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Webucator's Free Twitter Tutorial

Lesson: Twitter

Welcome to our free Twitter tutorial. This tutorial is based on Webucator's Twitter Training course.

In this lesson, you will learn how Twitter can be part of your overall marketing strategy.

Lesson Goals

  • Learn about using Twitter for branding purposes.
  • Learn about using Twitter for sales opportunities.
  • Learn about using Twitter for SEO benefits.
  • Learn about using Twitter for support and customer service functions.
  • Learn about setting up an internal Twitter policy.
  • Learn about tools, services, and management.
  • Learn about tracking activity and results from using Twitter.

Twitter for Branding

Twitter is very much like a text message. You have only 140 characters for each message, or tweet. You will need to decide if, how and how much you want to engage in Twitter. A few considerations for your company brand:

  1. Do you want to be a responsive company on Twitter so customers know they can connect with your company with their questions or concerns?
  2. How will you actively engage clients on Twitter in a way that builds your brand identity?
  3. What will be the focus of your account? Will you touch on a diverse range of topics, including content from outside sources or focus more on promoting only your latest internal content?

You can use Twitter to disseminate information as well as to engage with your followers. Take a look at the screenshot below from AT&T's Twitter page. As you read through the tweets below, consider which demonstrate sales, customer support, or branding opportunities:

In the screenshot, you can see that AT&T spends time on Twitter interacting with customers, responding to their concerns, and promoting some of their latest content.

Another example is from Nickelback. See the screenshot below:

The band's Twitter account is almost solely designed for responding to tweets in which they are mentioned. They even respond to negative tweets. We'll talk about this more soon.

One last engagement example is the use of the Twitter hashtag. The hashtag, #, provides a way for your company to involve itself into relevant discussion threads.

Hashtags.org provides this definition of the resource: The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark a keyword or topic in a Tweet. Any user can categorize or follow topics with the Hashtags service.

Hashtags are used for both related discussion topics, as seen in some of the examples in the screenshot below, and also at events. In both cases, many Twitter users will use searches as well as tools like hashtag.org that allow them to view and participate in their desired hashtag discussions.

It is a good idea to include the hashtag symbol whenever you use a popular "word" that is relevant to your brand. Here is an example from Webucator's Twitter account highlighting the use of hashtags:

Developing Tweets

Duration: 15 to 25 minutes.

In this exercise, you will design a few original tweets for your company.

Write three tweets for your company, promoting the latest product or service offering. In doing this, you may want to:

  1. Look for hashtags on hashtag.com or use the Twitter search function to find conversations that are relevant to your product or service. Try to find an opportunity to respond to someone else's tweet.
  2. In the Twitter search field, type @ + your company's Twitter handle. See who has recently mentioned your company in a tweet and write a response to one of the tweets.
  3. Include a call-to-action in your tweet. You can ask a question and encourage users to respond, post a link to a recent blog post, share a photo and ask for feedback on it, etc.

Solution:

Let's look at one tweet as a possible, positive example of developing a tweet. Take a look at the screenshot below from Best Buy's Twitter account.

This is a good example to consider for a few reasons:

  • The tweet highlights an engaging picture to draw your attention.
  • The make use of the hashtag, #CollegeTech, to encourage others to join in the conversation
  • And this is an example of a "promoted tweet", so they are paying to feature this message as well.

Take some time and develop some upcoming tweets for your brand. And have some fun!

Twitter for Sales

From a sales perspective, there are several main opportunities:

  1. Simply promote your latest company offerings through your tweets (make sure you tag your links).
  2. Search Twitter for customers who have pain points that match your company offers and respond to them with an offer.
  3. Host a Twitter-only promotional deal for your followers.
  4. Use the advertising tools to get your product noticed.

Promote Your Products and Services

Once you've built an audience on Twitter, you can send out messages about your newest products, which might get retweeted by your followers. Consider the following examples:

Responding to Users' Needs

Users will often use Twitter to share pain points. Check out the screenshot below, found from a Twitter search using the keywords "best cell phone.":

In the example, this Twitter user is looking for new cell phone providers. This is just one example of a perfect opportunity for a cell phone carrier to respond with some information on why their company is the best and provide a special offer to this potential customer.

What are some terms that you could search for that might result in similar opportunities for your company?

Twitter Exclusives

To build your Twitter following and encourage purchases, you might want to consider Twitter-only offers, which are publicized only through Twitter. Consider the following example:

The bit.ly link takes you to this page:

Twitter Advertising

In the above example, the California Wine Club not only offered a Twitter-only deal, they promoted it using the "promoted tweet" function. When searching for "Twitter deal," which is a popular search term, California Wine Club's tweet always comes up on top.

Twitter also offers opportunities for promoted trends and promoted accounts in their "Who to follow" sidebar box.

