It’s been noted in various publications and articles I’ve been reading that Twitter as a business tool is rapidly gaining momentum. However, it’s not at the place that Facebook and LinkedIn are at, and for good reason – I do think those two platforms have more to offer a business in terms of the business being able to project its image in creative ways and easily connect itself to its publics. However, Twitter can serve a great purpose as well. In this age of instant gratification, people want connection and content reception quickly and directly, and Twitter can help a business reach its target audiences in ways that are efficient, widespread, and, of course, fun.
I work in the Hudson Valley region of New York, so the tips I’m going to give now are best-suited for a medium-sized regional market.
First, know your audiences. Studies have shown that the 55+ crowd on Facebook is increasing at a rapid pace, whereas teens and young adults are steadily leaving in favor of Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Vine. However, the younger crowd can still connect with their places of employment and companies that provide services to them, and Twitter is wonderful for this. As a company, you can set up a profile on the site and refer clients to it through traditional platforms, such as print ads, radio ads, and good old-fashioned word of mouth. If your contacts don’t have Twitter, stress the importance of setting up an account in order to remain on the pulse of what’s happening in your particular business.
Then, once you’ve built up a small follower base, you create your content. “But, Nick,” you ask, “what kind of content do I post that would be engaging and encouraging for my audience to retweet, favorite, and share?” Well, there are a bunch of different things you could do.
1. Current market trends. I’ve often found that professional services organizations post content that will brand the company as being “with it” in their industry. Of course, social media is about the here and now, so if there’s nothing happening in your company that you think is worth tweeting, share a link to an interesting article pertaining to your field. People might read it and gain some insights. And they’ll appreciate that you posted it. And maybe they’ll follow you. Check out PricewaterhouseCoopers at @PwC_LLP (>49,000 followers) and Deloitte at @Deloitte (>158,000 followers).
2. The human aspect. Don’t forget, Twitter is still full of people who take pictures of a recent snowstorm, a batch of cupcakes, sunrises in Florida, or their cat. When they’re not taking selfies in the bathroom, of course. In this way, make your company more transparently human on Twitter. People will connect with ideas and situations with which they’re familiar, and if your company tweets that kind of resonant content, your follows will see you as just another one of their friends. TD Bank is a great example because they frequently post photos of their employees doing fun things, and they ask questions of their audiences that facilitate a connection that’s more personal than simple B2C interaction. Check them out at @TDBank_US (22,500 followers).
3. Thought leadership. Thought leaders are people who offer expertise within their field and are considered the foremost experts in that field, such that their competitors respect them for their insight and consumers will look to do business with them above others due to their intelligence, experience, and sometimes even approachability. This concept is helpful if your company has held a reputation in your region for providing the highest-quality services for a very long time (let’s say at least thirty years). Also, if the managing partners or chief officers of your company are recognized and respected in the region as being leaders in their industry and the surrounding community, they would make perfect thought leaders. If they are frequently seen speaking at events or giving lectures, link a video of it to your Twitter feed. If they blog, link that to the Twitter feed. If they won an award or recently attended an event where they met an influential figure, make sure a picture of that is linked to the Twitter feed. When people see this side of your company, chances are, you’ll get more leads and your brand will build itself toward its goals. Check out Hikmet Ersek, CEO of Western Union at @WesternUnionCEO (>2,400 followers) and Bill Gates at @billgates (>14.8 million followers).
4. Promotions. Let’s say you have a short-term sales goal that needs to be fulfilled. Companies often use Twitter to provide promotions and discounts to its followers. “The first five people to favorite this tweet will get a $20 promo code for their next visit!” “If you retweet this x times in y amount of time, you’ll receive z!” You get the idea. The better the incentive, the easier it will be for you to obtain followers. Check out @NakedPizza, a New Orleans-based pizza chain that really exemplifies what I’m talking about (>21,000 followers), and @kogibbq, a Korean BBQ taco truck in Los Angeles that uses Twitter to tell its followers where it’s going to be in the city for lunch and dinner breaks (115,000 followers).
So, I think that’s a good place to start. Again, these insights are geared towards a medium-sized regional market, so if your business maintains active relationships with other businesses in your area, you all should try and get on Twitter. If you’ve got a consumer base that you think will use it, it’s a great way for your clients to constantly stay connected to your happenings, offerings and developments, and as your Twitter feed grows, you just might see some growth of your own in the real world!
If you like what you read, feel free to share. And please join me next week when I do a Super Bowl Ad Recap. Oh, and don’t think you’re leaving without finding me on Twitter at @HeyNickNappo. 😉 See you soon!