Like most social media platforms, Twitter offers business owners new ways to reach potential customers and existing clients to build a profile in the community. Used correctly, it can enhance a company’s image and support promotional efforts. Handled clumsily, it comes off as spam or can even generate disapproval or media criticism. Here’s a brief overview of how tweeting can energize marketing efforts and a few pointers on what to avoid.
Concise and Useful
Twitter can be a great way to send clients short snippets of information (maximum 140 characters), or links to webinars or online articles. The important thing is quality rather than quantity. If you inundate people with tweets, they are likely to be disregarded. If you send genuinely useful material with a comment suggesting why it is interesting, you stand a better chance of building a following. Don’t be afraid to let your personality come through in the message. There’s a torrent of tweets out there. How can you make yours stand out?
Twitter allows the sharing of content, and ideally you want your content to be shared or retweeted as much as possible. Make it easy for recipients to retweet by staying well within the 140 character limit to allow the person forwarding to put RT for retweet and @ (your user name).
Use Hashtags Properly
Few breaches of tweeting etiquette cause more angst than the indiscriminate use of hashtags. Twitter provides this definition and recommends no more than two hashtags per Tweet:
“The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.”
It is used before the keyword with no space and can appear anywhere in the Tweet. If users click on that word, Twitter will search for other Tweets marked with the same keyword. Hashtags (#) are a great help in discovering and organizing information, but if overused they render their content meaningless. Use hashtags with thought and restraint if you want your material curated into searchable topic areas and to establish a presence in specific Twitter communities. If you overdo the hashtags, you’ll run the risk of being dubbed spam by your potential followers.
Hashtag Abuse Will Get You Suspended
It’s worth understanding how to use a hashtag. Misleading hashtags appended to serious/sensitive news can get you suspended. Some major companies have attempted to mislead followers by tagging onto some serious news reports. Apart from bringing serious public disapproval and PR damage, Twitter can enforce its guidelines, which prohibit users from tweeting about a trending topic and posting a misleading link to something unrelated.
Like all social media, Twitter appears simple to use, but it requires just as much careful thought as traditional marketing tools.