Author: Kipp Bodnar is Inbound Marketing Strategist at HubSpot, the inbound marketing software leader that helps businesses with lead generation and lead management and co-author of The B2B Social Media Book.
When Twitter started in 2006 it was a platform for technologists to communicate with each other in a quick and easy method.
Five years later that has all changed.
With more than 200 million users and 1.6 billion searches per day Twitter has become one of the largest and most successful social networks in the world. Everyone from the President to small business owners to CEOs now use Twitter to share with their communities everyday.
How can businesses use Twitter? The answer is much more varied than you would expect. Twitter is a social media tool that has extensive business applications. Lets take a look at some expected and maybe some unexpected way to leverage Twitter’s data and community for your business.
1. Customer Service – Call centers and online chats can be good for customer service questions, but what about the quick questions that customers don’t want to have to sit on hold in order to get answered? Enter Twitter. Many companies including Comcast and Jetblue have been able to effectively use Twitter for answer customer concerns.
2. Lead Generation – You have to eat. This means generating lead and revenue from your social media marketing efforts. Twitter can be a great source for lead generation. Share blog posts, ebooks and webinars with your Twitter community. Make sure you are using landing pages to collect leads for registrations to your webinar and ebooks.
3. Market Research – Research has always been a marketers best friend. Sometimes you need an in depth market research project. Other times you need less information but you need it fast. This is where Twitter comes into play. Asking questions to your Twitter community can be great free way to gain some insight on an issue.
4. Trade Show Marketing – Every marketer wants their trade show booth to be a hit. Use online communication to drive offline interactions. You the conference hashtag in your tweets and promote offline gatherings and contests on your Twitter account to raise awareness of around your efforts on the trade show floor.
5. Sales Enablement – The more information a sales person can gather about a lead the more qualified of a conversation they can have. By including Twitter profile data in your marketing database and your customer relationship management software, you can provide your sales team with recent tweets from their leads. This helps them to build trust faster and close the deal.
6. Message Testing – When you are sending out a big email promotion or working on wording for a presentation you want to make sure that you are framing your message correctly. Let Twitter helps. Come up with several option and use retweets and clicks to determine which version of the message resonated the most with your audience.
7. Building an Email Marketing List – Email marketing is still a major channel. make sure to sharing ways for Twitter followers to join your email list in an effort of increasing the chances that you can convert them into lead for your business.
8. Search Engine Optimization – Social media will only get more and more important in search engine optimization. Bing for example has a deal with Twitter to display data in its search engine and also uses Twitter data in its ranking algorithm. B sure to use the keywords from your search engine optimization strategy in your tweets to help ensure search engines understands your core areas of expertise.
9. Understanding Trends – If you are a local or regional business it can be important to understand what is hot and top of mind in your area. You can use this information to come up with creative promotions and offers. Twitter’s local trending topics can provide interesting insight into what your area is talking about right now!
10. Reducing Sales Cycles – Lead nurturing isn’t just for email. With a behavior based marketing automation system you can send personalized Twitter messages to leads to provide information that can move them through the sales cycle faster and reduce the length of the cycle.
11. Business Development – Business development is often about making connections and getting introductions. Twitter can help with this. Need a contact at a company? Try asking your Twitter followers: “Can someone introduce me to the [Insert Postion] at [Insert Company]?”
12. Customer Retention – Retaining existing customers is important to the long-term health of your business. Sometimes though unhappy customers won’t directly communicate their problems. Use Twitter Search to monitor terms related to your business to help spot unhappy customers and solve their problems.
13. Public Relations – Many journalists use Twitter. Use JournalistTweets.com to find journalists in your industry on Twitter. Instead of sending them worthless pitch emails, begin to build a relationship with these journalists on Twitter to gain media coverage.
14. Competitive Research – Twitter has some of the best application programing interfaces (APIs) on the web and data on the service is public to all users by default. This makes it easy to pullout valuable information. Use a Twitter client like Hootsuite to monitor keywords about your competitors and gather information about them.
15. Growing Other Social Media Communities – Make sure to cross promote your Facebook and LinkedIn company pages on your Twitter account. Provide an opportunities for fans of your business to engage with your business on their preferred network.
This is by no means ALL of the ways you can use Twitter for business, but it is a solid start.
What would you add to this list?
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