There is no question that Twitter has become the forum for the world’s news, opinions, and gossip. With such a large and captive audience within its reach, businesses the globe over have realized Twitter’s potential to promote their brands.
Even six years ago, 77 percent of Fortune 500 companies were active on Twitter with a tweet in the past 30 days. Despite that, however, the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services reported that only 12 percent of companies surveyed felt their organizations were using social media effectively.
Translation? As a whole, we’re saying a lot (a heck of a lot)—but we’re just not that confident we’re saying it very well.
So, how do you use Twitter to your firm’s advantage? One way to rev up your social media efforts is to make use of the following Twitter checklist: 10 tips to increase client engagement.
Be human: Your tweeps (or your “Twitter peeps”—those who follow you on Twitter) do not like being sold to, and they do not like talking about brands or businesses. They like authentic, personal interaction. Representing your business on Twitter is an opportunity to showcase a personality and a perspective. Restrain from going in for the “big sell” once someone has interacted with you. Ask yourself: if this person were across the table from me, would I say this/do this?
Commit: Twitter is not for the closet commitment-phobe. It requires real, long-term dedication. There’s nothing worse than a company that tweets and runs. If you want to fully engage your client, you need to tweet a lot—two to three times a day is a good guideline. (Here are some tips on what to Tweet if you’re stuck.) To be successful, you need to be consistent. Soon, your client base will be expecting and looking forward to your tweets.
Target: Who’s your target audience? This is perhaps the most important question you can ask. Who is your ideal customer? What information would matter to him/her? Focus ALL of your efforts on engaging with your target audience and your target audience only.
Share: Share valuable content that is, again, FOCUSED on what is of interest to your audience. If you share too much unrelated information, you’ll lose your customer base fast. Imagine if you’re following a business problem-solving website, and they start posting the latest celebrity gossip. Yes, that’s an extreme example—but if something like this actually happened, you’d be very confused (and probably drop them like a hot potato). Everything outside of your constituents’ interest level should be off-limits.
Smart headlines: Create some smart, catchy headlines to attract your reader’s eye. Try witty wording or consider putting the headline in the form of a question that can be answered by clicking on the post in the link.
Respond: If someone interacts with you, great! Now it’s your turn. Be sure to respond—and respond quickly. It’ll make the customer know that you value their input and appreciate the time they took in connecting with you. This is no longer a “You’ll hear from us in 24-hours” world—people expect (almost) instantaneous feedback.
Pay attention: Why do we like our friends? For one thing, they share the same interests as we do! One important aspect of “being human” in the Twitterverse is paying attention to what OTHER people are talking about—no one likes a self-centered Nelly. What is important to your client base? What makes them passionate? What questions do they have and what answers do they seek? A great (and super easy!) way to find out what people are talking about is by using the search feature on Twitter http://search.twitter.com). Then use Hootsuite to create lists for your search terms, and you can see live updates from people Tweeting about your topic of interest.
Give good info: Become a reliable resource for your customer base. This doesn’t just mean sharing other valuable information (#4 above), but commenting on it. What’s your take on that article? What do you find valuable about the website you’re referring your customers to? Also, be sure to (every once in a while) share original content that you’ve created, whether it be a blog post, a white paper, or an article. And remember, the purpose is NOT to sell! You want your followers to see you as the one-stop-shop for their needs in your particular field of practice.
Promote others: Don’t be selfish—be generous with sharing your followers’ tweets and information. The best way to get someone to re-tweet you? Re-tweet them. Twitter is about reciprocity. Give others more exposure and endorsement, and you’ll get more back.
Ask: Twitter users love to give their opinions, and more than that, they love to be asked for their opinions. So, if you’re wracking your brain trying to think of a tweet, ask for feedback! Ask what your followers like or don’t like about your tweets, what they want to see more of, less of, etc. You may be surprised by the response.
Now it's your turn: How does your firm use social media to engage clients? What outlet is most effective: Twitter, Linkedin or Facebook? Why?
If you are looking to beef up your firm's client engagement efforts, check out PSMJ's recent study A/E Business Development Study: How Today’s Most Successful A/E Firms Keep Their Clients Happy and Win New Work.
For more advice on A/E marketing and business development, following is a list of related blog posts: