Top Ten Ways To Use Twitter For Business


Top Ten Ways To Use Twitter For Business

There are hundreds of ways for businesses to use Twitter, but I have narrowed them down to the top ten uses that all businesses should be focusing on.  The businesses who execute best on Twitter are the ones who set themselves apart on one or more of these key business uses.  I hope you can find one or two tidbits that help you grow your business on Twitter.  Good luck!

Improve Your Customer Service

People who are trying to find simple answers to simple questions often will go to Twitter to look for the answers.  If your account is set up so that you are monitoring it for questions like these, you can use Twitter as a very valuable part of your customer service strategy.  Best Buy’s customer service tweeting team (@Twelpforce) gave me an answer that I didn’t particularly like, but it was awesome that I could get an answer that fast without making a 1-800 call, and I will use them again in the future because of it.

Customer Retention

Similar to the first use of Twitter, it can also be an extremely valuable way to retain or regain customers who have had a bad experience.  While there are not many examples of accounts who do this really well, I believe that it will be a growing trend going forward.  Not every customer is going to call the complaint hotline, some are just going to go right to the internet to vent their frustrations.  Reaching out and proactively fixing issues that your customers are complaining about is an excellent way of regaining those customers and potentially turning them into evangelists.

Public Relations

Twitter can be an excellent way to get positive news stories out about a company.  Whether you just link positive press releases to your followers, or shoot off one-liners about the XYZ promotion where X% of the proceeds go to a charity, thousands of people will potentially see the message who would not have seen it under any other circumstances.  In addition, getting Brand Evangelists to ReTweet these messages will make them twice as effective.

Research Your Market

Twitter is a great place to do real-time market research.  Develop, and save, several twitter searches that have to do with issues in your market.  Constantly comb through the twitter posts in those searches and compile a collection of research.  Many times, you will be able to find a missing consumer need in your market segment based on what people are complaining about or wishing for.

Understand Key Trends

Similar to the last use, the search function on Twitter can be used to identify consumer trends.  Look for things that your customers are buying to see if they are new areas that your company could branch out into.  Look for how your customers are talking about your industry to see if you can identify a change in the trends before your competitors get to it with their high-cost market research firms.

Build Your Customer Lists

This is the most obvious use on the list, but Twitter is fantastic at letting you build customer lists.  You should have several different lists and add customers to all of them regularly.  This is effective for many reasons, but the main two are:  1)  You can easily segment and contact your customers with offers or additional personal “touches”.  2)  People love to be added to lists, and by doing so you will make them a more devoted customer going forward.

Test Your Messages Before Investing In Them

Twitter is a great place to test-drive new marketing messages before you go out and spend millions of dollars buying television ads that backfire.  A tweet that backfires can always be deleted, and you are unlikely to set off the firestorm of controversy that a poorly tested television ad could bring (See Burger King’s “Whopper Virgins” campaign for a good example of how this can get out of hand in a hurry).  Test a variety of messages and see what ones your customers respond to the most.

Business Development

Twitter is also awesome for making new business contacts.  Whether you are looking for new customers, partners, suppliers, retailers, or even investors, they are all over the Twittersphere.  You should regularly browse through Twitter to make new contacts that could lead to further business in the future.

Research Your Competitors

This is clearly the most under-utilized business use of Twitter.  If you don’t already have a list of your competitor’s accounts, you need to get one.  NOTE:  You probably should do this under a different account so that you are not helping your competitors by giving people a list they can follow.  By following a list of your competitor’s Twitter accounts, you can keep track of exactly what they are doing on Twitter.  Make a list of best practices of your competitors, then implement them as quickly as you can.  This will make you a force to be reckoned with on Twitter.

Promote Your Other Social Media Accounts

Twitter is the one social network where your followers seem to multiply quicker than all of the other ones.  Because of this, it is natural to use Twitter to promote all of your other sites.  First of all, you will have more twitter followers than Facebook friends, so it makes sense to push them to your Facebook and YouTube accounts.  Second of all, people constantly use Twitter for searches, so your posts pushing people to your other accounts will be seen by far more than just your followers.

 

I hope you found this article helpful.  As always, try to grab just one or two ideas that you think you want to execute and put them in place quickly.  Fast learning and fast implementation makes the difference between the winners and the losers on Twitter.  Please feel free to follow @MrEmergingMedia for more tips and tricks on Social Media and Branding.  Thanks!

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About Todd Hagopian (@ToddHagopian)

Todd Hagopian received his BA from Eastern Michigan University with a major in Political Science. After graduation, he worked as a Financial Advisor and a Bank Manager before returning to school. He attended Michigan State University, where he completed an MBA with a double-major in Finance and Marketing. Todd is now a Senior Product Development Manager for a Fortune 500 company. He frequently writes about business issues, social media strategy, and political issues that he finds important. Enjoy the blog!

Posted on January 5, 2012, in Business Strategy, Social Media and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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