Twitter and Facebook: Using Online Word of Mouth to Boost Your Business

With Twitter’s 241 million active monthly users and Facebook’s 1.23 billion users, word of mouth spreads like social media wildfire. This can make or break a business, and creating an active social media presence is your company’s first step toward valuable word-of-mouth marketing. Learn how to put your best message forward to boost your business.

Set Up or Spruce Up Your Twitter

If you have yet to set up an account, strategize the best way to do so before getting started. Choose a Twitter username as close as possible to your business name. If a company with the same name has already grabbed the one you want, consider a slight alteration, such as adding a city. Keep it as short as possible with abbreviations, though, because the name eats up precious characters when users tweet at or retweet you.

Pick images for your Twitter account that are consistent with your brand. For the profile image, which appears with your tweets, use the company logo or your photo, if you are the face of the company. On your profile page, the header image should tell the story of your business’ brand.

For example, LifeLock, a company that offers identity theft prevention services, uses the company logo as its Twitter profile image, a lock-human figure on a red background. Its tagline, “Live Free in an Always-Connected World,” displays over a photo of a man accessing Life Lock services poolside as the profile page header. The images and text convey the company’s message: that you can protect your identity whether in the office or on vacation.

If you have already set up your account and not taken the above into consideration, you can easily change the images and your username. Twitter recommends alerting your followers in advance, though, so they know the new name for direct messages and replies. Also be sure to fill out all fields on your profile, including website URL and location, so customers can find you online and in person.

Engage Your Customers

The best way to use online word of mouth to your advantage is to gain followers who are current or potential customers and to join their conversations about your business, location or industry. Do so organically by answering questions posed to your account. Say thank you for and retweet the positive comments. Defuse the negative by delivering and displaying exceptional customer service to resolve any issues publicly.

To find potential customers, use the website’s advanced search to look by location and keywords, which can be any number of words associated with the nature of your business, such as identity theft in relation to the above example of LifeLock.

Also, start conversations about your business by regularly tweeting information— through words, photos and videos— and offering special discounts to followers. All of these can turn followers into customers and give your business a boost.

For a fee, Twitter also offers promoted accounts, tweets and trends, which Adidas UK used with great success during the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games. Through its organic and promoted use of the hashtags #takethestage and #stagetaken during the games, it saw a 30.8 percent promoted trend engagement rate, 17 million impressions during the promoted trend run and six times the average daily mentions of @adidasUK.

Rethink Your Facebook Page Strategy

If you do not yet have a Facebook business page, hold off on creating one unless you have an advertising budget. If you do already have a page, rethink the time you spend using it to organically promote your business. Recent changes in the way the Facebook news feed works has resulted in a decrease in the number of business page updates seen in it. According to EdgeRank Checker, for the typical page in March of 2014, the organic reach per fan was 6.51 percent. It was 16 percent in February of 2012.

Also for a fee, Facebook offers ads to increase this percentage as well as to reach non-fans. It touts as one of its success stories Salesforce, the world’s largest provider of customer relationship management. Its use of Facebook ads resulted in the company cutting its cost per lead by 50 percent.

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