How to Use Twitter for Your Business


I’ve been fascinated by Twitter recently. As a Blogger, avid Facebook user and moderate Linked In follower, until recently, I hadn’t been able to figure out where Twitter fell into the realm of social networking. With the ability to update my Facebook status countless times a day, even from my cell phone, I wondered what does Twitter provide? Doesn’t that 142-character limit cramp anyone else’s style? I set about to find out what companies are using Twitter and what are the top strategies for using it effectively.

What I’ve gleaned is that Twitter is successful in its focused simplicity. Facebook is full of distractions. It’s an ADD paradise.  Not only can you see a person’s status update but there are photos and videos and comments on the videos. Before you know it, 2 hours have gone by and you are looking at the Christmas photos of someone you went to high school with. In addition to the wealth of personal content overwhelming Facebook, there are also ads, causes, gifts, and questionnaires distracting users from connecting with your brand.

Twitter is far more simplistic and dedicated in its purpose.

Twitter keeps fans up-to-date on breaking news
Stories break on Twitter before national media gets a chance to get their cameras rolling. For this purpose as a business owner, skimming the headlines on CNN, WWD, and Sephora is a great way to keep me up on what’s new and breaking in my industry and the world around us. You simply can’t digest information any faster. Those quick tidbits are often all you need to know.

Twitter humanizes the people behind your brand
Twitter is also great for humanizing a brand and building an emotional relationship with consumers. Such is the case with Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh, who has over one million fans on Twitter. Tony rarely tweets about his business and he never tries to actively make a sale, but he’s building a tremendous amount of viral traffic and links back to Zappos.  Tony believes in the power of Twitter so much that he encourages everyone at Zappos to tweet; their company page features 439 employees who are on Twitter.

Victoria’s Secret Pink have jumped on the Twitter bandwagon as well. Their Twitter pages feature interns, Tweeterns as they call them, who let young fans know what it’s like to work for their dream job. They also post special discounts and offers just for Twitter fans.

Twitter announces deals and discounts
Speaking of deals and discounts just for Twitter Fans, companies like Woot have made an entire business around breaking deals and discounts on Twitter. Woot’s plan? They launch links to specific deals and offers throughout the day and you can get them while supplies last.

Twitter raises funds
For organizations, Twitter is a great way to keep fans in touch with the progress of your next fund-raising campaign. Think of it as the modern equivalent of that thermometer poster showing your goal and filling in slowly as people donate. The more momentum you generate, the more people will take notice. Laura Fitton @Wellwishes recently used Twitter to raise over $25,000 for Charity:Water which builds water wells in developing nations.

Twitter tracks your location
Does your town have a new roving sandwich truck or cupcake tailor? NYC has tons of them and Twitter provides just the forum for dedicated fans to track their locations as well as put in requests. Kogi BBQ in Los Angeles tweets their next location and estimated time of arrival so you can plan ahead.

Twitter addresses consumer complaints
Last but not least, one of the most effective uses of Twitter is for customer service. Using a third-party program called Tweet Scan, or Twitters’ own interface, users can search all of the tweets referencing your company. What an amazing tool for learning what customers are actually thinking—in real time! Companies can then respond to these tweets, directing consumers to email addresses or locations where they can resolve their problems. Better yet, responding to positive comments is also a great way to let fans know you are listening and care.

In summary, it seems that the brevity of Twitters’ messaging platform allows companies to  connect with consumers in more places, build relationships with their customers, and keep them focused on their content.

Finding out which of the techniques I’ve listed above is applicable to your company and uncovering new, innovative methods of building that relationship are the next steps. MSLK can help with this by working with your team to create a marketing plan that establishes the overall voice of your company on Twitter and outlines the type of content you should be publishing regularly to maintain that voice. We can also outline where you want to drive your followers from Twitter to increase sales. This plan will help your ‘Tweets’ stay on track.

We can also help set up and design your Twitter pages to reflect your overall brand identity.

In fact, this fall I’ll be giving three lectures in October on how we can help companies integrate Twitter and other social media components into their overall marketing campaigns. After-all, social media is  currently the most cost-effective method of reaching customers.

Stayed tuned for more info.