"Less is more." While the idea sounds great in theory, rarely do we see it in practice (has anyone been to a Home Depot recently? Whole families disappear in the bathroom aisle.)
Twitter, however, walks the walk. As you may know, the platform only allows posts of up to 140 characters. Due to this inherent brevity, Twitter is an ideal platform for reaching your target audience with direct content. Small business, in particular, can do a lot more to leverage this platform for inbound marketing purposes. Hence, the theme of today's post.
We'll assume your small business has at least dabbled with Twitter and/or are aware of how the popular social media platform operates. Therefore, today we'll take the next step, providing six tips to optimize your Twitter account:
- Build personal connections visually. Twitter is about building human connections, so don't forget the power of the personal touch. Include photos of your staff and customers whenever possible. McDonald's, for example, goesso far as to profile their Twitter team. Furthermore, make sure to identify "influencers." These are allies who consistently share your content. Nurture and cultivate these relationships.
- Leverage your profile as a customer service channel. Some customers love talking to reps on the phone. Others, however, prefer to text a question from their phone. Create a customer service-related hashtag as a way to assist customers. Delta does this with @DeltaAssist. Customers - particularly younger, more tech-savvy followers - will appreciate the one-on-one service.
- Extend your brand through media like photography. Due to the genius of its 140-word limit, Twitter is an ideal platform for brand engagement. It provides businesses with a finite window to get their message across and communicates it directly to customers' mobile devices. REI, for example, doesn't sell hiking boots or backpacks. They sell a lifestyle. And that's exactly what their Twitter profile articulates: you'll find countless photos of intrepid climbers, hikers and fresh-faced adventurers exploring the great outdoors.
- Extend your brand through a "sister" page. Twitter's 140-character limit, however, can sometimes be constraining. For example, let's say you have job openings you are looking to fill. You can certainly Tweet about them, but you don't want job inquiries to take over your Twitter feed. Companies like Bank of the West set up a separate Twitter account solely for careers. It minimizes the risk of alienating followers on their parent profile while giving them the opportunity "stretch out" a bit more, extend their brand, and attract more top-tier candidates.
- Use it as a content marketing channel. Jet Blue has a unique blog solely devoted to the ins and outs of the airline industry. It has no overt commercial interests and simultaneously puts a face on its employees who do the behind-the-scenes work. The company Tweets teasers of the blog and and draws visitors to it. It's a simple template you can follow to optimize your Twitter profile: use the platform to market your unique content.
- Sell an experience and convey expertise. Similarly, Etsy makes sure that a majority of its Tweets aren't commercially focused. If anything, many of their Tweets are instructional or educational in nature ("Illuminated ice cream cones? Not quite, but you can turn your home into a winter wonderland with these treats" http://etsy.me/1cosQ2Q.) They're selling an experience and conveying expertise. Follow their lead.
In closing, we won't deny that Twitter is the ideal platform for, say, minor reality show celebrities tweeting about new shoes. But don't be fooled: by properly optimizing their Twitter profile, small business can extend their brand, market their content, and reach new customers.