Ever since its inception in 2006, Twitter has become the quintessential social network for businesses around the world to get in touch with customers and clients but is it the right fit for your brand or business online? Let’s find out.

Twitter initially was a richer form of SMS form of texting online but you must keep your message under 140 characters. Not a great deal if you want to keep your message short and succinct but with brands and businesses, this might be an issue which is why after its IPO a few years ago, Twitter has enabled a good number of features useful for businesses in the airline, entertainment, banking, finance and tech sector with real time customer service, live video and current events being its focal features.

In Sri Lanka and globally, Twitter only works with select industries where customer service is the best source of brand management. These industries are the airline industry, telecommunications, FMCG, retail, banking and finance, entertainment and technology.

Airline Industry: Airlines like Qatar Airways, Emirates, Etihad and KLM regularly use Twitter to update their customers and travelers about promotions, flight delays and offers via its Twitter channels. There are 3.8 million accounts on Twitter that follow the top 6 US Airlines and have a quality audience tuned to their tweets.

Telecommunications: In the US and globally, popular telcos like Verizon, AT&T use separate Twitter accounts such as Verizon Support to address customer queries and complaints. They use different channels to communicate brand news, career opportunities and deals. By diving its categories of interest, the telco companies are effectively addressing customers and thereby, gaining more transactions per customer which is approximately $8 per customer (if answered via Twitter).

*Image courtesy of IBM Big Data Hub

On the home turf, we have Dialog and Mobitel using the same Twitter channel to communicate the same aforementioned categories of interest. A more effective method would be to have a separate channel for customer care which would be useful and productive in the long run owing to increasing volume of queries and complaints on a daily basis.

How can your brand or business survive on Twitter?

If your business or brand falls under the airline industry, telecommunications, FMCG, retail, banking and finance, entertainment and technology sector, Twitter could lend a helping hand in generating a bigger buzz for your business via its customer service and live video tools.

Below are the some of the best practices:

  •   Communicate: It’s important to communicate your message as short and simply as possible. In a social network where over 350,000 tweets are sent per minute, it’s important to effectively talk your point across to your potential customer or client
  •  Advocate: Twitter is not the best network to use business jargon or lingo or advertise your campaigns but it’s a network where you build the best relationships with your customers. It’s important to display a more human, emotional and intimate side to your business or brand by building brand advocates who will in time be your best brand ambassadors. It’s not that complicated either! By addressing concerns, queries and complaints in record time, will help build that trust and build a lasting relationship online
  •   Interaction: Automation is probably not the best idea for Twitter because most people crave a genuine interaction with your brand and a service with a more personal touch. It’s important to therefore, keep in constant touch with your brand advocates or hop in on the brand wagon in the Trending section that are relevant with your brand or business. Eg. #90sKidsThings #MyFirstDayAtSchool

Constant interaction will help your brand prosper on Twitter and build genuine engagement which will in time help with competitions, promotions and campaigns

  •     Privacy: Last but not the least, it’s important to value the privacy of ‘tweeple’ (Twitter users) since Twitter is a public platform and most information are on open space. It’s always best to acknowledge tweets that contain sensitive or privy information on Direct Messages on Twitter. This helps build better connections with customers and users.

By following the best practices above, it’s possible to build a more engaging, interesting and buzzing brand or business in Sri Lanka!