Today we’re explaining theĀ 3 Mistakes Your Business is Making on Twitter below – and how you can fix them in less time than it takes to finish a blisteringly hot coffee.

Share this with EVERYONE you know that has ever been tasked with running a twitter account for a business – they’ll probably buy you a pint to say thanks. šŸ™‚

Mistake #1: You’re following your competitors, not your customers

I remember the first business Twitter account I was responsible for – a relatively small business (at the time), but with little or no presence on social media. Being the only person in the office under the age of 26, I was given the role by default – no one else would touch it. Even still, it felt like a bit of an honour to be granted the password and told to “go and do Twitter for us“.

I opened my browser, logged in to Twitter, and excitedly set about following everyone I could find in the same industry as us. I followed our competitors, I followed consultants that offered the same service, I followed training firms in our niche, I followed anyone who ever expressed any interest or experience in what our business offered.

Bored
“Nice tweets, Gary, REALLY entertaining.”

Turns out, I had inadvertently created a really rubbish version of an online industry conference.

It was honestly the most boring newsfeed I’ve ever seen, and there were very few opportunities to engage with others in conversation. Even if an opportunity did present itself, there was absolutely no point in replying to anyone – it would inevitably be ignored by others unwilling to give their competitor any credibility or publicity by responding back.

It had some plus sides though. It meant that I could see what sort of things our competitors were talking about, and I tried to set about mimicking them. But, no matter how well we were tweeting, it just went ignored.

It was, in short, a complete and unmitigated disaster.

I often wish I could go back to that first experience armed with what I know now. I would do things very differently, andĀ I’m going to share exactly how.

So, here are your action points from this section. Go and do these now:

  • Start with an understanding of who your potential customers are. If you run a cafĆ© in a small town, then your main customers will probably be residents of the town, people who work around your business, local groups and organisations. If you sell widgets to manufacturers, then your customers will include the manufacturers themselves, their employees, their directors, and purchasing departments. These may be harder to find on Twitter, but they’re still the people you want to reach. It’s better to follow 10 potential customers than 1000 people that will never purchase anything from you.
  • Find your potential customers, and follow them. If and when they follow you back, thank them – write each message personally. (We can heartily recommend the Altrincham Duck twitter account as an excellent example of this – the team that run this account make a point of thanking every follower with a hand-written message.)
  • Share interesting content with your followers. Be interesting for them. Add value to their newsfeed, and they will recognise and remember you – especially when it comes to deciding who to purchase from.
  • Engage with your followers. Make conversation, be sociable, and don’t be afraid to show a bit of personality.

Which leads us on to the second mistake…

Mistake #2: You’re not showing the human face of your business

Hands up if your profile pic is a logo.

Or, even worse, the dreaded “egg”.

Egg Face
Don’t be this guy. Look at his awful eggy face.

Yeah, yeah, we get it, there are loads of people out there telling you to use your logo as your profile pic. We’ve met them. It didn’t end well. “It’ll raise brand awareness!” they scream, “and it’ll get your brand KNOWN!!“, they sputter, their faces puce with indignant rage at the thought of revealing their identity to the world.

Well, here’s the thing, there are loads of ways to get your brand known on Twitter without making your account completely faceless and anonymous. You could use your cover pic to showcase your brand (like I do). You could add your logo as an overlay to your profile pic (like we do).

You could even – gasp – mention your brand name, website, and contact details in your twitter bio…………… (like we do).

 

In short, people like talking to other people – not to logos. Put your face out there, and see what happens. You’ll notice a difference, we promise.

What to do now:

  • Change your profile picture to one of your face. It looks lovely. You have a lovely face – show it off.
  • Change your cover image to one that shows off your branding and busines
  • Rewrite your Twitter biography to explain what you do, and how to get in touch with you.

You’re not finding valuableĀ opportunities to engage

OK, let’s get to one of the most valuable tips around.

Every day, there are people out there asking around for your services / products, just waiting to be approached. Are you monitoring twitter for any keywords that might reveal a potential lead?

Here’s a great example of what we mean, and how ourĀ accountant won our business despite being over 50 miles away.

Finding your first businessĀ accountant is a tricky taskĀ – firstly, you’re not sure exactly what you need, all the terminology is confusing, and you wouldn’t be able to identify a dividend if it walked up andĀ bit you on the arse.

So, you ask around. You ask friends. You put a post on Facebook. And you post a tweet saying something like “Can anyone recommend a good accountant in Manchester? Don’t know where to start! #HELP“.

Now, I’ll pause here to explain how this next bit works.

Some accountants are on Twitter, and might have seen this post by chance – but they’d have to have been following me, and looking at their news feed at the precise time I posted my cry for help, both of which are pretty unlikely. Some accountants, however, have set up an alert for something like the following search queries:

["recommend" AND "accountant*"]
["looking for" AND "accountant*"]
["need" AND "accountant*"]

(“That’s pretty smart, isn’t it? But how do I set that up??” – give us a shout and we’ll let you know šŸ˜‰ )

So, these smart accountants are alerted every time someone is asking around for an accountant. A pretty warm lead, if you ask me – and definitely one you want to know about. Right, back to our example.

Sure enough, we had three responses from accountants to our tweet. See if you can guess which one we chose:

[av_iconlist position=’left’ font_color=” custom_title=” custom_content=” color=” custom_bg=” custom_font=” custom_border=”] [av_iconlist_item title=’Reply 1′ link=” linktarget=” linkelement=” icon=’ue8f2′ font=’entypo-fontello’] “Yes, us.”
[/av_iconlist_item] [av_iconlist_item title=’Reply 2′ link=” linktarget=” linkelement=” icon=’ue8f2′ font=’entypo-fontello’] “I’m an accountant in Manchester.”
[/av_iconlist_item] [av_iconlist_item title=’Reply 3′ link=” linktarget=” linkelement=” icon=’ue8f2′ font=’entypo-fontello’] “Hey @ImpactGroupDT – we’re not in Manchester, but thought we’d throw our hat in the ring! Give me a shout on [MOBILE NUMBER] and let’s chat!”
[/av_iconlist_item] [/av_iconlist]

There was no contest, really. And it would be incredibly rude of me not to mention that the third reply came from the brilliant Jonathan Ford & Co in Liverpool – and I’m pleased to say that they’re just as brilliant at accounting as they are at Twitter.

So, your last task is to do this, now:

  • Imagine all the possible questions or tweets that you could respond to, in a way that would be helpful and add value
  • Write a list of all the ways these could be searched for on Twitter (again, give us a shout if logical search queries aren’t your bag)
  • Set up some saved searches on Twitter for these terms, or create a new column on Hootsuite to flag these up
  • Make a commitment to respond to them in the most brilliant way you can. (Especially now you’re not hiding behind a logo).

I want to know more. Can you help?

Well, yes, of COURSE we can. Pop your email below, and let’s have a chat – this is just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s grow your business together!

3 Mistakes You're Making on Twitter

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David has worked with countless UK charities, businesses, and schools - with a brilliant track record of helping them with their biggest challenges. David is the founder of the Impact group - including Impact Charity Advisors, Impact Business Advisors, and Impact Education Support.