One of the latest trends for promoting your business online is by SMM (Social Media Marketing). This marketing strategy allows you to create a brand for your business, as well as gain traffic to your website. Social media like MySpace, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Digg, and others give you the opportunity to submit photographs, videos, pod casts, and news about your company and the services and products it has to offer. The entire process,however, can be quite time consuming. There is an exception-Twitter!
How Twitter works
Twitter provides users a simple social networking and micro-blogging platform. Here’s how it works. All you need to do is answer this simple question in 140 characters-“What are you doing?” These messages are short and sweet, and are called tweets! Your tweets will be instantly displayed on your profile page as well as be delivered to those users who are “following” you. When using Twitter you’ll have web users “following” you and you’ll be “following” them. “Following” means that whenever there’s a new post added to one of your contact’s profiles, you’ll be updated. And if you have something to post, you will be “followed.” So, the more people that follow you, the more will your business get exposure. However, promoting your business is not simply about adding people to your friend’s list. You need to build your follower base intelligently. So, before you start “tweet”ing it’s best that you learn about how the Twitter community works and how you can market your business using it. Here are a few guidelines to help you get started.
Marketing Your Business Using Twitter
From recruiting, organizing promotional events, and pitching to your followers, to organizing contests and giveaways, rewarding Twitter loyalty, adding metadata to tweets, and keeping a close watch on Twitterverse, there are a few unwritten rules to help you to promote your business using Twitter. Keep these tips in mind.
1. Be heard: Twitter is a great place to meet new people and build up a network. The best way to ensure that you are heard is by:
2. Following Others: Following others who are relevant to your business is important, rather than simply gaining large numbers of links. It is recommended that you include your current and past customers, as well as those who belong to the same industry as yours.
Importing Contacts: If you’ve got connections on LinkedIn or Facebook, a good idea would be to make connections on Twitter. You can also import contacts from Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo mail or your own address book.
Balancing Your Followers/Following Ratio: You need to have a balance between the people that follow you and the people you follow. If you have many people following you and you don’t follow them, they are sure to stop following you. If, however, the reverse happens, you will be considered as a spammer who is trying to increase his or her follower base. Some of the methods that you can incorporate to keep this balance are:
Grow Slowly: Instead of adding new friends at one go, a better idea would be to first add 50 and then wait for them to follow you. Once they follow you back, you can add another 50 friends.
Use “Friend or Follow” tool: It is recommended that you use tools like “Friend or Follow” which allow you to check who you is following you and who aren’t following.
Don’t Stop Following: If you follow others and later stop following them the moment they start following you, you’ll be considered a spammer.
Avoiding Automated Functions: Automated functions are like robots. Remember, you are connecting to people, not robots. People want to listen to your voice, not the voice of a robot. So, avoid using the auto-reply and auto-follow functions that are provided by Tweet Adder.
Interacting: By simply broadcasting announcements, you won’t get the respect of many followers, which in turn is not good for your company. You need to take time to interact and converse with your fellow Twitters. Give it the personal touch.
3. Start pitching: Most new Twitter users have started a trend of trying to direct you to a website that they want you to visit. This does not work for long. Some of the best formulas that you can use for marketing on Twitter is:
4. Connect – Converse – Convert: You first need to connect to those people, most of whom you don’t know, start interacting with them till the time that you win over their trust, and finally make a pitch to them. In fact, it may just so happen that you need not pitch to them. They may search for you.
Create solid ideas: Before making a pitch to your potential customers, it is recommended that you brainstorm and create solid ideas for your business. Put these ideas forward to your customers and ask for their opinion. This is far better than a poll or vote. It will make them seem an integral part of your company’s project.
5. Engage your CEO: Asking your CEO to engage in social media will be quite a task, as it is quite time consuming. Your CEO will surely not have time to write a blog, let alone reply to queries, messages. and accept friend requests. “Tweet”ing, however, is different. If your CEO can send a text message, he or she can surely use Twitter. Twitter, being a micro-blogging platform, provides your CEO the opportunity to use this social media as a marketing and PR tool.
6. Add Value: Simply asking people to follow you is not good enough. You need to give them a reason to follow you. The best way to do that is by giving good information in the form of advice, answers to people’s queries, links, and providing special offers only to your followers. So, in time you become a valuable member of the Twitter community, which is sure to bring you more followers. Some ways of adding value to your Twitter account is by:
Announcing special offers, deals or sales: Twitter is a great tool to announce special offers instantly to a wide audience.
Giving live updates on events or conferences: If you are part of a trade show or organize your own corporate event, you can use Twitter to make last minute announcements, or tell audiences about interesting events that are happening. This is an excellent last minute marketing tool.
7. Mix Business With Pleasure: Simply marketing your products and services is not enough. You need to market yourself. In other words, people want to know you-your personal side. So, go ahead and have fun. Tell people about your likes and dislikes, your passions, among other things. It will surely bring your customers closer to you; you’ll gain their respect and confidence, which is good for your business.
8. Reward loyalty: Companies have understood that one of the best ways to add value to their business is by rewarding those customers who have shared their purchase behaviors with their friends and family. As a Twitter user, you can find ways to automatically reward loyalty to those users for sharing the message about your company to fellow Twitters. However, you need to ensure that they are sending out the right message to enhance your brand image.
