Congratulations! You have setup your business Twitter account. Maybe you have sent a few tweets or even a few hundred or thousands. Could be you are soaring through the Twitterverse and seeing much success. That is if there is such a thing as a "Twitterverse." For the purpose of this blog post we will agree that at minimum there is a strong possibility.
The real question is, are you achieving your goals using social media and Twitter? Are you connecting with real human beings? Are you building relationships? Are you talking to people? Are people talking to you? Are you connecting in a human way with human beings as a result of your use of Twitter?
Twitter of all social networks can be one of the most difficult to learn. We work with organizations of all sizes, business leaders of all backgrounds. We train CEO's, CMOs, Marketing Directors, Social Community managers and everything in between. We do everything from individual executive coaching, small workshops, corporate training, franchise training to seminars and keynote speaking.
Regardless of the training format, class size or audience demographic, technical skills, business expertise or understanding of social media, we have found that once a business leader learns and understand the power of Twitter they usually better understand social media all together. It's often one of those "ah ha" moments and that awesome little social media light turns on within their brain. They usually scream something like "woo hoo... I get it!" or other things that would not be appropriate for me to mention on this post (joking).
We have also found that the people and brands who spend time up front on understanding how to humanize their brands not only learn the quickest but they also see the greatest result.
Think about it. Who and what do you communicate with? Do you walk into a store and communicate with the sign on the front of the store building? Do you stand in front of the sale sign at each aisle and ask it how it is doing? Or do you communicate with the human beings within the store, the people who take the time to smile, engage, listen, talk to you and help you?
People not only buy from people but they also engage, speak, listen, talk, embrace, and trust people.
Humanizing your brand will help you increase trust, connect with real human beings, grow and nurture authentic relationships and enable you to experience increased results both personally and professionally. Read-> 13 Characteristics of Human Brands
22 Tips to Humanize Your Brand on Twitter
1. Set goals and objectives. As granny would say, "plan yer work and work yer plan." You are going to get out of Twitter as much as you put into it. If you simply throw up a Twitter page and start spamming the world with your stupid, boring messages, you are likely to wind up with not much more than hundreds of spam eating, spam throwing twitterati following you. I have authored a ton of blog posts and videos on the topic of planning, setting goals and objectives. If you don't know where to start, call us.
2. Come out behind the avatar. This is a must for any brand. You must develop a strategy that works for you and your organization to come out of hiding behind the avatar. There are several ways you can do this. Examples include using an employee's face versus a logo as the avatar. Another option is to include photographs of those tweeting as part of your Twitter background. In addition you can also designate one or more people within your organization to represent your brand on Twitter.
Bottom line, you should focus on a strategy that leverages your greatest human assets, your employees. Empower them, believe in them and let them be your strongest brand evangelists!
3. Properly brand and setup your Twitter account. Make sure to fill out all of the optional and required fields. Include a url that links to your blog, website, LinkedIn profile or other platform as appropriate. It is best to link to a site you own versus another 3rd party platform. Take the time to properly format your profile image so it is clear. Create a custom Twitter background and customize the colors to support your brand architecture. If you need help with this, don't be afraid to reach out to a consultant or agency for assistance. They can likely help you with this much quicker than you can try to teach yourself Photoshop. You only have one opportunity to make a first impression so make it count!
4. Enjoy the journey. Remember becoming a human brand is not a destination, but a journey. Embrace the journey and enjoy the ups, downs and bumps in the road. Don't be afraid of failing. It's better to fail fast than to sit on the sidelines watching the Twitterverse and life pass you by. We have been in your Tweet shoes. At one time or another we all sent our first tweet. It won't be long before you will feel comfortable in your Twitter shoes, regardless how far off that may seem to you right now.
5. Know your audience. Who is your ideal customer? What keeps them up at night? What problems do they have and how can you help them solve those problems? How can you add the most value to their lives and business?
6. Listen more than you talk. Keep in mind that your ideal target customer may be very different than the people who are following and talking to you on Twitter. Use social listening software to listen and monitor conversations. There are many off the shelf tools you can use to listen and analyze demographics of your Twitter following. Even checking out the Twitter lists people are putting you on will help you understand how your followers are perceiving you and your content.
7. Curate content. Share other people's content.If you are new to Twitter, one of the best ways to learn the ropes is to listen and to share other people's content. Do NOT be afraid to share even your top competitor's content. When I first hopped on Twitter I spent the first couple months listening and sharing the best content I could find. I still set time aside daily to share relevant news, tips, and information that I know will help my audience. Plus it's a great way to stay on top of industry trends and happenings.
