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How to use Twitter for business: A practical guide with examples

Ring Central Blog

Written by Liz Gonzalez

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When it comes to doing business, the magic of words is really powerful.

You can write 2,000-words-long blogs to captivate your audience’s imagination. Or you can spill 300–500 words in an email copy or your website landing page to get people to buy from you.

But in an age where the human attention span is shrinking—perhaps you can pack the same punch within 280 characters.

That’s right. If you use the right platform, i.e., Twitter—280 characters are enough for you to grow your company’s branding, engage with potential customers, and convert followers into customers.

Twitter is more than just a microblogging platform. It’s a social media channel that offers you plenty of opportunities—disguised as bite-sized tweets—to exponentially grow your business.

In this post, we will cover:


Why use Twitter for business?

Your brand likely has an online presence on all social media channels. But merely maintaining your social media presence on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn is like having high-speed cars sitting idly on your driveway—itching to be driven to their full potential.

When done well, you can leverage Twitter to help you attract the right people to your brand and build trust with them—at scale.

With 330 million monthly active users, Twitter is a fantastic place for your business to grow its foothold and to push open new doors of business opportunities.

Out of that worldwide number, Twitter is home to 30 million Americans who tweet daily. You can’t afford to miss a free marketing platform that has such a large user base—many of whom are your ideal customers.

And if you thought Twitter was only limited to keeping up with current affairs or trading insults over each other’s political differences, here’s news for you: 42% of consumers learn about a new product or service for the first time via Twitter.

In other words, Twitter is the watering hole where your existing and future customers hang out. You should be there too if you want to earn mindshare with potential buyers or offer quick customer service to your existing customers.

It’s not just big brands like Starbucks or Netflix that use Twitter to break new grounds. Twitter is a force multiplier for small, local businesses who want to reach out to millions of people without spending a ton of money.

That’s because Twitter ads are extremely cheap and marketing on the microblogging platform is mostly free (we will talk about Twitter’s free feature in a bit).

Beyond marketing your brand or offering real-time customer service, Twitter is also your go-to resource to do customer research.

When you engage with your customers on Twitter, you create a direct feedback loop with them and feel their pulse on issues that matter to them.

Twitter also offers you a high point for you to observe your competitive landscape and devise a favorable social media strategy.

Being consistently good on Twitter earns you an audience—or followers—most of whom are people waiting to be converted as your customers.

Twitter really is a doorway for you to advertise your brand to the world, spark meaningful conversations with existing customers, and persuade more customers to buy from you.

With so many rosy possibilities, Twitter for business should be an integral part of your social media strategy.


How do small businesses use Twitter?

Most small businesses shy away from using Twitter—or other media platforms—because they feel dwarfed by the big brands who are doing a great job engaging with customers.

What they don’t realize is every brand’s journey on Twitter starts at zero. They earn followers, get the verified blue tick, and go on to start viral Twitter trends because of their social media strategy, consistency, and adaptability.

Most of these brands also use Twitter as a profitable channel to drive sales, build customer loyalty, and offer customer service.

The point is—you don’t have to be the next Wendy’s on Twitter. It doesn’t matter if you start with four or 4,400 followers on Twitter—just be the brand that’s relatable, responsive, and make a difference to the people who matter to you. The power of compounding will take care of the rest.

Take inspiration from the following businesses’ Twitter accounts to achieve different goals:

1. Tasti D-lite

For a company that’s been around for over 30 years, Tasti D-Lite is doing a really sweet job of adapting to its customers’ tastes.

Tasti D-Lite is a New York-based popular dessert franchise store spread across four different states. Although they weren’t initially very confident about using social media to their advantage, the brand joined the Twitter bandwagon in 2008.

Over the years, Tasti D-Lite has used the platform primarily to keep its ears to the ground and get the latest scoop on what dessert-lovers are looking for. For instance, the brand took a three-pronged “M” approach to keep a close tab on its brand reputation as well as customers’ expectations:

tasti twitter post

The M in their approach stands for:

The third idea has really paid off for Tasti.

A few years ago, they created specific coupon codes and gave them away to their Twitter followers as part of their marketing campaign. Tasti cashiers at all store locations could enter each of these coupon codes into the point-of-sale registers.

This helped Tasti’s marketing team track the number of conversions and sales, which in turn informed their future marketing campaigns.

2. Gadis Supermarkets

If you’re a fan of Spanish music, you might have heard about Gadis supermarkets.

You might think supermarket + music is a weird combo. But that’s exactly what Spain-based Supermercados Gadis has earned its stripes for—mostly thanks to its success on Twitter.

Gadis Supermarkets uses Twitter for business in a great way, by leveraging its handle to promote the brand, interacting with customers on a more personal level, and bonding with them through music.

A few years ago, the supermarket chain began sponsoring an annual summer music festival in Spain and launched a Twitter campaign hashtagged #Gadismúsica to spread the word about it.

