When I began working in social media marketing many years ago, there were articles all over the internet about the importance of using Facebook and Twitter for your business. These days we know that using social media is a big opportunity and many businesses are aware that customers are more and more likely to be online. Rather than discussing reasons to use social, now is the time to find the best way to use the channels in your strategy.
Facebook and Twitter offer different ways of reaching people and different audiences. Although Twitter is getting more and more visual, integrating images and video more and more, it is still largely pushed as a short-form text social media in which we must be brief and get straight to the point.
When using Twitter for your marketing, it is important to know what your customers are interested in as well as you. So if you are managing the social media activities for a sports shop, you can expect your customers to have an interest in playing sports, watching sports and possibly health and fitness too. It is a good idea to do some customer research through questionnaires to find this out.
You also need to create a suitable branding and voice if you want to gain from using Twitter. Think about who you are talking to, how formal you need to be, what sort of language they use and what they see as being trustworthy. When you have decided on this, you can use Twitter more effectively. These are some of the ways in which Twitter can be used in your marketing plans:
- PR / Content Marketing: It is worth finding out who are the influencers in your network. Who has an interest in what you do and also has a following of their own? This could be individual Twitter users or blogs and publications. Either way, you can follow them and get involved with their discussions (if it works well with your brand voice) and share any relevant content with them. This way, when you Tweet and videos, blogs, photos or other content you have created, they are more likely to pick up on it and share with their followers.
- Customer Service: When Twitter was first used by businesses, many companies experienced a steep learning curve when they began using social to answer customer service queries and complaints. Be sure to have a solid strategy and take customer experience into account. From a customer experience perspective, the perfect approach is to answer as soon as possible, without requiring the customer to leave Twitter, but this is not always possible (as you may need to share private information or could need more details like photos and forms) so create the optimum process for your business.
- News and Announcements: Keep your followers up to date on relevant news. Track the responses to different types of news items and announcements and over time you will learn which ones are suited to Twitter and which are not.
- Discussion Building: To generate discussion you really need to know what your customers are interested in, what they care about and what makes them feel important. We get involved in discussions because we want to look like experts at subjects that others in our community care about, so open discussions around the things that relate (even loosely) to what you do and impact your followers. So, if you are running social media for a health food company, then ask your customers how they keep fit, how they avoid injury when exercising, whether they agree with a famous new diet.
Twitter and Facebook differ in terms of interaction, as Twitter is more of a quick browsing tool, for users to quickly glance at to get a view of the world, but Facebook is more in depth and can eat up a lot more time, so create your content to suit.