Twitter’s not for everybody and certainly not for every business. For one thing it takes patience.
Quickly, what is Twitter? It’s a surprisingly powerful microblogging site, a free service you have to register to use, that allows you to send out short messages (tweets). Theoretically, tweets have to be 140 characters or fewer but there are ways around that. Attachment links, for example, can lead to an encyclopedia or a movie and anything in between.
It’s easy to use the basic service but using it well can be tricky. You have to know what you’re doing. I suggest that you read a book like Twitter for Dummies even if you’ve been tweeting for a while.
People hear about you in different ways and your audience of followers grows, slowly at first. I have about 22,000 followers personally but it’s taken me years. Oddly, I unfollow a lot of people and that keeps my numbers down because good form in Twitter is to “follow back”. I’ll put up with losing followers because, to me, Quality trumps Quantity.Something like 555,000,000 people around the world, 140,000,000 in the US, are registered Twitter users. About half of them are active or semi-active. You don’t have access to individuals in this vast unless they choose to “follow” you.
Audience quality is crucial in business tweeting
At the office, we tweet for several clients and the issue is never quantity, although some clients think it is. One of our Twitter clients is a large international hotel chain. We have about 5,000 followers for them but every one is a client or a potential client. Quality.
The benefits can surprise you. For example, a guest was mad about something in a Arizona hotel and tweeted about it. We saw the complaint and called the hotel to tell them and, ta da, complaint resolved.
American Airlines understands this instinctively. I’d been one of their frequent fliers for ages and then ran into a hideous situation in Chicago. I tweeted about it, and in no time, AA called and made the problem go away. Now I’m happy with them again.
Generally, Twitter develops business. Using the hotel example, we tweet about special events, special offers, news like a restaurant opening, new experiences at the hotel spas around the world. Almost as important are the links to more information, advice, and so on. It’s simple, fast, lovely and very inexpensive.
Our mission might be to develop business (new business and retention and growth of current business), but our strategy is relationships – generating real life friendships with the people who matter most.
I’ve done that personally and it really surprised me.
Several years ago I wrote in my Joy of Direct Marketing Blog about a Twitter friend from up north who let me know he going to be passing through Fort Lauderdale and could we have lunch? Sure! It was delightful to meet @theflaggagency in person: I Tweet Therefore I Am
I once had a problem with my Comcast connection at home. I tweeted about it and quickly heard from the great and wonderful @FrankEliason , then head of social media for Comcast. He got the problem fixed pronto and I raved about him.
Then he went to Citigroup. A few months later, I ran a one day seminar for Citigroup’s marketing people in Queens, so I emailed Frank, and we met in person. Here we are. Can you tell I was delighted?
Just off the top of my head, great friends I met on Twitter include @tlmaurer (she’s in decorating), @PaulBobnak in Pennsylvania (runs Who’s Mailing What), @relevance, the Twitter handle of the great Ted Vinzani of Milwaukee and New Jersey’s @ErnieSchell who drove to the Philadelphia Airport for lunch one day while I was waiting for a flight home. Here we are together.
The people I mention here are all business tweeters, but they’ve all become friends. How do you make that happen?
- The same way you do in life. You make a connection to something they’re saying, or where they are from, or what they do.
- You give them something of interest (an article) or an idea to show you’re paying attention to their tweets.
- If they say something good, you retweet it (it is a compliment).
- If they Retweet something you said, you thank them.
Be a human, be informative, helpful, funny, personable, humble. You’ll have champions of your business for life. Quality. Let me know how Twitter’s working for you, or comment below. Click here for my FREE Twitter Tips. Good luck!