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Twitter For Business: A Step By Step

A step by step guide on how to use Twitter for business purposes. Includes an introduction on Twitter, updated statistics, case studies, useful tools, Twitter practices, and a how-to on getting started.

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Twitter For Business: A Step By Step

  1. 1. 360 Digital Influence Twitter For Business A Step-by-Step Guide June 2009
  2. 2. Twitter-genda 01 What is Twitter and Why to Use It? 02 Twitter Strategy: Customer Relations 03 Twitter Strategy: Product Promotion and Sales 04 Twitter Strategy: Event Activation 05 Twitter Strategy: Crisis Management 06 Twitter Strategy: Corporate Reputation Management 07 Twitter Strategy: Issue Advocacy 08 How to Twitpitch 09 Twitter Do's and Don'ts 10 The Twitter Basics: Setting Up Twitter 11 Additional Resources and Take Aways
  3. 3. What is Twitter?
  4. 4. 4 What is Twitter? • Twitter is a microblogging platform composed entirely of 140 character answers to 1 simple question: “What are you doing?” or rather , “What are you interested in right now?” • As of May 2009, Twitter received nearly 20 million UMVs, growing by over 400% in the past year. Twitter saw a 752% growth from 2008-2009. • Over 3,000,000 Tweets/day (TechCrunch), totaling over 1.25 billion Tweets to date. (GigaTweet) • A study from Sysomos shows the top 10% of Twitter users make up for more than 86% of the total Tweets – pointing out that the more followers a person has the more frequently they are likely to Tweet. • Twitter users tend to click on entertainment links (17.6%), social networks (14.6%), news/media (10%), blogs (6.6%) and online retailers (4.5%). • Females now make up over 50% of the Twitter demographic, up from less than 40% in 2008. Twitter's largest age demographic is 18-to-44-year-olds who make up 78% of its users. (January 2009 iStrategyLabs) • While a number of Twitter tools and APIs are emerging on a daily basis, the majority, 56%, of users are still Tweeting directly through
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  9. 9. 9 Business Opportunities • Twitter allows businesses a new mode of customer communication that can be tailored to match their customers’ preferences. • Identify what Twitter strategy works best for your company or client. • Customer Relations • Crisis Management • Corporate Reputation Management • Issue Advocacy • Event Activation • Product Promotion and Sales
  10. 10. Top Twitter Strategies
  11. 11. 11 Follow>Create>Engage
  12. 12. 12 @comcastcares Frank Eliason at Comcast started @comcastcares in April 2008 in response to the customer conversations he and his team found on Twitter through monitoring. Offers customers specific troubleshooting tips, online resources, new product info and a key customer relations personality (i.e. Frank’s).
  13. 13. 13 Customer Service Anyone who has customers – B2C, B2B, G2B, G2C, etc... – can use Twitter to quickly listen and respond to customer feedback before problems escalate or to activate brand ambassadors….
  14. 14. 14 Customer Service: Follow • Find out what people are saying about your brand through Twitter search functions like, Search.Twitter and TweetScan. • To make it easy, set up an RSS feed for your Twitter searches, so that you can easily check in to see new conversations around the brand. • Get familiar with these conversations and start to follow key contributors, customers and brand “lusters” (those who are interested in your brand but not yet customers). • This is also where an organization tool like TweetDeck can come in handy to help you categorize those you are following.
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  16. 16. 16 Customer Service: Create • All Twitter handles should have a clear personality - even for customer service. Keep in mind the overall personality of your brand as you tweet and make sure you are providing valuable information to your followers. • As you identify conversations and start to follow your customers, you will be able to get an idea of what they are looking for. What do they want to know? Are they asking for product information? Looking for tips on using a service or fixing a product? This should be the guideline for your content. • With the 140-character limit, use tinyurl or snurl to direct followers to relevant information and useful resources outside of Twitter.
  17. 17. 17 Customer Service: Engage • While you can be providing general information to your followers on a regular basis, you also want to make sure your customers know they are being heard. • Focus on replying (@handle) to individuals who have questions about your brand, who are sharing their brand experiences and to those to whom you can provide helpful information and resources. • Direct Messages (DM) are also useful for corresponding privately with others. Go ahead and send new followers a direct message thanking them for their interest and providing any additional information or resources that could be useful.
  18. 18. 18 @delloutlet Posting deals on refurbished computers from the Dell Outlet provides Twitter followers a chance to be the first to know about online deals. With over 2,000 followers, DellOutlet hit sales at over $1MM in 2008.
