We often get asked, Why use social media? We come back with, Why wouldn’t you?
Twitter is one of the best sources of inbound marketing out there. If your company is not using Twitter, it is time to change. I must confess that I didn't start out embracing Twitter, even though I went to hear Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO, speak at Twitter Boot Camp (what seems like) many years ago.
As we at Simon Associates Management Consultants see Twitter turn into a must-have for book publishing, client development and growing our consulting and inbound marketing business, it's becoming crystal clear that all those "likes" turn into #hashtags that "love you." And, most importantly for marketers, the conversations are deep and endearing.
Here are 5 ways Twitter can help your business grow.
- Twitter is a great way to connect with customers. Every day, over 200 million people log onto Twitter and 400 million tweets are posted. Immediately, you can see who is satisfied with your product (or not) and address the problem.
- Twitter is an integral part of people’s lives. Statista.com reports that in 2015, 20% of Internet users in the United States had a Twitter account, an increase of 15.2% from 2012. By 2018, this increase is projected to rise to 24.2%. In addition, 79% of smartphone users access Twitter at least twice a day. Once you have engaged your customer, they feel connected, creating brand loyalty.
- Twitter sets your company apart from others. Twitter is an excellent way for you to brand yourself. What is the brand essence you want people to form allegiances with? Also, Twitter allows you to follow your competition easily—what they're saying, how people are reacting, if they're announcing coupons or special offers. Plus, it lets you ask for customer feedback and tap into users' (and nonusers') ideas for ways to improve your product.
- Twitter is free. Not only is Twitter a great marketing tool, it doesn’t charge for its services. You can widely and frequently market your product, latest updates, new developments, upcoming sales or offers—quickly and at no cost.
- People buy from people. Twitter allows you to create not just a brand but a connection with people. It provides a method to resolve customer service issues and complaints immediately. It gives you a way to educate your customers on why your product is the best. It provides networking opportunities that can prove your worth. And finally, Google loves social media platforms—so the more you tweet, the more opportunities for search optimization and hence, the higher your ranking.
So how exactly does Twitter increase traffic to your website?
Here are our top suggestions for successfully engaging with your Twitter followers, plus ways to incentivize new followers to engage with your blog, your website and your company.
- Tweeting interesting content is most important. Your tweets should be short, concise and easy to understand. Make sure to use a bitly (shortened form of an overly-long url) and a picture to increase clicks. Engage in retweeting, a quick way to see messages go viral. Don’t assume that people will retweet your message—always ask to be retweeted.
- Tweets that ask for an “RT” or “retweet” get 12 to 23 times as many shares as those that don’t
- Learn about the people who are following you. Look for personal interests, trends and patterns in what your followers are retweeting. Plus, make sure to follow tweets that have a similar focus as your business.
- Use short tweets. It's been proven that short tweets under 100 characters have 21% higher interactive rates.
- People like data. Include statistics in your tweets. Provide links to graphs, pie charts or survey results. Cite trends and future projections.
- Hashtags make connections. Use general hashtags, as well as ones specifically related to your business, industry or message.
- Make your tweets engaging, even provocative. Ask questions, offer contests, state opionions, create sweepstakes and reference related blog content (hopefully, from your own own blogs).
Our hashtag hit parade
Some of our favorite #hashtags are:
What are yours?
Andi Simon, Ph.D.
President, Simon Associates Management Consultants