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Best Practices on Twitter

One of my tasks as a small business consultant is to keep up with best practices in different fields, like online marketing, so I can better advise my clients on what they might consider doing.  So this week, I’ve been studying Twitter, trying to figure out how the best of the best make it happen.  So I began following Ashton Kutcher and CNN.  And I have to admit, I have been amused, intriqued, and entertained far beyond what I was expecting.  I also started checking out all the Twitter analysis sites, like Twitter Grader, Twitter Analyzer, Tweet Stats, Twitter Stats, Twitter Counter.  I put in all kinds of queries, and viewed a lot of Twitter feeds, both personal and business.

I can’t say this is definitive, but as I review my notes, I think I have identified seven things businesses, both big and small, should do on Twitter to make it a more successful platform.

1.  Target a niche, talk to that niche, develop a niche.  So I started research this week at Dell.  I was fascinated by fact that Dell has 34 Twitter accounts, each aimed at a specific market.  Now that’s smart marketing. And each account only follows other Dell accounts — Dell Twitter managers do not read anyone else’s Tweets, except other Dell Tweets.  But between all the accounts, they have over 1.5 million followers.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t need to know what coupons Dell is offering on what accessories every day, but apparently a lot of other people do.  But each Dell Tweet account manager develops their own following and interacts with their own audience.  They are all different.    

2.  Another lesson from Dell is to use Twitter as a customer service tool.  A lot of the Dell Twitter managers (most of whom are happily pictured on their account pages) have running dialog with customers about back-ordered inventory, end dates of sales, how to special order items, and other customer service issues.  It’s very much like a public live chat.  But it does demonstrate Dell’s willingness to engage and reflects well on their customer service philosophy.  I definitely have a stronger feeling of trust in Dell after reading their Tweets.  That’s an effective use of the platform. 

3.  Have a mix of offers, information, replies, and personal Tweets.  Don’t just Tweet “about” your business, throw some offers out there.  Don’t just send people to other blogs or articles, Tweet about your own business and send them to your own website or blog.  If a customer or client asks a question, respond.  Ask your customers questions and ask for feedback.  It’s OK to have some personal Tweets (just got off the plane in Orlando) but there has to be more if you are presenting yourself as a business.  Mention other people, reTweet, reply.  The more you mix it up, the more engaged your followers become in you and  your brand.

4.  Do not use one of the standard Twitter backgrounds — make your own.  Make it professional, make it reflect your brand and your personality.  I find it odd that I’m recommending this, because really, you mostly see your Tweetstream’s Tweets, not their pages, but as I was researching, I could almost tell if I was going to be impressed by their Tweet activity the second I pulled up their profile.  And most of it was the first impression of the page background. And of course, it goes without saying that you MUST have a photo or logo, not one of the ugly Twitter default icons.

5.  Include photos and videos. The most influential Tweeters use a lot of photos and link to a lot of videos.  It adds interest, it gives the reader a fuller idea of who and what you are about.

6.  Make your profile description match your activity.  If your profile says you are a small business consultant, your Tweets should be about small business things — not ceramics.  If you say you are a mortgage banker, I expect to see Tweets about the financial markets, or home sales, or government regulations, not puppy housebreaking.  Oh sure, throw a couple Tweets out there about your personal struggles with the next Marley, but if that’s all you are going to Tweet about, then make it a personal Twitter account and don’t expect to drive business.

7.  Mention your Twitter handle in all your other online activities and drive people to Twitter to follow you.  Once I found some Twitter accounts I liked, I went to their Facebook, their LinkedIn, their websites, anywhere I could, to see how they were promoting their Twitter activity.  And it turns out that the ones I liked were promoting it a lot.  SO, you can find me on Twitter as @SuccessPointer.  Go ahead, follow me.  I’ll try to engage some of you in conversation. 

That’s Twitter.com/SuccessPointer.

It’s pretty clear that there are no hard and fast rules to using Twitter as professional networking tool, but I think incorporating these 7 characteristics into your Tweets will help make it as effective as possible for your small business.

Here’s to your success,

Trina

P.S. 

  Heather Tapia’s Why2 How2 Abundance Marketing series starts TONIGHT at 6:00 p.m. at Raisin Rack in Westerville.  For more information and to register, go to http://AbundanceMarketingPro.eventbrite.com

P.S.S.  Registration continues for SPEED NETWORKING, coming May 18th at The Meeting Place.  Go to Gemstone Partners to officially register.  It’s going to be fun.  Also, if you have a book, a discount, a do-dah of some sort that you would like to donate as a Door Prize for the event, let me know!  I love to promote my friends and their businesses.

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2 comments

  1. Tracy Ready

    Good info you have here, many thanks for posting. – TR

  2. Darrah

    Trina – AMAZING blog post! Thank you for putting all of that research together and present it in an easy way to follow. Great advice!

    Another blog with some advice about Finding Better Leads Using Twitter was just wrote. It’s a nice tie in!

    http://intelligentdating.wordpress.com/2010/05/01/finding-better-leads-using-twitter

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