Every once in a while, I talk to a business owner who has reservations about using social media for marketing purposes. The most common objection is simple—he or she feels that social media is a “fad”, here today but gone tomorrow, and therefore not worth messing around with.
To an extent, they’re correct. Social media sites certainly do come and go. Five years ago, MySpace was the social media platform to have… today, it’s a distant memory. But while social media sites may come and go, the movement is anything but a fad. In fact, social media has existed for thousands of years. As humans, we are fundamentally social creatures. We love to talk, gossip, swap stories, and share our lives with friends and family. Thousands of years ago, people may have sat around the campfire or drawn pictures on the ground. Today, we use Facebook and Instagram. The tools have changed… but social interaction has been around as long as humans have been.
What does that mean to you? It means that you can feel comfortable using social media for marketing purposes—as long as you understand that social media is fundamentally about relationships. It’s not a magic solution that will instantly double your sales. But social media is a valuable tool for reaching customers and potential customers, with the ultimate goal of building strong relationships. Today, I’m going to share five ways that you can use Twitter to build stronger relationships with your customers and with potential customers in your market.
1) “Check in” with others when you are out together. Services like FourSquare allow you to “check in” when you’re at a restaurant, store, or other location. If you’re eating lunch with a client, check in and mention who you’re with. It’s a simple way to strengthen an “offline” relationship on Twitter.
2) Respond to re-tweets and mentions. Thank other users who re-tweet your content or mention you. It’s simple courtesy, and it encourages others to continue to interact with you, boosting your visibility exponentially.
3) Ask questions and look for opportunities to interact with others. Don’t treat Twitter like a one-way street, a place for you to broadcast your ideas to the world. Look for opportunities to interact. Respond to questions that other users may be asking. Compliment them on a great picture they have just posted. Ask a question that pertains to their area of expertise.
4) Participate in #hashtag conversations. Big events, like an American Idol Finale or an NBA Finals game, are typically discussed in real time by millions of users. Join the conversation by using the appropriate hashtag… like #NBAFinals or #Idol. This allows others who may not follow you to see what you have to say, and potentially form a relationship.
5) Be yourself. Tell jokes. Share stories. Don’t be all business, all the time. Let your audience get to know the “real” you—and you’ll find that your relationships have much more depth.
Twitter is a fantastic tool to help you build relationships with customers, colleagues, and potential clients in your market. Let me know if you’d like more information on this topic, and if we haven’t already, let’s connect on Twitter… I’m @NickNanton!