Twitter for SEO

Twitter is not likely to play a key role in your SEO strategy. If you publish a tweet that contains a link and it gets retweeted by a lot of "authoritative" Twitter users (users with a lot of followers), the linked page may show up better in search results, but this kind of thing doesn't happen often.

Twitter for Support

For customer service and support, there are two considerations:

  1. Do you want to respond to customer support-related questions and issues? If so, a policy would need to be designed so all employees know the proper way to address these tweets.
  2. Do you want to spend the time to search on Twitter for users posting about support-related issues and take the initiative to directly respond to them?

Some larger companies have found Twitter a good tool for providing support and have even set up specific support-orientated Twitter accounts. See the example below from AT&T's support account.

An important consideration for posting on Twitter is the tendency to post quickly without considering the implications or to respond differently from how you would if you were speaking to the customer face-to-face. Consider the following customer complaint:

An employee initially responded with:

After a backlash, the company tweeted:

Why do you think this series of tweets received so much attention?

Twitter Policy

When we look at policy for Twitter, the same considerations as we discussed for other platforms are important.

  1. Point-of-Contact: Your company should determine one person or a team internally who can handle all of Twitter interaction.
  2. Content: Your company should determine a policy stating which employees post on behalf of the company, so there is no confusion on who can represent the company's interests. This should also include a policy on whether or not employees are allowed to respond to posts through their personal accounts.
  3. Comment Response: Your company should create a protocol on who responds to tweets and how negative tweets are handled. Some companies will not respond to negative tweets; others see negative tweets as opportunities to engage in a discussion that can change mindsets by posting and responding appropriately.

You may also wish to address how employees portray themselves on their personal Twitter accounts. In the example of the Price Chopper tweet, the employee responded to the negative comment from a personal Twitter account. Price Chopper also responded by contacting the customer's employer, Syracuse University. Consider the expectations you might like to set forth for employees who have personal Twitter accounts.

Tools, Services, and Management

There are numerous Twitter tools that are available to companies for their benefit.

Here are popular tools and services companies are currently using:

  1. When responding to any comments, you can use the @ sign to highlight a user's name. A notification will be sent to the user's account letting the user know that your company has responded to them.
  2. Many companies host contests on Twitter using apps such as WildFire Interactive. These applications allow users to enter the contest by tweeting and, as a result, share the contest with their friends and increase overall engagement.

From a management perspective, here are some considerations:

  1. Make sure you have a specific policy related to who can tweet on behalf of your company.
  2. Encourage employees to help provide content for tweets.
  3. Consider having employees develop their own Twitter presence outside of the corporate account. Many companies will ask employees to engage in conversation relevant to their industry and their work function. See the example from CNN:

Tracking Activity and Results

Results from Twitter can vary from company to company and from category to category. There are two measurements you'll want to focus on:

  1. How much traffic are you getting to your website from your tweets? Google Analytics will provide you this information, and we'll cover that more later on in the course.
  2. Are your calls-to-action working? If they are not, what can you do to change the engagement levels?

You can also track clicks by using a service like Bit.ly or Hootsuite. (Bit.ly is also a great tool for sharing links on Facebook, LinkedIn, or other social media networks.)

Group Discussion

Duration: 15 to 25 minutes.

In this exercise, you will discuss how your company can benefit from Twitter.

How would you use Twitter in your organization? Points to consider:

  1. Will you take advantage of the advertising opportunities?
  2. Does your company ever offer discounts? If so, would you consider a Twitter-only deal, or will your deals be universal?
  3. Will you offer any contests? If so, what kind of contest might you offer?
  4. Will you search for discussions related to your products and services?
  5. If you will be searching for discussions, will this be to encourage sales, deal with customer support issues, or both?
  6. How will individual employee accounts be managed?
  7. What is your company's current Twitter strategy? What could be added or changed?

Solution:

Developing your overall Twitter strategy make take some time, but the end result will be a cohesive strategy that will try and aid business engagement and growth. And, for some businesses, it may mean just various Twitter messages and strategies, to see which avenue works best for your target audience.

Let's look at two examples. First, consider the following screenshot from JetBlue.

In this promoted tweet, JetBlue is promoting a link to their TrueBlue badge program, so a promotional message. This example is mixed in with some of their more serious toned customer service tweets, so it appeals to those fans looking to interact with the brand in a fun way.

For a second example, lets look at a personal tweet complaining about Time Warner's service.

Now, this is a perfect opportunity for Time Warner (or any competitor) to search for negative tweets and take a responsive action. For example, in this specific example, Time Warner could send a tweet to this user, apologize for a possible negative customer support experience, and offer a solution. As suggested in previous activities, its usually best to take the conversation off of social media, so providing a different contact method could really help out and show your company as very proactive.

Take the time to test out your Twitter strategy and find the best way to engage your target audience!