We’ve recently seen the long-awaited IPO filing for Twitter, following on the heels of cousin Facebook. The brand is finally emerging as a viable marketing tool for small business owners and there’s every reason to sit up and take notice. There are now more than 140 million active users and an estimated 350 million tweets every day. As a search engine it ranks ahead of both Bing and Yahoo. It’s also interesting to note that one third of all those people on Twitter actively follow at least one brand and there’s been a massive and exponential increase in the number of Twitter users who use the medium to seek business recommendations. The good news for the brands being followed? Two out of every three people are very likely to buy something.
Twitter can be used by the small business owner in many different ways. Some organisations are choosing to use the medium to field consumer questions, while others are going all-out to generate new leads. Either way it’s possible to be creative and use the tool to help establish your place within your niche, as an expert authority in your industry.
Always remember though that social media of any kind has to be approached somewhat differently from an out and out marketing perspective. This is where a virtual assistant who specialises in social media will come in very handy. Remember that people are following your business for their own reasons. They’re looking for something. This is why you should consider promotions and giveaways and other types of content that will help to keep people engaged with you. You want your marketing material to go viral if possible and therefore you should always consider content that the user would be keen to share in turn with their own followers and friends.
Sit down with your virtual assistant and brainstorm about how you’re going to approach the use of Twitter. It’s not just a tool that you should use to blindly “tweet” anything that comes to mind in relation to your subject. You need to have a consistent and identifiable voice and you need to ensure that you are taking a commanding position, as a giver and as an authority.
There are a couple of things to understand here first. Anytime you see a hash tag in front of the phrase this essentially is referring to a conversation around that specific topic. If you click on the hash tag it will take you to any search results relevant to that term. Identify what is a good keyword for your niche and ensure that a good part of your conversation revolves around that. If you engage in a conversation with somebody else on Twitter which could be of value to you in marketing terms then you can use the “mention” attribute @. When you assign this to the username and use it within your message then it will appear in the mentions section.
When you reply to somebody online that answer is public. It will appear in the timeline of the person to whom you are replying as well as your own and it will be visible in the timelines of everybody who follows you and the other person.
Use the virtual assistant’s graphics skill to design a hard-hitting profile page for your organisation. You don’t have to use all of the stock imagery and design tools provided by Twitter. It’s possible these days to design a purpose built wallpaper. Remember that this is part of your online branding window and must be consistent with your other efforts.
Make great efforts to come across as being human. Don’t think that you should write everything in a formal, contrived or overtly professional tone. You should be as casual and conversational as you can and remember that you’re aiming to get people to trust you. There are so many robots in action in the Twitter-verse and quite a lot of spam, so you need to work with your virtual assistant to ensure that you come across in such a way as to be believable and trustworthy.