While it’s not the biggest social media network – that title still belongs to Facebook – Twitter has more than 300 million active users worldwide. That’s not a number you can just ignore. So, with that in mind, is Twitter good for business?
The answer: it’s complicated.
There are many, many ways in which Twitter can actually help your business grow and flourish. In fact, it almost seems like an oddity if your business ISN’T on Twitter. Some companies might stick with Facebook or LinkedIn, which both have value in their own right. Leaving Twitter out of the equation, though, isn’t good for your business’s social media plan.
With that being said, using Twitter can also create nightmare scenarios for your business. As you’re probably well aware, once something goes online, no matter how hard you try, there’s no real way to delete it forever. So, if someone at your business slips up and tweets something extremely inappropriate from your business account thinking they were posting on their personal account, well, you’re going to have a long road ahead of you.
For all good things, there are inevitably bad things. So, is Twitter good for business? Here are five reasons why it is, and five ways it can hurt your business.
One-on-One with Customers
One of the great things about Twitter is that it is instant communication. You have a direct audience with your business’s followers to post just about anything you like. Of course, it helps to have a social media plan in place so that you’re not posting wild and random things all the time, but it’s still a good place to post all kinds of things.
The benefit here is that you do have a one-on-one connection with your customers and clients, both current and potential. You can ask questions to your followers, get feedback, hear what they have to say, and reply to their messages. Whenever your business can come across as more “human” and less like a corporate machine, the better it’ll be.
Get Your Brand Out There
Your business’s brand means everything. It’s what you are as a company. With Twitter, you have a platform to talk about your brand to as many followers as you have, plus some that might do searches if you use the right hashtags.
McDonald’s is one of many companies which use Twitter to promote its brand, as well as its latest promotions. They never have to ask is Twitter good for business because the results speak for themselves. Note the number of followers and likes shown above.
Again, having a social media plan in place is good, but you need to make sure everyone in your company who has any interaction with Twitter (or Facebook, or any other social media channel) fully understands your brand, your message, and your vision. If someone posts something that counters your brand or your message, Twitter users will let you know about. If you remember anything, remember this: It is a terrible feeling to have your company go viral for the wrong reasons.
Marketing Your Way
As long as you don’t violate the Twitter Rules, your company can post just about anything. That can be both liberating and scary. Let’s focus on the liberating side for now. With a social media plan in place, you can come up with great post ideas a month in advance – time enough to have the ideas, work with them, and tweak them, all before you ever post them on Twitter.
This is marketing your way. Twitter is a free channel for all – even though you can pay to promote your posts – and your company gets to decide the narrative it wants to tell. These posts can focus on the strength of your business, the core values, and even what makes your company unique.
Remember, though, with great power comes great responsibility. Make sure you think about what you’re posting before you actually post it. Ask yourself, “Does this post portray an accurate representation of my business?” If the answer’s no, then you need to go back to the drawing board before you hit the “Tweet” button.
The Increasing SEO Value
There are some who say social media really doesn’t have much effect on the SEO value of your company’s website. Just a quick explanation of why SEO (search engine optimization) is important – if your company’s website, and all the pages that make up the website, are rich in SEO, it will rank higher when someone searches for services you provide on Google, Bing, or other search engines.
As it turns out, your social media posts are having more of an impact on your SEO than previously thought. After some research, it’s been shown that if you post links to blog posts from your website on Twitter as soon as you publish them, it helps search engines pick up the new blog posts faster. It also helps to have a few people in your company posting those links as well. If people in the Twitterverse retweet it, even better.
This is great for your business not only for increased SEO value, but the links to new blog posts will drive people back to your website.
Meet and Connect with New People
It’s not the easiest thing to meet and connect with new people. With a business, it can be even harder. Depending on what type of business you have, there’s a chance you don’t have much in the way of interaction with people who aren’t your employees.
Twitter gives you the opportunity to meet new people and connect with them. Once you’ve established your brand on Twitter, users will most likely look over your past posts to see what your company is all about. At that point, they might reach out to your business to find out more information.
This is also a great time to encourage interaction. Twitter now gives you the opportunity to add polls to your tweets, so you can ask people to vote on things that will give you insight into what they’re thinking. This research can be extremely valuable for your business – and it didn’t cost your company anything to do it.
Posting the Unfortunate
One of the bad things about Twitter is that it is instant communication (sound familiar?). While it’s great to instantly connect with all your company’s potential customers and clients on Twitter, that connection can also create of firestorm of trouble, instantly. This will definitely make you question is Twitter good for business.
A cursory search on any search engine for “Twitter business fails” will give you links upon links of “embarrassing” and “epic” Twitter posts that will stick with those businesses forever. As mentioned earlier, all it takes is one little mistake, one person posting on your company’s Twitter account when they thought they were posting on their personal account, and that’s it.
