Social Media 101: Twitter
As your business grows and more of your builder customers are adapting to new ways of communication, you want to make sure you are where they are and speaking their language. Like most LBM dealers, you were hesitant to get on the Twitter bandwagon because you weren’t sure how it would benefit your business. Now that you’ve heard your customers talking more about the short-form social media platform, you’ve decided to give it a try.
Get a presence on Twitter without wasting time and money in the process, and utilize the service to connect with your more tech-savvy customers.
Twitter’s information-loaded social media streams are where some of your customers have turned to find the latest industry news. From major news outlets and local newspapers to industry-specific trade publications, news publishers have learned to use Twitter as a service to get information out to readers. Many brands have latched on to the opportunity to be relevant to their customers by posting updates to Twitter. Even small businesses have found that utilizing some best practices can allow them to work smarter, not harder, and make lasting connections in their market.
As many know, Twitter is a social network made up of 140-character messages called Tweets. LBM dealers have found Tweets to be an inexpensive and easy way to build connections with new and existing customers, connect with product manufacturers and to stay up to date on the latest news happening in our industry. If you don’t already have a Twitter account, go to: twitter.com/signup to get started. There is no charge, and the entire process takes about five minutes. It is highly recommended to take the time to personalize your account by adding a logo and cover photo. Doing so shows other users that you’re engaged and active in the social network.
“Twitter allows businesses to connect with customers on a more personal level. Answering questions, suggesting products or just sending a quick message are just a few ways,” said Francesca Baio, director of marketing and corporate relations at New Media Retailer. “Twitter offers a lot of other benefits as well, including building your brand, promoting blog/product content, increasing SEO and driving website traffic, just to name a few.”
While Twitter offers an advertising platform as well, it is not necessary to use advertising on Twitter to connect with your customers. Baio offers the following tips and best practices for LBM dealers:
• If you’re a new user, others are more likely to find your messages if they are retweets or @replies.
• The best way to gain followers on Twitter is to regularly engage and contribute in a meaningful way.
• Tweets with images receive more clicks and are more likely to be favorited and shared.
• Focus on user engagement, not number of followers.
• Don’t automate responses; people can tell right away that the response is not real and will be instantly turned off.
To connect with homeowners and DIY customers, Baio said that she has seen LBM dealers find success by sharing DIY tips and videos. These types of posts are more useful to a user than simply a mention of a product. The more useful a user finds your Twitter feed, the more likely they are to follow you and engage with you. Dealers can also share tips for contractor customers on how to grow their business, as well as share the latest news such as labor issues and housing market trends.
A Twitter audience will take time to build, Baio said. “You can’t just set up a Twitter profile and expect people will come. You need to be consistent, and engaging, with your content. If someone stumbles on your profile and you haven’t posted in months, chances are they won’t follow you. Make sure your profile has fresh content each time someone visits.”
As an example of an LBM dealer that is doing well, Baio suggested following Sterling Lumber. Based in Westminster, Colo., Sterling Lumber’s Twitter handle is @SterlingLumber. If you’re not yet on Twitter, you can visit them at Twitter.com/SterlingLumber.