Social media services like Twitter, Facebook and Google+ can provide companies with insight into how their brand is viewed. These services provide opportunities for interaction, to strengthen customer relationships, and can be used to research your business space.
I am currently working on a number of branding projects with clients hesitant to engage in social media, and in particular, with Twitter.
There are a number of reasons I believe every business should consider overcoming their fears and/or preconceptions and have a look at Twitter:
1. Your customers are already talking about you
One of the most common reasons I hear for not joining Twitter is “I don’t want to have to reply to tweets”. If your customers are talking about you—good or bad—engage with them. It will provide opportunities to solve problems, improve relationships, and influence how your brand is perceived. By not engaging, you are missing a valuable opportunity.
2. Brand research
Do you want to gain insight into your customers? Is it valuable to know their likes, what they find important, and what or who influences them? Twitter enables you to glimpse into what (potential) customers are talking about, where they are located, and what their preferences are—all in real time.
Twitter may account for a small portion of a companies customers, and therefore may not reflect an accurate profile of the target audience. Information collected should always be compared and integrated into more traditional methods of customer research.
3. Continually updated mailing list
Using Twitter can help you distribute information about your company. You can share company news, promotions, or request customer feedback by building a following of individuals interested in your product or service, or by using hashtags.
4. What is the competition doing?
How does your competition take advantage of Twitter? What methods are they using to connect with your audience? Can you be as engaged as they are? How can you differentiate your brand on Twitter to stand out? You can easily see who is following your competition, who is engaging with them, and use that information to develop a plan to strengthen your brand.
5. Reserve your Twitter user name
As more people join, good usernames become harder to come by. Remember how hard it was to come up with your company name? One that wasn’t being used and had a decent URL available? The longer you wait, the more unlikely it is that you will be able to secure your company name or a suitable alternative as a Twitter username.
Once on Twitter, here are a few beginner tips:
- Post relevant, informative content that is in line with your brand values.
- Avoid only talking about yourself as this is frowned upon. What industry related news can you share? Follow your target audience and retweet what they are talking about. Become an authoritative voice by consistently providing valuable information about a specific topic.
- Set up email notifications to be made aware of when you are mentioned on Twitter. Respond promptly where appropriate. Choosing to not respond to Tweets can hurt your brand.
- If you are also using Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+, look into using a tool that posts to all of them like TweetDeck.
- Use hashtags in your tweets. These make it easier for people to find your content.
- Do not concentrate on the number of followers and instead engage with your audience, influencers, and eventually the right people will follow you. It’s better to have two good followers, ones that are truly interested in your product or service than fifty that are not.
Your brand is what your customers say it is
It is important to remember that while we all try to influence the way our perception of our brands, it is ultimately how the customer speaks, feels, and reacts to your offering that builds a brand. Using tools like Twitter can be a great opportunity to gain some understanding how your brand is currently perceived, and how you might go about strengthening this view, or work towards changing it.
Are there any other beginner tips you feel I should add to the list? How do you use Twitter to understand and strengthen your brand?
Photo: “How do you know …” by hoveringdog