9. Research the market: Keeping a close watch on your fellow competitors and the people they follow is important. Take time and make a list of these so that you can keep a daily tab on them. You can create this list using the Twitter Lists tool. Also, make sure to check on influencers, innovators, as well as those who break news in your market arena. Read about their weekend activities and what they have to say about their brand. This will help you get a better idea about what you are up against and what your customers require.
10. Target audiences: The best part about Twitter is that you can connect to anyone in the world simply by sending a 140-character tweet. However, you need to ensure that you use this tool and target smaller communities that are relevant to your business. Using Promoted Tweets is an option. Even though Promoted Tweets are not live for every user, they however help business users to target their tweets to specific audiences, taking their business to a whole new level. You should, however, use this tool wisely. You will only win the respect of your audience if you show them that their needs come first, not yours.
11. Add your own Metadata: In time to come, Twitter will give you the facility to add metadata, i.e., notes, location and tags. This is sure to give business users an opportunity to tag tweets that originate from their websites, attach their own identifiers, find methods to reward loyalty, make changes in notes about a visitor’s on-site Twitter behavior, and other options.
12. Brand yourself: Branding yourself on Twitter is crucial in order to build a follower base. Here are a few steps to follow.
Personal branding: Personal branding is just as important as branding your company. You can achieve this by focusing on your Twitter handle and bio information.
Claim your Twitter handle: Prime domain names are much in demand and have now become difficult to find, and are also expensive. If you don’t reserve your domain name, you are putting your business and personal brand at risk. Once your domain name taken, you will not be able to reclaim it. The same goes with Twitter. Twitter account names are now being treated as domain names. So, go ahead and claim your Twitter handle!
Fill the user profile: The first step to branding yourself is to completely fill your user profile. If you want to gain followers, you need to have an impressive profile. If your account does not look legitimate, customers will not even give it a second look. So, before you fill in your user profile, check other websites and profiles and follow the same format for yours. Do not market yourself as an expert unless you are one. It is always better to put forward your skill set and passions and brand yourself based on them.
Focus on Twitter background: After filling out the user profile, it is time to focus on your Twitter background. This allows you the opportunity to extend your brand image onto Twitter. This will give your followers a complete experience. Twitpaper and Twitterimage are sites that help you to create a custom background. It is recommended that you incorporate the same colors, logo and format to your Twitter background that you’ve used in your personal or corporate website. Add information that is not mentioned in your Twitter profile.
Lead with your company: One of the best techniques of branding is by putting your company before you. This approach not only creates a brand for the company but also gives you a face and personality to go along with it.
13. Establish a Twitter marketing plan: There are several elements that you need to incorporate to further market your website.
Email signature: Adding your Twitter handle to your email signature is advantageous. This ensures that with every email you send out, you may just gain a new follower.
Personal or corporate website: Adding your Twitter address to your personal or corporate website is another way of marketing your site.
Blog posts: Another great place to promote your Twitter account is your blog. Those who read blogs already know about Twitter. You can put your Twitter address in one of the sidebars and also mention it in your posts.
Email newsletter: If you send out email newsletters, you can talk about Twitter in it, or link it to your profile, thereby ensuring that each email is linked to your account.
Presentations: If you do make presentations, a good idea would be to include your Twitter account on the final slide of the presentation and invite people to follow you.
Business card: Another strategy to incorporate is including your Twitter handle on your business card.
Article writing: If you write an article for a magazine, or a guest post on a blog or news website, ensure that your byline includes your Twitter handle.
14. Become known as an expert: By constantly writing about your expertise on a particular topic, people will soon know who you are, remember you and will soon begin to follow you. In addition, engage in Q&A sessions where you can answer all the questions your followers may have, which further establishes your expertise on the subject.
15. Use third-party applications: There are loads of Twitter applications, though only a few of those truly help to build your personal brand. These applications assist you in finding people you can create a network with, stay in touch with people of your industry, save you time and promote your content. These applications include:
Twellow: This is a Twitter yellow pages guide that allows you to find people of your industry that you can follow and connect with.
Twhirl: This application is a real time saver. If tweeting takes approximately 60 seconds, then Twhirl reduces that time to less than 10 seconds.
Twellow: With this application, you have the opportunity to keep track of your brand reputation. You’ll be getting alerts through email whenever your brand is mentioned on Twitter.
HashDictionary: You can keep a check on conversations which also include hashtags on Twitter.
Tweetmeme: This application allows you to put a button on your blog, which in turn will give your readers the opportunity to easily retweet your posts.
Twitter Grader: This is a website that ranks you based on the influence you have in Twitter. It works on an algorithm.
Ping.fm: With this application, you’ll be saving a lot of time and effort by sending messages to all your social networks at once.
Tweetlater: Using this application, you can schedule tweets which are to be published automatically in the future.
16. Form a Twitter “Mastermind Group”
There are many groups of people on Twitter, who share the same passions and ideas, thereby promoting each other as they retweet one another. These communities constantly support each other and help each other become more successful. These groups are called “Mastermind Groups.” There are a few applications on Twitter that you can use to form these groups. These include:
GroupTweet: With this application, users can create groups and broadcast their messages to one another by way of direct messages that are sent to the group’s Twitter account.
Twitter Groups: This website gives you the opportunity to tag your followers and place them in various groups. You can then send messages to those groups instead of sending them to each person individually.