WHAT IS TWITTER?

Twitter started out as a platform with people sharing what they did, who they saw, where they were, and most famously, what they ate in 140 characters. Since its inception in 2006, it has evolved into a platform hosting celebrity selfies, emergency news, television “live tweeting,” and even Twitter Revolutions.

Because of Twitter’s instantaneous nature, it gives users the ability to feel a part of something in real-time, despite not being there. Twitter is fast-paced and always moving, constantly updating with the goings-on of the world. Hashtags allow the user to follow along with various “trending” topics that are currently most popular in the Twitterverse. Using hashtags also allow for a tweet to be found and sorted by category or theme for future reference.

WHY USE TWITTER?

Twitter allows you to communicate and engage in conversation with anyone and everyone. Even as a business, you can begin a dialogue with customers – or soon-to-be customers. Reach out to someone you’re following and comment on their photo of a delicious looking meal. Agree with another on a movie they just saw in theatres. Conversation without mention of product can seem counter-intuitive, but building this online presence gives your company not only personality, but credibility. People are always more likely to purchase from a company they feel they “know,” whether it is an international company or a mom and pop diner in the neighbourhood. The more you build your brand on Twitter, the more trustworthy you will seem. Then, when it comes time to post a sale or promotion, your audience is all the more likely to show interest and make a purchase.

Though Twitter may seem like a lesser-used platform, it is an integral part of any effective social media strategy. It allows you to network yourself and your business at no cost to a broad audience. By following and staying on top of trending topics, you ensure your company remains relevant to your audience. Unlike Facebook, businesses on Twitter can comment on and engage with any other account. And unlike Instagram, Twitter’s Retweet option makes sharing and forwarding effortless for your audience. Like modern day word-of-mouth, what better way to pass on your content than for your followers to do it for you?

CUSTOMER SUPPORT THROUGH TWITTERHow can a twitter audience benefit your business?

Companies often underestimate Twitter as a source to answer customers’ questions and concerns. Studies have shown that after having a positive social media customer service experience, also known as social care, customers are willing to spend more on a product or company. Those who sought out a business via Twitter also had higher satisfaction scores than those who reached out via traditional channels (ex. phone, in person).

Even if it’s just providing a quick response to a customer, a little can go a long way. 77% of customers felt more positive towards a business after an exchange and 82% reported sharing the positive experience with a friend (Source: Twitter Customer Insight Survey, 2015).

In the case of a complaint, continue the conversation via Direct Message. This feature not only has no character limit, but shields the rest of your followers from any negative comments.

A consumer research study by Oracle found that 30% of consumers expect a response on Twitter within thirty minutes, with another 52% seeking response in two hours. Just like you wouldn’t want to have your customers wait on hold for phone assistance, answering in a timely matter is more important than ever.

Number one rule for good support? Make sure you reply. Promptly.

MAKE YOUR COMPANY SHINE

The basics of Twitter are easy to understand – tweet, reply to tweets, “like” tweets, and retweet (share) tweets. While any person or business can do this, your company can stand out by simply adding personality and enthusiasm to each message. Think someone posted a funny video? Respond with a gif (conveniently integrated into the Twitter platform). Did a customer tweet about the gloomy weather? Commiserate with an emoji. It’s important to always be professional, but don’t forget that a little charm can make all the difference.

A good rule of thumb is to employ the 4-1-1 principle. This means for every four “fun/educational” posts, you can post one “soft sell” and one “hard sell.” Bombarding your followers with sales pitches will only hinder engagement and alienate your audience. Breaking up your content with lifestyle posts allows your brand to become an account your customers want to follow.

So go ahead, spell check that joke and tweet away!

OTHER HELPFUL RESOURCES:

Not convinced Twitter is for you? Check out what The Huffington Post had to say about the benefits of Twitter.

Also:
Social Times via Adweek
The pros and cons of having two Twitter accounts
How to craft the perfect Twitter profile page