By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard the buzz surrounding Twitter as a marketing tool. You’ve probably heard success stories of small businesses using Twitter to build brand recognition, get more leads, and improve customer loyalty.
Make no mistake. Twitter can be a powerful tool for businesses…that is, when used properly. Unfortunately, most businesses are going about Twitter marketing the wrong way, and they end up seeing no positive results from their efforts.
What can you do to get more from Twitter?
The first thing you have to do is get out of the traditional marketing and advertising mindset. Twitter is a social network, not a TV commercial or billboard. If you get on Twitter and start spitting out one advertisement after another, you’re not going to get any results. People don’t get on Twitter to view ads. They get on there to build relationships and to interact.
Here are some easy ways to build relationships with customers on Twitter.
- Try to start conversations—The great thing about Twitter is that it’s designed to be fast-paced and real-time. In other words, it’s like a live conversation. So, try to start conversations with your followers. You can do this by asking open-ended questions, sharing an interesting link, ReTweeting something you find interesting, or any other number of ways. The key is to be present and be outgoing.
- Tweet back to people who @reply you—It’s very important that you closely monitor your @mentions. Whenever someone Tweets to you, you should always respond to it. This means you’re having a conversation with that individual, and that’s a key first step to building a deeper relationship with them.
- Monitor Twitter for brand mentions—Twitter is a great brand reputation monitoring tool. These days, people are taking to Twitter to talk about their experiences with companies as soon as they happen. So if someone gets on Twitter and says “Just had a horrible experience with ABC Company,” you need to be there to respond. There are a number of tools out there that let you set Twitter alerts to notify you anytime you, your products, your company, or anything else that’s relevant gets mentioned.
- Use Twitter as a customer service tool—A number of savvy brands are using Twitter to improve their customer service. JetBlue, for example, uses Twitter to answer customers’ questions, alert customers of flight delays, and improve the overall customer experience. Twitter alone can’t be your only customer service point of contact, but it is good for minor issues that can be resolved quickly.
At the end of the day, building relationships on Twitter is about just being a person, not a corporation. If you take the same approach to building relationships on Twitter as you would in real life, you’ll have success.
Have you had any success building relationships with your customers on Twitter? Share your experiences by leaving a comment below.
Vern Marker is an active blogger who likes to write about his favorite subjects of business, technology, and social media. As a business professional he understands the importance Social CRM and its value to a company. When he isn’t working or blogging you can usually find him out on the golf course.
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