Online presence: When is having a Twitter account totally useless?

Marketing execs drinking midday highballs on Madison Avenue are posh and glamorous. No wonder then that some businesses still hold traditional media marketing—glossy campaigns in print, splashy billboards, tv spots and their mindless jingles—over and at the expense of their social media marketing efforts.

Just like business school is stuck in analog and antiquated ways, denigrating modern, online MBA programs in favor of prestigious institutions that have always been there. Marketing is the same way.  But the problem with this dated type of advertising push is that the information only travels one way. A company strategizes strategize and is left to hope that the campaign goes over well. But with social media, your customers get to talk back to you. They get to talk to each other. Never before has advertising offered an immediate back-and-forth between the business and the customer.

So why isn’t everyone sailing on the Twitter cruise to higher profits and constant hype? And are some businesses better off staying out of the water?

The Perks and pitfalls
Tweeting can boost page ranking in search engines. Google and Bing have admitted that this and other social media services that allow users to “like,” comment, share and re-share have an influence in their search rankings. Engaging in social media will help customers find you faster.

Twitter allows businesses to connect with customers, respond to feedback, announce news, and develop brand affinity. In just 140 characters or less, it’s a low commitment level, but allows you to respond to customers in a way that makes them believe there are human beings operating your business, whether it’s a corporate monolith or a mom-and-pop.

Oh, and it’s free.

The bare-minimum and best practices

  • Twitter offers lots of advice here. The most important is to use a consistent and genuine voice.
  • Respond and engage with customers.
  • Strategize your tweets. Use a service like Buffer to time your social media updates to reach the widest audience, without overloading your followers with too many updates, or when they aren’t online.
  • There are 200 million registered tweeters, but only 50% are actively tweeting! Having an inactive account makes customers think you are not engaged, out of touch, maybe even says your business isn’t doing well (if it were, you would have at least 140 characters to share). Check in regularly.
  • Don’t engage in flame wars. Negative feedback should get a response, but acknowledge that most ranting on the internet is for the benefit of the ranter’s followers, not yours.

You there behind the Blackberry! You can be Don Draper for your company, just don’t let your account lapse. Follow these guidelines and get on the Twitter boat already.

Written by Drew Hendricks

Drew Hendricks is an SEO and Social Media specialist living in Seattle, Washington. Drew writes words that people enjoy reading every moment they are awake.

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