Monthly Archives: May 2013

Top-ten tips for using Twitter for business

You want to use Twitter for your business and think it’s a piece of cake because you already have your personal account and have been using it for a while? Wrong! You cannot tweet random things like you do from your personal account. Moreover, you must have solid plans and strategies to reach your target.

Here’s the top-ten tips for using Twitter for business.

1. Choose a username which best describes your business

If you get an account for your company, it’s the best to choose your company’s name as your username. If you create an account for your company’s product, service, brand line or community, use its name. If the name is long, make it short. If the username you’d like to get is not available, choose a similar name. Do not create a username which is very long or does not describe what your account will be focusing on at all. The important thing is choose a simple name so that people can easily type it, remember it and recognize it as your business.

2. Engage with your audience

Push marketing won’t work on Twitter. Start a conversation with your audience and ask them questions. Retweet, favorite and reply to tweets from your audience and even those outside of your circle. Interacting with your audience is crucial to build a strong relationship between you and your audience. If someone says a good thing about you, thank them. If someone complains about you, ask them what their problem is and what you can do for them.

3. Use hashtags

Tweet with hashtags relevant to your tweets to reach wider audience. For example, if your company attends an event, use the hashtag(s) for the event. By doing so, people interested in the event or attending it can see a whole conversation regarding the event when they search for the hashtag(s). You can even create a unique hashtag for your business so that your audience can find the conversations about specific topics they’re interested in. Yet do some research before using it. Make sure your hashtag is unique. Don’t use those already used for another topic, which may confuse your audience.

4. Utilize useful Twitter tools

There’re tons of Twitter tools out there. Some of my recommendations for account management are HootSuite, TweetDeck, Buffer and Echofon. When I was in charge of a Twitter account for one of my clients, I used HootSuite. With HootSuite, you can schedule your tweets, analyze your activity, customize your stream with your timeline, @ tweets, lists, etc., and do many more. If you have multiple Twitter accounts or other social media accounts including Facebook and Google+, you can manage up to 5 accounts with HootSuite.

For URL shortening services, Bitly is the best in my opinion. Not only can you shorten links, but  you can also customize a short domain if you’re a Pro user. If you’re not a Pro user, you can still customize the ending of links (e.g. bit.ly/cancustomizehere). Bitly also offers the stats for all of your bit.ly links. And even if you’re a HootSuite user and use ow.ly links, you can also check the stats for any ow.ly links you share through your account(s) by connecting your Twitter account to your Bitly.

If you’d like to know more about other awesome Twitter tools, read 10 Twitter Tools Used by Social Media Experts at KISSmetrics.

5. Analyze your tweets

Analyzing your activity is important. Check how many times your links are clicked and shared, from where and through what channel they are clicked, what the peak traffic time is and so on. Rebuild your strategies and evaluate your activity based on the analysis in order to improve your social media marketing.

6. Tweet updates on your website and other social media accounts

Never think your Twitter account and your website or other social accounts are separated things. Keep your audience updated with your online activities besides Twitter. Lead them to your website or blog. Twitter is limited in space to talk deeply about your business. Get your audience know more about you by driving traffic to your website and other social media accounts.

7. Connect your social media presence on your website

Like I said in #6, promote all of your online activities! Add a link to your Twitter account on your home page, blog, Facebook, etc. It’s also a good idea to display your timeline on your website.

8. Share photos and videos

Don’t just text tweets. Post photos and videos too. According to Track Social Blog, tweets with photos outperform text tweets by 91% for Twitter engagement. Similar data can be found for Facebook engagement at HubSpot as well.

9. Talk about non-business topics too

Show your personality! Post humorous tweets sometimes. Let your audience know who you are to make them feel close to you and want to follow your account.

10. Use effectively your profile photo, cover image, background and profile

Make sure you upload your profile photo, cover image and background to show the audience your brand story. Also, tell who you are in your user profile. It’d be nice to tell your audience when your active time is so they know when they can receive a reply from you. If you don’t plan to respond to every @ tweet, let your audience know that in advance. For example, write “Unfortunately we cannot reply to everyone, but we appreciate all of your replies.” in your profile.

I could go on and on forever but I’ll stop here. I’m sure you have other tips you want to add to this list. Please feel free to share your insights!

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Filed under MKTG 1552, Social Media, Twitter

How to make selling social

Whiskeydrummer raised a good point regarding my previous entry, “Make selling social to generate sales,” so I’ve made a new entry to answer his question.

So how can you make selling social?

In social marketing, when a company tries to have a conversation with the audience, they are most likely to ask a question or talk about something which relates to as many people as possible because the audience is not just one person. If your target is a niche market, your topic could be specific. However, if your business is big or your target is large, it’s almost impossible to ask something relevant to each of your audience.

Now let’s go back to the question: how to make selling social. I have to tell you one thing in advance. I have an experience of selling projects to clients but I have little experience of doing customer service or sales one, so if you find anything I’m saying wrong, please let me know.

In order to make selling social, a company must have a meaningful conversation with a customer which makes him/her want to share the story like Zappos did with Ben Knorrp. One thing which came up to my mind when thinking about how to make selling social is my former boss.

When I was working for an ad agency in Japan, I had a boss who was great at having a conversation with our clients which often led to the sales. Our clients were always so busy that we rarely had much time to talk about anything other than our business. The only time we could chitchat was when we were walking from a meeting room to the exit after the meeting was over.

