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Socially Speaking: Anything Valuable?

2012/05/14

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Is Twitter being rude when it cuts all my sentences short? Not really. Twitter, a blog that lets users broadcast and share the news and updates in their life, draws its 140 character limitation from SMS text messages. The early inventors of SMS had to abide by the limits of the signal formats in existing telephony systems (#geek.) The result is a service where users can share short, concise messages about anything they want. Interested readers can follow them and read their messages. Twitter has become a fascinating environment where people interact about their interests, discuss breaking news, and share useless chatter in real-time.

Our focus today is on business. Businesses can and should communicate on Twitter. Not only is it a good way to communicate to and with existing customers, it will also help attract new customers who become exposed to their messaging. Several retail stores and restaurants are making great use of Twitter. Using Twitter effectively is actually pretty straightforward. Figure out what the average consumer wants to hear regarding your business, products or industry, and post it. Some customers want to hear about new products or special deals. Others just want to consume interesting content on topics they are interested in, such as coffee or outdoor sports. Home Depot encourages people to post pictures of their home improvements projects and shares them with their entire list of followers. Best Buy helps customers with recent purchases. If a customer asks a question or posts a complaint, they want to hear an answer. Starbucks publicly responds to both positive and negative experiences in an open, transparent fashion. You can do a lot of right and a lot of wrong in 140 characters. Be accessible. Show personality. Talk about things your customers are interested in. Share recipes (restaurants) or biking tips (bike shop.) Review your own products. Share what you did right and what you did wrong. Generally, people don’t want to hear bragging, useless chatter, opposing political views (note: EVERY political view opposes SOMEONE) or blatant selling.

For every person that reaches out to a business on Twitter, many more are reading. In this world of abundant content, people want genuine, original content. Almost any retail store or restaurant can benefit from a presence on Twitter. Some businesses are tougher to promote socially than others; however there is always a way to do it. Many businesses rely on point of sale resellers to help them understand and adopt technology that enables them to better interact with their patrons. This is a great opportunity for a VAR to be more helpful and more valuable to their business customers. There are many tools available, such as TweetDeck and Monitter, that a VAR can use to provide monitoring and analytics of activity on Twitter. It would be great for a VAR to launch a service to train a business how to effectively use Twitter. The service can include how to post pictures and messages, how to Tweet promotions that can be tracked within the point of sale system and a monthly analytics report on Twitter activity regarding their business. POS resellers can also offer the Incite service by RSPA. This innovative tool links various point of sale and loyalty systems to Twitter and rewards customers for their posting activity on Twitter. Your dealership can also make great use of Twitter. If you’re not creating useful, business-related content for your customers than you are missing a fantastic opportunity. Many retailers like to see tips of how to use their POS system to generate more income or operate more efficiently. If the tip is more than 140 characters, simply write it as a blog and link to it as part of your Twitter message. Your followers will appreciate the non-promotional tips and will occasionally refer the content to a friend who may just be in the market for a point of sale system. One final tip. The single most successful tactic used on Twitter to gain a loyal fan base and generate tons of repeat business is writing th| (sorry, I’m out of characters!)

TWITTER:
Follow RSPA – @InsideRSPA
Follow David – @Golem5

We’d like to hear about your successes and your failures. Well, the short versions at least. #BADJOKE. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, reach out to our “Socially Speaking” author on Twitter or LinkedIn so others can follow the dialogue. Or leave a comment below!

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