If you had asked me a few years ago that everyone would have been “tweeting”, “liking” and “hashtagging” everything in their life, I would have thought you were insane. Both Facebook and Twitter have revolutionized the world of communication. The word “tweet” has become a regular part of our vocabulary now, meaning the ability to send or broadcast a short message of 140 characters or less through a social networking vehicle. Hashtag? Did you know you can #hashtag anything? #thisblogpostrocks!
At the time of this post, every second, on average, around 6,000 tweets are tweeted on Twitter, which corresponds to over 350,000 tweets sent per minute, 500 million tweets per day. It really is remarkable what you can say in 140 characters or less, and people tweet every subject under the sun. This draw to social media has given regular people the ability to instantly reach out to friends, businesses, and even celebrities and for the most part, they are allowed to say what is on their minds. In business terms the main draw is the fact that you can attach a shortened link to a particular webpage, essentially driving the traffic back to the exact page you want.
Yeah, that’s great Miranda – but why do I need this tweet thing?
Do you need Twitter? Of course you do! So many people engaged in the business world have recognized the opportunities associated with having an account. Yet many business owners are simply not sure how to approach it. As I said before, Twitter has allowed consumers the ability to reach out to their favorite companies with questions, suggestions or just a “Hey your new product rocks!”. Assuming that these businesses have a handle on their social media – hopefully a team behind the scenes responding to tweets and other mediums – that not only means instant feedback for you, but it is also instant customer service!!
Some of the more successful online marketing campaigns involve open and honest customer service. Rather than hiding behind a big corporate persona, those properly using this marketing revolution understand that there may be significant branding and positioning opportunities associated with honest and open interaction with a client. As business owners we may have seen that the very thing behind customer relationship marketing is in the process of a significant change. Businesses are now expected to be more contributory and to be seen interacting within what is still basically a social media platform. Genuine, honest interaction with your customers = Big win.
OK, I signed up, now what?
There are now many tools available to help configure and set up Twitter to suit your particular business needs. You can use filters and lists to target a specific group of people. Not everyone uses Twitter (and most social media) the same. You can proactively publish your Twitter account in your outgoing marketing, so that your existing clients can opt to receive tweets from you, enabling you to keep them in touch with important developments.
Some businesses use it strictly as their customer service platform. The ability to answer consumer issues in 140 characters or less can be a cool and fun platform to run on. Some may opt to announce events and promotions. The thing with Twitter is that the stream can go very quickly – especially if people are following a lot of accounts. You can tell people to follow you on Twitter for promotions that you will only announce there. Some companies run surveys or Q&A sessions to get to know their target market better. These types of campaigns will encourage people get excited and they will interact and watch for your tweets specifically.
But is Twitter really for me and my business?
Twitter is indeed an amazing social media tool that clearly won’t be going away. People from around the world can literally make news when they tweet and there is a lot of power of real-time interaction and communication. Business presence can be very important.
All of that being said, Twitter is not for everyone. You wouldn’t put your book club on Twitter – that would be best suited for a Facebook or Google+ group. If your target market is mostly hanging out in Pinterest and Instagram, then by all means, you should be headed over there. The point is, if your business belongs on Twitter, then figure that part out and then get on it!
It turns out I do need Twitter. Can my Virtual Assistant handle this for me?
I’m so glad you finally asked! There are many tools available for your virtual assistant to use as he or she helps you to maintain a dedicated presence online. Tools like HootSuite and TweetDeck for managing many profiles and scheduling tweets, SocialOomph to schedule tweets and track keywords, Paper.li to curate relevant tweets for your followers and deliver them in a newspaper style presentation, and many more. You don’t need to use them all, but research and pick one that makes the most sense for your business.
While it’s fair to say that there is a significant amount of “noise” and a lot of information that is simply not of interest, there is nevertheless clear potential for exposure on Twitter. The secret is coming up with a strategy and making sure that it is regularly developed and maintained. Delegate this portion of your business to your VA – create a marketing plan (number of tweets, specific content or keywords) and let them loose to manage your daily tweets!