A few weeks ago, we posted a two-part blog on using social media for business. This time, I’d like to focus on using Twitter for businesses.
Twitter has 301 million users worldwide. Though impressive, Twitter has significantly less users than Facebook, which has 1,654 million users worldwide, and LinkedIn, which has a global total of 433 million.
Facebook is the social media platform. It can be, and is, used by brands very successfully – but in being so laid back, Facebook forces a certain tone from its users. It remains primarily a social space, so you can’t be too formal or professional; it would be inappropriate. This makes Facebook a difficult platform for businesses in certain industries, such as financial services.
In contrast, LinkedIn is very much a professional platform, used predominantly for networking. It is a great place for posting articles or blog posts that demonstrate your expertise, but leaves little room for anything that deviates too far from LinkedIn etiquette.
Unlike the above, Twitter can be what you make it. Its uses are multifaceted, meaning that, regardless of your industry or brand profile, Twitter can be an indispensable tool for businesses.
From a PR perspective, Twitter is invaluable. It is easy to find and follow journalists and bloggers that are writing about your industry. Just by following them, you are alerting them to your presence.
As each other’s followers, you have an opportunity to keep the journalist updated on what’s happening in your business, and a chance for some insight into their schedule, interests and specialities, and even writing style.
Twitter is an excellent place to conduct market research. People love to engage on Twitter, so it is a fantastic place to find out what your customers think of your new product or service. And by adding a custom hashtag to your tweets, you’re getting a little free publicity as well as valuable insight from your target audience.
What’s more, Twitter has helpfully introduced polling, which is ideal for basic research; audience preferences; gauging your reach; and encouraging audience engagement.
Twitter is not the most obvious recruitment tool – that hat goes to LinkedIn. Although 92% of companies use social media for hiring, only 54% use Twitter.
The difficulty is that Twitter users don’t like to be marketed at – they want to be engaged with. Since Twitter is an excellent means of building brand reputations, recruitment should been seen as an extension of this. Certainly, use Twitter to publicise a new job vacancy but Twitter can is best used for employment branding: engage with your followers and give potential employees an idea of what it would be like to work for you, so that when they come to think about a new job, they think of you.
Using Twitter for customer service is extremely effective. And doing so is an opportunity to build your brand’s personality, develop brand loyalty and boost audience engagement. Twitter is an instant way of dealing with a customer issue and, if you do a good job at resolving the problem, that is then visible for other customers to see.
Twitter is also ideal for keeping customers updated on any problems you may be having and when the issues will be resolved.
It is always advisable that the CEO of a company and the company itself have separate and distinct Twitter accounts – there is no point in have two Twitter accounts that regurgitate each other’s content (although certainly the two accounts should support or be aligned with one another).
A CEO’s Twitter account is perfect way to inject personality into a brand and develop thought leadership. Audiences like to interact with people: by positioning your CEO as a thought leader, you can create an influential figurehead for your brand.
It is important that your CEO be seen to have a unique perspective. Thought leaders don’t just share news, they offer insight and challenge popular beliefs. Although it is important that what you tweet is professional, and not too outlandish, it is also important that the tone is characterful. Above all, tweets must be consistent and regular.
Managing multiple twitter accounts, finding relevant content, being consistent and engaging, can be a challenge. As with a business blog, it’s better to have no twitter account than to tweet sparsely and erratically. Nonetheless, Twitter can be a transformative tool for businesses when it comes to raising profiles but careful thought must go into designing and executing a campaign – and we are more than happy to help you do just that.