If you’re running a business, you already know you’re supposed to be on social media. It’s kind of expected these days, mostly because social media is an incredible business tool. The audiences there are engaged, and the sales potential has been well-documented. If that’s where your customers are hanging out, you can be sure it’s in your best interest to jump on board.

But ‘social media,’ unfortunately, is a bit of a vague concept — and getting more vague by the week. If you have limited resources, you won’t be able to manage twenty different profiles, and that’s okay. Instead, focus on just one platform; become a rockstar there to get the full benefit. Twitter is one of the ancient houses (in social media time); a behemoth that, if your target demographic lives there, can be indispensable to your bottom line.

How, you ask? Well, once you’ve established a bio, a pic, and a respectable handle, there are a few strategies that can help you stand out from the pack.

  1. Find Your People. Twitter is the inventor of the hashtag, and its users happily tag on a daily basis. This is incredibly useful when you’re trying to find your target audience — all you have to do is find the hashtags they’re using. For example, if you’re a yoga studio in Seattle, click on the #SeattleYoga hashtag to find a bunch of yogis in Seattle. Like, follow, and reply to their posts and, before you know it, you’re growing your own audience of Seattle-based yoga enthusiasts!
  2. Customer Service. A lot of brands are using Twitter as their customer service home base, and it’s incredibly effective. If a client has an issue with your product and tweets about it, you can simply tweet back and connect with them to resolve the issue. In a day and age when too many people are pulling away from the ‘time-consuming’ nature of email in favor of more immediate means of communication, Twitter is basically king. Sure, you’ve got to be careful — don’t let yourself get baited into a Twitter war. The brand never wins in those situations, trust me. But if you’re honestly trying to help your customers, Twitter can be a great place to authentically connect and offer support.
  3. Grab Some Media Attention. Has anyone been following the Wendy’s Twitter feed recently? Because whoever took over their account is seriously (and hilariously) savage. From openly comparing their competitors to garbage, to brutal mockery of the fools who criticize them, Wendy’s has garnered the praise and adoration of anyone who loves sarcasm and shock value. Considering their main demographic is mostly broke college students, this is a very effective marketing technique, and a great practice for any business on Twitter. Find your target demographic. Discover what they love. Then figure out how you can be exactly that; establish your voice and stay consistent. People will notice and, if you did your research, you’ll draw in your ideal customer.
  4. Build Your Following. The more active you are on Twitter, the more you engage with your target audience, the more your audience will grow. Engaging is really the key here. Assuming you have an amazing profile (great pic, compelling bio, fantastic content), you still have to be discovered. Those followers have to find you. This is where engaging comes in: Using hashtags, or perhaps the ‘follower’ list of a competitor, go through tweets from your target audience and favorite, retweet, reply, and follow. Get involved, completely on brand, of course. Then, when they see your name in their notifications, they just might click ‘Follow.’
  5. Share coupons and deals! Any content marketing you do is ultimately for the purpose of leading to sales, right? So don’t forget to direct your followers to your product! Eat24’s Twitter strategy is an excellent case study: not only to they have a specific brand voice, engage in customer service through Twitter, and actually create funny content, but they’re releasing a coupon every weekend for $2 off. If you tweet at them asking about it, they tell you the coupon! What a way to engage your customers, right? That keeps your followers close, builds trust in your audience, motivates others to follow you, and (best of all) drives sales!

Twitter can be a wild, wild place, but if you know what you’re doing, you can reap wonderful rewards for your business. Just make sure you’re staying on brand, creating great content, engaging with the community, and most importantly: driving customers towards your product.

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