Twitter is an amazing platform. Unfortunately, a lot of businesses use it to either A) Talk about or promote themselves or B) Talk about or promote themselves. There’s a massive opportunity to turn Twitter for your business into a customer service tool. Sure, you can continue to share content, but you can also make an effort to interact directly where your customers are spending time.
Creating a world class response team may sound daunting. It does require work, although it’s not nearly as difficult to set up as one would think.
Step One: The Right People
Depending on the size of your company, you may need just one person to manage the Twitter account or several. In many cases, you can simply add these extra responsibilities to your customer support staff.
It goes without saying that they need to be very knowledgeable about social media, including effectively communicating and handling potentially upset customers. While that’s great, I’d take it a step further even and make sure they’re not only incredibly passionate about helping people, but have a great personality.
Once you’ve figured out who will be putting in the work, that takes us to the next step…
Step Two: Easy To Understand Social Media Policy
Whenever it comes down to employees managing/using social media accounts, there’s always risks involved. Now, if you already have a social media policy in place, you can ignore this step. Having an easy to understand policy helps communicate what employees can and can’t do on social networks, particularly Twitter in this case.
The last thing you want is a potential PR disaster on your hands after an employee who was maybe having a bad day, calls a customer an idiot or even worse. Also, a good policy can help communicate your values and instill that way of business into your staff.
If you’re not sure where to start, here is a fantastic resource for creating a social media policy. Last I checked, there are over 200 policies from a wide variety of businesses.
Step Three: Getting Twitter Ready
Chances are, you already have a Twitter account and if you don’t, creating one is very straightforward. First of all, you want to start with branding that effectively communicates who you are and what you’re about. If you have a graphic designer, they should easily be able to create a custom Twitter background and cover photo (the image that appears behind your profile bio).
At least in the Twitter background, make sure to communicate that you are very accessible and that people can tweet you. As with tweeting, the space in your bio is very limited and to 160 characters. Make it short, sweet, yet make things clear. Add “Tweet us if you need help” or “Need help? Tweet us!” so people, again, know you’re accessible.
Step Four: Streamlining Your Employees
While using the Twitter.com web interface is all fine and dandy, you’re going to want a much better way of keeping up with everything and responding to customers. Many social media tools out there allow you to have multiple employees managing the same account.
Even if you have just one employee taking care of responding to customers on Twitter, you still want to use a different tool than what Twitter itself provides.
Personally, I recommend using Hootsuite or Sprout Social. Keep in mind that you may need to pay to use them, although they’re very affordable. Once you have an account setup on either platform, you’ll need to add each team member (employee) who will be accessing the Twitter account, as well as set the proper permissions on what they can do.
Hootsuite and Sprout Social explain how to go about setting all this up and it’s very straightforward. And no worries about keeping track of which person responded to what as all team members will be able to see if and who responded to something.
If you have multiple employees accessing the same account, using initials in responses helps personalize your tweets. For example, say you have Bob Franklin and Erin Smith. They would add -BF or -ES to the end of their tweets. You’d also want to add in your Twitter bio the team members who manage the Twitter account and their initials so people know who they’re talking to.
Step Five: Open Your Ears
As with any social media tool that allows you to manage your Twitter account, there’s always a replies tab or column which contains all of the tweets mentioning you. However, you want to take it beyond that by listening for keywords. Every platform has this feature and since they have access to Twitter search, you can keep a real-time eye on what people and your customers are saying.
For example, a local pizza business could instead of just paying attention to their @ replies, also keep an eye out for people talking about competitors such as Domino’s or Papa John’s. A potentially disgruntled customer of a competitor could equal new business for you.
Step Six: Be Helpful
A long time ago, I interviewed Chris Brogan and asked him his best piece of advice. His response? Be helpful. This goes even beyond Twitter and when it comes to responding to customers or people beyond that through keyword searches, simply be helpful.
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make on Twitter is they over promote and especially when you’re communicating with potential customers, the last thing you want to do is go for the sale right off the bat.
Step Seven: Be Consistent
There’s nothing more off-putting to a customer looking for help or even a potential customer coming across you on Twitter than seeing that you haven’t posted in days, weeks, or even months. You don’t have to spend hours upon hours on Twitter every single day, but you need to check in and share great content at least a few times every day.
Of course if you have customer support staff also managing your Twitter account, having them keep open Hootsuite or Sprout Social and checking in throughout the day shouldn’t be a problem.
