Up until very recently, I was a Twitter skeptic. I had a mandatory account for a class in college, but once the class was finished, I faded from the Twitter world. I bought into the jokes that said Twitter was nothing more than people sharing little details of their life, their dinner photos and their YOLO hashtags in a 140-character limit. Then, while browsing Al-Jazeera, I read that Ecuador’s foreign minister had announced Edward Snowden applied for asylum in Ecuador—and that he had announced it first on Twitter. Wait. Other people took Twitter that seriously?
As I revived my account and began searching for feeds to follow, the realization hit me that I had been using Twitter wrong. Soon, it became a tool (and another social media addiction). Bands announced when their tickets would go on sale. All the articles I would usually browse were all posted together in one feed. I could connect with people I admired and get a little celebrity fix.
I also began noticing how businesses used Twitter, to both their detriment and credit. McDonald’s tried to rouse enthusiasm for the McDonald’s monopoly and got mostly sarcastic responses in return. Twitter feeds of other businesses proved to be pleasant surprises—who would think an outdoors store, Moosejaw, would be a genuinely funny business to follow? I know where I’m getting my winter tent now.
There’s a huge customer base out there that was much faster at acclimating to Twitter than I was. If your business is lagging behind in joining the Twitter fray out of skepticism similar to mine, don’t delay. If your business has a Twitter feed that could use a little more care and attention, make sure to strategize and utilize it.
How can you utilize it well? The most important advice I would give is to be engaging and be human. Take the time to form a voice, and don’t worry if your tweets aren’t always related to your product. McDonald’s sticks to self-promotion, and though they have a large number of followers, every tweet they send out garners less than enthusiastic responses from followers who don’t seem to be customers. On the other end of the spectrum, Moosejaw occasionally tweets about their favorite moon phase, or how there’s a mystery RV in their parking lot. They take the time to joke with their customers who respond. They also boast an impressive 21,112 followers. Those followers are reminded daily of their products, deals and promotions along with the interesting, amusing commentary the Twitter feed provides.
Of course, the tone you should take depends upon the business you are—a law firm should probably not tweet asking what kind of jelly their followers would be (another Moosejaw gem). But Twitter provides a unique space where professionalism and casual, friendly interactions can coexist, and where customer loyalty can be gained. Pay attention to your Twitter feed. Make it your company’s voice. And watch your followers grow.
Sarah Hamilton – SEO Writer / Editor