On our daily radio show, Insight on Business I covered a post by Michael Brito a "community builder" at Intel. While we've written about our Twitter Suggestions in the past, Michael added to our list of five and rounded it out to the "Top Ten". During the show I mentioned I'd put my thoughts and Michael's together in one article. So, here goes:
Before you make a grave error and think that, "Now that I have a Twitter account people will follow me to the end of the world and buy the stuff I'm selling." Pay attention.
Do your research before engaging potential customers.
It might be a good idea to get the "lay of the land" before you start stroking your keyboard. Let's say you are actually wanting to "sell" something and you have decided to use Twitter to engage customers. Take a few minutes and do a search on the conversations going on that might impact your efforts. And, if somebody is already saying something about you or your product...it might be good to know.
Determine your goals...
What is it that you want to do with social media like Twitter? Some folks use it to do research into brands or potential products. Some use it to support existing customers. Some simply want to sell. Know what you want or think you want before you start.
Should you be a "Brand" or a "Person"?
Careful here. We believe that people still buy and communicate with people. Rare is the company that can stand alone on their branded logo as the background photo and bio photo. Sure, Southwest Airlines @SouthwestAir can do that. But our company? Nah...our advice is get personal and use a real photo. Unless you have some burning cause or a solid remarkable trade mark.
Build Twitter Street Creds...
It's not about the number of followers, tweets or retweets it's about what you have to share. Remember, this is a CONVERSATION. Be interesting and trusted and the rest will happen.
Track the Conversation...
Michael Brito suggests that you invest in a paid tracking service to better track the conversations. We're not too sure. We think if you do this like a job and really pay attention to this and other venues you can pretty much gather the information you need. However, if it's critical that you don't want to miss anything. Perhaps.
Be Less Structured...
We've all seen it. Somebody gets on Twitter and bangs out ten or twelve messages and then "goes away" for the day. OR...all the messages are "selling something". What a turn off. We've long stuck to the 80/20 rule. Communicate first and sell later. Nobody likes to be "dogged" with every post.
Listen & Observe - Then Engage
If you just charge in and expect the Twitter Community to embrace you... Well, you're in for a surprise. Once again, this is a conversation. Just like in a real person to person conversation if you spend all the time going down one "rabbit trail" while the person you are talking with goes down another..there is no communication. It's a shouting match. Grow the relationship.
Be Real and Believable
Don't have somebody "Tweet" in your name. The community will smell it out quickly. And, give it some time. Not everybody is going to come running . Remember what we wrote about being a trusted source of good information?
Track & Measure and Re-Tool...
If you know what your goals are (see above) it should be pretty easy to be able to track and measure your progress. Are you hitting your goals? If not, maybe back up and try something different. A different tone...even a different account if you really fail.
Some people go through the planning stage FOREVER. Meanwhile as you are planning you are losing time. Like we said, don't just dive in without a plan...but make the plan quickly and get started. It's better, we believe, to be in the parade than standing on the sidelines and watching it go by.
Michael Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we, like you, are always learning. If we can help more...give us a call.