Tweet with Twitter for Social CRM - dummies

Tweet with Twitter for Social CRM

By Kyle Lacy, Stephanie Diamond, Jon Ferrara

Twitter lovers have an important case to make for anyone involved in Social CRM. People either love or hate Twitter. The ones who hate it say they just can’t pack enough meaning into 140 characters. The ones who love it say that they can establish relationships with people they could never reach any other way.

Because Twitter is such a powerful tool for reaching out to people, you can’t ignore it. According to statistics compiled by Cara Pring at The Social Skinny,

  • There are over 465 million Twitter accounts.

  • Twitter is growing at a rate of 11 accounts per second.

  • 30 percent of Twitter users have an income over $100,000.

Twitter creates the opportunity for the pint-sized post that packs a wallop.

When you create a Twitter account, you’re required to pick a name for your profile. Think about the name carefully. If it’s a company name, consider whether you intend to use the account for a specific department or purpose, such as customer service, and choose a name that reflects that purpose. You can always add another account, but you risk diluting the main one. Start by concentrating your efforts.

If you’re just getting started on Twitter, you may want to follow an account like TweetSmarter. What makes this account unique is that it’s run by two people (Dave and Sarah Larson) who directly answer your questions and try to help you better understand Twitter.

Understand the microblog (Twitter)

Just like the hours in the day, you get the same amount of Twitter characters as everyone else: 140 characters, including spaces. If you use them wisely, you can reach a large audience. Twitter allows you to easily connect with your niche. No matter what your interest or business specialty, you can find like-minded followers on Twitter.

However, you need to be aware that when you create a Twitter account for your business, you’re committing to actively responding to customer thoughts and opinions. By having the account, you raise customer expectations that you’re listening.

But are you? According to a 2011 study by Maritz Research, only 30 percent of the people surveyed received a company response to their tweet. This unresponsiveness defeats the purpose of having a Twitter account as part of your social CRM. Not only do you want to show customers that you care about what they have to say, you also want to capture data about your loyal followers.

From a big-picture perspective, tweets serve two basic functions:

  • Tweets send out content within the tweet itself. Within 140 characters, you are free to say pretty much anything. Comments can include quotes, opinions, and responses to others, and you can attempt to reach out to someone new.

  • Tweets provide links to other content. You can include in your tweet a URL that takes your audience to another place on the web. These tweets have additional value because they can drive traffic to your channels, promote a product for sale, or alert followers to additional information you want to share.

Tweets allow you to communicate with others in real time. If you monitor your Twitter stream throughout the day, you’ll see brand mentions and developing news right in your stream and in trending topics.

Twitter basics

To participate in the tweet stream, it’s useful to know something about the elements that make up Twitter. Following are some of the key parts:

  • Tweet: This is the basic unit. When you create a Twitter account, you start by typing in the box that says Compose New Tweet. The tweet is then posted in the stream and people who follow you can see it.

  • Direct Message (DM): A direct message is one that is sent directly to a Twitter address and doesn’t go into the stream. It’s a private communication between you and another user.

  • Followers: This is what Twitter calls the people who choose to read your tweets.

  • Retweet: When you like what someone has tweeted, you can click the Retweet button to send it back out into your stream. You can type RT and the person’s handle, to identify who wrote the original. It looks like this: RT @person.

  • Hashtag: This is a search tool that people create by placing a hashtag symbol (#) in front of a keyword so that people can follow a specific topic. For example, if you’re holding a conference, you might want to create a hashtag for that event so that people can see all the tweets related to it.

  • Promoted tweets and trends: Twitter sells advertisers the ability to tie a tweet to a particular search term. If the search term is used, the tweet shows up at the top of the results list. Advertisers can also select a mobile platform (such as Android, Blackberry, iOS, and so on) where the tweet will show up.

    A promoted tweet lets advertisers pay for a tweet to show up at the top of the trend list. The promoted tweet is tied to a keyword related to upcoming events or holidays. For example, if an advertiser’s product is related to Thanksgiving, the advertiser should tie the tweet to that search term.

Twitter allows you to create a custom background for your profile. If you create one, make sure it matches your company branding. You don’t want to confuse your followers.