Perhaps the biggest reason companies have flocked to the Twitter bandwagon is that it gives them an opportunity to build better business relationships. Through regular use of Twitter, businesses can get closer to their customers and key partners, which in theory helps to improve operations and increase the bottom line. In this post I will give you some essential tips on using Twitter successfully as part of your marketing strategy.
Why should your business use Twitter to build business relationships? Let’s count the reasons:
- It’s free
- Your target audience is likely using it
- Your competitors are probably using it too
- It helps you increase your online presence
- It offers a range of other benefits too (e.g. reputation management, increased web traffic, market research, etc.)
Of course, there are right ways and wrong ways to go about building business relationships on Twitter. Here are some simple dos and don’ts to help you get the best results.
DO identify your ideal audience—Who is it that you want to communicate with? Your customers? People within your industry? People in a certain geographic area? Identify your ideal audience and focus on connecting with these people where they frequent online. It is important to understand where your customers and clients typically go online to gather information and be sure to be ready and waiting to inform and assist them there.
DON’T follow too many people—One of the biggest mistakes companies make when they sign up for Twitter is to measure success by the number of people they’re connected with. The truth is that if you follow too many people, you won’t be able to keep up and you won’t build any good relationships at all. Keep your list of people you’re following lean and focused.
DO take time every day to interact with your followers—You can’t expect to build strong business relationships if you’re an absentee Twitter user. You need to be around on a regular basis, actively interacting with your followers.
DON’T be an annoying self-promoter—Yes, Twitter can be a good tool for promoting your business, but the old way of promoting by shouting at your audience doesn’t work very well on Twitter. Sure, you can occasionally mention your promotions and link back to your website, but you have to balance that with non-promotional Tweets and meaningful conversations with your followers. Abby Gilmore, the author of Twitter for Business: A How To Guide advises that “your tweets should follow a certain motif, but stil be different and diverse enough to keep people engaged.”
DO listen—You can’t build a strong relationship if you’re doing all the talking. You have to listen too. Hang back and pay close attention to your Twitter feed. See what your connections are talking about, and whenever you have something useful to add to the conversation, respond to them. Here’s another piece of advice. Listening is the best way to truly get to know your target audience. And the better you know them, the more effectively you can interact with them. You may just be amazed by the insight it provides and that insight can inform your other marketing decisions. There are number of free tools available to assist you in this endeavor. One of my favorites is Socialmention.com but there are many other useful twitter tools worth checking out.
DON’T hide behind corporate speak—Too many companies that get on Twitter sound like, well, companies. There’s no personality behind their Twitter profile; it’s just bland, boring, safe corporate speak. And you simply can’t build strong relationships with that type of talk. If you want to be successful on Twitter (or any other social media outlet for that matter), you need to have a personal touch so your audience can feel like they really know you. You absolutely must commit to sharing some parts of yourself with the audience. If you aren’t ready to do this, I’d advise you to save the time and effort and do something else.
Have you had success building business relationships on Twitter? Share your experiences by leaving a comment below.