Many social networks serve specific demographics. Snapchat is millennial friendly, LinkedIn is for the professionals, but Twitter seems to break that digital boundary, making it a great tool for a variety of businesses across multiple industries.
Even more pertinent to small businesses is the fact that 66% of Twitter users discover or engage with a new small or medium sized business (SMB), 94% plan to purchase from an SMB they follow, and 69% of them go on to purchase something from an SMB they saw while on Twitter.
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However, in order to reap the benefits, small business owners need to make the best of their efforts, and that means avoiding these common mistakes:
1. Your Account Profile is Incomplete
There are many truths that mutually exists in our physical and digital worlds, and among them, the importance of a first impression stands strong. In the Twittersphere, your profile is often the source of that first encounter, and it can make or break your relationships to come.
Your Twitter handle (or that name with “@” in front of it) is a requirement, but after that the onus falls on you. Once you register for an account, you’ll have the opportunity to upload a profile photo, a bio, and a header image. To create that solid first (and continuing) impression, you’ll need to thoughtfully complete all three.
- Your profile photo, which will be showcased on your page and accompany every tweet, should be one that represents your brand, and it should maintain image quality despite the limited size.
- Your bio is basically a 160 character pitch that tells users why they should follow you. Consider adding your hours of operation, location, and a link to your URL.
- Finally, the header image you choose will serve as your backdrop and should feature photos of an event, a feature product, completed work, or a branded graphic/image. You can also use this space to alert customers to events, promotions, product news, and awards.
2. You’re Only Using Twitter to “Sell”
Overselling, whether it be in person, via email, over the phone, is enough to send a potential customer into the less pushy arms of your competition. Social media, including Twitter, is no different.
While it’s absolutely important to sell your product or service via Twitter, it’s equally important to cultivate brand loyalty. To do this, business owners or their marketing team must toe a fine line between being overly “salesy” and simply engaging their followers.
To do this, your marketing strategy should focus on gaining the respect and loyalty of your followers. Twitter should be used to build that brand awareness and loyalty, occasionally sweetening the deal with product promotions or plugs–not vice versa. Once they are avid followers, you can use your other channels to pitch sales.
Which brings us to our next point…
3. You’re Not Sending Traffic to Your Site
Twitter is, as the aforementioned suggests, a great way to engage with existing and potential customers, but they need to make the trip from their feed to your site if you want to move them down the purchasing funnel.
Now, this may seem at odds with the “don’t be pushy” advice above, but that’s not the case. Your site, which does sell your product, should also be the home of engaging content. Some posts may warrant a direct link to your product, other may be best served to your homepage, and others may benefit most by sending traffic to your blog or onsite content. Regardless, a portion of your posts should be pushing traffic to your site.
4. You’re Ignoring Customer Feedback
There is one word you’ll see over and over in a discussion about Twitter and followers: engage. It’s not a coincidence. While your other channels may be largely one-sided, Twitter is anything but. Successful Twitter accounts all have one thing in common, they actively engage with their followers.
Sometimes this means following up on positive consumer driven remarks or questions about your company, a product, or a service. Unfortunately, this also can mean responding to negative feedback–something that is an absolute MUST.
Treat your online customers like you would ones in your store—don’t ignore a customer who is trying to communicate with you. While it may be impossible to keep up with every comment, if the comment is thoughtful, involved, or suggests displeasure, you need to respond.
5. You’re Not Dedicating Enough Time or Staffing
Depending on the size of your following, responding to all these comments could be extremely time consuming. In the beginning, you may be able to append this task to your existing workload. But as you gain a following, the effort it takes to keep up with your social channels will grow too.
For that reason, it’s best to come up with an action plan, which may include staffing specifically for a social media manager or marketing professional that can take on the task.
Of course, it’s not all about responding to your followers. A dedicated staff member or team will also be able to strategize, analyze, and maintain regular account activity, all of which also becomes time consuming when done right.
Don’t discount Twitter as just another social networking site you can put on the back burner. It’s a quality resource for building brand awareness and loyalty, and harnesses it correctly can make a huge difference in your long term brand success.