For a small business to succeed on any social media platform it needs to do four basic things. First, look great, or ‘Be a Star’. Second, Advertise. Next, Serve your customers with your messaging. Finally, engage your customers. Let’s review what each of these phases looks like on Twitter.
Make sure your Twitter presence looks great
Being a star means something a little bit different on Twitter. There isn’t a star review section on Twitter. But, that doesn’t mean that customers aren’t looking at your Twitter pages and forming opinions.
To be a star on Twitter pay attention to a few key aspects of your page. This includes your
- Cover Photo
- Profile Photo
- Followers you know
Twitter users pass judgment about a business based on these aspects of their page. These different parts comprise the first impression that customers have of your business.
To create the best first impression make sure that your cover photo is seasonally relevant. No pictures of a snow-covered driveway in the middle of summer. It should convey a bit about who you are as a business. This photo could showcase your storefront or a satisfied customer using your products. You could showcase your slogan or where you’re located.
The profile photo should be your store logo. The about section should be a sentence or two about who you are and the value you provide. (Notice I didn’t say to include what you sell. Instead, focus on the value you provide). You may sell hardware, but you provide value in the form of expert advice and products to get the job done right!
The next few pieces are key to being a star and providing a positive impression of your Twitter page. Twitter users can see how many followers you have, how often you Tweet and how many of your followers they know. This is an opportunity to make a lasting impact.
First, tweet often. No one wants to follow an inactive Twitter account. What’s the point?
Second, it is important to work hard to gain Twitter followers in your target market. A larger following will help you spread your message. Also, a large following will provide some legitimacy. There can be a herd mentality when it comes to social media. People think, “If a lot of people follow them, maybe I should too.”
Lastly, and most important, is the followers you know section. Twitter shows you if people you know are following a page. As a store, it is a vote of confidence for new customers. Imagine if a potential customer goes to your Twitter page and finds that all their friends follow your business?
People tend to conform with their peers. In fact, recent research shows that your peers have a stronger impact on decision making than you realize. When people see their friends engaged with your business, they are more likely to be as well.
Use the Twitter Ads platform
Twitter can also be a great platform for placing timely ads. Twitter is designed to be timely and relevant. That’s why you’ve heard the phrase, “Trending on Twitter.” Twitter tends to respond to news events and things that are timely or relevant.
One way to capitalize on this platform feature is to place seasonally relevant ads.
According to Twitter, 73% of consumers are more likely to buy from a small business if they see a sale, discount or special on Twitter. Moreover, Twitter ads can be a great way to gain followers who are interested in your industry.
Ads on Twitter appear in a number of different formats. The formatting options are based on campaign goals.
Some popular formats for Twitter ads include:
- App Card
- Lead Generation Card
- Photo Card
- Gallery Card
- Website Card
- Product Card
If you want to promote your website you will use a website card. If you want to promote a specific product you will use a product card. The website card shows an image and a call to action to visit your website. The product card shows your product image, description, detail and price. Your product card ad will appear in the Twitter feed.
JCPenney has had success in advertising its retail and online stores to consumers on Twitter. One ad strategy they use is to leverage events to show their ad. Their ads mention popular upcoming music festivals and links to dresses they sell that might be great for the event. In this way, they are making meaningful contributions to current Twitter discussions. At the same time, they are tying their brand into the conversation.
Currys PC World is a chain of computer stores in England and Ireland. The store created video ads for several of its products. Then, using Twitter ads, Currys PC World was able to garner tons of clicks and views for their stores during Black Friday. Their campaign received over 19,000 clicks in a single week!
Ads on Twitter may make a great supplement to your advertising efforts. But, it’s not the place to start. For advertising purposes, start with ads on Facebook. The area of focus on Twitter should be customer service.
Provide exceptional customer service on Twitter
Twitter is one of the most established platforms for social media customer service. As we stated earlier, customer service interactions on Twitter have increased 250% over the last two years. Twitter is the go-to platform for customer service between consumers and businesses.
How exactly do you provide quality customer service on Twitter? How is it different from what you do in person?
Customer service is an important part of the Twitter experience. So important, that they’ve built customer service-specific tools for businesses. These tools allow you to do a few things. First, you can identify that your account provides customer support on Twitter. Enabling this is a good idea. Customers will assume that you provide customer service anyway. You can also display the hours that customer service is available from your Twitter account. This is great because it ensures that customers understand you won’t respond to requests at 2 am.
Engage with your customers, Twitter is built for it
Engagement on Twitter happens through likes, comments and retweets. A like is when someone likes your post. A comment is a comment and a retweet is when someone shares your tweet on their own page.
On Twitter, the most successful retailers establish themselves as market leaders and experts. Twitter users follow the companies and people who Tweet about the things they’re interested in. Talk about your industry in unique ways to draw in an audience. Again, the best way to do this is to focus on being an expert on your industry in your market.
For example, Sterling Lumber is a lumber and building materials retailer in Colorado. This store does an excellent job on Twitter. They provide consistent, relevant posts for homeowners, DIYers and contractors. Their Tweets are relevant and have helped them establish an audience over time.
Their tweets represent their business and expertise. Take this first tweet for example.
Summer is a common time for building a new deck. Which is great, because Sterling Lumber sells the materials to build new decks. Yet, decking projects can be overwhelming and people don’t always know exactly how to start. Thus, they wrote an article on their website with tips for creating a new deck. Then, they tweeted this article.
It starts with a question and links to the answer on their store website. They identify an issue that matters to their customers. Then, they help solve it in a way that generates interactions and leads for their business.
Or consider the next image. A post about the success of the customer appreciation day at their store. They highlight a popular brand that they sell in the context of a customer event. This post is working for them on many levels. It showcases a brand they sell and demonstrates their investment in their customers. Remember how important it is to consumers that companies show they care? This tweet actually showcases a customer service event.
In this third post, they’re continuing to showcase their expertise. Just like other DIY projects, staining a deck may be intimidating for some people. I, for one, would not know the best wood stain and sealer to use. That’s my problem. But, I am interested in staining my deck. Sterling recognizes the problem and they know the solution. They are reinforcing their image as my go-to expert for remodeling projects.
When you build your content strategy for Twitter, start with what you’re an expert at. Use your knowledge and expertise to leverage your performance.
If you’re a jewelry expert, talk about the difference in clarity and cut in a diamond. If you’re a pet expert, tell me about how to keep fleas and ticks off my pet in the summer.
Content that demonstrates expertise is something users look for on Twitter. Provide them with expertise on their subject of interest and you’ll be rewarded with follows.