Twitter Tips For Local Businesses
Since Twitter began, large and small businesses alike have had a hard time monetizing its usage into a calculable formula. Any attempts to drive interaction into sales are quickly viewed as automated tweets in response to mentioning specific keywords.
There was a time when, as a pest control company, we monitored pest-related keywords such as “scorpion, house”. We were hoping to find people that had mentioned finding a scorpion in their house that lived within our service areas. As soon as we found a match, we’d reach out to that person, informing them we could help them and to check out a specific website. All our attempts were seen as automated responses, when in fact our employee was actually tweeting them direct.
When it comes to Twitter and business, remember this: It’s about communicating, not selling. To the delight of social media purists, Twitter is the near perfect platform for online interaction, not online commerce.
So, while you get the idea of using Twitter for business sales out of your mind, here are a few practical tips for small or local businesses.
1. Twitter is an open channel for customer service.
In less than a minute, anyone in the world can contact your company directly, without having to sit on the phone in a hold-line while jumping from menu to menu. It’s the next best thing to having your cell number and sending you text message. Some companies shy away from using twitter as a customer service tool because they don’t want to open the flood gates in one forum and let the river run dry in another. Well, welcome to Twitter! It’s unlikely that your twitter account will only be used for customer service inquiries, so don’t just assume it’s going to be the new complain-line.
2. A retweet is just as good as a follower.
Don’t get caught up in a popularity contest. It’s not always about how many followers you have. Having your content retweeted to their followers is a ringing endorsement in and of itself.
3. Engage reporters.
I handle a lot of the media request that come to our pest control company. I have secured news stories on Twitter, simply by keeping my eyes on the streams of local reporters. One day, a reporter asked if anyone had any good story ideas. It was in the middle of summer, our busy season, and I offered to take him on a scorpion hunt. The next night we were shooting live for the 10 o’ clock news in the backyard of a local resident. Follow all the reporters, producers and editors for your local news outlets, and keep a close eye on them.
4. Humanize your brand.
Twitter, and social media in general, is about connecting two human beings, not two twitter accounts. So, be human. Is your hometown team having a big gime this weekend? Is there a local festival happening near downtown? Keep a human voice. Don’t just push out self-promoting content every 6 hours on an automated schedule. Chat with people.