💡 Fun fact: 

Many of the branded hashtags like #NetflixAndChill and #ShareACoke first originated on Twitter and went to become viral trends on other social media platforms as well.

With Twitter’s wide range of targeting options, Gadis is able to reach its intended audience of 18+ music lovers living in the cities where the supermarket operated.

They use Twitter to ask them music quiz questions and give away tickets and passes as prizes. Twitter’s laser-focused targeting has helped Gadis spread its reach to a niche audience.

Their #Gadismúsica campaign has resulted in a 40% increase in engagement over the years and helped Gadis capitalize on Twitter’s amazing audience reach.

Gadis uses Twitter’s look-alike targeting feature to reach the right audience segments. The hashtag helps the brand track the results and analyze which of their content on Twitter worked best for them:

gadi twitter post

3. Glossier

Emily Weiss ran a beauty blog—Into The Gloss—before she turned it into a $1 billion company, Glossier.

And social media has played a huge role in making Glossier a name on everyone’s lips.

Glossier makes social media look easy. While Glossier’s social media engagement is off the charts mostly on Instagram, the brand is also killing it at Twitter (107K+ followers) and Facebook (371K+ followers).

Its heavy focus on social media as a growth lever is the reason why Glossier is able to provide a consistent brand experience across all social media platforms—like brands are supposed to.

To keep tabs on all those different social media networks and handle a huge variety of conversations across all platforms, you could use a smart omnichannel customer engagement tool like RingCentral Engage Digital™. Here’s quick look at how it works:

The benefit of using a platform like RingCentral is that not only does it consolidate all your messages with customers in one place (whether they messaged you on Facebook or Twitter or email—or all three), it also makes it easy for anyone on your team to pick up on a conversation, even if they’ve never spoken to that customer before:

engage digital all sources conversations

Glossier uses Twitter to stay on top of its brand mentions, respond to customers’ queries or quirky comments, and to promote its products.

For instance—when Glossier announced its Black Friday Sales for 2020 on Twitter, it had its followers drooling with excitement:

glossier black friday twitter promotion

That’s the exact kind of reaction you expect to see from customers who sometimes have to wait in a 10,000-person waitlist to buy a brow gel.

Glossier also uses Twitter as a research tool to ask its followers about their skincare routine in order to get customer insights.

And here’s something that will bring a smile to your lips: The brand has kept its founder’s blog—Into The Gloss—alive! It’s now their official brand blog where they share beauty tips, talk about the latest makeup trends, and make product announcements.

They mine the data from their Twitter polls and plug some of that into the blogs to resonate more closely with their audience.

4. ClassPass

Crack your knuckles and unclench your muscles because this example will show you how to stretch the limits of effectively using Twitter for businesses.

ClassPass is a startup that offers membership-based services to help you find fitness studios near you, book salon and spa services, or access at-home virtual fitness classes.

Besides maintaining a friendly brand personality, ClassPass uses Twitter as a medium to build a community around its brand, engage with its followers, and resolve customer service queries quickly.

They make it a point to respond to all tweets that mention @ClassPass—be it someone celebrating their personal milestone, a question, a customer service query, a comment, or a suggestion:

classpass twitter response

ClassPass’s social media team is also very particular about not copy-pasting boilerplate replies from their FAQs (frequently asked questions). This ensures that they are offering a personalized engagement and bringing out the human side of their brand.

Twitter’s 280 characters limit is sometimes a bummer when you’re tweeting publicly. Team ClassPass gets around that challenge by using Twitter’s Direct Messages (DM) function to discuss a customer issue at length and to privately respond to queries that are sensitive in nature.

ClassPass also doesn’t restrict the responsibility of responding to tweets to its customer service teams. It uses Twitter as a platform to enable cross-functional collaboration and communication between marketing and customer service teams—teams that take turns to interact with customers on Twitter.


How to use Twitter to promote your business for free in 6 steps

If you’re wondering how does Twitter work for business—don’t worry. All social media platforms, for the most part, are free-of-cost tools to get organic results.

Twitter is no different—the platform offers a lot of free functionalities for small businesses to take advantage of. Promoted Tweets or Twitter ads do cost money, but  only if you’re looking for faster results.

Here are six steps on how to use Twitter for business promotion without spending a penny:

1. Devise a Twitter strategy

It’s much easier to use Twitter to your advantage once you know what direction to take.

Start with identifying what business goals you want to achieve by using social media channels like Twitter. For instance, most small businesses bank on Twitter to fulfill their customer service requirements.

Begin with the end in mind and use Twitter as a vehicle to reach those goals.

2. Leverage the power of hashtags

Hashtags are powerful curation tools to keep a tab on customer expectations, follow Twitter trends, or reach out to your specific target audience.

If you’re using hashtags for marketing campaigns, they make organizing your posts a breeze.

