Every business should be on Twitter – the platform is a powerful tool for companies of any size to connect with customers and promote their brand, but it requires a lot more effort than just sharing a link and chucking in a hashtag.
There are only 140 characters to work with, but Twitter Australia managing director Karen Stocks (speaking at the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia) says business leaders need to add some personality to their tweets.
“It can be short, it can be sweet, it can have a spelling error or punctuation errors in there as well,” says Stokes, who believes referring to the style of Twitter users such as Richard Branson, Bill Gates and Rupert Murdoch can help you compose engaging and witty messages.
If you examine their accounts, you’ll notice they tend to exhibit a rule-breaking style by moving away from conventional tweets about their products and services, and instead posting photographs and business tips, commenting on news stories or asking questions of their followers.
Aim for authenticity
“You are the first and last voice of your business. Allow people to hear it,” says Stocks. “People appreciate that much more than something that’s formal and looks like a press release.”
Sincere content has the ability to communicate your individuality via honest engagement and human connection, rather than just marketing speak.
Your goal should always be to create authentic, engaging connections with customers and networks from your tweets, through to all the content you produce on your other sites.
Absorb comments and criticism
Beyond pushing authenticity in tweeting, Stocks urges business leaders to be on ‘send and receive mode’ when utilising the platform, to be open to listening and responding to the feedback – positive or negative – that gets sent back. It’s essentially a real-time view of how your business is perceived and how you can improve.
“Don’t just focus on what to tweet, also focus on receiving information,” says Stocks. “Sit there and go: ‘I’m going to be in the receive mode of trying to understand what people are saying about my business that’s relevant to me.’”
Listening and responding appropriately is the way to get ahead.
Remember, it’s not private
Twitter is a public space, so be selective about the information and stories you share by questioning whether each tweet contributes to your business’s identity.
Stocks says Twitter clearly outlines what is ‘tweetable’ and what is not and like all sensitive business issues, private information must be managed appropriately by deciding what is fit for public consumption before pressing ‘tweet’.
This means dealing with any sensitive issues that might arise and nipping them in the bud to keep up the professionalism. By ensuring you have clear policies reflected in employee contracts and social media strategies, you prepare your team for the majority of foreseeable situations so you can focus on engaging content.