Get Social

Twitter: Your Brand in a (Virtual) Box

Posted on: February 18, 2011

Happy Friday! Thought I’d share some insights today on key functions your business Twitter account can perform.

Blog and Newsletter Shorthand

Maybe you’ve got a blog and/or a newsletter. If you do, twitter’s a great tool to update fans on new posts and content. It’s a shareable, scalable way to drive traffic to your blog or website.

Quick example: @PopMatters posts links to articles. Saves me time, so I can click what sounds good rather than digging into their cluttered, busy website.

If you don’t manage blogs and newsletters, use twitter to share content with your fans without needing to elaborate on it. “Quick read” tidbits  like “we’re serving broccoli cheese soup today,” or “we dig ’em: check out Jennifer Garner’s highlights here” give you the opportunity to say something without needing to write 350 words on the subject. Most people don’t have time to read a full blog entry or can’t justify it at work. Can they scan their twitter feeds and click links that look interesting? Sure. Twitter’s your “no commitment” alternative to a blog.

Quick example: @FreePeople points you to catalogue must-haves, and industry-related sites. I like the brand, but wouldn’t scan their site daily for new items. Their twitter feed makes it easy for me to click through to pieces I might be interested in.

CRM: Answering Product Questions or Addressing Service Issues

This might be my favorite use of twitter while on the job. I love that I can make a difference in someone’s day by answering a simple product question. Tweeting for a local burger joint, a customer asked me why the meat couldn’t be cooked to order. Simple for me to respond and explain company policy– saved the customer a call to the restaurant or going on wondering– and all in about 3 minutes. As for service issues, twitter’s a great alternative to emailing a general “info@” email address at some companies. While I didn’t get the resolution I wanted when I tweeted to Buy With Me that I had a concern about a product refund, they got the message loud and clear when I posted a tweet asking for help.

As the fingers behind the social at a company, you’re kind of an anonymous but likely force of good– you’re not likely to be the gal that forgot my salad dressing during the lunch rush (so I won’t offend you by asking for some resolution) and you’re also not the busy CEO who won’t respond because you’re knee-deep in other tasks. Your job is to be there spreading the word of the brand, and what better way to build a great one than to respond courteously to customer inquiries?

Quick example: @Starbucks is awesome at quickly responding to everything, from my lamenting that I can’t get Sbux delivered through the internet to branding Qs about their new logo, to spreading the gospel of VIA. Wonder if this is the place to voice my concern that their retail tea bags don’t have as many leaves as the bags that are used commercially?

Generate some buzzzzz

It’s completely acceptable to tweet multiple times/day; our average for a given client is 3-4 “planned” (i.e. thought-out) tweets, plus any responses to inquiries and RTs that arise. So, get people excited and share some great content! Announce specials, seek advice on product development, share good things others are saying about you, and get people talking. Use contests to get people spreading your brand; the most obvious way is to create a contest that asks users to retweet your post as a way to win.

Quick example: @5NapkinBurger is hosting a build-the-next-Boston burger contest. They got me talking about them, and they don’t even open in Boston for another two weeks. (Shit, gotta get on making that burger!)

Get Chatty

Engaging in dialogue is what good brand marketing is all about! Get chatty with your followers– comment on what they’re up to, even if it’s not related to your business. Everyone thinks going for a walk without a jacket in 50-degree New England weather is a good idea– connect with that customer about it! Chances are, the users you interact with will be likely to, in turn, tweet about your brand– mentioning when they intend to visit, championing a new product, etc.

Don’t reveal too much in the dialogue– if you go back and forth with a customer 2-3 times, keep your answers short and sweet. Curious followers will click through to read the conversation chain– and may learn something new about your business in the meantime.

Quick example: @WholeFoodsRVR. The River St, Cambridge outpost of Whole Foods comments on my new username, plans for the weekend, and witty things I have to say. In turn, I find myself at their salad bar more frequently and telling my followers what great eats I snagged that day.

Keep on tweeting your way to a solid brand!


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