Over the past two years, awareness of Twitter has zoomed from 5% to 87%, according to research by Social Media Today. As one of the world’s fastest-growing information networks, Twitter is now being used by millions of people, organizations and businesses to discover and share new ideas. Twitter now claims 370,000 new signups daily and 160 million registered users who create 100 million “Tweets” per day.
As a business, you can use Twitter to quickly share information, gather market intelligence or insights, and build relationships with people who care about your company. There may even be conversations about your business already happening on Twitter.
Here are six simple tactics that can help you build a following for your business using Twitter, and gain customer trust:
1. Share inside info: Share photos and behind-the-scenes details about your business. If possible, offer a glimpse of new products, services or events you’re planning. Users come to Twitter to get and share the latest, so giving it to them will help you build a following.
2. Ask. Ask questions of your followers to glean valuable insights and show that you are listening. This helps start conversations that engage potential customers.
3. Respond. Respond quickly to compliments, questions and other feedback about your business.
4. Reward your customers. Tweet updates about special offers, discounts and time-sensitive deals available at your business.
5. Demonstrate leadership and know-how. You can do this by referencing helpful articles and links that relate to your business category in general.
6. Establish the right voice. Twitter users tend to prefer a direct, genuine and likable tone from a business, so think about your voice as you Tweet. How do you want your business to appear to the Twitter community?
It’s also helpful to know Twitter terminology. Twitter users have developed short-form syntax to make the most of 140 characters (the maximum length of a “Tweet”). Here are 12 you should know:
- Buttons: Twitter buttons are available in the Goodies tab of your account, and are used to link to Twitter from other websites.
- Favorite: To “favorite” a Tweet means to mark it as one of your favorites by clicking the yellow star next to the message.
- Follow: To follow someone on Twitter means to subscribe to their Tweets or updates on the site.
- Geotagging: You can use location data in Tweets to tell people where you are in real time. This is called “Tweet with Your Location.”
- Hashtag: Users often attach the # symbol to words in their Tweets to categorize them for others, such as: “Check out our new products for the Fall: http://t.co/link2 #fallsale” Think of hashtags as the theme of your Tweet. Users can then click on a hashtag to see other similarly-themed Tweets and find yours in search.
- Listed: This means to be included in another Twitter user’s list. Listed numbers and details appear in the statistics at the top of your profile.
- Mention: Once you’ve signed up and chosen a Twitter username, you and others can mention an account in your Tweets by preceding it with the @ symbol, such as: “Glad your shipment arrived @janesmith!”
- Message: If you want to privately Tweet to a particular user who’s already following you, start your Tweet with DM or D to direct-message them, such as: “DM @joesmith234 what is your order number?”
- Promoted Tweets: These are Tweets that selected businesses have paid to promote at the top of search results on Twitter.
- Reply: A Tweet posted in reply to another user’s message, usually posted by clicking the “reply” button next to their Tweet in your timeline. Always begins with @username.
- Retweet: When you see a Tweet by another user that you want to share, click Retweet below it to forward it to your followers instantly.
- URL Shortener: URL shorteners are used to turn long URLs into shorter URLs.
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About the Author: Daniel Kehrer, Founder and Chief Content Officer of BizBest Media, is a senior-level leader in digital media, content development and online marketing with special expertise in startups, SMB, social media and generating traffic, engagement and leads. He holds an MBA from UCLA/Anderson and is a passionate entrepreneur (started 4 businesses), syndicated columnist, blogger, thought leader and author of 7 business and financial books.