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Understanding Twitter for Business

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Executive Summary

Twitter provides an opportunity to connect with people on the go and link your content and brand to what is happening right now. In real time, your business can put out a message, follow what people are saying about you, get a topic trending and even create a new trend altogether. Twitter is a free service that provides honest market feedback from your customers and delivers it right to your computer or mobile device, and this is what makes Twitter so valuable.

This How-To Guide outlines the key features of Twitter, explains its effectiveness as a social network marketing tool and provides an action plan on how to create a unique and effective Twitter presence to help grow and strengthen your corporate brand.

Read this brief 8-page guide to understand the following:

The benefits of Twitter
Best practices for using Twitter as a marketing tool
How to grow and strengthen your corporate brand using microblogging social media


Demand Metric's How-To Guides are designed to provide practical, on-the-job training and education and provide context for using our premium tools & templates. If there is a topic that you would like to see covered, please contact us at info@demandmetric.com (link sends e-mail) to make a content request.

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Understanding Twitter for Business

  1. 1. How-To Guide © 2013 Demand Metric Research Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Twitter for Business Executive Summary If you haven’t heard about Twitter by now, you’re probably living under a rock. But just because you know about Twitter doesn’t necessarily mean you know how to use it, or even have an account. What started out as a personal micro blogging site, the social network has become a powerful business tool for brand promotion and customer interaction. Twitter provides an opportunity to connect with people on the go and link your content and brand to what is happening right now. In real time, your business can put out a message, follow what people are saying about you, get a topic trending and even create a new trend altogether. Twitter is a free service that provides honest market feedback from your customers and delivers it right to your computer or mobile device, and this is what makes Twitter so valuable. 42% of Twitter users follow brands or companies, so it’s important that your business is visible online and posting content regularly – a process known as “tweeting”. Tweeting a few times each day reminds your followers that you still exist.
  2. 2. How-To Guide © 2013 Demand Metric Research Corporation. All Rights Reserved. This How-To Guide outlines the key features of Twitter, explains its effectiveness as a marketing tool and provides an action plan on how to create a unique and effective Twitter presence to help grow and strengthen your corporate brand. Key Features Twitter is a social networking website that can be accessed via your computer or mobile device. Recently, Twitter released the “fast follow” function, which allows people to follow Twitter users without having to set up their own Twitter account. This feature dramatically increases the potential reach of your messaging. Other key features include: 1. Instant notifications: Users can determine which Tweets to receive notification of and which ones to display when they access the Twitter website. This means that those following your business are notified in real time via text message when your company sends out a tweet. This is very valuable and useful if your business deals in crisis communications and tweets are time sensitive. For example, many city police forces use Twitter, in addition to other communication devices, to notify the public about a missing child or a wanted criminal. 2. Mobility: One of the best features about Twitter is mobile access. Most smart phones now come with a Twitter application already built into the hardware of
  3. 3. How-To Guide © 2013 Demand Metric Research Corporation. All Rights Reserved. the phone - and if they don’t, it’s a simple download. The ability to send and follow tweets from anywhere makes Twitter accessible and beneficial as a business communications channel. You can easily send your tweet from your phone, your laptop, and even your tablet. 3. Audience targeting: You can promote your tweets so that users see them even if they are not following your brand. Your Twitter feed becomes a good way to reach new and potential customers, as well as inform people about your business. When you promote your tweets, you choose a target audience, a capability that will help you reach the highest amount of people that identify with your brand. 4. Trends and hashtags: You’ve probably heard some one say something about a topic trending on Twitter or seen a word written with the number sign (#) in front of it, but what does it mean? That is a hashtag, a device a user employs when tweeting that makes the tweet searchable. For example, after the Republican National Convention in 2012, the hashtag “#invisibleObama” gained worldwide attention following Clint Eastwood’s opening speech. Because so many people followed suit and tweeted about the topic using the same hashtag, it became the number one trending topic on Twitter that night.