Branded hashtags are also wonderful tools to make your brand viral—if they catch on. Take #NetflixAndChill as an example. It’s now become such a big cultural meme that it perpetually contributes to Netflix’s marketing.

3. Engage on a one-to-one basis

If you’re a small brand looking for a big exposure, Twitter can help you connect with the right set of customers.

For instance, you can search or follow a set of hashtags that are most popular in your niche and engage with accounts that are relevant to you.

Let’s say you are an apparel store in the Charlotte area. You can search or use hashtags such as #clothing, #fashion, #style, or #Charlotte to engage with relevant audiences on Twitter.

4. Promote your brand

Twitter is a free real estate for your brand to showcase your service and products, offer free trials, run social media marketing campaigns, announce contests, or generate leads through engaging posts.

Social media users love quizzes or giveaways, for instance. You can have them as part of your Twitter campaign to generate leads and increase the chances of your brand going viral.

Also, pin tweets for important brand announcements or link to your business website to drive referral traffic.

5. Run Twitter chats

If you don’t have a budget to spend on Twitter ads or paid promotions, you can use creative ways to spark conversations around your brand.

Twitter chats, AMAs (Ask Me Anything), and Twitter Polls are a few examples of how you can pull it off. Invite micro-influencers from within your company or your domain and moderate public discussions around a specific topic that is relevant to your audience.

In addition to being a great medium to interact directly with your audience, this exercise also helps you build a community around your brand.

6. Use Twitter analytics

Twitter gives you the leverage of measuring your social media performance through analytics to slice and dice your social media strategy.

Twitter analytics offers a single dashboard where you can view the performance of your social media engagement such as the number of clicks, retweets, likes, comments, and replies.

Twitter analytics is like having a sounding board for validating your brand’s performance on Twitter and optimizing it for better impact in the future.


How to use Twitter for customer service

Facebook is great for ads. LinkedIn’s forte lies in hiring good talents. Instagram is amazing for influencer marketing.

While all of the above platforms are social media networks, each platform plays to its individual strengths because of the kind of expectation these platforms have built with the masses.

Twitter’s strongest suit lies in being a go-to channel for businesses to manage customer service issues in real-time and without turning them into support tickets.

Below, we have curated four easy steps for you to use Twitter to manage your customer service better.

1. Set the right expectations

Twitter is a multi-faceted platform. Not everyone will understand what your brand’s engagement strategy on Twitter is unless you make it abundantly clear to them.

Explicitly communicate to your customers that your Twitter handle is an unofficial support channel for customers to resolve queries.

Display your toll-free customer service number, link to your online customer service page or online customer support chat in your account bio, or link to your Twitter account on your customer service page to let people know of the many ways they can contact your brand.

You can also create a separate Twitter handle dedicated to customer service if it’s too much to mingle everything in one place.

2. Keep a tab on all @mentions

People @mention your brand name on Twitter either when they are happy, sad, or angry at your brand. All of such scenarios merit a timely and official responsible response from your brand.

Use an audience intelligence and mention tools like Brand 24 or Sprout Social to resolve customer issues at the speed of light and monitor your brand’s reputation.

When you respond to Twitter posts that mention your brand in public, it sends a message to other customers as well.

You don’t always have to sort out things on Twitter if an issue needs more time or is complicated in nature. Use Twitter to work out simple customer service issues and deflect your support traffic.

3. Offer a consistent experience across all channels

While it’s true that you have to use different social media platforms to the tune of their strengths, don’t be a brand that feels and sounds different across different social media platforms.

It makes the customer experience disjointed, inconsistent, and unpleasant. To customers, Twitter accounts for businesses should feel like visiting one of the many store outlets that offer the same experience no matter where you go.

Offer your customers a cohesive brand experience and manage customer interactions across all platforms using RingCentral Engage Digital.

Shorten your customer service response time by more than 32% while delivering a personal touch through the web, social media, and messaging apps.

4. Use your DMs for high-touch customer issues

It’s embarrassing to deal with angry customer comments in full public view. When customers holler negative tweets @ you on Twitter, politely urge them to DM you the issue.

Make it a standard practice so that you can firefight sensitive customer cases away from the public attention. Direct messaging is also a great tool to solve customer issues that you need to deal with privately, confidentially, and sensitively.

And that’s how businesses use Twitter…

We live in a world where a tweet often travels faster than the news. You can’t afford to not leverage a powerful channel like Twitter that can help you save time and money picking up customer phone calls or answering each customer email manually.

Use RingCentral Digital Engage as one platform to rule them all. Merge your Twitter account with other social media identities, set up automated workflows, and employ chatbots to keep your customer service on 24/7.

RingCentral Engage Digital can drive your customer service team’s productivity by over 18% and up your first-contact resolution rate by up to 92%. What can be your excuse to not use a customer engagement software that offers so many benefits?

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