An introduction to twitter
Twitter has gone mainstream. From global giants to small businesses, everyone seems to be going Twitter-mad. So what exactly is it, what can it do for your business and how should you use it? Is it just a waste of time or is it a useful marketing tool?
For a small business, using Twitter allows you to engage with people, build a rapport and ensure your brand is visible. But before you jump in, make sure you ask yourself the right questions: What is your main objective? Who are the people you want to reach? Are they (or their influencers) using Twitter? Do you have the time to have two-way discussions with them in a consistent way?
If the answer is no, then Twitter may not be for you (yet), but remember, it’s a fast-growing platform with over 100 million users and more than 230 million tweets per day.
Where do I start?
As a business you can use Twitter to share information quickly, gather market intelligence, insights and foster relationships with people who care about your brand. Here are some quick and simple steps to getting started:
- Find and follow others. Look for businesses you love, people you know or media you read.
- Look, listen, learn. Don’t feel like you have to jump straight in at the deep end. Take some time to watch others, make sure you’re talking to the right audience by finding out who they are. Who is already talking about your brand? Who already loves your brand? How are they interacting on Twitter? This is a good place to start.
- Begin to build your voice: retweet, reply and react. Show others what you care about, retweet messages you’ve found and loved, or reply to tweets you find interesting.
- Mention others within your tweets. Once you’re ready to start writing your own messages, consider mentioning others by using their twitter name. This can draw people’s attention to your tweets. TOP TIP: If you want Cornwall Food & Drink to help promote your Twitter messages, make sure you mention @CornwallFood.
- Get the Twitter App. One of the best things about Twitter is that it’s mobile. Twitter is all about what’s happening this second, so make sure you stay up to speed. Connect your Twitter account to your mobile phone and start reading and tweeting on the go.
What should I tweet about?
First of all you need to establish your “voice”. Twitter users tend to prefer a direct, genuine, and likeable tone from your business. If you are tweeting as a business, make sure the tone and content are consistent with your brand identity and values. These are not always the same as your personal views.
Twitter is a two-way street and it’s all about creating conversations, rather than pushing out a one-way message. It’s not about consumers and markets; it’s about people and communities. You need to engage and contribute in a meaningful way.
Do you have a story to tell about your product, restaurant, farm, orchard, brewery? What about your team, your history as a business? Twitter is about personal interaction welcoming followers to the people behind the brand and the brand values which you uphold.
There are two simple rules to effective Twitter content 1. Be true (to your brand and your values) and 2. Don’t be boring. Make sure you put effort into making your tweets likeable so that they’re shared and retweeted by your advocates. Before posting each message take a minute to think – would you share it?
Here are a few simple tips to help you generate interesting Twitter content:
- Share what you know. If you’re an expert about a certain subject, share your knowledge with people who find that subject interesting. Tips, recipes, how to grow your own veg or brew your own beer – if you know how to do it, share it! If you’re not an expert, demonstrate wider knowledge – reference articles and links about the bigger picture as it relates to your business. Share photos and behind the scenes info about your business. Even better, give sneak previews of developing projects and events. Users come to Twitter to get and share the latest, so why not give it to them?
- Listen: Regularly tune in to the comments about your company, brand, and products and respond where necessary.
- Get feedback: Ask questions to glean valuable insights and show that you are listening, i.e. what flavour would they like your next product to be? What did they think of your latest event?
- Make people laugh. Humour is a great way to gain followers and build your brand on Twitter. If your Twitter content makes people smile or laugh you’ll become more likeable and they’ll be more likely to share it.
- Respond: Respond to compliments and feedback in real time.
- Deal with complaints. If you are receiving complaints or negative feedback via Twitter, deal with them. Don’t bury your head in the sand. It’s surprising how things can be turned around by a quick reply. Showing that you’re listening and that you actually care can make all the difference. If someone has an issue with your product or has misunderstood your point of view, try reaching out and explaining it to them.
- Don’t get drawn into arguments. Make sure you’re always calm and courteous and don’t be tempted to use bad language. If a complaint escalates on Twitter, make sure you direct them to your email address or ‘phone number and deal with it outside the public domain.
- Reward. Tweet updates about special offers, discounts and time-sensitive deals. You could even show random acts of kindness by selecting a follower and offering them a reward for their support.
- Champion your supporters. Retweet and publicly reply to great tweets posted by your followers and fans.
Compiled by Sadie Phillips, Comms Manager at Cornwall Food & Drink.