Andrew Frost, Content Marketing Manager at Daisy Group, shares his five tips to getting started on Twitter.
While social media is still a relatively new phenomenon, every business by now should have a presence on one of the various mediums, or at least have considered the possibility of one. Those who haven’t already embraced Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook are missing out on a massive source of potential that can help your business to grow.
Arguably the best for this is Twitter, a relationship building and maintenance tool – similar to a tradeshow. Despite it being relatively easy to use on a personal level, and indeed for business use, like any form of marketing – it needs a clear strategy. Too many businesses dive into social media with a gung-ho approach without having a clear plan of what they want to get out of it. Although Twitter is a reactive platform, success through the medium usually comes to those who have devised a well-thought out, properly managed plan.
With this in mind, I’ve produced a basic checklist of points to consider before you launch your Twitter account. Following these steps should put you in a position where your business is ready to launch a fruitful brand building campaign.
1. Create a relevant Twitter profile
First up we have the seemingly simple task of creating a Twitter handle (username). I’m often amazed by the amount of companies that fail to utilise a relevant Twitter name. What I’m talking about here is selecting something that includes your name. Failing that, try and include something relevant to your sector or products. For example, our Twitter profile name is @Daisy_Group and that is exactly who we are. Including Daisy in our handle importantly ensures that we will appear near the top of any search results. Finally, try not to use numbers as this can often come across as juvenile.
2. Understand how to use Twitter
Unless you’re a relatively large business there’s a high chance that you won’t have a dedicated social media expert. Therefore it’s important that the person in control of the account clues up on their Twitter knowledge. This means making sure you know at least the key terms. Know your hashtags from your URLs, your tweets from your retweets, and your handles from your direct messages. There’s nothing worse than viewing a business profile where they don’t know what they’re doing.
3. Who to follow
A rookie mistake many businesses make when they first join Twitter is following as many accounts as they can get their eyes on. Unless you’re an extremely well-known company, chances are your followers will only grow slowly. So if you’ve followed around 1000 accounts, but only have roughly 80 followers of your own, there will be a weak ratio that will only put off on-looking users. The key to start is to only follow accounts that are relevant to your business. For example, there’s no point in a paper company following Stephen Fry (irrelevant of how interesting he is), as his tweets will just clog up your newsfeed. Primarily follow industry related accounts, or customers if they decide to follow you.
4. Understand your target audience
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes; what do they want to hear from you? They definitely won’t want to hear what’s on your canteen menu, but what they might be interested in is that new product you launched yesterday. Twitter is a great tool for driving traffic to your website (everybody should have one of these) which could lead to custom. However, there’s no point tweeting about a product at night when all your customers have finished work and have their feet up; you need to target tweets during the day when they’ll be working. Check out sites like Hootsuite, which is a free tool that helps you schedule tweets in advance.
5. Maintain your brand
If there’s one thing I can’t stand about certain business profiles, it’s when they have differently formatted tweets – usually sent by different individuals all posting tweets to the same account. When I see an example of this, the words that immediately spring to mind are sloppy and unprofessional. You should use Twitter as you would any other extension of communication. Tweet in the right tone, maintain style continuity and ensure that you use a spell check before sending! Maintaining this continuity will help generate whatever image of your company you are wanting to portray.
If you’ve followed these steps you’ll soon be at a stage where you’ll be eager to get to the keyboard and start tweeting. Just remember, everything that you tweet is public, so don’t say anything you don’t want anyone to hear!