everything always has a hashtag or twitter username mentioned. The reason behind this is simple, by giving customers a hashtag or your username in your advertisements you give them a way to contact you. Twitter is a very low effort platform which makes it more probably that people will talk to brands.
You need to have a memorable hashtag or username so when people are curious about you they can simply tweet out to you.
Be Active on Twitter
Twitter is extremely easy to use. If you have the time for it then you should be managing your twitter account yourself. If you are too busy then have someone who works for you be active on social media. If you catch a complaint too late it may already have been seen by potential customers. If you catch an inquiry too late you may have lost a sale.
Your Twitter needs to be active so nothing can snowball into something worse. Twitter should be handled by people who are masters at PR. We have seen some small business owners delegate Twitter work to their teenage children. DO NOT DO THIS. WE CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH HOW BAD OF AN IDEA THIS IS. Yes, they know much more about social media than you, but they also know a lot less about doing business. They are also prone to making inappropriate tweets. Keep control of your tweets or give the work to someone you can trust.