Step Eight: Be Known
Having a rock solid Twitter account with great staff behind it is awesome, but if nobody knows about it, it’s a complete waste of time. Make sure to communicate in your marketing materials, on your website, in emails, etc., that you can be reached on Twitter. This seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many fail to effectively communicate that they can be reached beyond email or by phone.
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So, Vine. No, I’m not talking about the thing that hangs in trees in the jungle, I’m talking about the mobile video app that allows you to record and share short, six second video clips. What’s got a lot of people talking about the video sharing app, especially quite a few social media industry types just raving about it, is that Twitter owns it and is integrated very nicely into Twitter.com so people in the stream can view the videos.
Now, Vine is not really a video, it looks a lot more like an animated gif to me. Google+ has animated gifs and now Twitter has animated gifs, but people are saying it’s video so we’ll just go with that. The reality is Vine is completely and utterly ridiculous. In fact, it’s not even ridiculous; it’s redonkulous.
So here we have this new tool, this platform that allows you to record and share video, but not just any video…six seconds long. While, yes, it is completely ridiculous, there’s also the argument, the same argument can be used for Twitter. In the very beginning when Twitter started, people were like “140 characters? That’s it? That’s insane! There’s no way I’m going to be able to communicate and talk in 140 characters! This just isn’t going to work, Twitter is going to fail, and that’s going to be the end of that.”
Fast forward to now, there’s now hundreds of millions of Twitter users. The whole thing with Vine is it’s just evolution. This is where social media is going. We, as a culture and also the internet, are evolving to where we want information now, we want it quick, we want it short and sweet. Vine is simply an evolution of that.
Now, will it work, will it be successful over time? That’s anyone’s guess really, although if we want to look at history, there was a site started in 2009 called 12Seconds.tv (thanks to Zane Aveton for the reminder) and it allowed you to record and share 12 second video clips.
So Vine is literally half of that. Unfortunately, 12Seconds shut down towards the end of 2010 because it just didn’t catch on. Maybe things have changed since then, but looking at history, it didn’t work out so well.
As a business, can you take advantage of Vine? It all really depends. There’s plenty of content out there and plenty of people saying that Vine is going to be great for businesses, you can record these short six-second
animated gifs videos and connect with your audience in a different way. However, I’d have to say that the platforms you’re using now are a pretty good path and plan to stick to
Desktop Twitter apps used to be a dime a dozen. There’s still a few, TweetDeck and Echofon being two that come to mind, but many have died off over the years. One Twitter client that has been around for a couple years is MetroTwit.
Weird name? Yes. Damn good looking? You betcha. While Mac owners have the joy of such beautifully designed apps as Tweetbot, Windows users can get something that looks fantastic as well. Of course, all a matter of opinion and solid design is great, however, functionality matters too.
MetroTwit brings the functionality many have came to love with the likes of Tweetdeck, yet offers a bit more customization. There is one catch though…
Twitter is a fantastic tool that’s quickly been adopted by many, from normal everyday people to small businesses and Fortune 500 companies alike.
While Twitter has the potential to create greatness, unfortunately it often falls short of that for many as there is so much noise to get through, both in your stream and in your follower’s stream.
There’s several key traits of successful Twitter accounts and in the video below, we dive into those traits/tips. What in your opinion is a great example of an effective Twitter account?
If you have a Facebook page, you’ve got access to lots of data from active monthly users to people talking about you and so on. On Twitter, well, you don’t really have anything to look at when it comes to that. There are third party tools, but Twitter itself doesn’t have any data for businesses.
From a business standpoint, being able to track how well you’re doing is very important. We can already do a lot of that with Google Analytics, though when it comes to getting more detailed information directly from Twitter, there’s little to go on aside from mentions, retweets, and how many people follow you.
Anyways, Twitter announced analytics years ago. What happened?
It’s not very often that we see a Fortune 100 company execute both Twitter and TV very well in a single campaign. Quite often you’ll see a company have a commercial followed by a hashtag and that’s it.
A unique hashtag is all fine and dandy, but without something to get people actively involved with and you fully driving the charge, it’s a waste.
So, I’m a big fan of Celebrity Apprentice. Really the only reality show that I’ll actually watch (Sorry Jersey Shore). Walgreens teamed up with the show to have the celebrities create a presentation and display elements for their new Walk With Walgreens campaign. Essentially, people sign up, log their walking activity, and can get rewards such as coupons towards purchases.
