First rule of Twitter? Understand WHY you are using Twitter.
You REALLY need to do your research before engaging customers, and make sure that your target audience is actually ON twitter. By knowing what your customers are saying about the market/industry, you can decide on a much more effective strategy.
However, Twitter may or may not be the right tool for you to engage your consumers. EVERY BUSINESS IS DIFFERENT, bottomline. So look at this list, and let us know if you’d like a little extra help managing your social presence!
1. Determine organizational goals
Not all brands utilize Twitter in the same way. Some, like @ComcastCares, use Twitter to provide customers with support. Other branded Twitter accounts, such as @DellOutlet, have utilized the service to sell products. It’s important to think about what you are trying to achieve using Twitter before devoting your time and resources to it. You’re likely to get more out of it that way.
2. Utilize either a branded or personal profile
You have two options: you can either use a branded profile with your company’s logo, or you can opt to create a more personal profile that unites your own personal brand with that of the company. If employees are using Twitter to primarily engage with people on behalf of the company, they should have a branded profile, and you can add initials to the end of each tweet (i.e. “this is my tweet message. – EN” which means employee Erin Nogales wrote that tweet). You can list out the corresponding initials in your bio.
3. Build your Twitter equity and credibility
To be a successful brand on Twitter, you have to build credibility and equity. Developing a reputation as a trusted source of information or being seen as an expert in a particular subject. You won’t succeed in building your Twitter equity by pushing out one-way marketing messages about your product. Instead ask questions, be personal, and engage people naturally within the Twitter community.
Best rule? Follow the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of my tweets are conversational and personal, 20 percent are about the company I work for.
4. Don’t go overboard; less structure is better
Your Twitter use can appear disingenuous and inhuman if you’re too structured with your approach, to the point where your community (and POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS) may be turned off. Planning, training, coordination and integration with social tools is imperative — just don’t go overboard and create a social media policy that is too restrictive. Listen and observe before engaging.
Don’t just start tweeting assuming that the Twitter community is going to accept you with open arms. It’s important that you spend some time just listening and observing the behavior of those who are talking about you or your company. Understand how your customers behave and adjust accordingly. In our experience, eight times out of ten, they’ll end up following you.
5. Be authentic & believable
Authenticity is the golden rule in social media. We’ve known this for years, but there is another, related rule that is just as important: you and your brand need to be believable. This means spending time listening to your community, observing it, and learning about the dynamics of that community. Your will become believable only after you have established trust among those in your community.
6. Track & measure
The great thing about the social web is that it’s not difficult to track the results of Twitter engagement, assuming you have determined what your organization’s goals are. It’s even easier to change course if you find that your efforts aren’t working according to plan. Use an excel sheet to track your topics, and posting schedule!
7. Don’t just strategize: execute!
By spending too much time trying to think of the best strategy, you are going to miss priceless opportunities to fix problems, answer questions, turn sour situations around, and create brand affinity with customers. With Twitter your mantra should be: just get out there and try it.