Didn’t your mom tell you all the time growing up “Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean you should”? It’s true – especially for social media. Maybe all your competitors/friends/etc. are on twitter and they rave about it, but unless you’re committed to doing it RIGHT, don’t do it at all. Don’t even sign up for an account, and definitely don’t promote it on your website!

Twitter can be a very powerful tool for interacting with your customers & other influencers (bloggers), but it’s important to do it right, or it can backfire. Your customers use twitter for different reasons; some just want information and don’t want to interact, but many others want it all – information & interaction. I follow brands and boutiques on twitter because I want to get to know the person behind the brand, and I love it when they engage with me and respond to me when I mention them. Once that relationship is created, it’s ever-present and your customer will remember that when they’re ready to spend their hard-earned money.

Here’s how to do it:

  • First, don’t ever SPAM. I get spam tweets all the time, and most are just random spammy tweeters, but sometimes I get one like this:

    I’ve become quite quick to block & report spam users, but I didn’t do that with this one because it’s a legitimate business who was trying to reach out (albeit in a misguided way), and I felt like I should respond:

    To which the tweeter responded gratefully – and thanked me for my advice.

  • Be personal. I prefer to interact with one person within a brand or boutique as opposed to whoever sits down at the computer. The person behind the twitter account will become the face of the brand/boutique though, so choose wisely. Note: personal doesn’t mean what you had for lunch, or that your kid’s sick. It means open up a bit, share interests, RT bloggers you like, magazines you read, designers you’re interested in. Be yourself as well as your brand/boutique.
  • Do push offers to your followers, market new arrivals, open yourself up for questions & input, but always balance the marketing with interaction. Follow your customers and pay attention to what they’re saying, what they’re interested in. ALWAYS reply to them if they address you, RT one of your tweets, or generally tweet about you; never miss a chance to get to know your customer and build a relationship with them.
  • Be consistent. If you try to tweet at least a couple of times a day it will start to feel more natural and you’ll get into a routine that fits within your time constraints. In the beginning, it may feel forced and difficult, but if you nurture your twit-stream and treat it like a marketing channel for your business, one that includes engagement & interaction with your customer, then it’ll be easy.
  • Finally, if you’re not feeling it, or don’t “get” it even after trying, don’t promote your twitter page – don’t tease your customers who tweet with the promise of interaction on twitter if you’re not going to follow-through. You don’t HAVE to do it!

Are you a brand/boutique on twitter? How do you do it? What have you learned?