5 Strategic Uses of Twitter

(Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine) – Last week we wrote an article detailing some strategic uses of Facebook. To give each social media platform equal time, we will detail some strategic uses of Twitter for business as well. Just as was discussed in the post about Facebook, simply establishing a presence for your business on Twitter is only the first step. Maintaining that presence and using it to your advantage is the more challenging aspect.

1. Contribute to the conversation.

Simply using your Twitter feed as an outlet to push out information is not taking advantage of the social aspect of the network. Your users might slightly benefit from it, but you will find more success by getting involved in the community and either responding or engaging conversation with your followers. In addition to customer engagement, you should be following other relevant industry Twitter feeds. By involving your business in an industry conversation, you can really get your name out there as a thought leader. To help isolate the potential conversations you can join, utilize the list functionality within Twitter. Using lists, you can organize the different accounts you follow into one feed. This is a good way to organize all of your favorite accounts to communicate with into one easy-to-use area.

2. Take time in branding your page.

There are a few areas of your Twitter page that can be customized for your business. Try to get away from using the default background, and use the layout to your advantage. Since many users’ monitors now view websites with a widescreen resolution, you can really get creative with designing sidebars on your Twitter page, much like you would on an actual website. Populate the background with your logo, business hours, address, and any other information you’d find useful. You might even consider showcasing your social media manager, if you would like to put a face to your business.

Also, consider the fact that your profile picture will be seen alongside each of your company’s tweets. Choose a profile picture that users can easily see, such as a simple logo or recognizable photo from your business. Users won’t want to squint to make out a complex image.

Finally, take advantage of the new header photos that Twitter has recently rolled out. These are very similar to Facebook’s “cover photo” in that it provides an additional opportunity to include a design on your page.

3. Write an effective bio.

Many businesses have a pretty generic bio written on their Twitter page, such as “The official Twitter page of Company X.” To be fair, there isn’t much breathing room to write an elaborate history of your company in the bio section of your profile, but you can still be a little creative with it. Utilize this extra real estate on your page to include a link to your website, and provide a short summary of your business. You have to put yourself in the shoes of a visitor who doesn’t know much about your company.  Calling it the “Official page of Company X” doesn’t mean much if they don’t know what Company X does in the first place.

4. Follow people for a reason.

A common thought among new Twitter accounts is that the quickest way to gain a lot of followers is to follow as many accounts as possible to start. While this is true to an extent, you don’t want to overdo it by following any account for any reason. The best course of action is to follow only those who can offer some value, such as an industry blog, a specific customer base, or even competitors. These are accounts you would be most likely to engage in a social media conversation with, so you want to know what they are talking about the most. If you are just following every account you can find in hopes that they will follow you back, you are not necessarily getting a quality base of followers.

5. Let people know you exist.

Once you have your Twitter account established, how are you going to let people know about it? Be sure to include a link to your social media accounts wherever it is appropriate. You can include a link in e-mail signatures, on the footer of your website, and even in some of your marketing materials. Showing your customers that you have a presence on the social media channels they use will be a good way to get more qualified followers.

Photo Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/sodafish

1&1 Internet Inc., a global leader among Web hosts, provides companies with the tools necessary to get online and be successful. For more useful tips on how you can drive success for your business via your website or online marketing methods, visit success.1and1.com.”