To effectively build your brand support on Twitter, it’s important to remember that social media is all about multi-directional conversations, not about one-way blasting. So, think of it like being on an elevator. What would you want to say about you, or your company, as part of the conversation, knowing that your listener has the capacity to hit the door-open button if you get too self-centered? Here are some guidelines for brand building on Twitter.
Your Twitter User Name
If you haven’t yet started using Twitter at the very least set up a Twitter accounting with the user name you want because, like dot coms, the more popular Twitter becomes, the harder it will be to get the name of your choice. You can have more than one account/name, so if you can get your full personal name, your company and product names. One option is to use your company name (@nextdayflyers) and then use your personal bio and avatar.2 You can check if the name you want is available at Tweexchange (also checks for domain availability).
Your Brand Look and Feel
Your Twitter profile should match your other online branding efforts and the look of your Twitter page should feel (colors, logo, etc.)like your website and/or blog.
Person to Person1
People don’t talk to brands, they talk to people.1 This means avoid marketing jargon, be real and human. It’s good to put a real face on Twitter – as in, if you can have the same person take the lead on posting and responding to Twitter it helps. Embrace the concept of followers asking questions, commenting on likes and dislikes, and respond to them as you would in person.
Talk with the Influencers
If you spend a lot of time on Twitter you’ll start to notice the more talkative folk. If they have a good following, and like to talk about your company, think of them as “influencers.” You want to get to know them and start a conversation.
Give a Reason People should Follow You
Reward followers with specials, inside information, or other incentives.
Link Twitter to Your Website or Blog
If you have a blog you can link your blog to Twitter for automatic updates. Many blogging programs will do this or you can use Twitterfeed. Twitterfeed will also let you connect your feed to Facebook and some other social sites.
Share Industry News
Help to boost your reputation by Tweeting about industry information or valuable blog posts you’ve discovered.
Use the @Search Function
One of the great functions on Twitter for getting real time information (as in, what’s going on right now) is the search function in the right column. If you put in the @ symbol, and then your company name, you will see results of conversations about your company.
Should Your Automate?
There is a lot of debate on whether or not you should utilize tools that automate aspects of social media – such as an auto thank-you to new followers, or like Twitterfeed, mentioned above. Many companies have a hard time, or are unwilling to dedicate the resources required to keep their social media channels up to date. One option is to use auto responses and posting. We could argue the points here on whether or not it’s a good branding move to automate, but one thing is for certain – you cannot leave all your social media interactions to auto pilot or you are losing the whole social aspect of social media. If you use auto updates of say, your blog posts, be sure you are still actively posting – real person, real time, real responses.
If you’re interested in reading about whether to use auto Twitter tools, here is a Techipedia post discussing some of the issues with automation.