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by Mike Essex on 12th June 2013
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If used correctly, Twitter can be a really effective way to market your brand, find new customers, and to understand what the market thinks about your products. If used incorrectly, it can be a horrific PR disaster that can damage your brand for a long time to come. Which is why it’s really important, when you think about Twitter marketing, to first of all understand who should tweet on behalf of your company.
Now, there’s two ways you can do this, and they’re not mutually exclusive. They are to have employee ambassadors tweeting. For example, we have Koozai branded accounts in our company. Mine’s Koozai_Mike, and every time I tweet, I am pushing forward the company brand name. Even when I’m talking about something random that has no connection to Koozai at all, I still have to be aware that everything I say has the word “Koozai” attached to it and, therefore, is great for the brand, but also runs a risk for the brand if I was to say something really stupid.
The advantage of that, in our case, is that we have 20 employees tweeting every day, about things they’re interested in, and it just gets our company name in all sorts of conversations that it wouldn’t normally be included in, and actually over a third of the mentions of the Koozai brand name are as a result of our employees and the tweets that they do. So actually it’s giving us thousands and thousands more mentions of our company all the time, that we never would have had. So I can definitely recommend that, if you trust your employees, if they’ve got a good level of social media awareness, and if you feel that they can put your brand forward in the best possible way.
To complement this, you need to have a corporate account. This should reflect your company name as best possible, and you should try to keep the same branded account for here as you have for all of your other social properties, to ensure branded consistency. With the corporate account, it’s also important that you pick someone in your organisation who is skilled with social media, and that doesn’t mean the intern who has a really good Facebook account. You need to pick someone who knows how to use social media well, but also who’s mature enough to not kick off with arguments or to push your brand in a negative way.
So actually it may be that a really experienced member of your team is the right person to do social media for you, rather than someone who’s young and more experienced with social media. It all depends on the kind of message you want to put across and how much you can trust the person who’s in charge of the account. You should also make sure that the person in charge of your corporate account uses a separate tool to make updates. The last thing you want to do is for them to post something on their personal account, something that they think is on their personal account that goes out on the corporate account that is hugely negative. That would be a really big PR disaster.
One thing you can also try with a corporate account is to have multiple employees doing updates on there and have them mark their name with two initials at the end of each of the comments that they put. That means that when people look at the corporate account, you get some of the personal aspects that you do with employee ambassador accounts, but without the risk of them having lots and lots of separate accounts. So it’s really all about doing what’s right for you. We use both at Koozai, and I couldn’t imagine us doing it any other way. But if you only do one, then you definitely have to have a corporate account above anything else.
But what should you tweet from that account? Well, the first thing you need to be doing is monitoring conversations for usage of your brand name, and we use TweetDeck to do that, but you can also use HootSuite. We set up a column for our brand name, and then whenever somebody mentions Koozai on the Web, good or bad, we can see it and we can interact with it. If someone is trolling us and deliberately trying to pick an argument, then, yes, we won’t get involved in those scenarios, unless we need to diffuse the situation.
And that’s an important distinction to make. If somebody says something negative about you, quite often you can turn it into a positive if you talk to them and try to take the problem offline as well. If anybody looks at the conversation, they will see that you’ve intervened and moved it offline, and then if the conversation does become quite heated and take up a long time, at least there’s not this ongoing record online of this big, long battle. That usually looks awful, and other people tend to pick up on it, if that happens to a brand. So always try and take it offline.
If there’s good publicity, then definitely embrace the people who’ve said it. You can re-tweet it, as well, to show what people are saying about you, but don’t do that too often, to the point that it becomes a case that you’re only posting re-tweets of good things said about you, because that just looks a bit sycophantic, and nobody wants that.
The other thing to consider with the bad PR, as well, is quite often you can turn it into good. If they’ve got a problem and then you can solve the problem online and other people see that, it will actually look like you care about your customers, and that’s the kind of message that you want to put across with social media.
