Advertising has been the primary marketing tool used by businesses for the last century. Billboards, newspaper ads and even online ad banners can all do a great job of catching the attention of people who may be interested in buying what you’re selling.
It’s only natural that, when Twitter came along, ‘advertisers’ were quick to realise the potential it had to catch the attention of a whole new audience. Brands jumped in headfirst and started building large numbers of ‘followers’ and using all the major channels to ‘push’ content, pitch their products and services and generally ‘shout’ louder than their competitors.
To say that this approach was ‘wrong’ would be misleading. Brands across the world have successfully used social media to increase their reach, drive traffic to their key digital properties and generate additional revenue. However, by limiting its use to a ‘broadcasting’ channel, companies, brands and organisations are wasting the true value that Twitter offers.
It’s Not All About Attention
‘Attention’ is the currency of traditional advertising. Why? Because that’s all it could achieve. How much ‘interaction’ could you hope to achieve through a newspaper add? People can’t interact with a billboard.
Twitter is different. It gives companies the chance to converse.
Trust is Far More Valuable
Trust is an essential pre-requisite for any purchase. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling subscriptions, products or services, you won’t sell any until your customers trust you.
Whether it’s through face-to-face contact, word of mouth recommendations or recognised indicators, the primary aim of any marketing should be to cultivate trust.
Social media is perfect for this!
An Improving Picture…
It’s important to note that there are some companies who are really making the most of social media – Twitter in particular – and reaping the rewards.
A recent report by Brandwatch shows that Twitter usage amongst the worlds leading brands has increased from 62% to 97% over the last two years. The same report also showed that the number of brands who are using multiple twitter accounts has increased from 7% to 63% since 2011.
This, coupled with the increasing percentage of brands using both engagement and broadcasting methods (see below), shows that brands are starting to get it.
So, what about small businesses? SMEs? If you are involved in a company that’s not a multinational brand, trust is even more important. Do you use Twitter as another ‘push’ marketing channel? When was the last time your company participated in a Twitter conversation?
Getting it right
I meet with hundreds of business owners each year. Most of them understand the importance of conversation. The problem is that they’re scared. Scared that they’ll say the wrong thing or that one of their employees will do more harm than good by engaging in light conversation on Twitter.
It’s a common and valid concern. However, this shouldn’t stop you. As long as you have someone you can trust managing your twitter account (don’t just give it to the guy on work experience!) the experience should be entirely positive.
It doesn’t matter what you’re talking about. It could be anything from the weather to the latest happenings in Coronation Street. The simple fact that you are talking to your community in a human, non-salesy way will do nothing but increase trust.