Our thoughts – how NOT to use Twitter

Twitter can be a highly valuable tool for your business, and in today’s media age it is arguably a vital part of any self-respecting marketing and communications campaign.

With the increasing amount of time that the vast majority of people spend connected, via laptops, notebooks and blackberries, both at home, at work and in-between, the internet offers a highly effective channel for reaching your target customer.  With more and more services and sales platforms moving into this format it is also a very lucrative sales channel.

How NOT to use Twitter

With this in mind, any way in which you can engage with your customers or clients on an individual level is of great value. However, twitter is an ever-evolving beast, and you need to know how to approach it and use it to your advantage.

Here are our top-six tips of how not to use twitter. We hope they will stand you in good stead and help you avoid some of the possible pit-falls of the internet age.

Don’t endlessly self-promote on Twitter.

If you are using twitter to promote a business or service you must be careful not to bore your followers with endless posts about how great your business or product is.

Followers are not interested in being directly sold to via twitter. What they want is engaging content that is related to your business and relevant to them. For example if your ultimate aim is to sell your customers a holiday, do not only tweet about your package prices and quality, think instead about how to capture the imagination of your followers. Perhaps tweet about an upcoming festival or event in one of the destinations that you sell in, or add a link to a particularly good photo album featuring one of your destinations.

It is fine to include tweets about new offers, as well as established ones, but make sure that you have a good balance of posts that are directly sales orientated with ones which are more neutral and speak in general about your product.

Do not tweet about current events simply to fish for traffic

Some companies have fallen into the trap of re-tweeting or tweeting about current events simply to generate traffic.

If your company specializes in designer furniture, for example, it does not make sense to start tweeting about world events that bear no relation to your product, simply because they are highly searched on a particular day. This is obvious spamming and users will not be impressed. Such twitter activity may in fact backfire on you if people start to comment negatively on your content.

However, if there is a new exhibition opening on the history of design or a new design related television program airing that is generating buzz and people are talking about, then it makes perfect sense for you to get in on the act and engage directly with those who are discussing it.

Do not ignore your potential clients

Managing a twitter account requires a certain level of commitment in terms of time. You must be able to dedicate time to tweeting and responding to tweets on a regular and consistent basis.

If someone engages with you, whether it’s a question or simply a comment, as in face-to-face exchanges, it is good etiquette to respond. Ideally you will not leave a person hanging for more than a few hours, so it is best to set aside at least two one-hour slots a day to respond to people’s comments. The world of twitter moves very quickly, so daily interaction is necessary if you want to stay relevant.

Do not be rude

Remember that twitter is a public conversation, so no matter how exasperating you are finding someone’s comments or questions you need to keep exchanges polite and good-natured.

Never snap at someone or word things in a condescending way. Remember that everyone is a potential client, not just the person that you are conversing with, but anyone within the twitter community who could come across your responses. There have been cases where a wrong step or ill-advised remark on twitter has been re-tweeted and then posted to facebook pages and blogs within moments, creating a snowball effect that is impossible to contain.

Do not be too proud to admit your mistakes.

As already mentioned, the highly public nature of twitter means that there is no place to hide. As many businesses begin experimenting with twitter there have, and will continue to be, many wrong steps. If you do make a mistake in terms of your twitter marketing strategy or tone of response to a comment, the golden rule is to admit that you were wrong and apologise as quickly as possible.

Admitting to your mistakes is half way to being forgiven and you will gain much more respect from the twitter community if you do so. On many, if not all, occasions remaining silent or attempting to justify what you did in an overly self righteous way will have a detrimental effect. It is best to bite the bullet and just admit that you were wrong.

Do not lie or fabricate

It is important to be entirely transparent and trustworthy when setting up and using a twitter account for your business.

First of all be entirely open about who you are and include a website address and contact information on your profile page, so that people can see exactly who you are and can contact you easily should they wish to. In the same vein, never promise what you cannot deliver.

Do not be tempted to over-exaggerate or fabricate what you are offering just to get people to click through to your website. When they follow a link, twitter users want to get what they were promised and will not take kindly to being duped. Remember the fable of the boy who cried wolf? If you do this too many times, when you do have something genuine to offer people may not believe you. Do not sacrifice a short term boost in visitor numbers for the genuine loyalty of your followers.

If you fancy checking out our Twitter, you can view it here! http://www.twitter.com/strawberrysoup