Eight tips for better Twitter engagement

  1. Twitter engagement

    RPower UKBF Regular Full Member - Verified Business

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    If you’re using a brand profile for your business on Twitter, it’s likely you’ll have come up against issues when trying to engage your target audience. Rachael Power looks at how to get valuable follows and engagements.

    It’s well known that people prefer to engage with people, so how do you get across your personality via your brand profile and make customers follow you and talk, without undermining what you do?

    The UK Business Forums community asked this question recently, and this article seeks to explore eight tips for small businesses owners looking to increase follows on their brand profile.

    1. Be relevant

    Ensure you’ve done your homework and not only know your customer inside and out, but also know what tweets get them buzzing.

    Use Twitter analytics to analyse your most popular tweets and tailor your future outputs based on this.

    And remember, Twitter isn’t a traditional sales medium.

    “We normally don't willingly listen to adverts or decide to read them. Therefore, you risk alienating your followers with 'sales' messages,” says business coach and keen tweeter Heather Townsend, author of the Go-to Expert.

    “The companies which do a great job of selling via Twitter normally don't sell in the traditional sense. They provide excellent content and engage with their followers. It is from this engagement that sales then follow,” she adds.

    2. Respond to complaints

    Like it or not, one of the main reasons why customers interact with business Twitter profiles is to complain.

    Take a look at the Twitter feed of fashion brand Boohoo.com, who only use Twitter to process complaints.

    This shows that it pays to work out how to speedily and politely answer any complaints that do come through – make sure none fall through your net.

    The more positive, timely and engaging you can be, the more likely the customer - and others who see the exchange - will continue to engage with your account in future.

    3.  Tailor your tone to your audience

    Nothing is more boring for customers than a brand which doesn’t show a bit of personality; Chicken Cottage's Twitter feed springs to mind here.

    Who would you rather engage with; a shirt company who only tweets about how great their shirts are and their opening hours, or a ‘real person’ who shares stories of people who wear their shirts?

    Don’t be afraid of humour too. There are ways to be funny without undermining your brand. And it works wonders for getting people engaged.

    If humour doesn’t come naturally to you don’t fret. People also love content and stories that touch them. Anything related to a cause you care about or charities you work with will get people talking and tweeting.

    Just showing you’re a human and not a ‘tweet-bot’ is key.

    Townsend’s advice on how formal you should be is that it depends on what you’re using Twitter for.
    “Are you using it for customer service, networking or online marketing? Whatever tone you adopt needs to match your reason for using it and your brand's communication style.
    “The drinks brand Innocent has a tone on Twitter which is very informal and matches how they communicate on the web and on their products,” she says.

    4. Follow first!

    Don’t just let your Twitter account sit there and expect to garner followers. You need to put the work in and follow others, too. You’re not Burberry (yet).

    Some follow the Tweet-etiquette of following accounts back as and when they follow them. Identify accounts in your area and even look through who your competitors follow and who follow them to get people following you back.

    Don’t be afraid to retweet and favourite others’ tweets, too. They will soon start to do the same for you.

    5. Post updates

    Depending on your product, Tweet updates do get a bit of traction going around your project. Did a shipment just arrive on your doorstep? Snap a picture and tweet that.Did you just add a new functionality into your software? Tweet it.

    Customers will learn to follow your account for updates on your product, and will share in any excitement.

    6. Tweet often!

    If you’re going to ‘do’ Twitter properly, don’t think you can get away with a tweet or two a day. Make it four to five times per day, at peak times.

    Think about what your customer is doing. Are they foodies? Tweet them just before lunchtime or dinnertime. Be smart about when you tweet, and tweet often.

    A tweet has a half life of 30 minutes. So, Townsend says, if you tweet only once a day this is probably not enough to get a decent amount of visibility.

    And as most small businesses can’t afford to spend all day on Twitter, use an automation tool to schedule interesting news and content.

    “I recommend that you aim to schedule about five or so tweets a day for the peak periods when your audience is using Twitter.

    “Tools such as Buffer and Hootsuite will help you do this in a time efficient way. Then make sure you go into Twitter at least once a day to chat and engage with people,” Townsend recommends.

    Also, use spare minutes to get  involved in relevant hashtags in your area of business or other Twitter chats such as #BritishBizPartyto network with other small businesses.

     7. Don’t automate everything

    While it’s fine to automate tweets to be sent out, sending an automated direct message to people when they follow you is a no-no.

    On another recent UKBF thread, members debated the merits of sending automated ‘thank you’ messages to new followers. The majority of members felt it was a negative thing to do.

    If you are going to send a thank you, they said, do it either via a personal direct message or via a personal tweet.

    According to member simong93, sending automated messages simply gets his brand’s account unfollowed.

    “I automate sending my tweets, but not direct messages. I tend to find uploading interesting tweets about what I do attracts potential customers, but sending an automated message got a lot of people to unfollow me,” he writes.

    In summary, engage with others, don’t be a tweet-bot, handle your complaints well and don’t be afraid of showing your personality where appropriate, and you should see some valuable follows added to your account.

  2. Fergus Cole

    Fergus Cole UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    Some really good ideas. Just another idea off the top of my head is what about using relevant # so that your tweet reaches people who are interested in the subject and people who are not following you and search for specific tweets such as 'marketing' will come across your tweet and therefore your profile. This intern may also increase your number of followers.
    Posted: Aug 3, 2016 By: Fergus Cole Member since: Aug 3, 2016