  19. 19. 19 Product Promotion and Sales A successful sales and promotion plan is based on identifying your audience, providing useful content, and being prepared to engage in the conversation. When done right, your followers will not only become loyal customers, but also evangelists for your brand and your promotions.
  20. 20. 20 Product Promotion and Sales: Follow • Search mentions of your brand, product, or niche and follow these Twitterers. • When creating your account make sure your description and handle are clear so users know what they get if they follow you. • It would also be helpful to populate your stream with tweets before beginning full-scale out-reach to show those checking out your profile that you are a valuable follow.
  21. 21. 21 Product Promotion and Sales: Create • Tweet often (at least twice daily), but not too often. • Besides promoting existing coupons and sales efforts, consider offering Twitter-only exclusives to reward loyal followers and give them a reason to stay connected. • Nothing new to promote? Help people learn more about your company by featuring one of your suppliers, your employee of the month (bonus points if they are on Twitter and you can include a handle), or an interesting piece of industry news. • Keep content relevant to your products and should you fall in love with Twitter and feel the urge to update every hour on the hour, please create a personal handle.
  22. 22. 22 Product Promotion and Sales: Engage • The idea behind a sales and promotion strategy may seem like a one-way conversation but check your replies and direct messages frequently. • Failure to reply to a customer’s question, concern, or praise will make you appear to be a spam machine. • Be aware that by putting your brand out there you are opening yourself up and people will inevitably contact you with a non-sales-related issue. • Don’t allow this to scare you off; embrace it as a new way to talk to your customers and give them what they want- this aligns nicely with your sales goals. • You are connecting customers immediately with info and links, thereby increasing the chance that followers will click through for more information or to make a purchase.
  23. 23. 23 @fordfiesta To build buzz around the upcoming launch of the Ford Fiesta in the 2010 US market, Ford developed the Fiesta Movement - recruiting 100 online influencers to receive a new Ford Fiesta with the instruction to complete a series of missions, or challenges, throughout the course of a year with their Fiesta. To build momentum and allow these drivers, as well as the larger general audience to interact with Ford, the @fordfiesta Twitter handle and #fiestamovement hashtag were created, to publish challenges, get updates from drivers and engage in an ongoing conversation around the Fiesta Movement.
  24. 24. 24 Event Activation The real-time ability to connect with others and share experiences makes Twitter a great platform for individuals, or companies, to use during a major event. Live-Tweeting an event can be used to create a completely new channel of conversation and a way to enhance the physical experience of the event. Combining Twitter with blogs, video and other social media efforts provides more ways to interact with the content and experience you’re creating.
  25. 25. 25 Event Activation: Follow • Find others who are Tweeting about topics or issues that will be covered at your event. • Follow users who are discussing your brand or product - they’re likely to be interested in your company’s official point of view on the event and might be able to help you spread the word. • Customize an existing Twitter handle with an event-specific hashtag for a set period of time or create a Twitter handle solely dedicated to that event. – #votereport was used by people live-Tweeting from the polls – @lenovo2008 handle was used by Ogilvy PR for the Beijing Olympics for our Lenovo client • As it approaches, use Search.Twitter or see what other hashtags (#) are being used around the event you’ll be attending. Use it in every tweet so that your content is easy to find by searchers.
  26. 26. 26 Event Activation: Create • Your handle will have its hey day during the actual period that the event is occurring. This is when others will be looking for coverage from the event, and you can provide a real service by providing on the ground reports in real time. • Make sure your Tweets are meaningful - great verbatims, new statistics, or important announcements shared by speakers make for great Tweets. Eyewitness experiences that non-attendees would never know about are also high value. Give people information they can use themselves, or would care to share with others. • Spoiler alerts! Remember that if you’re live-Tweeting sporting competitions or other live events on tape delay not everyone is dying to know the final outcome. Consider including a “spoiler alert” warning if appropriate.
  27. 27. 27 Event Activation: Engage • Interacting with other Twitterers who are at or interested in the event is just as important as the live-Tweets that you put out. Tweet and search for other event related tweets to respond to. • Ask your followers questions and answer theirs - there is real value in creating a community around your event coverage, especially since your brand is the reference point. • Follow, interact and DM with influential Twitterers who are also interested in the event to help increase WOM. • Other less visible Twitterers are still important. They may be more apt to engage multiple times during your event to help build participation and content. • Be pro-active in organizing on the ground Tweet-Ups, where attendees come together to meet in real life to network with others with similar interest.
