Online marketing professionals face the same dilemmas: How many times should you update your company’s Twitter status? Is there a winning formula that will guarantee more followers or a better return on the time invested in maintaining a corporate profile?
The truth is, there is no magic formula for Twitter. When it comes to Twitter updates, behavior among marketing professionals is different. Some tweet about very specific topics, some tweet very frequently and engage with their audience at every possible opportunity, and some fall somewhere in between.
The key to tweeting success is self-regulation and balance. If your company falls into the overtweeting trap, it will probably be marked as having low-quality tweets and it may lose many of its followers.
Of course this does not mean that your company shouldn’t take the time to develop an online presence and connect with your audience, but there are some basic guidelines to follow:
First up: Why did you open a Twitter account in the first place? Are you trying to promote the company’s offers and products? Are you hoping to connect with people who already love the brand? Are you trying to increase the reach of the brand? Or are you trying to engage customers for feedback and opinions?
Once you pinpoint your purpose, you can develop a marketing strategy that can meet your company as well as your audience’s needs. For example, loyal customers might want updates on your company or news about product launches. Potential customers might discover your brand through relevant content or existing customers with problems will respond well to customer service help.
The second thing you have to do is pace yourself. You would be surprised at how many companies open a Twitter account, tweet as much as they can, then give up because they don’t see an instant return on their efforts. As with most forms of marketing, seeing the benefits of social networking will take some time, effort and a lot of patience.
Customize your profile. Using your company logo, company colors and linking to your company site adds credibility.
Choose wisely. When trying to determine which person should manage your corporate Twitter account, consider who can act like a switchboard operator to answer people’s questions and provide value to them.
Engage with your audience. Think of Twitter as a platform to listen and to engage in conversations with your customers. Smart ways to engage with your audience include posting to specific people, sharing links to valuable content or free stuff, and revealing aspects about your company that many may not be aware of, such as charitable causes that your company may be involved with.
Don’t be a R-O-B-O-T! I cringe every time I see a corporate account with nothing but news releases and links to company web pages. It’s OK to link to your company website, but it has to be interesting to your audience. Twitter is a vehicle for dialog, not a stream of self-promotion. More importantly, come to Twitter with a sense of humor and at least with an understanding of social media. Believe me, your followers will thank you for it.