The place to start when you need to develop a strategy for a business or a product is, of course, a business plan. Developing a Twitter marketing strategy helps you, your employees, and your business make marketing on Twitter
The same concept applies to a traditional marketing plan. Every business in the world should write a business and marketing plan so that it can create a successful environment for the business. Think of your Twitter marketing strategy as a road map. You’re developing a map, a sort of guide that can lead you to the wonderful world of business success in the
land of Twitter!
The first step to developing a successful journey is to decide where you want to go. Likewise, when you’re developing a Twitter marketing plan, the first step is to determine your goal.
In this article, I tell you some of the tools and techniques that you can use to build and maintain a successful Twitter marketing strategy.
Setting a Destination for Your Marketing Strategy
You can think about the concept of a destination for your Twitter marketing plan in a couple of ways. A good analogy is to think of your Twitter marketing strategy as a road trip. When you build a Twitter marketing strategy, the most
important thing you do is set a destination — meaning the overall goal or specific goals that you can achieve by using Twitter.
Choosing a target audience
If I were talking about the ABC’s of business marketing, choosing a target audience would be A. This is also the first step in building a Twitter marketing plan. When you’re trying to determine the target audience that your business reaches, answer a couple of questions:
Whom does your product or service appeal to? For example, a travel company may be targeting retired individuals for vacationing. A video games company might target single men, ages 20 to 30.
Whom do you care about? This may not be as relevant in the realm of traditional marketing, but it is in the Twitter environment because you’re building relationships. So, in the case of the travel company, this may be the retiree who has been dreaming all his life of traveling to Hawaii. In the case of the video game company, this may be the guy who is willing to camp outside a store waiting for a new game to be released. Review your current demographic (target audience) so that you can build an honest opinion of your
Why reinvent the wheel? You either have a basic idea of your target audience or already have a specific group of people buying your product or service. For example, perhaps a typical client is Sheetal, a stay-at-home mom with three kids who buys your soccer balls. Or maybe it’s Chirag, the white-collar professional who works 90 hours a week, or Mrs. Sen, the grandmother of your best friend. Or perhaps a segment of your clients are small-business owners.
Reviewing your current clients and placing them into the mix can also help you figure out whom you should target on Twitter. If you’re starting a new business and you don’t yet have a good idea of whom to target, review the questions
included earlier in this section to help in your brainstorming process.
A concept many business owners or professionals fail to understand when it comes to brainstorming new strategies for business is to ask your clients’ opinions. When you’re figuring out who your target audience is on Twitter,
look to your current clients. Are they on Twitter? Ask those clients who use Twitter for advice about whom you need to target on Twitter. Getting input from your current clients can go a long way to help you implement your strategy. You can send out e-mail surveys or just pick up the phone in order to
get input from your existing customers. Whom do you communicate with currently? Now do it.
Identifying your unique selling position
The next step in crafting a marketing plan is to think about what makes your business unique. Most businesses started on a concept of uniqueness. What sets you apart from the competition? What can you do while using Twitter that can
set you apart from the other business owners or professionals who use the tool?
If you’re in a unique niche, you can more easily build off your unique selling position on Twitter. Unlike traditional strategies, in which you’d make your unique selling position lowest price or club membership, a Twitter strategy involves combining what makes you unique as a business with unique content. How are you going to stand out from the millions of other people who use Twitter? (And no, frequent commercial tweets don’t count as a good stand-out technique.) It is important to keep your content fresh. Offering your followers new content on a regular basis is a key component of a successful Twitter marketing strategy. You need to offer your Twitter following fresh and relevant
content that can help your Twitter domination quest. It will help you reach your marketing destination and set yourself up for success. You might offer a discount to Twitter users on your product or service. For example, offer a prize to the Twitter user who shares a certain blog post the most with his or her followers.
You could also offer a 10% discount to the first 20 people to click a link in one of your tweets. While there aren’t any specific sites that help build a 10% discount, you can track the users who click your link by asking for their name and email
If you want to decide what to offer your Twitter followers, you need to figure out why you’re unique. What value does your product or service offer that your competition doesn’t? (It’s not your beaming personality, though customers do love that.) A couple of standard properties that can help you determine what makes you unique are:
Customer service: This is still an important selling point in the business world. Even if you offer the same product as another company, if you have superior customer service, you can make it something that sets you apart on Twitter. To do this, monitor conversations about your company and your
products on Twitter, and use every opportunity to resolve the complaints of an unhappy customer and thank a happy one. It’s also important to train your customer service representatives to politely ask an irate customer to continue
the conversation by e-mail or phone instead of on Twitter. You may even want to have your customer service reps give a standard answer to irate customers, such as “I’m sorry you’re unhappy with your experience. Would you like to discuss the matter further via phone or e-mail?” The last thing that you want to happen is your representative getting into a public argument with a dissatisfied client on Twitter.
Upscale product offering: You have a product or service that you sell to the upper echelons of society. This is what makes you unique, so you price your products or services way above the competition.
Downscaled product offering: This comes from the Wal-Mart effect. If you have a downscaled product offering, you price your product below the average price offered by most of the industry. You can develop an extremely positive
reputation when you use this approach to marketing on Twitter.