  28. 28. 28 @jetblue The guys at JetBlue established a handle in a effort to humanize their brand and prevent any future reputation and sales crises resulting from customer complaints or corporate mishaps. Responds to customers with information and suggestions in their own quirky personality.
  29. 29. 29 Crisis Management Using Twitter for Crisis Communications is as much about preventing an isolated issue from becoming a full-blown crisis as it is about communicating to the public once a crisis has hit. Twitter is the fast way to respond and maintain an open channel. It needs to be part of a broader strategy, with all of the (social) media channels you use to listen and share with your customers, clients, and industry.
  30. 30. 30 Crisis Management: Follow • Keep track of your brand on Twitter, and in blogs, message boards, and communities as well. • Pay attention to key topic areas, new products and company announcements. Listening becomes especially important during a new product launch –a movie screening, a product debut, a major branded event. Customer first impressions can start small, but grow fast and furious. • Follow users who talk about you – the people who use your products and care about your brand. Follow those who talk both positively and negatively about your brand. • Crisis prevention is about building trust –about developing a network that you can learn from, and can help carry your messages when you need to get them out.
  31. 31. 31 Crisis Management: Create • In the case of a crisis, you’ll need more than 140 characters to tell your story. Start with an explanation on a separate Web site or blog, like that of JetBlue, and link to your page in your Tweets. • Twitter can help direct your brand advocates and detractors to your explanation and can alert them as new content becomes available and new news is released. • Clearly outline the steps you are taking to rectify the problem. Use Twitter to share current information as it comes in. • DM media contacts and brand ambassadors, with whom you’ve built relationships, and give them the information they need when they need it. • Post real-time updates that address the status of your issue, what you’re doing to fix it, and eventually, what steps you’re taking so that it won’t happen again.
  32. 32. 32 Crisis Management: Engage • In a crisis, Twitter provides another venue for you to answer questions, raise issues and engage in a dialogue. • Respond to questions and comments from customers, influencers and media, and especially those people who have been directly impacted. • Your Twittering employees should be briefed on the issues, and if they can’t address a specific question, they should be equipped to send complaints to someone who can. • Act early. Listening and responding in the first 24 hours following the crisis is key as that is when the volume conversations will start to ramp up.
  33. 33. 33 @Zappos Started originally to “help build company culture” for employees outside of the office. Now, with over 121,000 followers, provides customers with an inside look at the company and core values, industry news, thought leadership, useful resources and product promotion.
  34. 34. 34 Corporate Reputation Management Twitter offers a new channel and outlet for your brand’s personality and humanity. A Twitter handle is created to share the brand personality from real-live people behind the messages being Tweeted. It’s easy to see what others are saying about your brand and topics of interest and create a strong presence within those conversations.
  35. 35. 35 Corporate Reputation Management: Follow • Follow people talking about your brand, your product/service, and even you. Listen and Learn. • Follow other thought leaders in your industry, see what they are talking about. Think of how you can join the conversation and be a thought leader, yourself. • Follow those who are talking about similar interests. If your brand has a vested interest in a specific topic, make sure to follow others talking about the topic to get insights and new ideas/information, and to establish your brand within that conversation. • Follow news and media handles. This will help to keep you up to date and in the know of current events, new research, etc. Use this to your advantage as conversation starters.
  36. 36. 36 Corporate Reputation Management: Create • The 140-character limit forces you to cut to the chase and just tell your followers what they need to know (none of that corporate speak here). • Become a thought leader in your industry, share interesting and new information, insights and ideas around relevant topics. (You can throw in company updates and news in there too, every once in a while) • Just like a popular website or blog, if you continue to guide people to helpful, funny, or insightful content they will come back for more. • As with everything social media, the most important thing is to be authentic. Do not try to push an agenda without being transparent. • Be yourself and update often. The more you update the more Google crawls your page. (Good for Search Engine Optimization)
  37. 37. 37 Corporate Reputation Management: Engage • Don’t be afraid to join the conversation. • Nothing like the CEO of a major company mixing it up with the rest of the community to help build a positive reputation for you and your brand. • Through these conversations, you should be able to identify brand ambassadors (or those who love your brand and Tweet often about it). • Start and maintain a strong relationship with them, they can help to build a positive conversation and become an essential part of your corporate reputation management strategy.
