There is no doubt that more and more companies in the print, mail, and fulfillment industries are adopting Twitter as part of their marketing efforts.
One way to see this in action is to see the service providers and vendors that are already using Twitter to discuss and/or promote the upcoming Labelexpo Americas and Graph Expo events.
But I also continue to run into print service providers that are still not sure of where to even get started when it comes to figuring out how Twitter can help their business.
Thus, today I’d like to share some information for those people and companies. This might include people that haven’t yet created a profile, or perhaps that have a profile, but just have no idea how or what to tweet.
Setting up your Twitter Profile
If you do not currently have a Twitter account for your business, go set one up today. It’s free, quick, and easy.
You want your Twitter profile to represent your company and further your brand, so upload your logo (or some variation of it) to use as the avatar. Choose a Twitter name that is either your actual company name, or an easy to understand shorter version of your company name. Your one line bio allows for 160 characters only, so try to use keywords that make your profile searchable, rather than a vague tagline or slogan.
You may also want to creating or acquiring a custom background for your Twitter page that utilizes your logo in some way and clearly shows other ways that people can contact your business — perhaps a phone number and/or your website URL.
Finding People to Follow
After you set up your Twitter profile, you’ll want to take steps follow other Twitter users. This allows you to see their tweets from your home page. This means that you can look at Twitter as an excellent way to keep up-to-date with customers, prospects, industry leaders, competitors, and others.
You want to build up your list of followers, because these are people who will be able to regularly see your tweets as you make them. In line with that, a side-benefit of actively finding and following others is that you will find that many follow you back.
Finding people to follow isn’t difficult. Some of your customers may actually invite you to follow them — they do this by placing a Twitter badge on their website or adding their Twitter profile URL to their email signature. Start looking for those icons and links, click on them, and take action.
You can also use the features under Twitter’s “Discover” menu item to find people. Take advantage of their “Who to Follow”, “Find Friends”, and “Browse Categories” options.
After you begin following people and businesses you already know of, your best bet may be two-fold: One, check out the followers of those Twitter users you admire. If you are following someone or a company and you like their tweets and admire the way they handle themselves online, then it makes sense to see who they are following and do so as well. Two, head to Twitter’s search feature and use keywords that your target market would use in their Twitter handles and profiles.
There are other 3rd-party tools that are a bit more advanced for finding Twitter users, but we’ll save those for a future post.
Tweet Responsibly and Responsively
You’ll find you have to be creative at times to get your message across in 140 characters or less.
Actually, you will want it to be shorter than that a lot of the times so that others can “re-tweet” and perhaps comment on your tweets. When that happens, your message is getting more exposure.
It’s okay to toot your own horn from time to time in your tweets, but try to make sure your Twitter stream isn’t a constant barrage of sales pitches. Also, make sure to actively keep an eye on your messages. You may receive private messages via Twitter’s “Direct Message” system, or you may receive a public tweet when someone includes your Twitter handle in a tweet.
You should respond in kind when appropriate — which is often! Twitter provides a tremendous platform for people to engage with others and have conversations. Always keep in mind that Twitter is a conversational tool, not a one-way onslaught of your promotional tweets.
What to Tweet About
Once you’re on Twitter and connected with your target audience, there’s plenty of things that you could tweet about.
Here are some ideas:
•Links to your blog posts
•Links to your video or audio offerings
•Links to other online information (stats, blog posts, news articles, videos, etc.) that you feel is relevant and useful to your followers
•Company announcements – from employee of the month to hitting your latest sales goal
•What you are currently working on
•What you are currently reading
•Events you are attending or organizing
•Retweet other tweets to cultivate relationships and help disseminate useful information
•Answers to questions that relate to your business, products/services
•Ask questions and invite commentary
Basic Tips – What’s Next
These are just a few of the basic tips that can help put someone on the path to Twitter success. I have a lot more that I could share, I promise!
For those advanced users of Twitter, I will share more in-depth tips in a future post on this space.
In the meantime, I’d love to invite you to connect with me on Twitter! You can find me tweeting throughout the day at Twitter.com/JohnFoleyJr!
By John Foley
Read more from The Digital Nirvana: http://thedigitalnirvana.com/2012/08/twitter-basics-to-grow-your-business/.