This post is part of our Twitter for Business: Fundamentals Series
You wouldn’t (probably) call all of your customers on the phone a few times a week, or email them just to ‘chat’. It would be weird, and very inefficient. Yet these types of ‘touches’ with your audience are extremely valuable for creating loyalty, increasing satisfaction and achieving top of mind awareness. Twitter allows you do exactly this in a way that’s not only acceptable but also desirable to consumers.
4. Provide Customer Service
For every person who comes to you with an issue, there a dozen more who turn to the social web to talk about it. One of the new realities is that whether you know it or not, choose to recognize it or not, respond to it or not – people are forming opinions about your business on line and discussing it openly. Smart companies are using this opportunity to turn challenges into positive customer experiences.
You don’t need a call center or overblown market research to provide excellent service. All you need is a few minutes a day from someone who cares and a Twitter account.
In addition to complaints or issues, Twitter is an easy way to enhance the experience of satisfied customers as well. Tweets are the new Thank You cards. A little good will on behalf of your company can turn casual customers into life-long evangelists.
5. Make Industry Connections
A few years ago, your peer group was dictated by your location and your social calendar. Today you can easily connect with a proprietor on an opposite coast and share ideas and best practices. Business development deals are made daily on the social Web and more than half of our (founders) own business connections have been made through twitter.
It’s a low impact way to connect with brilliant people across the world, and it’s easier than ever to create and develop these relationships. When you make it easy for people to help you, they will – and it doesn’t get much easier than 140 characters.
As an interesting aside for making financially beneficial connections on Twitter, 32% of all (not just commercial) Twitter users have reported that in the difficult economy of the past year their financial situation has improved, versus just 18% of non-twitter users (source: Edison Research, April 2010).
6. Grow Your Audience
One of the biggest benefits a business can enjoy through Twitter is a low-cost way to increase your customer base. Interested parties can find you, word-of-mouth recommendations are the norm and you have the ability to target consumers who are most likely to be interested in your product or services. Responsible and engaged use of Twitter can turn a small group of customers into thousands of fans in no time.
7. Increase Loyalty
Consumers buy from business, they buy repeatedly from people. Interacting with your audience through social channels is one of the easiest ways to turn a casual customer into a devoted one. Any social marketing effort should be a balance of marketing and conversation/engagement. The less you sell, the more you earn, and Twitter is the perfect medium to engage in these quick yet meaningful conversations.
8. SEO/Reputation Management
One of the most important things to a business in the Internet age is your online reputation. A few terrible yelp reviews or a blog dedicated to your demise can have a dramatic impact on your business. You didn’t sign up for it, but these conversations are happening with or without you.
Using sites like Twitter and Facebook, which have excellent search engine authority can ensure that you are involved with the conversations that appear in the top of search engine results.
Often when searching for a company on Google, you’ll notice that LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Yelp and a few others dominate the top few spots of the search results. By claiming your presence on these networks, you have some control over how those conversations go. If you aren’t involved, all you can do is cross your fingers and hope everyone loves you.
9. Increase Traffic to your Website
Social media links account for more web traffic to many websites than any other referral source. It’s incredibly easy to share links across social channels like Twitter, and a busy day can increase your web site traffic dramatically.
Let’s say you send a message to your meager 250 followers. But 5 of your followers choose to resend that message to their collective 15,000 followers. If a small percentage of those 15,000 also think the message is worth spreading, your eventual reach is in the millions.
10. Your Competition Is There…
What did we miss? Tell us how Twitter has (or hasn’t) impacted your business, or share your insights on what we may have left out.