Many people look at social media with disdain: they view it as the gathering place for busybodies and teenagers, who do nothing but eavesdrop into other people’s lives and waste time. While social media is certainly excellent for time wasting (I use Instagram almost exclusively while waiting in lines or sitting in waiting rooms), and it’s entertaining to look into your friends’ lives, social media is so much more than that. Millions of people get their news from social media. Others use it to interact with long-distance friends and relatives they rarely get to see. And it can be an excellent tool for organizing events and group outings.
But for our purposes today, we’re going to talk about how great social media can be for your business. Regardless of how much you may dislike social media, it’s too powerful of a tool for you to ignore. And today, we’re going to discuss a social media site that inspires more disdain than most: Twitter. Because although Facebook has become the acceptable social media site for all ages (hence its billions of users), many still disregard Twitter. But I’m here to tell you that not only is Twitter a great social media platform, it’s also an excellent business tool.
The advantages of 140 characters
It’s easy to view Twitter’s 140-character limit as one of its weaknesses – after all, how impactful can you be in such short bursts? But it’s actually one of the platform’s greatest strengths. Because of the short nature of Tweets, you’re allowed to be more active on the site than others. Twitter allows businesses to repeat the same messaging at different times of the day, because the chances of the same people seeing it are small. And even if they do, they rarely get upset about it – if 140-characters isn’t that impactful, it’s also not that annoying.
An effortless outlet for promotion
The easiest way to use Twitter in the business setting is for promotion. Every time you have a new piece of content, you should provide links on your Twitter feed. Additionally, any sale or special promotion should be publicized on Twitter. We generally advise against using social media in a purely self-promotional fashion, but you can be a little more self-serving with Twitter – again, the 140-character limit makes your promotional efforts less annoying, and therefore more tolerable.
Interaction is freely embraced
Another advantage Twitter has is its culture of collaboration and interaction. Although all social media is rooted in this idea, no platform makes it as effortless and readily accepted as Twitter. Retweeting and replying to others is easy and very commonplace; in fact, celebrities and big names interact with complete strangers all the time. This would be viewed as strange and off putting on Facebook or LinkedIn, but it’s perfectly normal on Twitter.
What does this mean for your business? It means you can interact with anyone on Twitter, and likewise, they’ll interact with you. No business handles this better than Taco Bell, who is constantly retweeting fans and playfully bantering with them. Taco Bell’s ability to show a sense of humor improves the public image of its brand, and results in free publicity when those fans retweet and favorite Taco Bell’s Tweets.
Providing excellent customer service
Another advantage of Twitter’s interactivity: responding to customer complaints. Customers are regularly using social media to lash out or contact businesses they’re having issues with. By using this public setting to address problems, you’re visibly displaying your commitment to customer service, and possibly gaining some new fans in the process.
Additionally, frustrated customers might simply air their grievances about a company on Twitter, never expecting them to respond. If they mention your Twitter handle by name, you’ll be notified and can then surprise them with a response. This might save that customer for you, and again, shows your dedication to improving the customer experience.