There’s some great social media and Twitter accounts out there, that don’t post anything other than customer service tweets. Like the BT Twitter customer service is fantastic, so, so much better than calling their customer helpline in my experience. When I have a problem with BT, I tweet about it, because I know I’m going to get a quicker response from Twitter than I ever would from calling their Call Center, and it’s less inconvenient for me just to send a tweet in 10 seconds than it is to be on hold for 20 minutes. I think a lot of customers are doing that now, so you really, really need to watch for mentions of your brand.
We also use a tool called BrandsEye to monitor all the mentions, as well, which is good if you want something a bit more advanced than just TweetDeck lists.
You should also share industry news. So if the people following you are genuinely interested in what’s happening in your space, then look for things that have been written on industry websites and share that, so it doesn’t look like you’re only sharing your own content all the time.
Another good way, is if you’ve done a guest post for another website, you can tweet that from your main corporate account, and it looks like you’re sharing content from other places, but actually you’re also promoting your own business as well. So that’s a good, clever way to also tweet something that promotes you, but doesn’t look like you’re only promoting yourself, if that makes sense.
You should tweet competitions, as well. It’s far easier to run competitions on Twitter than it is on Facebook, and there’s a lot less risks there compared to Facebook shutting them down, unlike Twitter, who seem okay with competitions.
You should tweet your own content as well. Don’t be afraid to tweet the things you’ve done. If you’re only tweeting your own content once every 10 or so posts, then people really shouldn’t get too frustrated with what you’re doing. Tweet internal success stories as well. It’s a nice way to reward your employees, by tweeting out something to say oh well done to this employee who’s done this today. It helps to show the family aspect of your company, that you care about your employees, and you care about what you do. So when we win awards at Koozai, we tweet about it. We say congratulations to the person who won it. If someone in the company passes an exam or speaks at a conference, we always try to stress that the employee has done well. That’s worked really well for us.
There’s a lot more content than just that, that you can tweet. The real main thing to do is to look at what your competitors are saying, look at what other people in your industry are saying, and see what’s working well. Look at the number of re-tweets they are getting. If you need to find people in your industry who are notable figures, then use Followerwonk to find them, which is a really good free tool.
And when to tweet, last of all. I hear all kinds of studies that say the best day to tweet is a Tuesday or a Wednesday or a Sunday or a Monday. I’ve actually seen studies for every single day, saying it’s best. Likewise with times, I’ve heard different studies say different times. So, really, what I recommend is that you experiment. Unlike some other social media platforms, there’s nothing wrong with tweeting multiple times in a day. What you can do is see what times of day work best for you and what days work best for you, and then try to do those more often. But you should never say we’re always going to tweet on a Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., because that’s what works for us, because it will stop working for you and because people don’t all go on Twitter at the same time.
And likewise, if you tweet something in the morning, then you should also tweet something in the afternoon and in the evening, and possibly even in the middle of the night, because people who follow you might be in different time zones. That doesn’t mean you have to share the same piece of content four times, because that would look horrible if anyone scrolled down your feed. But at the same time, if you’ve got something really important that you need to share, you could share it on Monday in the morning, on Tuesday in the afternoon, on Wednesday in the evening, and on Thursday in the early morning. And that way, you’re reaching all the different people, and you’re never going to reach 100% of people, because some people might not go on Twitter for a week. Some people might be bots. But that way you’re at least improving your chances of reaching the different kinds of people and the different times they go online. That’s far better than having a strategy just focused on a single time and a single day.
I hope that’s helped kick-start your Twitter marketing, and for more information on what we do, visit Koozai.com or any of the social profiles at the end of this video. Thanks for watching.
Mike Essex specialises in digital marketing and everything search. A recent project of Mike’s was featured on BBC News, Radio 5Live and the Times here in the UK, whilst also featuring on USA Today and ABC News in the US. He will be writing throughout the month about digital marketing and much more...