I can’t tell you how excited I have been to write on this week’s chapter! Since the start of the course I have been wondering when I would finally get to introduce you to Twitter and how to use it in the groundswell, and finally I get to!!!
Twitter has become such an integral part of social media, and usually is one of the first forms to come to mind when you think about social media. In today’s society, Twitter is one of the main forms of communication that businesses and celebrities use to connect and communicate. So, what really is involved within the Twittersphere? Well, lets look!
- Followers – These are the people who choose to follow your Twitter handle, and are genuinely interesting in what you have to say. For example, in writing these blogs every week and sharing them on my Twitter account, I have garnered significant followers that are interesting in what I post.
- Hashtags and Searches. I’m sure if you’re familiar with any sort of social media, you have heard the term hashtag (#). This allows for users to be able to search for topics much easier. By using a hashtag in your post, you are essentially including a ‘key term’ that people may use to find relevant posts. For example, #MARK4474 for the course I am taking, or even #socialmedia for those interested in finding social media information.
- Mentions and ReTweets. This allows users of Twitter to easily reply to or reference another user within a Tweet. By simply using the ‘at’ (@) symbol along with the user’s Twitter handle. For example, if anyone is interested in tweeting me, you would simply type @crystalwillette and tell me whatever you want to say! Retweeting is another way that Twitter allows users to pass along messages from others to your followers. This is the best way to allow ideas to spread virally, which happens pretty quickly!
- “Many tweets include links to Web sites. This is what makes such short updates so powerful – you can share an article or anything else on the Web along with a note recommending it” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, pp. 198-199). For example,
- Twitter provides the option for its users to create lists of people they follow, that can also be shared. For example, by being active and posting about relevant social media information on Twitter, I have been added to multiple ‘lists’ so that my followers can see my updates.
- Apps and tools. Twitter allows for a variety of tools, such as Tweetdeck, to help individuals and businesses tap into Twitter feeds to gain information about your ‘mentions and searches’. As well, the creation of the well-known Twitter app allows users more flexibility so they can Tweet from anywhere on their mobile devices. For example, this is my Tweetdeck.
Referring back to the social technographics profile, you can see how important being a part of Twitter can mean for companies and marketers.
Twitter is so versatile, that you can basically shape it to any objective you may need it for (Listening, Talking, Supporting, Energizing). As you can see, they are three times as likely to be Creators, more than twice as likely to be Critics, and half-again as likely to be Joiners compared with typical online consumers. This means businesses SHOULD be on Twitter, and using it to gain the consumers they need.
With this in mind, Li & Bernoff (2011), offer some great advice to implementing a Twitter strategy for yourself or your company.
- Lock up your handle. “If you don’t tweet from that handle you’ll look bad – but if you let somebody else get your handle, you’ll look worse” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 210). Twitter has a ‘verified account’ program that allows prominent brands and individuals to be known as the real deal.
- Listen first. As has been said in basically all my blogs, listen to what people are saying about you before you start posting.
- Be ready to support people. Customers will expect help from you Twitter account, so you need to ensure a procedure is in place to help identify those who need help and who they must be passed to in order to receive the help they require.
- Follow others. “Following users costs you nothing – there’s no requirement that you pay attention to all their tweets” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 210). However, it may give your consumers a thrill to say, “Brittany Spears follows me” or “Starbucks follows me”. In addition, Twitter’s rules require that you follow people if you want them to send you private “direct messages”.
- Be ready for a crisis. “When something goes wrong…people will look to your Twitter accounts to respond…You need a plan to allow your PR people to turn the Twitter handle into an information channel” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 210-211).
- Respond, retweet, and link. “An effective Twitter campaign normally includes all the elements of the rich Twitter experience: responses to people tweeting to you; retweets of tweets or mentions that your followers will find interesting; links to interesting material on your site, in news articles and blog posts, or anywhere on the Web; and links to photos and videos” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 211).
- Staff it. “Twitter needs to be in people’s job description, even if it’s not necessarily their full-time job…Whether these are marketers, PR people, or support people, their job descriptions should allow time in their day for tweeting” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 211).
- Check with legal and regulatory staff. Remember, Twitter is a public space, so anything that would be inappropriate to publish are inappropriate on Twitter. Anyone can see it, and it’s searchable, so if you don’t want people to see it, it’s probably better not to post it at all.
- Having gathered a following, don’t waste it! If you’re building interest in an account, create a plan for what to do once you’re “done” with it! Make sure that the attention you garnered goes to something useful!
Remember!!! Twitter is probably one of the simplest, but more powerful social tools you can use. If implemented properly with the rest of your social channels, you can do wonders!!!
Until next time,
Li, C. & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell expanded and revised: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing.