Twitter’s recent successful IPO has solidified one thing if nothing else, and that is the fact that businesses need to be there.

While Twitter has been an outstanding platform for businesses online to this point – for things like marketing, customer service, customer acquisition, and recruitment, among others – going public means that there are now shareholders who expect profits, and that means the opportunities for businesses there will grow exponentially.

To help you along in adapting to what may be a brand-new environment for your business, we have put together 8 tips for businesses using Twitter. The first two are below, and will be followed by three more articles which each contain two more. They will then be compiled into a white paper for your downloading and viewing pleasure. Shall we begin?

1. Walk Before You Run

If you are new to Twitter or haven’t really explored much yet, make sure that you don’t skip the essentials. Users expect any legitimate business to have a properly filled out profile with an avatar, website link, description, etc. Jumping right into conversations and following people without establishing who you are for others to see will not end well. Most users disregard any account without an avatar as not knowing what they are doing.

Before you get into more specific business techniques, make sure you have someone that is listening. That means you need to organically build a following through engagement. If you start an account and immediately start sending out ads you will lose followers quicker than you gain them. You have to be a person as well as a business and interact with other people in a real way in order to gain their interest. They can find your sales prices on your website if they want to.

2. Start With a Search

Now that your account is up to snuff with your information, it’s time to build that following. You need to follow others and more importantly, engage with others to get them to follow you. How do you know where to start? The best way to get started is to listen first and talk later.

You need to set up monitoring tools and searches to find the people you want. For example, if your company is Bob’s Boots then you obviously want to find people who are interested in boots, hiking, camping, people who work in construction, and any other typical consumer profile your business has. Then you start searching for keywords and phrases connected to these interests.

Doing this manually can require a good bit of time, especially if you are monitoring other social sites as well, which you should be. A good social media dashboard will automate these searches for you and compile the results in lists, charts, and graphs, as well as letting you take action from within the dashboard. Once you have identified users to engage with, then just have a conversation.

It’s really almost that simple. Find someone who hikes and ask them what kind of boots they wear. Ask someone in construction about a project they are working on that may be interesting, or what they think about something in their area of expertise. You have to be able to have conversations, and then people will naturally follow you.

Vishal Pindoriya

Vishal Pindoriya is a social media enthusiast, strategist and writer. He lives in London, England and is particularly interested in the proliferation of social media around the world.

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