Why Social Media?
In recent years, social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have dramatically changed how businesses do their marketing. Such sites provide an inexpensive way to reach out to their customers and target markets.
“Imagine walking into a room filled with people who are potentially interested in your product and/or service?
Twitter in particular appears to be ideal to businesses due to its simple and direct methods of communication. However, in order to properly take advantage of this resource, businesses have to know how to engage their customers, both to get their customers to follow them to discover any updates that the business wishes to publicize and get their existing followers to help market the company through Twitter.
Twitter functions through a system called ‘tweeting.’ Each twitter account may make any number of tweets, so long as each of them is one hundred forty characters or fewer. Each tweet is seen by everyone ‘following’ that Twitter account.
As a result, if a business gets people to follow it on Twitter, every time it wishes to publicize something to its base, it needs to only write a short message and everyone following the business’s Twitter account will see the Tweet. Users may also Retweet messages, typically including the tag of the Twitter account from which the message originated.
Building a Targeted Following (Captive Audience)
Naturally, the first step of any small business in utilizing Twitter is to get people to follow the company’s twitter account. While some customers are genuinely interested in following the business to see what news it has to share, most won’t bother unless an incentive for following is provided.
One of the more common practices to get followers on Twitter is to tweet deals, often involving the use of a code/offer that only Twitter followers would see. A second method is to offer direct incentives to customers for following, such as a gift certificate or a similar prize. Because every Twitter account can see who all of its followers are, it is easy for companies to host lotteries from among its followers. A business that properly advertises such a reward can easily get a large number of interested customers to follow it.
Twitter & Social Media Engagement
Once a company has acquired a number of followers, it can then use Twitter to market itself to them. The most basic way of doing so is to release news regarding the company’s products to its Twitter account. As one of the basic goals of marketing is to spread word of the product being marketed, writing tweets about each of the company’s new products becomes a cheap way to inform many of the customers about the upcoming product.
Because they are already following the company on Twitter, it is likely that they will be interested in it once they know about it. New sales announced on Twitter can not only engage the customers already following the company, they can also attract new customers as the company’s followers Retweet the news of the sale, informing all of their followers about it as well.
While providing information to the existing customer base is already extremely useful, Twitter is especially powerful as a marketing tool because of the way that news of the company’s Twitter page can be spread by its followers. By awarding prizes for Tweeting about a company or Retweeting a company’s Tweet, a small business can encourage its followers to advertise the business for them. As a result, once a base of followers is established, it is possible to leverage this group to gain more followers and subsequently more customers.
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