Twitter ? Under utilised by businesses ?

For years, Twitter has played a part in the everyday life of the media, celebrities, businesses and the public. The popular social networking platform has seen many interesting on line conversations and businesses have capitalised on the free social media platform by making connections on line. But have you utilised it for your business ? Do you understand it ? Could you do more with Twitter ?

Here I share some interesting tips and points on Twitter:

TWITTER ACCOUNT NAMES
So we’ve seen them all over business marketing material, on vehicles, on business cards and even on company clothing but do you appreciate the importance of registering your company on Twitter and reserving the all important name ?
For many years, Twitter has been an opportunity for businesses to engage with their target market, their followers, their potential new customers and keep an eye on their competition but there are still many businesses not taking the opportunity of getting involved in the social media platform.
It’s not through the want of trying though. We spend years building a business and a brand. We invest time and money in brand consistency and then the need to use Twitter comes along but this can sometimes stop businesses from joining the on line community…… Why you may ask ? Well here is the answer…..
Literally, Twitter accounts are like personalised number plates…… once they are registered, they are gone and you can’t register them for your business. You may have the domain name, the Facebook page, the Linked In page, even the personalised number plates but someone has registered the Twitter account and what’s even more frustrating as a business owner is when the said Twitter account is not being used! Unfortunately people do register them with every intention of using them, but for some, it’s too late.
Whereas with a domain name you could have www.companyname.com if www.companyname.co.uk has been taken, with Twitter accounts you can’t and many businesses miss out or are left with additional characters being added to their Twitter account name.
So my advice to you is if you are thinking about using Twitter, then register your company name quick before someone else does and you lose this opportunity. You may need to get creative by adding the letters UK or Ltd if your ideal Twitter account has been registered. For me, I had little option by to register some numbers after my name as @simoncox was being used by another user so my Twitter account is @simoncox73. This is another reason why I’m keen to ensure other business owners don’t fall into this situation as well. Although I use my Twitter account, I’m not exactly happy with the 73 after my name, but I had little option when it came to the registration process.
One way you could ensure you have your Twitter account running in line with your company branding is by maybe approaching the owner of the account you would like to see whether they would transfer it to you, but please allow me to warn you about an experience I’ve had with this.
I once bought a Twitter account name called @WorldofFootball for literally £50 as I was considering starting a football media business and I thought this Twitter account was perfect, however, once I had received it, I discovered the name was actually @WorldofFootbaii and the two ii’s had been put in capitals. Lesson learned…….
So think carefully about your Twitter account. If you are starting a business, then maybe check the Twitter, Facebook and Domain names before you start so you have them all consistent and you can represent your brand across all platforms without the need for numbers and additional characters. This is easier said than done, but why not check just to make sure before you start….. you never know, a consistent approach to your social media and website domain could really elevate your new start up business to a higher level in a short space of time!

GETTING RESULTS FROM TWITTER
Having trained over 150 business owners on Twitter since 2010, there are a number of ways to get results from Twitter for your business.
Firstly, be professional. Ensure you tweet relevant content to your followers and if you “retweet” content, then ensure the information you aren’t sharing isn’t out of date. People can retweet tweets without thinking about the information and enquiries for business offers or events can cause confusion or complication.
Thanking people for following you on Twitter is a great way to engage with potential new clients and contacts. If you engage professionally your followers will see this and engage with you.
If you use software to schedule your tweets, your followers will expect a pretty instant reply if you are tweeting information and content. With mobile devices such as phones and ipads, you should ensure your Twitter account is active on these devices so you can respond quickly. A quick response could be your way to that million pound order!
Engage in Twitter hours by researching your local Twitter Hour. In Northamptonshire where I am based, we have #NorthantsHour which is every Thursday evening between 8 and 9 pm. Local people link up on Twitter and engage with local information as well as others who are looking on line to see what else is happening in the area. A quick google search will tell you where your local Twitter Hour takes place. Just remember to tweet with the relevant Twitter hashtag.

MANAGING YOUR TWITTER
I recommend two great products to manage your Twitter and the best thing is they are FREE! The first product is Tweetdeck – an authorised program to help you manage your Twitter Account. Simply visit www.tweetdeck.com and login to your Twitter account. This will open a new world and blow your mind. What you can do with this fantastic free solution is follow the people you follow on Twitter with ease, engage with them quickly and follow a particular hashtag. You could even follow a number of hashtags by setting up various search criteria with the introduction of columns and analytical tools.
The other great solution I recommend is Social Oomph. Again this is a free program where you can schedule tweets in “reservoirs” which you can program to start and stop whenever you want. I have set my Twitter account with a reservoir called “Motivational Monday” where I tweet a couple of Tweets on Mondays which are motivational and obviously include the #MotivationalMonday hashtag. These go out automatically and I look like I’m on Twitter! It’s great! My recommendation is to try Social Oomph by visiting www.socialoomph.com and register for a free account. You can upgrade to a paid version to include Linked In and Facebook, but if you are looking to get started and get ahead of your competition on Twitter, then this is the perfect solution.
SO WHY TWITTER ?
As you can probably tell, I’m a big fan of Twitter and have been since 2010 but the big question is why Twitter over other social media networking platforms such as Facebook, Linked In or Instagram. For a start, Twitter is all over the television. The weather girls, celebrities, business personalities and the media all use the platform to express or communicate so we should follow suit or accept that Twitter is the platform to be seen.
We rarely see a Linked In account shown on the television, let alone Facebook or Instagram.
Twitter is easier to use with external platforms such as Tweet Deck or Hoot Suite whereas Facebook and other social networking sites need integration and basic programming knowledge to work effectively.
Twitter is also a great Customer Service tool where you can search quickly to raise a question with a service provider or business and then engage quickly and see a response quickly from Twitter account holders/staff. In fact, a great Twitter tip is to create a Twitter account specifically focussed on Customer Service. If you business is ABC Plumbing and @ABCPlumbing is your main Twitter account, why not create one called @ABCfeedback or something similar to show that you have a dedicated Twitter account to handle customer service questions. If you don’t use it, it shows you don’t have complaints on Twitter, if you do, then your customers will know who to contact in the event of a customer service issue.
However, despite the above mention advantages, the main one for me is due to the lack of characters involved in Twitter, this gives a focus on messages and you’ll become more specific on your social media output which will help your followers understand your message easier.
Whatever you do on Twitter though, be active, be current and be “there”.

 

About the Author
Simon Cox has trained over 150 people on how to use Twitter and has worked with business owners up and down the country as well as running training courses for local businesses in conjunction with the local council. Simon has been on Twitter since January 2010 and is very active on the social media platform. You can follow Simon on Twitter by following @simoncox73

 

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