Twitter is undisputedly a great tool for small business. The ability to connect instantly with thousands of potential customers – for free – is something that most savvy businesses won’t pass up.
However, getting to grips with Twitter can be a challenge for businesses who are new to social media marketing.
To help out, this is the second in a series of Twitter guides for small businesses. This time we’ll be focusing on more advanced skills and tips. If you’ve yet to get to grips with Twitter, check out our beginners guide to Twitter to get going.
By now, you’re probably at home with using the web interface to compose, respond and re-tweet your messages. This is fine, but there are third party tools available to help do the job much more effectively.
- A quick note: We’ll be focusing on Hootsuite as our third party tool, but there are lots of other options available such as Tweetdeck and Social Sprout. Have a look around and pick the one that suits your needs.
What are the benefits of a third party tool?
Third party tools come with lots of features that aren’t available in the standard web interface. A key benefit is the messaging scheduler – pre-setting your posts to go live on schedule:
Great for if you’re in a rush or on your way out. Going one step further, Hootsuite can even post the message at a time it thinks will engage your audience the most, all you need to do is enable ‘auto-scheduling’ within Hootsuite.
Auto-scheduling allows you to quickly schedule messages, without worrying about trying to figure out when the post should go live. Very useful for time-starved business people!
Alongside all this time saving, if people respond to your tweets you need to make sure you follow them up with a prompt, personal reply. Automated accounts can quickly turn nasty if people work out that there’s a response unit, rather than a human, at the other end – as the Bank of America recently found out.
Twitter has its own inbuilt analytics, but you’ll need a paid advertising account to access them. Hootsuite and other similar third party tools have their own analytics inside, allowing you detailed access to your account and followers.
There’s a wealth of information here and you’re able to see details such as each tweet’s total reach; how many people re-tweeted you; where your followers reside and even their Klout score.
If you run a website and frequently point people to it, you can tally these figures up with Google Analytics. It’ll help you work out what your readers or customers are doing when they come in from Twitter: are they staying on your page or are they leaving?
If they’re leaving too quickly, it may suggest that your page or content isn’t engaging enough. Why not use these analytics to test and refine your site and content from time to time?
Whilst Twitter allows you to create as many accounts as you want, it doesn’t give you many tools for effectively managing these different accounts. This is where third party tools come in. Hootsuite, along with others, allows you to easily manage as many accounts as you want:
This is particularly beneficial if you have different accounts for different parts of your business (customer service and sales, for example).
Another great feature is custom searches. These allow you to search for individual key words or even your business name. It can be a valuable tool for sourcing potential work as a B2B, but be very careful using it – if you begin contacting people at random, both Twitter and other users may attribute your account as a spam account, leading to suspension. It’s perhaps best used as a listening tool for your business brand.
Increased social engagement
We all want more people following us, liking our posts and buying our products. Unfortunately, there’s no magic bullet when it comes to increased social engagement. However, there are several things you can do:
- Say hello to each new follower you get. Yes, it does sound rather corny but people appreciate it and it’s also a way in to engagement.
- Why be shy? Ask your friends and family to share your account with their friends.
- Re-tweet other people’s messages you find interesting – they’ll respond in kind and may mention you in a future post.
We’ve gone through a lot of information in this episode. We do hope you’ve taken something away from it! Keep in touch and let us know.
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