One day one of our clients told my boss and my colleague that he had a tough day the previous day. My boss asked him why and he said that his team was shooting a promotion video for their new tough camcorder because they were planning to launch a YouTube page. They reached the entrance and parted. They ended their conversation. On his way to our office, my boss thought, “OK, the camcorder team is going to open their YouTube account. Then they need more videos.” So my boss and one of my colleagues who was in charge of the camcorder website immediately started to create a plan to shoot some videos for YouTube which promote how shockproof and waterproof the new camcorder is and proposed it to the client a week later. Of course, the client bought their project because that was what he wanted. What is more, the client shared this story with his colleagues. A later day, a different client of ours actually told us that he heard the story and was impressed how fast my boss and colleague made a perfect plan. So my boss successfully made selling social.

This example is not exactly about sales experience general consumers have, but you can also apply to your business if you have a chance to talk to your customers in order to make selling social. It’s like a conversation you usually have with a clerk when you check out something at a grocery store. When a customer buys something from you, have a meaningful conversation which leads to the sales next time with them. You shouldn’t just ask how they are doing, but also ask them a little bit more about their lives. Find out what they are likely to look for when they visit you next time. Maybe you can even find a hint which implies something they want in the future, though they haven’t even noticed it yet, just like my former boss did. Have a meaningful conversation and customize sales experience for each customer so that they want to buy something from you again. Or you could even tell them something they want and they may buy it. And make sure to provide memorable sales experience your customer wants to share with others.

However, if you don’t have an opportunity to have a one-to-one conversation with your customer, you need different strategies. Unfortunately my time is up, so I’ll write about it in a future post.

I hope I have answered your question adequately, whiskeydrummer.

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Filed under MKTG 1552, Social Media

Make selling social to generate sales

I’ve been wondering if companies’ social marketing activities really lead to sales. I Digged Bob Knorpp’s article on Ad Age and found it very interesting, as it discusses a relationship between sales and social media from a unique angle.

As Knorpp says in the article, many still think that the objectives of social marketing are “to create engagement, gain followers or generate Facebook likes.” Yet does any of them really generate sales? They’re all important elements in social media marketing, but having engaged fans, many followers or many people who like your page doesn’t mean it directly leads to sales.

According to Knorpp, “the object of social marketing is not simply to collect audience appreciation, but to make every customer experience shareable — including the purchase.”

In the article, Knorpp shares his pleasant customer service experience with Zappos. When he sent an anonymous gift with them, the operator was so impressed by his act that this operator sent him multiple gift packages over the next two weeks. Because Knorpp was amazed by Zappos’ quality customer service, he still talks about it (And as you see, he even wrote an article about it for Ad Age).

If you’ve ever visited Zappos’ Facebook page, you probably know that Zappos is great at social media marketing. After reading Knorpp’s story, I realized that Zappos is also great at making their customers talk about them online by giving them memorable and shareable sales experience.

Zappos doesn’t do social to generate sales. Zappos makes selling social.”

Social media marketing can build a strong relationship between a company and the audience and get the public talk about the brand; however, you cannot really tell that it directly leads to sales. Knorpp is right. Customer service experience plays a big part in building the trust. If you have a bad experience of buying something from a company, you won’t probably buy anything from them again, though they have excellent social media activities. If you have great sales experience with a company, you will buy their product again. In this context, whether the company has strong social media activities or not does not really matter when making a purchase decision.

Companies should not just focus on gaining followers/fans/likes or creating engagement, but also offering customers meaningful and shareable sales experience, and get them talk about it online. By making selling social, companies can convert social media into sales.

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Filed under MKTG 1552, Social Media

Is there too much content around us?

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I sometimes wonder if companies are giving customers too much content on the Internet. Some may agree with this, while others may say that there’ll never be too much. As a customer, I’m happy to have access to as much content as possible when making a decision to buy something. I can choose what is valuable to me. If I find something irrelevant to me, I’ll just leave the page. However, as a marketing person, I feel that the more we create, the more customers want.

Will there ever be enough content to satisfy the customers? No, I don’t think so. So should we keep creating more content? Hmm…I guess so.

Joe Pulizzi discusses that having more content is not always better. He states that there used to be “a time for more, but that time has passed.” Because the concept of Content Marketing has now been accepted by a number of businesses, we’re now heading into the next phase, “Epic Content Marketing.”

According to Pulizzi, epic content is something which is shared by customers and people on their networks, makes a lot of buzz on the Internet and encourages influencers to create new content from your content. To stop feeling obligated to create more content, we need to focus on better content creation.

So does that mean we don’t need to create more content?

Here’s a different opinion. Mark Roberge, Senior Vice President of Sales and Services at HubSpot, reveals some of the secrets of their successful website. He claims that “you need both quality and quantity of content.”

HubSpot has done an interesting test to see if the quantity of content affects its quality. As a result, they received more comments, links, and views when posting five entries a day on their blog than only one entry a day. This proves that creating more content is not always ineffective. The more content we create, the more audiences we can reach.

Having read both articles, I think that it is up to customers to make the best of so much content available to them. Because there has been a great amount of content around them, especially for the past few years when social media has been playing a significant role in marketing, they are now used to finding what they want. All we, marketing people, have to do is to create more content which educates customers and are valuable to them. If we keep focusing on what customers want, we won’t create content which doesn’t interest them. Therefore, there will never be too much content for customers.

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Filed under Content Marketing, MKTG 1550