  38. 38. 38 @LiveStrong Led by @lancearmstrong and @livestrongceo, the LiveStrong Foundation spreads the word about about cancer and provide people with the tools they need to “live life on their own terms.” The Twitter handle is aimed to provide communication and support to those dealing with cancer, while also building awareness and raising funds for the foundation and cancer research.
  39. 39. 39 Issue Advocacy Twitter’s ability to connect people with similar interests can be harnessed for the greater social good with non-profits and issue advocacy organizations creating a community and providing useful information to those they serve, volunteers, donors and other supporters.
  40. 40. 40 Issue Advocacy: Follow • As with all strategies, use Twitter Search to find people interested in your subject area. • Follow other non-profits (even your competitors), industry consultants and thought leaders (@kanter, @nedre, @ntenhross), and of course people interested in your cause. • It is really important to follow all the people that are following you. If your cause matters to them, what they have to say is important to you and your success on twitter. • Be sure to do regular Twitter Searches to see who is mentioning your organization and what they are saying.
  41. 41. 41 Issue Advocacy: Create • Provide information that is useful to your followers. • The cardinal rule of fundraising is to talk about your donors and the issues that matter to them. Don’t focus on your organization or you will lose people’s interest. This applies to Twitter as well. People follow other people and organizations that provide them with something useful. • As recommended by Claire Johnson, the chief twitterer at the American Red Cross, “If you think of twitter as a public service that your organization provides, rather than a marketing tool, you should be in good shape.” • Think about what kind of value your organization can provide to your followers and then tweet about those things.
  42. 42. 42 Issue Advocacy: Engage • Once you have followers and content you can start engaging with the people who follow you. Use @ replies to respond to people who mention your organization after you find them in Twitter Search. • Respond to people who follow you with a quick thank you and perhaps a question to find out about why they chose to follow your organization. • After you have a strong base of followers, start doing more to involve your followers, like Twitter-thons or awareness days for your issue.
  43. 43. 43 The Art of TwitPitching • Created by Stowe Boyd, Twitpitching is the new way to pitch media, but in 140-characters or less. • Still gaining in popularity, the TwitPitch is used to gain media coverage around an event, product or company update. • Small businesses and startups are TwitPitching @stoweboyd and @scobleizer and other high profile Twitterers in hopes of capturing their interest and getting coverage. • Boyd developed the following rules to help manage TwitPitches: – A twitter message of the form "@stoweboyd [pitch goes here without the brackets] #twitpitch". (Note the #hashtag means that these will be accessible at – A second, optional twitter of the form "@stoweboyd [single URL goes here without the brackets] #twitpitch". Just one URL, please. – A third, optional twitter of the form "@stoweboyd [proposed time(s) to meet or call go here without the brackets] #twitpitch".
  44. 44. Twitter Best Practices
  45. 45. 45 Twitter Do’s • DO see what other businesses are doing on Twitter • DO use Twitter search engines for keyword searches around brands, products and topic of interest. • DO follow Twitterers with similar interests to establish a brand presence within conversation • DO use Twitter to start a conversation • DO be dedicated to Twitter. Having more than one employee on Twitter will ensure an ongoing company presence. • DO ask questions and get feedback from your followers • DO engage consumers in co-creation and get constructive insights for future company developments or publications
  46. 46. 46 Twitter Do’s • DO follow the Blogger Code of Ethics within all things social media: – Be transparent in your reason d’Tweet (Let your followers know your about - Customer Service, Product Discounts, etc) – Respect other Twitterers (Know when to participate and when to listen) – Think before you direct message (Will your direct message be seen as helpful or intrusive?) – Make sure your message directly relates to those you are reaching out to – Provide value to your followers (Whether it’s free product or valuable advice, something that gives you credibility and reiterates the value you see in your followers) • DO spread the word about your participation on Twitter - include your Twitter handle in your email signature, send out your Twitter URL, to co-workers, peers and even customers.
