Social media and Business – Question marks and Twitter

Like many working in the ever advancing worlds of marketing, communications and PR, I find myself too trying to guide myself and clients through a digital world that once didn’t exist. For myself the world of social media began with Myspace and although resistant, in 2010 I took a position which required me to have a personal Facebook page – to use my social network to promote the business. I wasn’t exactly thrilled at the time- yet a year later I would be managing that locations Facebook. Now, I not only use all of these social networks for myself and the company I work for – I also use the behemoth of social media – Twitter. If you, like many, are still struggling to wrap your mind around what Twitter has to offer – you aren’t alone. Like my resistance to Facebook, many businesses have yet to understand the potential of Twitter – and I seem to find – that which we don’t understand – we resist. So here is some simple guidance to kick start or refresh your approach to utilising Twitter as a tool for your business – one step at a time.

To start, let’s outline some simple goals….

1. Build a network

2. Be seen

3. Interact

4. Generate interest

5. Gain leads

6. Supplement already established relationships

7. Increase media publicity

8. Increase SEO

Now that we know our goals – we need to know what is relevant to our business and how this applies to our start on Twitter.

1. Know your market– develop a list of all of your current clients and stakeholders – find them and follow. Feel free to say hello to them when you first follow.

(You want them to follow you back.)

2. The power of the hashtag – Create a list of relevant keywords and hashtags for your business. Hashtags are a simply way to make sure your content is available to users looking to find information on a specific topic. Hashtags can be placed anywhere in a tweet ? at the beginning, middle, or end. They can be used as part of the sentence. Words which are hashtags can become popular and a part of a trending topic. When a hashtag is clicked on, all posts which feature this hashtag will be brought up.

3. Keep it simple, relevant and trending – Two or three hashtags is plenty. Use hashtags that are relevant to a post and use a hashtag that tends to trend.

4. One other thing on popularity – All hashtags started somewhere. People will say that using hashtags that are most popular is the best way to go. However, if you want to create a hashtag – my advice is to own it – and go for it – especially if you believe it will become a relevant keyword to your business in the future – and you will have a jump on it should it become the next big thing.

5. Follow – Look at who your clients/competition are following – anyone in your sector and relevant to your business that you should be aware of? Potential clients? Partners? Peer group organisations?

-Follow them- Observe who they are following. Build a network.

4. Top 10 – This can be a monthly goal. Create a list of the top 10 businesses you really desire to work with. Follow them. (Keep the expectation reasonable but feel free to expand this number to more depending on the scale of your resources.)

Use this as information gathering for your sales team. Is anything you are seeing relevant to your business? Can you supply? Can you advise? Are you working on something that pertains to their business? If see something relevant – comment or retweet. This catches attention and builds your credibility – you show interest and a potential for access to knowledge or skills for them. 

Then look for the angle that would support a conversation (phone call or meeting) between your business and theirs.

Shout out:

Do remember that all businesses appreciate a good word and a bit of promotion – when a client/supplier/lead does something well with you – or you have a fun meeting etc. create a tweet:

‘Fun times [Insert activity] at the #company headquarters.’ #businessactivity (ex: metalpressing) #industry or #location and #theircompany

With clients: Once you have begun following them, it is time to interact. When they post an article – comment. When they share interesting news in relation to your industry – retweet. It’s a quick and easy to show you support them – but also to increase your potential of being seen. Include their twitter handle or hashtag.

6. Don’t forget your friends! – Give credit where credit is do. Include relevant businesses within your own news.

Include @twitterhandle for businesses involved in a post or include their hashtag #businessname if they tend to use that. 

On twitter you will find publications, editors and journalists themselves. Following a publication keeps you current on what that publication has been covering as of late. Following an individual can give you window in which to what their interests are and who might be best to send your press release or article to.

Twitter and the media

Journalists are people too! And they like a bit of attention – don’t we all? Relationships can be nurtured on twitter.

1. List – Make a list of your top 5 publications. You can add more – depending on the resources – time – you have.

2. Follow – Follow both the publication and the editor(s) or journalist(s) that is your point of contact (typically receives your news) at a certain publication.

This gives you insight to the publication easily and can supply you information to use for later.

3. Interact – A week or so before you intend to send a press release: Leave a comment on one of the editor or journalists posts – and consider a retweet. This gets your name or company name to their attention – if even for a moment and a retweet shows a willingness to share their work which is relevant to your network. The age-old – repetition builds reputation.

4. Send em’ the good news – It’s been week a week or a few days, it’s time to send the press release and you have already taken a look at what the publication or journalist has been posting. So feel free to make a note and compliment a piece of work.

Also, feel free to make a note as to how your news relates to what they have been writing about – or how you feel this fits into their interest.

And do mention your comment or retweet of the previous post – and how you enjoyed it.

5. Keep it short and sweet – journalists receive hundred of messages a day.

(TIP: Have the email title of your press release be interesting…exciting…all of this is only good if you get them to open the message!)

6. Don’t forget your media friends! – Retweet if they post something relevant to you.

Include @publicationaccont or @editoraccount in the post or include their hashtag #publicationname if they tend to use that. This shares their work with your network and shows yours that you were published.

Remember, have fun – keep it fresh: Social media is a less formal platform. So show your personality and remember a little humour and photos are always great ways to keep it light and get your message across.

Tips:

-People love quotes (yes- use your own!), fun facts, trivia, and ‘can you spot’ photos. These are great for retweets.

-Feel free to also ask questions.

Tweet questions you would like answered – OR – tweet common questions you are asked in your business and let your followers know that the answer to that question is one your website and include a direct link.

For more tips and tricks or help with your companies PR – get in touch with Mel at Melissa@pressvinepro.com

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