This is Part 1 of our social media series that will talk about improving your company’s brand using Social Media tools. We’ll kick off the series with Twitter. We’ll talk about who’s using it, why you should use it, some best practices and finally a few things to consider when adapting Twitter into your marketing strategy.
Twitter has become one of the most widely used, and integrated Social Media platforms in marketing. In 2010 we saw Proctor and Gamble harbor the real-time and interactive power of Twitter through their Old Spice Campaign with actor Isaiah Mustafa. P&G answered consumers’ tweets and then produced video-shorts and aired them on YouTube in order to promote the Old Spice brand. Wheat Thins now has a new campaign in which they locate consumers by surprise who have tweeted them, and then film a commercial right there on the spot. Campaigns like these demonstrate the importance of Twitter as a tool for improving a company’s brand image and in reaching a wider audience.
For those not familiar with it, Twitter, according to Tweeternet, is “a social networking and microblogging service that allows you to answer the question, ‘What are you doing?’ by sending short text messages 140 characters in length, called tweets, to your friends or followers.” Twitter is one of the best platforms, according to Mitch Joel, author of Six Pixels of Separation in which you can, “Be Brilliant, Be Brief, and Be-Gone!”
Here are the 3 things to consider when integrating Twitter into your marketing plan.
1. Personalize: Be Human. Act Human.
Imagine that you are hard at work when suddenly there is a knock at the door. You peek through the glass to see a giant Pepsi logo staring straight back at you! It’s bad enough we try to avoid people soliciting us on the street, and nobody wants to talk to a logo. That being said, it’s important to keep in mind how people gain trust on the Internet. People are far more likely to interact with another human, than engage with a logo. Whether you already have a Twitter account or are in the process of creating a new one, make sure your avatar is “human”. Better yet, allow the folks representing your company on Twitter to use their personal accounts, and encourage them to include their own photo when interacting with customers. If the company wishes to have a central corporate account, choose a representative’s photo to help represent the brand.
In addition to the avatar, it’s important that the Twitter profile be something that shows it’s human-side. For example, in Joel Comm’s book “Twitter Power 2.0” he includes a brief bio that isn’t all business.
Comm describes a Twitter profile as, “a blank canvas on which you’re about to create a marketing masterpiece and start at the very top, not bottom.” Consider what aspects of your brand are relevant to include in your Twitter profile, and make sure to add some human elements to give reassurance that it’s not a bot, or automated account sending lifeless messages.
2. Protect: Engage in Real-Time
The web has created the ability for people to find information, and interact with people all over the world in real-time. It’s getting to a point, where the ability to interact in real-time can be used to differentiate yourself from the competition! Twitter allows a business to interact with their customers in real-time by listening to what their customers are saying, and engaging directly with them.
For example, if you work for a company like RIM, the makers of the Blackberry, you can go to search.twitter.com, and see what customers are saying about your brand – right now. You could enter a search as general as “Blackberry Phones” or search for #RIM to monitor a categorized conversation. Hashtags (#) are a way people can organize their tweets by a relevant topic on Twitter.
Monitoring what your consumers are saying on Twitter allows you to engage in the following:
- Product Development: People may already love your product, but could offer new features they’d like to see in the next model. For example, if enough people talk about how the next iPad should have a front facing camera, there’s a pretty good chance it will be there! Searching through Twitter conversations allows you to easily locate emerging trends and existing Social Proof.
- Crisis Management: Things can go viral on the Internet at a moment’s notice. Remember the “United Breaks Guitars” case study? If United Airlines had addressed David Carroll’s complaint through a real-time channel, their brand might not have been lambasted through his music video, which now has over 9 million views on YouTube. A simple tweet from their corporate account to address Carroll’s dissatisfaction could have avoided the whole mess.
- Customer Satisfaction: If an angry customer calls you on the phone, or starts grumbling in your store would you ignore it? So why ignore it online? Monitoring the conversation about your brand on Twitter enables the folks who represent your brand to actively engage with them in real-time.Take, for example, what Bill Gerth is doing for Comcast with his @comcastcaresaccount. Bill uses his account to engage customers in real-time and give people an opportunity to connect with an actual person.
3. Promote: Go Viral in 1 Click
If your company is producing great content for their brand, than Twitter is one of the best places to give it the chance of going viral. Users can take what you tweet and retweet it to their friends. This allows your message to be amplified and shared with the person’s followers who retweeted it.
There are free tools, such as Tweetreach, that show how many people your tweets are reaching, and who has contributed to the most impressions. Take a look at Clif Bar which extended it’s reach to 27,253 people with 50 tweets!
Pay attention to who is frequently re-tweeting your content and saying positive things about your brand. These are your biggest fans and brand evangelists! Use them and their connections to promote your brand. It’s also a great tactic for building a more specific customer archetype, so that your company can better improve how to target its message.
- Whether your company is in the B2B or B2C market, keep in mind the “human touch.” Customers are more likely to connect and engage with your brand if you build trust and engage with them at a personal level. Be passionate, demonstrate humility and most importantly, show that you care.
- Twitter enables your company to connect with customers in real-time. Real-timeis a premium service your brand can utilize to differentiate itself from the competition.
- Research who your best brand influencers are and get them to retweet your content. A simple “please RT” has been proven to get messages retweeted. Use it. Tweeting great content can enable it to go viral with a click of a button.
Stay tuned for the next post in our Social Media for Business series when we’ll discuss how companies can use Facebook to connect directly with consumers, improve customer segmentation and targeting, and also talk about a few strategies for optimizing your Facebook Fan Page.