How to Make Use of Your Stagnant Business Twitter Account

I remember when Twitter was a new thing. “twttr” as it was then known. Such promise in a world where text messaging was becoming a norm, more than a call. Texting is still the most preferred contact method today to reach people important to you. So why is a public form of such a medium not totally on fire? Well, it kind of is; you are maybe just not part of the tribe circling it yet!

Once you get beyond the basics of using Twitter, it can be quite a handy resource, that is personalized for your use.

Today, I hear many business owners say,

my customers are not on Twitter, how would using it benefit me?

I will say that there is not much for immediate gratification to a bottomline like search marketing, or other ad-based means of reaching your clients and customers, but let’s look at some reasons you can still find value in your Twitter profile, beyond just pulling in leads.

Customer Service

As a public commuter here in Portland, it is vital to know how bogged the system might be for me to get to and from work. @TriMet will tweet out delays to give the best up-to-the-minute information and also inform bus and train riders of closures on holidays.

What you can take from this is that you can use it as an announcement or bulletin board for issues concerned with the service you provide. Think about a way you can bridge to your customer service hotline, or even alleviate some of the calls they receive.

@NikeSupport, @UPSHelp, @WeightWatchers are a few Twitter accounts to check out that really do well on real-time customer service. Note, Nike and UPS also have main accounts also, and these are just for customer service issues.

Critical Thought: How can I add value to my offering with Twitter?

Customer Research

Sure, now I know you’re thinking,

I am no Nike, Ryan!

I get it, many of our of the websites I have worked are in skilled trades. They are contractors who need leads, or work one-man shows needing traffic to their site continuously.

In organic SEO, many times we find that the hottest pages on our partner’s websites are not always the homepage or services pages. It is often blog posts or deeper pages on the site that attract the most new visitors. They land on them from doing very specific searches, called “long-tail” queries. Twitter is a great place to do research on what your client-base specifically wants or could be better off using your service.

Design, fashion, style are all changing and affect many industries. Look for topic ideas in remodeling hashtags, or maybe interior design, to help spruce up your content for more search traffic. Yes, even the more “staple” industries like P&C insurance and financial planning have fun topics and ideas galore on Twitter!

The larger, and more niche focused your website’s footprint is on the Internet, the larger net you have to catch those leads. Take it a step further, share your blog posts on Twitter to see how they perform topically. By measuring retweets and likes of tweets, you can see which topics are of concern to your target audience.

You can further boil topics down through your blog, and create a knowledge base overtime on a topic. Just the catalyst for first page rankings in search!

Critical Thought: What are issues in my industry that perplex my customers and buyers?

Sentiment Analysis

I am not much for politics, but it is easy to get a read on public opinion from Twitter. Taking a sentiment analysis is simply taking a read on how a topic affects people emotionally.

  • What triggers people to think certain ways?
  • What topics do people like?
  • What do they hate?
  • What do they have the most questions about?

The answers to those questions are the gold you search! It is a step beyond topic research from our previous example, looking at how they feel about something. Either way, the more sentiment something has, the more topical it is, the more traffic you can reap from its mention.

Luckily, the nice folks at North Carolina State University wanted to know more about it too, and built this handy tool you can use to get a read on aggregate tweets based on keyword search. It pretty much takes the process of reading an unimaginable amount of tweets and getting a read on how the topic is loved/hated by the population of tweeters and gives you a nice graph. You can also get many other types of analyses.

It may not be every customer, in every instance, but does give a great overview for back pocket knowledge. What you wish you could get more traffic from in search may not be everyone’s favorite concern. Find a way to align your offering to what people are favoring.

Critical Thought: What “feelings” arise in people when thinking about my business, industry or topic?

Competitive Research

A former employer of mine once said, “the way you treat people is the only competitive advantage a business can truly have”, and it is oh-so-true. Finding out the difference in what you do and what they do is what you want to know.

Now, giving a competitor a “like” on Facebook sort of throws the snooping flag in the air. They pretty much see their competitor stick their head in and start taking notes on their operation when they look in their Facebook dashboard and see you! Most of it is ego-driven though I believe. That is to say, it irks you to put the thumbs up on their business fanpage.

You could opt-in to a newsletter, but again, you are throwing out a paper trail back to you. What you want is to subscribe to their brand without the big red flag, am I right?

So try making a private Twitter list for this specific purpose.

The list will have any “members” news feed fed right into it, and when set to private, they will never know they were added, nor that every tweet has been recorded. How’s that for sneaky, sneaky?! Often times, you can see whom your competitor is actively tweeting with as well.

Personally, I have found many bloggers and webmasters this way that you can work with on your own link building efforts! It is a part of SEO that matters a lot on who you know, more than what you know 😉

Critical Thought: What is my competitor really doing that is setting them apart?

Networking

Pretty much teed me up for this one, but while you are out there finding out more about your customers and competitors you will find others doing the same thing! Those interested in the same subjects, doing similar research, finding similar answers. You are likely looking for the same kind of customer, in a setting where both of you are satisfying the same result.

One classic example I always use to illustrate this is the realtor and mortgage broker relationship. Both searching for the same client base, in the same buying stage, but in no way competing directly for business. Heck, they rely on one another! The realtor has the right home for the right budget, and vice versa, the mortgage broker can find the right financing for the best home possible.

If you are familiar with LeTip and Business Network International (BNI) as a networker, think about it as a similar referral system, only online in a real-time setting. It is just that finding those people is in searching through the right hashtags.

Often times the hashtag is what is known as a “tweetchat”, where people gather on Twitter, usually during a specific time of the day during the week to discuss a topic. Here is a tweetchat resource where you can find topics you can be a subject matter expert on.

I take part in #SEOchat to stay up on trends, find perplexing answers and talk shop with other SEOs. Here I am discussing things I have done for clients in the earlier years, in terms of SEO tactics, that have paid off in the long-run.

Critical Thought: Who could I befriend and partner with for win-win scenarios and less leg work?

Sure, Twitter might never be that direct link between your buyer’s need and satisfying it, but there sure are many indirect benefits it plays in your search marketing. The total value can almost become astronomical when you stop to just write out the possibilities!

How can I offer better or more valuable service at a nominal cost?

How can I really get into my customer’s heads?

How do people feel about my products and services?

Why my competitor is beating me out?

How can I not feel alone on this island?

Answers to those questions are gold to any business owner and Twitter may just have them for you!

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