Professor Ludmila Praslova, Vanguard University of Southern California Professor and Founding Director of Graduate Programmes in Industrial/Organisational Psychology By way of introduction, Prof Praslova undertakes consulting work focused on supporting organisations in creating systemic inclusion informed by an understanding of neurodiversity. She has also authored…
By Wendy Kier, ABP Conference Speaker 2013
It’s very easy to identify on Twitter how effective an account is being managed.
How we feel and our level of training is reflected in our behaviour through the patterns of our Tweets and the way we engage and manage our following (community). It becomes very evident after watching an account for a couple of days whether a business has a clear Twitter strategy and how serious they are about using Twitter.
Twitter is the number one online social media platform for driving real time conversations. It provides an online space for people to come together who like to talk about and share what is of interest to them.
This is perfectly OK if you are using it for personal use, but as a business you need to manage the account slightly differently.
Using Twitter for business
- For Twitter to work effectively for a business you have to find ways to engage with your COMMUNITY (followers) – and that means having a two-way conversation.
- You have to be very clear what you want your community to know about your business, so you have to place a daily CALL TO ACTION tweet.
- You also need to add a significant amount of CONTENT so your followers have the opportunity to learn about what is important in your business and industry
Your followers are your current and potential customers. Within Twitter you also have ‘sleepers’ who are unique to Twitter. Sleepers are people who have started following you because they have seen a re-tweet by one of the people they are following. Now, what is great about sleepers is they can move into becoming a customer faster than some of the people who have been following you for a longer period of time.
Four common mistakes that lead from a lack of a clear Twitter strategy
Without a clearly defined Twitter strategy and content plan, four common mistakes show themselves:
1. It’s all about them
A business may be constantly pushing out marketing messages about their own business. No engagement, ignoring open and closed messages; just link, after link, after link. This is OK if you are a newspaper or Groupon. The problem is, if you do this consistently on your business’ account, people will tune out and stop listening to what you are saying because you are doing the same thing all the time.
80% of your time should be focused on adding value for your followers; this can be achieved in lots of different ways.
2. The business’ focus and messages are not clear
This is quite often the case for a lot of businesses using Twitter. They spend their time tweeting about everything; they are not focused, have no idea what they want their followers to know or even who their ideal customers are. They talk about everything else, with little focus on their own business. If people do not understand what it is you do then you will never win new business?
If you are using Twitter for business you need to think about creating your Twitter account in the same way you would if you went into WH Smiths and bought your favourite magazine. Say for example my favourite magazine is all about fly fishing (it’s not by the way). You buy it because this is what you want to read about and it specialises on your subject; it has images, interviews and other relevant content.
You know exactly what you are going to get and you would not expect articles to be in the magazine that are not relevant. You need to create your Twitter account exactly the same way, using topics and subjects that interest your potential customers. This will ensure they come back for more and be more likely to engage with you.
3. Chasing numbers
This is a massive mistake for businesses to be making. Let me say that again. It is a massive mistake for businesses to be shouting from the rooftop, I want more followers. Now you might be asking yourself “Why is this Wendy, I do want more followers?”
What this message does is it gives an awful lot away about your business, it tells me that you don’t understand marketing, you have no idea who your customers are, you don’t care about who you are connecting with and have no intention of engaging with people who are following you, because your focus is in the wrong place.
Now if I can see this, so can other people and this is damaging your online brand, which can have a significant effect on your business. You need to focus on attracting people, not running after people and you do his by producing really great articles that your ideal customer would like to read, amongst other strategies.
4. Managing the account inconsistently
Tweets are posted inconsistently. Some days there may be one, another day there may be three, and then they may not post for several days. They don’t respond when people mention them by name; they don’t say thank you for RT (retweet).
Not having a clear Twitter strategy is reflected in the patterns of our behaviour though the tweets we post that are seen by our followers. You cannot hide your behaviour on Twitter. If you have no plan, everyone is able to figure this out. All they need to do is look at your account over a 5-day period and it becomes perfectly evident. You are also leaving your business at significant risk.
Planning your strategy is very important, it makes sure you are not falling into any business blunders and leaving your business at a potential risk of legal action. It’s also very important to have a Twitter policy, but that is another conversation. It’s a bit like when you have someone in your office that has an untidy desk. It’s OK because it is in the office. But if you display this type of behaviour on Twitter, everyone sees it. To build trust and credibility on Twitter with relevant followers (clients and customers) you have to be able to add a significant amount of value.
You need to have a very clear strategy and above all you have to be consistent. Real life communities need to be nurtured over time to be able to grow and flourish; so does your Twitter community.
About the author
Widely recognised as the “Queen of Twitter”, Wendy Kier works with organisations to help them win new business in less time using a combination of digital and social media marketing.
If you’ve enjoyed this article and would like to hear more, Wendy will be speaking at the 2013 Annual ABP Conference on Friday 4th October, Wokefield Park, Reading. To find out more about the conference and Wendy’s session click here for more information.
Wendy will also be hand throughout the day of Friday 4th October to offer expert advice on how to use digital and social media to best effect for your business.
To book up to a 20 min slot for one-to-one advice and feedback on your current social media content email email@example.com.