I’m a Twitter late bloomer—I first hopped on about six months ago. Up until then, I was pretty skeptical; thinking I would only learn about what Ashton Kutcher ate for breakfast.
Wow, was I wrong.
Twitter has become my lifeline to breaking news, stories and ideas on a variety of topics, and a tremendous networking tool.
As a business owner, you may like the idea of Twitter, but wonder what’s in it for you. How can you attract customers via the ever-popular site?
Here are a few suggestions:
Create a contest
Launch a giveaway contest and incentivize your followers to re-tweet you. This way, more people will notice your company.
“You really want people to post your giveaway in their Twitter feed,” says Jennifer Berson, president of Jeneration PR, a public relations firm focused on fashion, beauty and lifestyle, based in Sherman Oaks, California. “For example, you could tweet, ‘WIN 1 set of product—to enter RT this giveaway and check back on Friday.’ Now, their followers will re-tweet the message and follow you because they know it is a requirement to enter.”
Twitter is a networking and relationship-building tool, not a self-promotion tool. According to Berson, companies should communicate helpful tips to their community/followers about 85 percent of the time, and promote their business only about 15 percent of the time.
Farooq Yousuf, co-founder of Snack & Munch, a snack delivery company based in Ashburn, Virginia, agrees.
“Engage in one-on-one conversations with your fans and followers,” he suggests. “If someone tweets us or about us, we will tweet them back and thank them for their support. This gives customers the sense that we are an accessible company, here to help others. Strong relationships help improve sales.”
Ask for feedback
Interaction is the at the center of Twitter’s functionality, and business owners can use this to their advantage by engaging followers.
“Lets say you are looking to launch three new colors of your product,” Berson says. “Ask your followers to go to your website and vote on their favorite, then post it on their Twitter feed. This will help make them feel connected to the brand.
“Make sure to tell them to include your Twitter handle (@companyname, for example) or a special hashtag so you can track responses.”
Attract big-time tweeters
Want a big surge in followers? Have a person with a huge base tweet about your company; you will inevitably see a spike.
“When people see someone big talking about your product or service, it gives their followers a sense of confidence in your brand,” says Yousuf.
How can you attract the big dogs?
“Just reach out to them, e-mail them, tweet them, even send them your product,” he says. “If they are really big on Twitter and your product arrives at their office (and they love it) chances are, they will tweet about it.”
Offer exclusive deals
Everyone wants to feel like they are part of an exclusive group. Twitter allows you to do this with your followers.
“If you have an e-commerce site, consider tweeting a special code for your followers can use at check out—but make sure the discount is at least 25 percent off—that will make it worth it for buyers,” Berson says. “If you have a brick and mortar cupcake store, for example, tell your followers that the first 25 people to come in and whisper, ‘I love sprinkles’ to the cashier get a free cupcake with purchase.”
“That way, you are giving them insider information. Just make sure to put a time limit on your offer and make things actionable.”
Admit it…you’ve procrastinated at work by looking through photo albums on Facebook. Almost everyone does this because, well, photos can be mesmerizing. People just love to look. Try using this to your advantage on Twitter.
“Post Twitpics and links with attention-grabbing captions—this will get people to click through,” Berson suggests. “For example, if I saw a simple tweet that just had the words ‘WOW!’ and a link to a Twitpic, I would be inspired to click on it. I want to know what photo deserves a, ‘WOW!’”