The late Frankie Howerd loved a double entendre or two and were he alive today he would probably be utilising Twitter to showcase his inimitable brand of humour – as most celebrities now do. Take Justin Bieber for example. Apparently he has more followers than the entire population of Canada and followers spend time arguing amongst themselves as to who deserves his attention and favours.
This is the strength of Twitter – Joe public get unrivalled access to the everyday thoughts of their chosen idol (or at least their idol’s PR company) sometimes on a daily basis. Followers may even get a response direct from their idol and suddenly their idol knows they exist and their world seems a brighter place. In the case of Greg ‘Cooking doesn’t get tougher than this’ Masterchef Wallace followers have even gone on to marry their idol (although communicating in 140 characters doesn’t always translate to communicating well over the breakfast table.)
But how does this all work for businesses? It’s ok if you are sexy like Justin Bieber or as hilarious as a comedian, but what if your business is – well rather on the dry side? Presumably your business at least has a Twitter account by now and some followers, but maybe you haven’t got as many as you would like. If not here are a bundle of tips to help grow your loyal groupies and superfans.
- Tweet regularly – the optimum number of Tweets is apparently around 15 a day for a company – this is a lot but surely your business has enough news to find something of interest if not about yourselves then the sector you operate in. If not fifteen times at least everyone day – get to a certain critical mass and followers will hopefully start to grow by themselves. Don’t have time to tweet? Then find someone in your company who can – just make sure you brief them well and that they have access to the news and interesting facts about your company – or pay an agency to do it for you. Use Tweetdeck to upload your tweets in the morning or for the week, schedule them in and then off they go.
- Find interesting content and retweet using Google alerts. Enter the topic of interest eg NHS UK and Google will deliver news stories and features direct to your email inbox. Follow the link to the article and nine times out of ten there will be a tweet button next to it that will allow you to post the article direct to your twitter account, or a link that you can use to schedule in Tweetdeck. Keep your followers fed with interesting content and hopefully they will comment and retweet you.
- Engage with your followers – answer their queries, pose them interesting questions – talk direct to them using direct messages or their names in tweets using @ and their twitter name.
- Follow like-minded people/organisations – usually they will follow back. When you have a group of them you can host a debate about a topic they are interested in. This is sometimes called a Twitter party or a tweetchat depending on your type of business. Publicise the chat at a certain time then use the hashtag followed by your company initials or topic so people can easily identify the thread. Then have experts from your business or sector make contributions and answer questions.
- Publicise your Twitter address everywhere. Have a Twitter button on the homepage of your website, add it to your email footer, put it on your stationery. Mention it on your other social networking sites, newsletters etc.
- If your company holds events then why not have a live Twitter feed? Encourage your attendees to Tweet throughout the day using a bespoke event hashtag and display their tweets on a large screen as they happen. Ask conference speakers to tweet contributions.
- Tweet photos and link to videos from your Youtube account and encourage your customers to tweet feedback/pictures, perhaps using a competition to encourage them.
- Look at trending topics relevant to your business and make comments. Use the hashtag plus keyword so your comments appear in searches.
- Don’t ignore negative feedback – respond professionally as you would to any other complaint and depending on the complaint, offer to follow it up away from the twittersphere using your companies standard complaints procedure. Twitter is a great way of gauging customer satisfaction as people tend to ‘tell it like it is’ online, but you also need to nip complaints in the bud.
- Keep up-to-date with new ways of using Twitter. If you have a professional profile on LinkedIn there are a number of groups on social media where you can share tips and ideas for growing your following.
Above all have fun with Twitter, reflect your mission and personality of your business and see it as a way to talk and engage about your favourite topic – your business.