I’m thinking about starting a corporate Twitter account. What steps do I need to consider before creating an account?
By Jennifer Manocchio
Twitter can be a great tool to engage customers and prospects with your brand. However, a lot of corporate Twitter accounts have crashed and burned mostly because the focus was too self-promotional.
The key to Twitter (or any social media site) is ENGAGEMENT. In order to effectively engage your customers and prospects, it takes some thought and strategic planning. To help you get started in the right direction, consider these five questions prior to starting a Twitter account.
1. What are your goals? Be sure to document what you hope to achieve by starting a Twitter account. Do you want to increase brand awareness, increase engagement with current customers, increase web site traffic, increase sales? This will help you determine what the content focus should be and provide a way to measure the success of this marketing tool.
2. Who will be Tweeting? Determine who the “face” of Twitter will be. For example, Zappos features CEO Tony Hsieh and Aflac features the Aflac Duck. The Aflac Duck works because he has a following and it is fun to see what the duck is up to (his latest post: “The best part of working in a nineteen story building? Paper airplanes that, with the proper counterweight, can near Mach 1”). Tony Hsieh’s Twitter page is successful because people want some insight into how and why he is so successful. He currently boasts 1.6 million followers!
Consider who at your company people would want to follow on Twitter. Does someone within the company already have credibility established or have good name recognition within your industry? Is there a fictional character associated with your brand that people care about and would engage with (i.e the Geico Gecko)?
3. What is the content focus? A Twitter account will be successful if the content is something your followers or prospective followers want or if the content creates an opportunity for engagement, or two-way conversation. It could be coupons or new promotions specific to Twitter followers, customer service support, direct tweets to answer product use questions, retweets (RT) that highlight viewpoints of a loyal customer or tips on how to make their lives easier. However, avoid too many news releases and company blog links. Too much self-promotion will only steer people away from your Twitter account.
Jet Blue is a great example of a successful Twitter account. It currently has 1.6 million followers because they have established a page (http://twitter.com/JETBLUE) focused on answering customer’s questions. In fact, I only saw one promotional post in the last week!
4. How much time will you commit? Sure social media can be an inexpensive way to reach customers and prospects on the surface (the account is free); however, consider how many hours a day or week you want to devote to Twitter. If you decide to use Twitter as a customer service function, you will likely need full-time staff.
It is important to establish a time investment to help ensure your Twitter account is updated regularly, but also that it is not consuming too much of your time.
5. How will you measure success? As with every marketing and public relations strategy, you want to establish metrics for measuring the success of Twitter. Certainly the number of followers is one easy way to measure the success; however, consider measuring how many people went to your web site from Twitter, how many people downloaded a coupon or participated in a special promotion, how many people are tweeting about your brand and the context (positive, negative, neutral) of the posts.
Need help establishing your Twitter account or want to increase your followers and level of engagement? Contact me at jennifer at sweeneypr.com or 910.772.1688.