Cynthia Johnson is the Director of Brand Development for AAC Holdings, Inc. She was managing partner and Director of Marketing for RankLab, which was acquired by acquired by AAC Holdings, Inc. in July 2015. Cynthia is the Editorial Director for Social Media Club, and columnist for Entrepreneur, Search Engine Journal, Business2Community and many other publications. She is also an author and a public speaker.
It seems like every article about marketing today says that you should use as many social media platforms as possible to get the word out about your company and engage with your audience. However, depending on your audience and how you work with them, using some social media platforms could actually be hurting you. I'm a huge Twitter fan and have become very successful at marketing both myself and my business on Twitter.
Through over 9,000 tweets, I've learned a few things. Over the past year, I went from someone who liked Twitter to someone who lives on Twitter. This helps me realize what people are doing correctly and what people are doing incorrectly. Some brands are making mistakes that are destroying their image online.
- You rarely tweet. Don't have a social media account if you are not going to use it. Your audience may actually discover you and then wonder why you are not providing any information on your Twitter feed. Their conclusion may be that you are a non-functioning business or you are just not interested in engaging with them. If you can't find someone to assist you with social media content development and tweet at least once a day, then Twitter is not for you.
- You're in an industry where your audience doesn't follow or care about Twitter. Depending on the industry you're in, some business segments have audiences that don't even use Twitter. They may use another social media platform or prefer traditional media. It is up to you to understand where they are and how they want to receive information. If you're part of that rare industry that is not on Twitter, then you're wasting your time by using it.
- You don't deliver relevant content for your audience. Your focus needs to be on helping your audience by giving them content that's digestible and "tastes good" so they come back for more. It should be related to what you do and offer relevant information so they can make the connection that you're the expert and that they should buy from your company. It's good to include industry news that also shows you're up to date with industry trends. If you can't do that, then don't use Twitter.
- You never respond to comments posted on your Twitter page. Twitter is an engagement tool. If you don't respond to comments, your audience will go elsewhere to seek out a conversation -- most likely with your competition. It's better not to have a presence than be on Twitter and communicate information to your audience but ignore them.
- You don't collect or analyze data about your audience. Twitter provides a wealth of data about your audience, including what tweets get the most attention, who they are, and who else they are following. If you are not using this market intelligence, you shouldn't even be on Twitter. It's a wasted opportunity and you are better suited for traditional media.
- You're only trying to sell something. No one wants to know that you're selling something. They're on Twitter and other social media platforms to get information that helps them, makes their life easier and solves a particular problem. Sure, your product or service probably does that for them, but you don't have to state that directly. Instead, offer useable content that they can take away and learn from, use or share with others. If you're going to unleash a sales pitch or gimmicks, you shouldn't be using Twitter.
- You don't link it to your website or don't have one. The point of a social platform like Twitter is to drive traffic to your website. So if you don't link back to your website or your website doesn't work correctly or is not functional, you shouldn't be tweeting up a storm. Don't create a Twitter profile until you have paved a pathway to direct traffic to your website.
- You don't know how to separate business from personal. Just as vital as keeping personal financials separate from business financials is the need to keep personal drama off of your business Twitter page. It's not the place to complain, and it doesn't serve as your soapbox to discuss political issues. Your target audience can see what you are posting and responding to. So if you're looking to build your brand, consider having a separate Twitter account for your business.
- You're a local business rather than one with a national presence. Twitter tends to be ideal for companies that have a national and even international presence. It isn't necessarily focused on serving small businesses, such as local service people and restaurants that are only known or have a solution for a very niche audience. If you're using Twitter but are local in scope, you may not be best connecting to your target audience. However, other social media like Facebook sites might work.
- You don't get how it works. If a hashtag completely confuses you or you're not quite sure how you add people or follow others, it might be a sign that you just don't get Twitter. It's probably safer if you just avoid it and focus on a social media platform that makes the most sense to you.