While these “fail” links provide a range of emotions to Twitter users (KitchenAid apologized many, many times to President Obama in 2012 after the above was posted during the presidential debates), they become nothing but nightmares for the companies.
Sure, you can delete the tweet, but once someone sees it, all they have to do is screencap it and it’s out of your hands at that point. All you can do is apologize for whatever was posted and vow to be more careful from here on.
The damage is done, though. Depending on how bad the post was, it could mean not only losing potential customers and clients, but the customers and clients you already have.
Twitter is a great way to get your business out there, as we talked about with branding. You want to post tweets about your company, your brand, and the values of your business. The key word you need to remember for your company here: moderation.
Think about a lunch meeting, or even a dinner with friends, where someone would not stop talking about themselves – what they’ve been doing, what award they just received, where they’re going on vacation, how great their children are, how great they’re doing overall, etc. Do you remember enjoying that meal? No, of course not. The same is true with Twitter.
You want to promote your business, but you don’t want to do it so your tweets fill a person’s timeline with posts that only talk about the greatness of your business over and over many times a day. Yes, your company is great and you can let people know that, but again, moderation. Mix in other posts, such as links to your company’s blog or an inspirational photo with a good quote on it.
Constant tweets promoting the greatness of your business come across the same way people see spam emails. If that happens, they will unfollow you.[tweetthis]Constant tweets promoting the greatness of your business come across the same way people see spam emails.[/tweetthis]
Infrequent Twitter Postings
This is why having a social media plan is practically a must when it comes to social media marketing. If you created a Twitter account for your business with the idea of posting maybe four times a month, that’s simply not going to work.
Because it is such an instant network, there are millions upon millions of tweets posted every day. If your business doesn’t have a schedule to post something on Twitter at the very least three times a week, your social media marketing attempts will fail.
There are several websites, such as Hubspot, Buffer, and Hootsuite, that allow you to schedule posts, so you can upload an entire month’s worth of posts and schedule them. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still post when you want or need to, especially if a good hashtag is trending, but if you forget to post something one day, this keeps your Twitter page looking fresh and active.
If Twitter users see that you’re not active on social media, they won’t follow you.
Absolutely No Personality
Social media allows everyone to be social, even though they’re behind a computer, phone, or tablet. Some tweets are serious, while others give people a good chuckle. The businesses that are the most successful on Twitter are the ones with personality.
You have to be careful with this one, though. While no one has any interest in following a company on Twitter that comes across as robotic and boring, your company needs to carefully craft what type of personality to have, and then stick with it.
Some companies, such as Starbucks and McDonald’s, have crafted a personality that comes across as sincere, relevant, and human. Several companies find success in humor. What all of these companies have in common, though, is that they post often and they respond quickly to questions and comments from other Twitter users.
When coming up with a Twitter personality for your company, go back to your brand messaging. What makes your company unique? What makes up your company’s values? Think about your target audience and how they would respond to different types of tweets.
Follow Everyone on Twitter
This is a very common misconception not only with businesses, but with people in general. Somewhere in the back of your mind, you thought to yourself if your company followed a lot of people, they would probably follow you back and everything would balance out.
It never works that way. Instead, the little line under your company’s Twitter bio will read “Following: 18,567. Followers: 12.” If you were to come across a business that followed that many, but had just a handful of followers, how likely are you to want to read more of what that company had to say on Twitter? Probably not very likely.
Ideally, you always want to have a higher number of followers than those your business is following. Even if it’s a small number to start, that’s OK. As your business becomes more active on Twitter, you should see the number of followers increase. Think about following like-minded businesses, or even individuals who share the same values as your business.
Remember, this is a balancing act. When starting out, try to keep your company’s followers/following numbers pretty close. Eventually, as those follower numbers pick up, you won’t have to worry about this anymore.
So, Is Twitter Good for Business? It’s OK to Look for Help
When you ask yourself “Is Twitter good for business,” you can understand now why it’s really fairly complicated. Sadly, it doesn’t stop with Twitter. If you want to see success for your business using any social media platform, there are a lot of things that are required – time, energy, and an understanding of what’s best to post on each platform.
At this point, it might seem like a very daunting task. You could very well be thinking it’s not worth it for your company to deal with all this and that it’s best to move on. Before you decide to make a mistake by completely tossing the idea of using social media for your business, know there is help out there for you.
At New North, we understand your worries and frustration because we’ve seen it many times before. We’ve worked with businesses just like yours to create and maintain social media accounts through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more. Our social media experts understand the importance of using these channels to deliver your company’s message, and know the best ways of doing so.