You can’t afford to engage customers on your own terms.
It’s not enough to throw open your doors and say, “We’re here,” and wait for people to show up. You have to engage them on their terms. Take Dealernews: we have a website, updated daily; the ALERT enewsletters; and the magazine. And we also have a number of social media sites that allow us to engage with you, our readers (our customers).
Twitter is a free microblogging site that allows you to share information, photos and links – up to a maximum of 140 characters. Every day, 135,000 new users sign up. Twitter can be an incredibly useful tool for retailers. We have two Twitter accounts, @dealernews and then one for the Top 100 Dealer competition.
A lot of you have Twitter accounts, and we try to follow them (give us a follow; we’ll follow back). But some of you have relatively inactive Twitter accounts. It can be a very powerful tool in your toolbox to get and retain customers.
With that in mind, here are some Twitter tips:
- Don’t just have a Twitter account. Use a Twitter account. There are 645 million registered Twitter accounts, but only a third of them post regularly. Be one of that third – especially on weekends. Brands with Twitter accounts have 17 percent higher engagement on weekends. The posts can be made manually, or there are sites and programs that let you schedule your Tweets in advance. (But it’s addicting, so that might not be an issue.)
- Don’t make it a one-way street. The thing that makes Twitter work is engagement. Make it a point to respond to users who mention you – particularly since Twitter is becoming the front line for customer service, and a way for customers to complain publicly about problems they might have with a product, service or business.
- Try to have fun with it. If you have a smartphone, take a picture and download a Twitter app so you can post the picture online. Photos get more engagement than Tweets that are text-alone. You can also use Twitter as a venue for giveaways or promotions. Being on Twitter isn’t an exclusive club, but when someone offers a free item for answering a trivia question, it can become one.
Used incorrectly, Twitter can be the key to your downfall (just ask Anthony Weiner). But used correctly, it can be a tool not just to reach out to customers, but to interact with them, and a chance to reach a wider audience.