Do the words “tweet,” “retweet,” and “hashtag” sound like nonsense to you? You aren’t alone, but now that Twitter has exceeded 500 million users worldwide, you may be a part of a dying breed.
Both small and large businesses are using Twitter to grow a following online and offline. Here are a few ways Twitter can not only bring your business into the 21st century, but also improve your customer relations, enhance your marketing efforts and grow your business.
Deliver social customer service
The demand for social customer service is growing. In July 2012, Social Business News reported that nearly 50 percent of consumers use social media to reach out for customer service. If you don’t have an online presence, your customers’ feedback is falling on deaf ears.
Whether customers are ranting, raving or just complaining, Twitter is a great medium for gathering and evaluating customer comments. It’s as simple as monitoring your account for mentions and direct messages as well as routinely searching for tweets that contain the name of your business.
Since Twitter thrives on “real-time” information sharing, it can help you track and respond to questions or concerns your customers have while they are having them. A simple tweet offering an apology and further assistance can go a long way in improving customer relations.
Enter the world of digital word-of-mouth marketing
If you are like many small businesses, you rely on your customer referrals and recommendations to help market your business. Word-of-mouth marketing is highly effective because the message is usually sent from a customer, who is a credible and believable source. Businesses create a positive influence on their customers by providing an unforgettable customer experience, which often results in customer recommendations.
But, as our lives become increasingly connected by the Internet, customer recommendations are more likely to appear online than in person. Here are a few ways you can generate word-of-mouth marketing with Twitter:
- Tweet company deals and coupon codes.
- Engage in personal conversations with your customers.
- Hold Twitter contests or giveaways so users can try your products or services.
- Tweet pictures or information about your company that followers can’t get anywhere else.
These strategies come at little or no cost to you, but can turn someone from a customer to an advocate for your business.
Increase your customer base
Twitter’s search function is a valuable tool for businesses that are looking to reach new customers. An advanced search can help you find potential customers in your area who can benefit from your business.
For example, an alarm company based in Irving, Texas can search for the term “alarm company” near Dallas; find a tweet such as “Can anyone recommend a good alarm company?” and return a tweet that answers the question. This gives the company in Irving an opportunity to join the Twitter user’s conversation and potentially gain a new client.
From the way we shop to the way we hold conversations, the Internet has truly sparked change in our lives. Don’t get left behind: Use Twitter to improve and update the way you do business in the 21st century.
Here’s some fun homework: Tweet @ESATweet to let us know how social media has helped your business. Be sure to use the hashtag #ESASecurityNation.
This article originally appeared in Security Nation, 2013, Vol. 1.