By: Brenda J. Trainor
Business Needs to Tweet and Facebook
The Internet world keeps on evolving, and in order to reach customers businesses must be able to make contact using the variety of media available. Customers today are brought up with smart phones and tablet computers – the days of a cell phone and desktop computer are passé. Young people today are used to texting on their smart phones at all times of the day and from any location – it is a portable, mobile world they’ve grown up in, and they use the technology that goes with that lifestyle.
The clever business will try to reach this growing audience in ways that are comfortable and regular to such customers. That means using Internet technologies that appeal to this mobile and tuned-in crowd. A business today needs more than just a website, it must be also connected to social media to get the best advantage of electronic media.
The two most popular services beyond a web site that are becoming essential for business are Twitter and Facebook. A business today needs to utilize a website for an electronic storefront, or business card; and Twitter to generate electronic word-of-mouth; and Facebook as an electronic town square. Each service provides a different pathway for communication, and it is communication that keeps customers in tune with your business.
Twitter is a service that really captures the personality of the user. It can be used by businesses and institutions to convey the essence and philosophy of the enterprise, generally in an amusing and entertaining fashion. The service generates short messages, limited to 140 characters, which are delivered to those people who “follow” the sender. The messages are also publicly searchable and can be seen by anyone who logs on to Twitter.com and looks for a key word or phrase. The trick to creating an effective Twitter campaign is to generate messages, called Tweets, which people want to receive and share with others. To do so, the message is “reTweeted” and thereby sent directly to someone else’s group of followers. You can grow your own group of followers by stimulating fun messages that get shared and promoted by others. Popular “tweets” tend toward the silly and clever. For example when the zoo in New York lost its snake, some creative person started a series of tweets from the snake, recounting its journeys throughout the City. The messages became quite popular and were listed in the “trending” categories listed on the Twitter site so that even more visitors to Twitter could find the messages and choose to “follow” and get the messages directly. By creating a popular and personality-filled Tweet series, a business can stimulate an audience following that is amused and regularly in touch. The success to Twitter is the creativity of the sender’s messages, and creating messages that get in touch with customer needs and desires can do a lot to stimulate business.
Facebook is currently the most popular social networking site and it is used by more than just teenagers gossiping about high school events. Facebook is becoming a popular site for businesses and social causes. There are many tools available within Facebook that encourage interaction and communication that a business can use. People make their own page on Facebook and that gives them access to other pages – an individual can regulate the access to the contents of their page through the privacy settings. Access is regulated to individual pages by sending a request to someone to “friend” them. That opens up links of communication between the friends. People can post messages that can be longer than a Tweet, and they can attach other Internet articles, digital photographs or videos. Businesses don’t have to use the “friend” feature; they can have a simpler “like” button on their page. By “liking” the page of business, a user becomes a fan of the business, and will receive the regular status messages that are posted, and business will be listed in the user’s profile on a list of likes. A business can use this feature in a variety of ways: by “liking” a page, a customer can then receive a special discount or coupon; a restaurant can post their daily specials in a message each morning; special events can be posted with an invitation; surveys or polls can be distributed and users can respond back to the business with timely comments. In addition to the ability of sending out regular status postings to friends, the business’ page can include lots of basic information about the business, including location, maps and phone numbers, and links to a permanent web site. A business can even advertise on these services with click-through ads to direct traffic to their pages and postings. The possibilities for creative uses are endless, and the key to success is establishing regular communication with your audience.
The Internet provides all sorts of new opportunities for businesses – and having a website that is supplemented with regular messages on Twitter and Facebook is becoming a standard method of reaching customers to encourage interaction and commerce. A business can become a strong community member by providing electronic leadership using these simple tools, it is just part of being a business in the twenty-first century.
Brenda J. Trainor
Frontier Trail, Inc.
Monrovia, CA 91017