  4. 4. How-To Guide © 2013 Demand Metric Research Corporation. All Rights Reserved. A Marketing Tool Each tweet is limited to 144 characters in length, requiring you to keep your messages concise. The content of your tweets doesn’t have to be groundbreaking or all business. In fact, Twitter is an ideal outlet for light and fun topics as well. What’s important is to have fresh, original content that highlights your business and directs followers to your company’s web page when you want to say more. You should make Twitter an integral part of your company’s marketing plan. Of course you want to drive traffic back to your website, but you should think beyond that. Twitter users have a voracious appetite for new ideas, opportunities, information, services, and products. Twitter is a perfect platform to serve up this type of content, growing your brand reputation in the process. Some best practices for using Twitter are:  Share. Share photos and behind the scenes info about your business. Even better, give a glimpse of developing projects and events. Showing a bit of the
  5. 5. How-To Guide © 2013 Demand Metric Research Corporation. All Rights Reserved. background of your company makes users feel that they are in the know and part of your corporate family.  Listen. Regularly monitor the comments about your company, brand, and products. This is a great way to find out where your business is strong and where you need improvement.  Ask. Ask questions of your followers to gain valuable insights and show that you are listening. If you are working on developing a new product or service, ask your followers for input. This is a great way to determine what your customers are looking for.  Respond. Respond to compliments and feedback in real time. If a user praises your business, say thank you. In the same way, if some one complains about an issue, tell them thanks for the feedback and you’ll look into the matter.  Reward. Tweet updates about special offers, discounts and time-sensitive deals. Rewarding your followers provides a lucrative incentive to gain new followers.  Demonstrate your expertise. Reference articles and links about the bigger picture as it relates to your business. Don’t forget to also include positive reviews of your business and references to your subject matter.
  6. 6. How-To Guide © 2013 Demand Metric Research Corporation. All Rights Reserved.  Give kudos. Retweet and reply publicly to great tweets posted by your followers and customers. Making your followers feel acknowledged and appreciated is an important part of using Twitter effectively.  Be genuine. Twitter users tend to prefer a direct, genuine, and of course, a likable tone from your business, but think about your voice as you Tweet. Be aware of your tone and make sure you are perceived as friendly and approachable. Remember that Twitter is an online conversation. If you treat each message the same way you would a stranger on the street speaking to you, you will have success with Twitter and create a valuable marketing channel for your business. Action Plan 1. Document your goals & objectives: Before creating your Twitter account, determine what business goals want to accomplish with Twitter. Simply having the account won’t grow your business, so you’ll have to figure out what you want out of the relationship. Twitter provides an excellent opportunity to reach your customers and grow awareness of your business, so these outcomes may top your company’s list of
  7. 7. How-To Guide © 2013 Demand Metric Research Corporation. All Rights Reserved. goals. Other reasons for using Twitter include: hiring new employees, getting feedback on new products and/or services, and improving customer communications. Use Demand Metric’s Social Media Strategy Workbook to document your objectives and be specific about what you want to accomplish through this social media channel. 2. Determine who will do the tweeting: If you own a small business, you might want to do the tweeting yourself. But as your company grows, this is not always possible. It’s important to identify someone in your business that will have access to the account and will create the content. Having a strong social media policy in place will help outline the roles and responsibilities of your trusted tweeters, as well as establish guidelines and approvals for messages. The ideal tweeter is knowledgeable about your business and understands the issues. Remember that the person responsible for your Twitter account is ultimately providing the customer service experience for your followers, so make sure it’s a positive one. If you plan on hiring for this position, use Demand Metric’s Social Media Manager Job Description to outline roles and responsibilities. 3. Get your business active on Twitter: Use Demand Metric’s Twitter for Business Checklist to set up an account and to ensure the success of your Twitter marketing program.
  8. 8. How-To Guide © 2013 Demand Metric Research Corporation. All Rights Reserved. 4. Start following: Twitter isn’t just about putting your messaging out there, it’s also about listening. So if you want your business to join the conversation, it’s important to follow the right people. Leave following your favorite TV show for your personal Twitter account. Instead, follow your competition and businesses similar to your own. This is a great way to see what others are doing and stay current on your competitors. Remember that anyone can see whom you are following, which in turn can affect your credibility. You can search subjects in Twitter to determine who is actively posting about your business’ subject and follow individuals or other companies that relate to your field of work. Actively monitor your list of followers too: delete and block anyone spamming your account. For more information on social listening, be sure to read our How-To Guide: Social Media Monitoring. Bottom Line Twitter is an effective marketing tool for your business. Each year, more and more people access content through it. Maintaining a presence on Twitter that your customers can access quickly and on-the-go allows a deeper level of engagement with them.

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