I’ll admit it. I thought Twitter was a silly little fad when I first learned about it. Seriously – how much effect can 140 characters have? It turns out that it’s a massively powerful medium, and I wish I’d started using it earlier. It can be a goldmine in terms of establishing relationships with existing and prospective customers. Here’s how you do it:
- Search for your company name. This sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s so essential! This first key step lets you know who’s talking about you … and what they’re saying. You’ll know right away if there’s a problem you hadn’t heard about, and you’ll get a read on the public’s impression of your company. The folks who are already tweeting about you are the first ones you should make contact with. In addition to alerting you to problems folks may be having, Twitter gives you a real-time means of responding to criticism in professional and productive ways, establishing your business as a stand-up organization that cares about its clients.
- Search for your competitors. Not only is it just good business practice to know what the other guy is up to, but monitoring the chatter about your competition can also give you priceless inside information into problems or challenges your competitor is facing. If you learn that customers are upset that the pizza shop down the road discontinued a particular entrée, you may want to advertise that you’re adding a new menu item (which, coincidentally, is what consumers are begging for!) Unscripted, candid feedback on the other guy’s business may give you ideas about new products or tip you off about mistakes you should avoid making.
- Search for relevant keywords. Information is power, and knowing what terms people are using to search for services and products like yours is so important. You can use the information to load your messages up with the right keywords, and you’ll discover links to articles and discussions in your industry that you might never have seen. Everything you uncover can help you tweak your message and be more sure of reaching the right people.
- Use an autoresponder. Twitter works because it’s instantaneously interactive, and if your Twitter followers don’t get that play from you, they’ll lose interest. You should thank new followers (automatically,) and using an autoresponder even lets you create and send messages even if you’re taking the day off to go fishing with your kids.
- Produce relevant content. If your tweets are boring, repetitive, or irrelevant, then you’re going to lose followers as soon as you get them. Armed with the competitor’s information and the relevant keywords, you’re prepped to start creating useful articles that your followers will actually read and use. Even though each tweet has a maximum of 140 characters, you can send the link to your content. Giving your customers useful tips and suggestions that relate to your industry can win you loyal customers for life.
Twitter is so much more than selfies. It’s a more powerful medium than I ever though it could be, and harnessing that power gives you far-reaching access to millions of potential customers.