Search and social have collided, and now they affect each other. Not only is search now social, but it also possesses its own unique voice.
The voice is that of your customers — who are connecting and communicating within social media sites like never before. So it’s critical that your brand establish a social media presence.
One particular social media site that’s been receiving a great deal of attention recently is Twitter. This microblog is one of the fastest growing social communities on the Web, and has proven to be a successful means of communication for businesses and consumers alike.
Twitter provides a forum where brands can interact with their consumers on a personal level — whether to introduce people to your product, communicate a special offer, or provide customer service.
If your business doesn’t use Twitter, it’s time to establish your presence. People are likely talking about your brand, and you need to become part of this conversation.
To ensure the best possible outcome from your experience with this social medium, here are a few best practices for using Twitter.
- Do take the time to learn about TwitterIt’s hard to avoid Twitter these days — it seems everyone is “tweeting” via this free social networking and microblogging service that allows users to stay connected in real time.
A few quick Twitter facts:
- Twitter at press time was estimated to have more than 7 million users.
- While the gender gap is minimal, there are slightly more women (53%) on Twitter than men (47%), according to audience marketing firm Quantcast.
- The largest age group on Twitter is 18 to 34.
- Do make new friends and keep the oldNot only can you make new friends on Twitter and invite them to follow you, but you can also follow those you already know.
You can do this by using Twitter features such as People Search, Twitter Search, Address Book Import or URL Look-Up. What’s more, as you make friends on Twitter, it’s more likely people will request to follow you as well.
- Don’t bore your followersRefrain from reciting what you had for breakfast or how tired you are. Instead, tweet about something that’s relative to your business.
For instance, you might promote special offers, breaking news or something that’s interesting, thought provoking and related to your industry. This way, your followers will be more likely to “retweet” (RT), or share with their followers.
- Don’t forget that social media is public mediaRemember, once you say something on any social media site, including Twitter, it becomes public media.
For this reason, it’s extremely important always to be cautious about what you’re tweeting. Definitely avoid anything that you want kept confidential or that may upset or offend others.
- Don’t ever impersonate anyone on TwitterNot only is this in very bad taste, but the legal ramifications of doing so can be extremely costly. Just don’t do it.
- Do maintain a proactive Twitter presenceOnce you establish a profile on Twitter, keep it updated and active. If you don’t, your business could be missing important conversations.
You then risk losing customers who feel ignored and undervalued. In turn, this could result in negative customer reviews, decreased sales and, ultimately, a social media disaster.
Lisa Wehr is a freelance advisor and marketing consultant