Social media can be overwhelming if you’re not sure where to start, or if you are already into it but don’t see a return on your investment. In the past, ROI always referred to a monetary investment. However, in today’s social media world, the investment can be something even more precious: time. In this column we will look at Twitter and how to make the all-powerful tweet work for your business.
Do you wonder how often you need to tweet to be relevant to your customers? Do you ask what you can say in so few characters that will make a difference? Let’s take a look at how to make Twitter work for your business, large or small, and help you engage your customers successfully on social media.
Bigger Isn’t Always Better
The one thing about social media is that it is constantly changing. Twitter is one of the major players in the social media space that recently made a major change to how you can communicate on their platform. Doubling the limit from 140 characters to 280 characters may sound like a huge benefit, and in some cases it will be. However, keep in mind that Twitter users are accustomed to short, concise messages. Just because you have those extra characters, doesn’t mean you should use them all the time. We all know the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well that applies to social media in a big way. Furthermore, being in the imaging industry, you should be setting the standard of quality for photography each time you post. A visual impact will go a long way.
Making Twitter & the Tweet Work for You
Finding the time to post a few messages a day can be difficult if you don’t have someone dedicated to your social media efforts. There are ways, though, you can get strong messages out about imaging without having to always craft your own. You can retweet, reply and direct message (DM).
When you RT (retweet) you can share and even comment on what others have already tweeted. Finding sources that you trust as reliable, inspirational, educational and professional are the keys to making this a success for you. You can even include a comment, which I highly recommend, when retweeting. Simply choose “quote tweet” instead of “retweet” and you can add in your own words of wisdom. This way, your followers will not only see the message you sent as a RT, but they will see why you thought it was important to share.
Replies come in if you want to carry on a conversation with someone on Twitter. Keep in mind that these back-and-forth discussions are public. If you want to interact with someone, say, a customer with a question or problem, you can direct message them. This is a way to privately connect with someone so only you two can see it. Be aware that the person has to follow you in order for you to DM them.
Professional Content Is a Key to Social Success
Social media can get your marketing messages out quickly, but keep in mind you should always post like a professional. That includes proper spelling, punctuation and grammar. These simple rules to follow can actually help put you out front of your competition. People will respect that you took the time to connect like a pro. A profile photo that is easily recognizable is also a plus, along with a description of your company that gives people a clear understanding of why it’s important to follow you.
Grow Your Business with a Hashtag
Another way to get more followers, and therefore more potential customers, is to use hashtags. Creating your own hashtags that are simple and unique can be successful when you base them on products or services you offer. But remember, you can also participate in hashtags that are already out there and relevant to your business. You may pick up potential customers who see your posts about a larger topic and discover your business through other hashtags. Wondering how you get in on this action? Simply adding a “#” in front of a word or unbroken phrase will create a hashtag. Easy enough right! After you create the hashtag, it is automatically linked to every other tweet that includes that same hashtag. This can help people connect to a specific subject in a social media world where sometimes it’s tough to stay focused. One way to make hashtags work for your business is to create them around contests, sales promotions or new products.
Before you create a hashtag for a new promotion or marketing campaign for your business, search for it on Twitter to see if it already exists. If it’s already out there, you should be sure it’s relevant to your business or come up with something else. Otherwise you could confuse your customers.
You can add capital letters to make a hashtag easier to read. However, they are not case-sensitive. Include them on the confirmation page when someone orders online, add them to offline materials you hand out in your store, and even have them printed on receipts. This will encourage customers to use them.
Opinions Count: Engage Users
As with anything on social media, people love to be heard. A great way to do that through your account is to create Twitter Polls. With little effort, you can interact with your audience and understand more about their opinions.
You provide the users with up to four answers to choose from in your poll, and there are real-time results. You can create polls to engage with your audience about specific products, promotions or events. And you can even get a sense of what current customers think versus potential customers.
Once the poll is over, everyone receives a push notification. This is like a friendly reminder about your content as well as your business. Moreover, to help direct your content moving forward, you can simply ask users what they want you to post about.
Here’s an example of a Twitter Poll for an imaging dealer:
Welcome ABC Imaging! What type of content are you most interested in?
Keep At It
As with any social media, staying relevant is part content and part consistency. Keep your Twitter account fresh and updated with relevant information and users will follow along and become loyal to your business.
You now have endless ways to talk about a new promotion you’re running, be a resource with photography education or feature product announcements. Social media could make a significant impact on your sales, whether you are a large business with numerous resources or a small business working hard to make a big impact.