3 Questions to Ask When Developing a Twitter Strategy
As a social media zealot, I’m all for businesses using such tools to interact with customers, partners, prospects and other stakeholders. However, that doesn’t mean I think companies should just jump into social media blindly.
Many organizations do just that — to their own detriment. Just like any other initiative, Twitter can be a great tool, but only if employed properly and with the right strategy. So before firing off your first “tweet,” I recommend asking yourself the following three questions:
1. What are you trying to accomplish? Clearly defining your goals at the outset helps you figure out what to say, how to say it and to whom. You don't need to have this set in stone, and you may adjust along the way. However, before you jump on Twitter, have a conversation with the key players within your organization to brainstorm possible uses for your account. Leave this meeting with a set of objectives that'll become the basis of your strategy moving forward. Potential goals may include raising brand awareness, building communities online, providing customer service, supporting larger advertising/marketing campaigns and obtaining keen insights into consumer behavior.
Once you’ve got an idea as to what you want to achieve, next figure out which metrics are most important to you. Is it the number of customer service issues handled or how many clearance items you’re able to move with a unique coupon code? Figure out how to track these, then set up time in your workday to stay on top of archiving Twitter engagement for future reporting.
2. What do you have to say that's worth talking about? Seriously consider the old maxim "content is king," but don't assume that your content always has to be so matter-of-fact. While sharing expertise, point of view and emerging trends is great, noting that sometimes you accidentally put orange juice in your coffee in the morning makes you more human, and thus more real, to your audience.
Keep this in mind as well: Twitter is a multidirectional, constant stream of conversation. As you pick through the virtual quagmire to find those conversations that are most relevant to you and your brand, look for opportunities to offer solutions — even if those solutions aren't your product or service. Also, consider that what might be most worth talking about is what your followers are saying.
3. Who within your organization will manage the account? This isn't the time to put an intern or salesperson who's memorized the brochure but doesn't know the first thing about Mashable or #followfridays as your Twitter lead. Think of it in terms of any other big campaign or initiative; you wouldn’t put an entry-level person in charge of it.
You'll get followers as well as discover the many other benefits of Twitter only by employing those people who enjoy typing and communicating online. These are individuals who probably already have their own Twitter accounts, write personal or industry blogs, and understand your brand voice. That said, interns can still play an important role by identifying opportunities for your in-house public relations or marketing teams to respond to escalating inquiries sent via Twitter to the right sales or customer service departments.
Also, make sure not to dump your Twitter initiative onto an already overworked employee. Instead, make it a priority to spend time and resources to support your participation; it'll pay much bigger dividends if you do.