This is a guest post by Dragan at Domainsflow.com.
Can you find a way to say, “Twitter is an excellent method for promoting your small business’ products and services and increasing your book of business, but only if you know how to use the microblogging service correctly,” in 140 characters or less? If you can think of a way to pare it down, then you’re well on your way to using Twitter successfully as a way of boosting your small business marketing power.
In this short Twitter for small business guide, we’ll point out some of the best ways to succeed with Twitter, along with common mistakes novice Twitter users make.
Always Remember That Social Media is Social
Back in the “olden days” of marketing (which, at the pace the Internet is changing the marketing industry, means five years ago), marketing messages were provided to customers on a primarily one-way street. That is to say, marketing messages were delivered in the form of television, newspaper, magazine and billboard advertisements. Consumers could look at these advertisements, but they couldn’t start a conversation with it.
The Internet – and in particular, social media – has changed all that. Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, YouTube, blogs and forums have all drastically changed how customers interact with marketing messages. Marketing messages now exist on a two-way street. Not only is it possible for the customer to start an immediate conversation with a business, they also hope for an immediate and personal reply.
Understanding the social, interactive nature of Twitter marketing, keep these points in mind when you start tweeting:
- Don’t treat Twitter as a one-way street for pushing your marketing message upon your customers or potential customers; treat it instead like an online networking event based around conversations and handshakes.
- Keep your ear to the ground for people mentioning your business in Twitter. When you see a string of conversations about your products or services, take the initiative to join in on that conversation.
- Use Twitter to share, not just to tell. Sharing might mean that you tweet about your new puppy; telling means that you only use Twitter to tell followers about your latest sale.
A Great Example of Using Twitter Successfully
On his way to Palo Alto for business, Thomas Marzano mentioned the Four Seasons hotel he would be staying at in a tweet using the hotel’s @FSPaloAlto tag. He tweeted that after such a long journey, he was very much looking forward to relaxing in their spa. Much to his surprise, the hotel replied to him directly and quickly, asking if the staff should make spa reservations on his behalf.
This was only the beginning of his amazing customer service experience. When he tweeted to his followers the next morning that he’d had a very nice sleep at the hotel, the hotel wrote back to tell him good morning and that they were happy he’d had a nice sleep. The customer service only got better from there, with each tweet Marzano sent being quickly replied to by hotel staffers.
In short, remember that Twitter isn’t just a way to talk about what you sell. Customers are very skilled at tuning out explicit marketing messages. Instead, find a way to use Twitter as a way to enhance a customer’s experience with your business. As Mr. Marzano’s Four Seasons experience shows, a creative, conversation-based approach to Twitter can create a customer for life.
What is your twitter strategy? Are you using twitter to share or just to tell? Share your experience and don’t forget to leave a comment below.