Twitter and your business – practical advice

You’ve probably read a lot of articles in the media about Twitter, you’ve probably been, like all of us, a bit puzzled about all the buzz around the the social CRM (customer relationship management), the social customer, everything social, and you’ve probably wondered how can you use all of that in your day to day life as a small business owner.

This article is not about abstract terms like social CRM as a strategy or about customer engagement and the new customer experience. No. This article is about simple, practical advice on how you can put Twitter to good use.

Let’s get started…

Twitter and your business – practical advice

There are two main strategies when it comes to social media in general and Twitter in particular: a content strategy and an engagement strategy.

The first means you are going to produce content, broadcast it over and hope you will find people interested in what you have to say. You’re hoping those people will become interested in your products and services, they will become familiar with your brand, they will become friendlier towards your brand, they will spread the word about your brand. You are also hoping that you will establish yourself as an expert in your field, which will help build trust in your potential customers.

So let’s recap, you are writing content for:

  • Brand awareness
  • Demonstrate expertise
  • Build trust
  • Develop followers

Needless to say this is a time consuming strategy which requires constant effort and payoff is, by no means, guaranteed.

The second strategy is one of engagement and that really means you start to talk to people, you exchange tweets, you re-tweet, you ask, respond and so on. You are hoping all these conversations will lead to sales and all the contacts you develop will ultimately help you and your small business directly or indirectly. Here’s a few people you want to talk to:

The Influencer
This is someone whose voice carries a lot of weight in the community, has established herself as an expert in the field and has a lot of followers. Developing a relationship with an influencer can open a lot of doors, can raise awareness about your small business and can open a lot of doors you could not open on your own.

Examples of influencers: magazine editors (digital or traditional), TV/radio reporters, celebrities, bloggers, experts in your field

The pro-active Lead
This is someone who pro-actively looks out for solutions to problems, by asking questions on twitter, forums, etc. Twitter makes it easy to search for various keywords related to your business and you can find these questions and reach out to these pro-active leads with a solution. This is probably the quickest way to see a positive impact from using Twitter, so don’t hesitate to use it.

The passive Lead
This is someone who will not ask questions, but sometimes you can detect intent when she follows you on Twitter, or when she joins certain forums, etc. So, start looking at your followers on Twitter, find out who they are, send them an introductory direct message or tweet, and let the conversation go from there naturally. Don’t just blast messages at them, try to listen too, they might end up telling you how to sell to them.

Your existing customers
They might take it to Twitter to complain and when they do, you have to be there and fix the root cause quickly. Keep your customers happy and they will become your best sales force.
Say hello to your customers and surprise them with a nice gesture or just a random conversation.

Happy tweeting!