Longest track record: You can use the age of your business as a unique selling position on Twitter. A long track record can be very valuable if you want to become a thought leader for your business niche.
Awards or prizes: Have you or your company won any awards or prestigious plaques that tout your expertise in an industry? Those accolades make you unique.
Specialty: If you offer a product or service that defines a niche market, you can turn this into a unique way to present yourself on Twitter. For example, Zappos.com (www.zappos.com) is almost a synonym for “online shoe
Write down the things that make you unique. Figuring out what your customers value
What do your customers value? Don’t worry; you can determine what your customers value pretty easily, but it’s an important question to answer. In the world of business, you need to create a type of value that your customers can latch onto. By figuring out what your customers see as valuable in your company, you can create content on Twitter that can bring more customers and clients to your door. What do your customers value when it comes to content? What do your customers value when it comes to products or services? You can easily determine the answers by asking your current customers. Have an open and honest conversation with your five best clients. They can tell you
what they value in you or your company. Figuring out what your customers value can also help you figure out your unique selling position — what would convince your customers to buy the product or service you offer as opposed to the one(s) offered by your competition.
The strategy to Twitter success involves producing content that takes into account the interests of your potential clients and customers. You want to share content that’s directly related to your unique selling position.
Implementing Your Plan
You can have all the ideas in the world, but without a good plan of implementation, you’re going to fail miserably. But you won’t fail when it comes to Twitter marketing if you adopt the principles in this book! Success is the only option. (Didn’t George W. Bush say that one time? Too bad he didn’t
post it on Twitter.)
The first step in implementing your Twitter marketing strategy is to develop your content and the message that you want to share with the Twitter crowd. If you share the right content, the crowd responds: They retweet it, click on your
link, and buy your product, or they follow you.
Crafting your message
When you implement your strategy, you need to plan your message. What are you trying to say to the Twitter groupies? You have endless possibilities for sharing your ideas, thoughts, and opinions through a communication technology such as Twitter.
Your voice drives your Twitter profile. You are the idea generator when it comes to sharing and producing content. Your business can benefit from establishing a connection with your followers that emphasizes the human
side of your business: Putting a name and a face together, so to speak. They want to know that you’re human and that you feel their pain. You feel their pain and can heal it — if they buy your product or service, of course.
To find your unique voice when it comes to communicating
through Twitter, follow these steps:
1. Take one of your unique selling positions and write it down. A notecard or piece of scrap paper will do.
2. Review your unique selling position. What does it say? Are you the most personable realtor in the tri-state area? Are you the fastest plumber on planet Earth? Knowing your value position can help you find your voice.
3. Write or type any stories you can remember in which you helped a client or customer by using your unique selling position. Think about your unique selling position, like having a super power. Imagine being Superman or Wonder
Woman, or better yet, the powerful Twitter Man or Twitter Woman. What super powers do you possess that help you in your quests to make clients happy?
Keep the stories, sentences, and ideas that you create in the preceding steps nearby. They can help remind you of how powerful your unique selling position is to your customers. The stories and ideas created by your business can help you create your unique voice for Twitter.
Twitter is a place where you build relationships (unless you’re a spammer). Relationship building is the key to your messaging on Twitter. So you should strive to cultivate relationships with your customers through your interactions
with them on Twitter. Content drives Twitter much like local, regional,
national, and global stories drive newspapers. The content you create becomes the driving force of your Twitter marketing plan implementation. You have to directly relate that content to your unique selling position, your voice, and
your industry. I discuss how to share, retweet, and create content You have valuable content when it rings a bell with your followers (meaning your clients or potential clients) on Twitter. The content must have value that speaks to what customers are looking for on a daily basis. If you’re a service provider, share content that has merit in your industry.
Valuable content surrounds the concept of talking about what you do — meaning what you (personally) do on a daily basis to help clients.
Just remember: Don’t try to push your product or service on Twitter.
Defining the tactics
When you establish an overall idea about how to build the beginnings of a Twitter marketing plan, you need to define and refine the tactics associated with Twitter and your business.
In parallel with creating a presence on Twitter, you should also figure out what your competitors are doing in the world of micro-blogging. Also, you want to determine whether you should have separate accounts for your personal use and your business. Does it make sense to have both? The tactics define how you implement your strategy: This is the part where you roll up your sleeves.
Performing a competitive analysis
You need to create a competitive analysis report for Twitter. What are your competitors doing that you can mimic (at the very least) or do better? A competitive analysis involves finding out what steps your competition takes to use Twitter for lead generation. Determining the area of influence for your competitors can help in your quest for Twitter domination by letting you
figure out where you stand in comparison to them. The first step in building a Twitter competitive analysis involves finding out who among your competition is using Twitter.
You can get this information in a couple of ways, but the best way is to use a tool called Twellow. Also known as the Twitter Yellow Pages, Twellow
(www.twellow.com) is a service that allows you to search for a specific name on Twitter.
When you enter a personal or company name into Twellow, try your search with and without spaces. The two searches may return different results, all of which are typically useful.