  47. 47. 47 Twitter Don’ts • DON’T use Twitter to push ads or brand messaging. Don’t just Tweet but also follow others to join in or start a conversation. • DON’T use Twitter to tell your everyday tasks, make sure your Tweets are resourceful, entertaining and/or valuable to your followers • DON’T be boring! • DON’T panic if you are “Twitter-Jacked“, where other Twitterers use your identity within their Twitter handles, instead contact the Twitterers and find out their reasoning before taking action (they could turn out to be your biggest fans) • DON’T I REPEAT - DO NOT Tweet anything about clients, co-workers, friends, etc. that you would not want them to see - this is a good way to burn bridges and lose customers (not to mention make a bad name for yourself)
  48. 48. The Twitter Basics
  49. 49. 49 Setting up a Twitter Handle • Establish a Twitter handle and profile that sets the expectation for your followers. Be clear in the handle bio and description as to what you will be focusing on and who you represent. • The name of the company should be included in at least your bio, and ideally your handle (this will help people find your brand) as well. • Disclose whether the handle will be maintained by one individual or a team of people within the company. • Shel Isreal recommends users “show” themselves with a real photo (or at least an avatar). Your followers want to see that you’re a real person. • Define the roles and responsibilities internally amongst your team members (including how frequently your Tweets should be updated, who should and should not be followed/responded to, and how you should respond in various situations).
  50. 50. 50 Setting up a Twitter Handle Brand jacking • While you’re here, try out a few variations of your brand • Many companies have created a Twitter presence on Twitter only to find a brand name already taken • Consider registering variations of a brand (i.e. Nike, Nikeshoes, etc) in an effort to protect against Brand Jacking
  51. 51. 51 Setting up a Twitter Handle • Connect with Clients • Provide a company email address to search your existing Outlook, Yahoo, Gmail, AOL, or MSN email address books and find email contacts already using Twitter
  52. 52. 52 Setting up a Twitter Handle • Complete the Profile • Filling in the profile allows for followers to better understand the personality of the person behind Twitter handle brand. • Be sure to include a bio, a URL to a Website or blog and the full name of a real person. • Check the “protect updates” feature only for internal communications with private content.
  53. 53. Additional Resources and Take Aways
  54. 54. 54 Top 10 Twitter Tools • Search.Twitter (f.k.a Summize): Complete an advanced search around key phrases, within specific dates, and from specific handles. (Often broken, Google search is the best back up!) • TweetDeck: A desktop app that lets you organize your followers into specific categories (i.e. industry leaders, customers, potential customers, etc.) • TwitPic: Provides a bridge from your camera phone to Twitter. Pictures can either post to the Twitter public timeline from phone via email or through the site. • Tweet Later: Allows you to auto-follow those who follow your account and provides an auto-welcome feature to send a custom message to new followers via DM or in the public timeline. • TwitterGrader: Measures the relative power and authority of a Twitter user by calculating number of followers, power of network of followers, pace of updates and completeness of a user's profile.
  55. 55. 55 Top 10 Twitter Tools • TweetBeep: the Google Alerts for Twitter, allows you to monitor conversations that mention you, your brand, related/competitor products, and links to your website/blog. Alerted as keywords appear, reducing the need for a manual search. • Twitterholic: Find out who has the most followers and who can be an influential asset to your campaign. • Twhirl: Centrally manages activity, messaging, and updating for Twitter and other platforms (FriendFeed,, and Seesmic). • TwitScoop: Tells you “What’s hot right now?”, presenting trend comparisons and volume of conversation. • Twitterberry: Downloadable Blackberry app for Twitter. (One more: TwitterFox, a Firefox plugin that allows you to send and receive updates, right from the browser’s status bar.
  56. 56. 56 A Strategic Approach to Using Twitter STRATEGY FOLLOW CREATE ENGAGE Content relevant to Answer questions, Your customers and Customer Relations your customers: tips, respond to comments potential customers company info, etc. about your brand Your brand, products Direct to additional Answer questions, Crisis Management and relevant issues resources, updated respond to comments, information, explanation raise issues, provide info Corporate Insights, expertise, Jump in the conversation. Industry leaders, Reputation become a thought leader Be transparent and add similar interest Management value groups, news/media Those interested or Event information, Set up Tweet-ups, talk to Event Coverage updates, behind the attendees, ask and attending event, media scenes coverage answer questions Product Promotion Current and potential Links to online promos, Check replies and DMs, & Sales customers, those insider info on upcoming answer questions, interested in similar sales, discount codes provide info when needed products Issue Advocacy Those interested in Added value: health tips, Know your followers, your cause, industry disaster alerts, thank them for support, leaders, news fundraising info get them involved
  57. 57. 57 Additional Resources
  58. 58. CONTACT John H. Bell Managing Director | 360° Digital Influence Ogilvy Public Relations p 202.729.4166 e Kristin Parrish Digital Influence | 360° Digital Influence Ogilvy Public Relations p 404.881.2324 e