How businesses and professionals can use the social networking tool of Twitter to get costomers and make money,
The 7 Deadly Sins of Twitter
Trying to use social networking to reach out to potential customers? Great, good for you. A lot of businesses do it. But unfortunately, a lot of businesses do it wrong. Here’s the list of what NOT to do.
1. DO NOT tweet only about your promotions and/or products.
I see this time and again. A company starts a twitter account and ONLY tweets about the sales they have going on, or just provide links to get people to go to their site. This is boring, and a sure fire way to lose followers. Twitter is a SOCIAL website. People want to interact with other people. Yes, of course you should tell people about your special promotions and the like. It just shouldn’t be the only thing you tweet about. Tweet about some random things, too. Tweet about how it’s raining and you forgot your umbrella. Tweet about how you hope to get home in time to watch American Idol. Tweet about how your mom is coming in to help today, and you’re hoping she’ll bring her famous cookies. I don’t know if there’s a magic formula for this, but I suggest keeping business-related tweets down to no more than 75% of all your tweets.
2. DO NOT forget to follow people, a lot of them, and especially your followers.
Being that Twitter is a social site, you should actually be social. Find people you want to follow. If you’re a local business, start searching for people who live in your town. Following people is the best way to get those people to follow you back. If I find a company I like and may want to follow on twitter, but then see they’re following only a handful of people, I will not follow them.
3. DO NOT underestimate the magic of “RT”.
RT stands for re-tweet. It’s what people do when they see a tweet they like so much, they want to re-post it. You start your tweet with RT then @ the name of the person who originally tweeted it, and then their tweet you liked so much. (Example: RT @the_troy_show I got my bill for the surgery. Now I know why those doctors were wearing masks.) It’s like a compliment, letting someone know you think their tweet was clever or important. When you RT someone, if they’re not already following you, then they are sure to be now. Plus, it shows you’re listening to people and that you’re not just some company only looking out for your bottom line. Also, as mentioned in #1, you should tweet things that are deserving of a RT. When one of your followers RT’s your tweet, then all their followers will be exposed to you and your twitterings.
4. DO NOT repeat yourself. DO NOT repeat yourself.
Some people who use twitter for their business will often post a tweet over and over again. I don’t know if they’re using some automation software that does this for them, but it’s lazy and it’s annoying! It might be a couple days between these duplicate tweets, but their followers aren’t stupid. They’ll know. But let’s say you’ve got a message you want to get out over the next week, like a big Saturday 2 for 1 sale. Well, I’m sure you can find some unique (and personable) ways to tell people about it, like: “Gearing up for the big Saturday sale” “Bring a friend on Saturday and you can treat them to a free muffin on our 2 for 1 day!” “Boy, I hope I’ve got enough staff to handle our big Saturday sale”.
5. DO NOT forget about your community.If you’re a local business, this is especially important. Know what’s happening in your community and tweet about it. Maybe you’re offering well wishes to the families displaced from a nearby apartment fire. Maybe you’re talking about how excited you are for the upcoming college football game. Or maybe you’re even promoting a charity event you’re going to, one that has nothing to do with your business. These are the things your fellow tweeters are talking about and are interested in. These are the things that get you followers, and get your existing followers to pay attention to your tweets.
6. DO NOT leave your employees out of the loop.
Let your staff know about your twitter account. Encourage them to follow it (and while you’re at it, make sure they know about the proper etiquette you expect from them online – like they should not post anything damaging or negative about the business). If one of your followers comes in and says, “hey I got your tweet about the 2 for 1 sale”. Your guy at the counter should not say “what’s a tweet?”
7. DO NOT forget to have fun.
It’s pretty obvious to see when someone is twittering solely for the purpose of pushing their business. Lots of people who twitter do it throughout the day, and they can sniff out a spammer like a bloodhound. As you start out on twitter, spend some time on it every so often. Read what other people are tweeting, follow people you find interesting. It doesn’t take long to see what your potential customers find enjoyable about twitter.
In short, consider twitter to be a party. You don’t want to be the guy there in the business suit just trying to sell people on your latest deal. You want to mingle and have fun. And if by chance a friendly conversation turns into a potential lead, then great!