When it was announced who won the task on Celebrity Apprentice, that following commercial break, there was a commercial with Arsenio Hall (the project manager of the winning team) alongside Alison Sweeney, host of The Biggest Loser who was one of the judges of the task.
They did a great job on the timing and execution of the ad, and was something that people could connect with. Everyone is aware that exercise is good for you and by simply walking more everyday, you can earn discounts towards products that you need.
The whole time and the build up to who was chosen the winner, Walgreens was tweeting and getting people involved.
After all was said and done, in a span of around 3 hours, quite a few people were reached.
What can we learn from this campaign despite not having a massive audience and Millions of dollars to get involved with popular Television shows?
What Walgreens did so well is they got behind and built interaction around the hashtag vs. throwing it out there and expecting people to start using it. Too many businesses are focusing on a one and done approach when it comes to social media.
Any successful social media campaign is driven by consistency and getting in the trenches. If you don’t get behind it, who will? Also, they made it something that people could connect with. If people don’t connect on some emotional level, the chances of success are very slim. Of course, no pun intended
Tim Ferriss, World renowned author of “The Four Hour Workweek” and mega hit “The Four Hour Body”, says to focus on publishing evergreen content, content that stands the test of time and isn’t based around a specific day or time. Well, April Fool’s is right around the corner and decided to step away from that tip and have a little fun.
Anyone who uses Twitter on an active basis is familiar with the @ reply spam. Some days it’s up, some days it’s down. Typically the spammers just link to a website, but every once in a while you’ll have someone leave a phone number to call. That’s exactly what happened.
Everybody knows Pixar. As someone who was 5 years old when the original Toy Story came out, their movies have been a large part of my childhood and still are very important to me today.
From Toy Story to Wall-E to Up and more, they all teach great lessons and are for both kids and adults. One thing that never really occurred to me is just how great the movies are for children with special needs.
You see, Ryan Sullivan is the happily married father of 3 boys, one of which who has autism. Ryan went to his blog recently and talked about how Pixar helped his son Brady better communicate.
It was very touching and even had people crying. What happened next was nothing short of amazing…
Chris Chua, a Pixar animator, found out about the post and shared it:
The father of an autistic child says “Thanks” to Pixar. This makes me so proud. ryandsullivan.com/dear-pixar-tha…
— Chris Chua (@ChrisChua007) January 30, 2012
Pixar employees joined in and left a comment on the post. Shortly thereafter, Ryan receives an email:
“It was seriously a joy for me to know that the open letter I wrote to the Pixar family ended up in front of their eyes. They were the intended audience and the magical powers of the interwebs helped my words reach them.”
“Then, a day or two after the post went live, Wendy emailed me asking for my mailing address because Pixar wanted to send us a “gift package”. I really didn’t know what to expect. We traded a few emails and she asked for our shirt sizes. Being the major Pixar junkies that we are, we were incredibly stoked to be getting some new gear to sport around town.”
While Pixar could have simply left it at that, they took it a step further in the final email: “Congratulations on your newborn, just wait till you see the babe clothes, so cute! It is a privilege to be able to connect with you and your family and show you our affection.”
In the post, Pixar Cares, Ryan shares the full story as well as the very cool swag. Because he’s so thankful for their caring and support, he decides to start up something along with the hashtag #PixarCares.
“Today will you take a picture of yourself or your kids with one of your favorite Pixar products in hand, and share it on social media somewhere? It can be a DVD or an action figure or a stuffed animal. If for some reason you don’t have something from Pixar handy, taking a photo of a nice hand written thank you note would also be cool.”
“I want them to feel an impact similar to the one they’ve made on my family; which is tsunami-like!”
Needless to say, it reached Pixar and nearly 600,000 people.
On Twitter alone, there were nearly 1.2 Million impressions. You can check out the TweetReach report here. And to know this started all from a simple act of caring and spending a little bit of money to send out some products.
You see, genuinely caring for your customers goes a long way. It’s not only good for business, but good for building deeper relationships and trust with those who matter most. Next time you’re presented with an opportunity to engage and go above and beyond, do it. You never know just how much it will mean to someone.
Twitter.com has went through several changes the last couple years.
The most recent change, #newnewtwitter (actual hashtag), is a step toward a better experience and getting users to be more active, something that is a big objective going forward.
With that said, Google Chrome, the 2nd most popular browser on the planet, has a slew of extensions to choose from.
After digging around in the Chrome Web Store, I found 4 extensions that really enhance Twitter.com and felt they were worth sharing.