If you run a small business which social media platform will give you the best bang for your buck?
Well, from our point of view we’d have to say that Twitter is a Godsend. It offers an unparallelled way for websites to reach new customers, engage with your followers, track your results and grow your audience. Yet a recent survey by Zoomerang found that in the US approximately 60 per cent of businesses spent less than $100 on social media. There’s no reason to doubt that the situation is not the same here. Now if you consider that the same survey found that 64 per cent of Twitter users were more inclined to buy from the brands they follow on social media, then that small average spend looks short-sighted.
But if you are already Tweeting about your brand or products but are seeing little return on whatever you spend on advertising, what can you do about it? Well, what you’ll need to do is learn to engage more, and that may mean that you have to rethink your tweeting habits. Naturally you’ll need to tweet about your business regularly, but that doesn’t mean you should overdo it. Constant online ‘noise’ is a sure-fire way of alienating an audience. Similarly if you only tweet occasionally, then you run the risk of your message getting lost. So what you need to do is strike the right balance.
How can you build and engage your Twitter audience?
Well, you could opt for the promoted tweet route, but that has its own drawbacks. To many users promoted tweets are invasive and annoying. As a consequence they are often disregarded and are therefore a waste of money. So what’s the key to Twitter success then? Well, in our opinion it’s organic engagement, and this is how you can improve it following these 4 simple steps: listen, follow, talk, promote.
The best way to connect and engage with customers on Twitter is to actively listen to what the Twitter community is saying about topics relevant to your business. To find these topics use Twitter’s advanced search function and join in the debate. Add to the conversion, share your expertise and engage. As a member of the community you will be embraced and will be more-easily able to build one-to-one relationships. Engagement works best when followers retweet your responses, as the chances are they’ll be introducing you and your brand to a whole new audience.
Following is the key to Twitter. It’s a platform built on reciprocity. If someone follows you, then generally you should do likewise and follow them. However, you don’t necessarily want to follow everyone who follows you because it can lead to a cluttered and incoherent feed that won’t serve your needs best.
So what’s the alternative? Well, you should identify the top bloggers within your industry, find their Twitter profiles, and follow their followers. When people see you’ve followed them, they will likely check you out and perhaps follow you in return, increasing your exposure. Also try following journalists and specialists who offer insights: the kind of insights that capture media attention.
Now that you’ve listened and followed, it’s now time to talk, and engage with your followers. Be intuitive and authentic in your conversations and share your expertise. Tweet links to articles on your blog, share helpful information from articles you’ve read, and tweet quotations from anyone who inspires you. This type of activity will help to build your online presence and increase your brand awareness. Whilst it is good to look at engagement regionally in order to expand your customer base and your brand’s reach, don’t neglect your local followers who are generally your bread and butter.
Once you’ve started to engage with your audience, you’ll need to check how well you’re doing by checking your performance with Twitter Analytics. If things seem to be going well, then it’s time to start promoting. Which posts should you promote? Well, generally the ones that have generated most interest: these are the ones that will paint your business in its best light. However, a word to the wise: promoted tweets are part of the story. For true engagement and to expand organic reach continue to listen, follow and talk.