After you find the Twitter name of all your competitors, you need to determine the amount of influence each competitor has. To find this information, you can use the tool called Twitter Grader (www.twittergrader.com) from the company
To use Twitter Grader to find your competition’s area of influence, follow these steps:
1. Open your browser and go to www.twittergrader.com. The page that opens features a text box labeled Enter Your Twitter Username at the top of the page.
2. Type a competitor’s Twitter username in the Enter Your Twitter Username text box, and then click the Grade button. Depending on the speed of your Internet connection, Twitter Grader may take a few minutes to finish the analysis. A new page appears, showing the rank of the Twitter user in comparison to all users that have been analyzed by Twitter Grader (nearly 8 million as I write these lines), as well as other useful information, like location, bio, followers, tweet cloud, and Twitter account suggestions.
One of the most useful pieces of information returned by the Twitter Grader analysis is the user’s grade (or score). This number is calculated by weighing elements such as the number of followers, the influence of the followers, the
number of updates, the freshness of the updates, the ratio of followers versus users followed, and the number of times the user is being retweeted or cited. The rank information is based on the grade obtained by the user: A user with a higher grade will be higher in the ranking.
Another important piece of information you obtain from a Twitter Grader search is the Tweet Cloud. A Tweet Cloud is a list of generated words that a specific person uses the most, showing more frequently used words in larger font and less frequently used words in smaller font. The Tweet Cloud gives you valuable hints as to what kind of content the user is writing about.
Note that the Tweet Cloud changes based on the content being shared by the user. It is possible for @edeckers’s Tweet Cloud to reflect content from a
conference he recently attended and not humor. Follow your competition closely on Twitter to get an overall gauge of content being shared.
Creating a business profile, personal profile, or multiple profiles
How many accounts do you need when using Twitter? This topic is much debated in the Twitter world. If you’re using Twitter for business, do you create a personal account and a business account, or do you use just one account? A lot depends on your specific case, and you should base your decision on your strategy and goals
Here are some tips to remember when you try to decide on how many Twitter accounts you need:
Create a single account: Stick with one account if you’re a sole proprietor, artist, author, speaker, or any professional who is the business.
Create two accounts: If you’re a salesperson, an employee, or part of a company that has more than three employees, go with a personal account and a business account.
Create special accounts: If your company is organizing a conference, you can make a Twitter account to drive traffic to that particular event or to highlight activities during the event. If you want to promote a book, whether you are the publisher or the author, it is also a good idea to have a dedicated account for it.
You can also create accounts that pertain to a particular product. For example, Intuit (the maker of QuickBooks) has accounts for itself as a company, for its products, and for its customer service representatives. You can explore the use of multiple accounts with an example company, XYZ Company. XYZ has six employees: an account representative, a graphic designer, a Web developer,
a sales manager, a business development representative, and an operations manager. The account representative, sales manager, and business development representative are most likely to interact with clients on a daily basis. If your personal relationship with clients helps you develop business, create a specific account for your own personal use. Given their more limited role facing the customers, the graphic designer, Web developer, and operations manager can either start a Twitter account or run the company account.
Finalizing your marketing plan
Building your marketing plan takes time, but it’s the most important thing you do when it comes to your Twitter domination! Now, for the important part: integrating your Twitter marketing plan with your offline strategy. You can
make your Twitter marketing extremely successful if you combine it with your traditional marketing strategies.
Your offline strategy can include everything from direct mail to newspaper ads. You can combine some traditional strategies in order to promote your Twitter name offline:
Business cards: Be very sure to put your Twitter username on your business cards. People use business cards as a marketing instrument constantly in the world of business.
Hire a sign holder: You’ve probably seen guys and gals holding promotion signs for Domino’s or Liberty Tax while dancing on the side of the road. You could hire one of these sign holders to promote your Twitter username. You also get an added benefit to hiring a roadside promotional person — they can be very entertaining when cars stop at a traffic light!
Buy a billboard: Celebrity Ashton Kutcher bought multiple billboards to promote his Twitter username so that he could grow his list of followers. And it worked! Ashton has well beyond 3 million followers on Twitter at the time of
this writing. If you can afford it, go for it.
Add to traditional marketing: Add your Twitter username to every traditional marketing piece you send to potential and current customers — including direct mail, newsletters, and advertisements.
T-shirts: Make a t-shirt to support your Twitter username
For example, you could have a t-shirt that features different tweets you’ve written about your niche topic. Create copies of the shirt and recruit ten people among your friends, employees (and perhaps even customers) to wear those shirts around, providing you with a great promotion! Integration is the key to a successful Twitter marketing strategy. You’re already paying the money through your traditional marketing strategy, so why not take advantage of what you’re already doing offline to promote your new Twitter username?
Speaking of paying money for a traditional strategy, you need to figure out your budget for running a Twitter marketing campaign. A Twitter marketing budget really consists of only two things:
Time: In the small-business world, time is money. Map out how much time you’re willing to delegate to Twitter usage.
Money: Decide how much you’re willing to pay to help implement a Twitter strategy. Use or create a budget specifically for your Twitter marketing efforts.
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