As a follow on from the last post looking at Twitter’s amplification effect and how this can influence a brands presence online, it’s worth covering off a few ‘best practice Twitter tips”.
Do Your Research Before Engaging Customers
Before defining your Twitter strategy take the time to find out how your customers are using Twitter. Do a twitter search to find out what conversations are happening around your brand, product or company.
If your search doesn’t tell you a lot don’t worry. This can mean you have clean slate from which to start and may allow you take the lead, at least initially, in how your brand is perceived.
It’s not necessary to follow every account that mentions your brand or company but you do want to listen into the conversation. It’s worth looking at one of the many social media monitoring tools available.
Icerocket is generally for blog searches but has expanded into searching the popular social networking websites Twitter and Facebook as well as allowing searching of news and the web. IceRocket's Big Buzz feature allows users to search Blogs, Tweets, news, images etc all from one page
Addictomatic is a Free, user friendly and free web application that collects information from all major social and news sites for a given search.
Boardtracker is a search engine dedicated to only sifting through forums and online message boards
Social Mention is a social media search engine that searches blogs, comments, bookmarks, events, news, videos, and micro-blogging services. It allows you to easily track what people are saying about you, your company, a new product, or any topic across the web’s social media landscape in real-time.
Determine Your Goals At The Outset
There are a number of ways that brands utilize twitter over and above using it to broadcast brand messages.
Dell has created a number of Twitter profiles some of which are focussed on selling products.
Starbucks posts new offers and also participates in threaded discussions about the offers.
Popeyes answers feedback in an entertaining tone and also updates their Twitter listeners of the current deals and discounts.
JetBlue offers Twitter-based customer service
Defining your strategy from the outset will help you establish what type of account your brand wants, or even if multiple accounts are appropriate.
For example you may choose to reply to customer care tweets from a dedicated support account rather than subjecting all your followers to personal support messages.
Don’t Over Automate it
It’s okay to channel some of your best company or brand blog posts directly onto twitter, but unless you are an authoritative news channel, don’t overdo it.
On the whole your primary brand twitter stream should be ‘hand fed’. If you publish a flood of impersonal links your Twitter account will just seem like a faceless promotion machine.
Try and keep some variety in your tweets. Your Twitter use can appear disingenuous and inhuman if you’re too structured with your approach.
Answer Your Mentions
People will refer to your brand or company Twitter account as if it were a person. Followers who are interacting with your brand on Twitter can be your best advocates - or your most vocal critics. In either case you want to engage with them.
If the sentiments are negative and you would like to avoid amplifying an issue to other users you can respond using a customer support account.
If You Are Going To Do It – Do It
To be a successful brand on Twitter you need to build credibility and equity. The only way to do this is to engage. An account that simply sends out a few automated brand or company messages will soon be ignored and these brands will wonder what the buzz about Twitter is all about.
Some of the most successful brands on Twitter post multiple messages an hour.
While it’s important to lock down your strategy, too much pondering can result in too little execution. You will soon get an idea of how your followers react to different tweeting styles by observing how they respond. Are they clicking on your links, re-tweeting your messages or replying directly? Another excellent measure is the number of twitter lists your company or brand is on.