8. Help vs throw spam at your audience. Many people new to Twitter make the mistake of starting off using it as a one way Twitter billboard to scream about themselves to their audience. Would you do this in real life? Would you walk into a room screaming 140 character sentences about yourself? It would be like walking into a networking meeting or event yelling "Hey, look at me. I am cool. Follow me. Check me out on Facebook too. I am cool, come like me." Imagine if you did this in a room with human beings looking at you. You'd probably get laughed out of the room, ignored or shown the door.
Instead use Twitter to help your audience. Provide information that helps them solve problems. Provide useful news, sources of inspiration. This is why you must know your audience as a first priority. You can't help them if you don't know what it is they need and want from you.
9. Develop a content strategy, plan and editorial calendar. Content is at the core of conversation, relevancy and value in life, business and also when using social networks. Every conversation is based upon content. The best thing you can do is to develop a plan that is inclusive of an integrated content strategy and plan. Read and download-> 2014 Editorial Calendar Template
10. Speak when spoken to. Bottom line, do not ignore your fans, audience, following, anyone talking to you. If someone asks you a question, answer the question. Many consumers are now turning to the social networks for answers from brands they use and need service from. Twitter is often used in replacement to a phone. If you are not answering your tweets it's the same as not picking up the phone when a customer calls you. Now that wouldn't be very human, would it?
Timeliness and immediacy of response is critical. Unfortunately, often times an hour can be too late.
11. Have an open mind. If someone challenges your thinking or disagrees with a statement or tweet you post, be open to hearing their perspectives. I have met and nurtured relationships with some of the greatest people via a dialog that started as what seemed like a disagreement. Remember for some it may be difficult to communicate clearly in only 140 characters. Give people the benefit of the doubt and give them a chance to explain their thinking before you put them on ignore or criticize.
12. Integrate online and offline social service. Don't be afraid to take it offline. Once you have listened, acknowledged, answered and tried to solve a problem via Twitter do not be afraid to take it offline. However, make sure you have a process in place to truly service the customer's needs. Don't just take it offline and then ignore it. Instead focus on making the transition offline as streamlined as it can possibly be. This is going to require integration of social service processes and procedures into the DNA of your business and customer support processes. Read-> Social Lip Service vs Customer Service- AT&T Wireless Case Study and Brand Humanization Case Study: Fedex Driver Delivers Smiles
13. Care about human beings. You can't fake relevance and you can't fake caring. This must come from the DNA of your brand promise and culture. If you don't care about your customers as human beings it is going to show on Twitter. Social media is not going to transform your organization. Instead, it is likely to reveal it.
14. Remember that behind every avatar, Twitter profile, and tweet is a human being. Humanize yourself and your brand and you will be better able to connect with the real human beings on Twitter and every other social network you are using.
15. Join or host a Twitter chat. Tweet chats are a great way to meet new people, learn new things, foster relationships, grow your brand awareness and simply ignite your understanding of Twitter. I host #GetRealChat on Tuesday nights at 9pm et. We get real on everything from social business, marketing, social media, entrepreneurship, technology, branding, community development and more. Learn more here-> Get RealChat
16. Be YOU! There is only one you and one brand exactly like you so be that person, that brand period. Don't just copy what everyone else is doing. Often times the people or brand you are copying may not know what they are doing either. Even if they do, their audience is different than yours. They likely have different goals, objectives and unique value to add. Focus on who you are, who your audience is and how you can deliver value to them in the most easy, relevant way.
17. Show your human side. Don't be afraid to show a little human. This doesn't mean you have to share what you ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Instead highlight some backstage highlights of happening in the office, events and meeting with clients or even a glance into what your staff does on the weekends. The more you can share about yourself in an authentic and meaningful way the more your audience is likely to open up to you.
18. Put relationships first in everything you do. Never burn a bridge on or off of Twitter. Even if someone ticks you off on Twitter and you are ready to let them have it in 140 characters, slow down. Take a deep breath. Go for a walk outside. Come back after the emotions are gone. One stupid tweet can destruct your brand for a lifetime. Choose your words wisely.
19. Measure, rise, repeat and optimize. Measure results. To do this you must do as I said in #1 of this list, set goals, and plan. There are many tools on the market that enable you to measure the results of even your Twitter actions. We even help our clients measure from tweet or post on numerous social networks to conversion. Don't let anyone tell you social media ROI can't be measured. If they tell you this, you need to get a second opinion. Yes, there are many benefits of social media that are not so easily measured such as relationships, awareness and the list goes on. However, this doesn't mean you give up on measuring and optimizing.
20. Don't be afraid of the word integration. Integrate your Twitter efforts with your business. Social media is not a silo. It is simply a medium for you to better communicate and connect with your audience, customers, stakeholders, partners and community. Eliminate the Random Acts of Marketing from your plan and focus on aligning your Twitter and social media efforts to business goals where it can have the greatest impact.
21. Have a home base. Twitter should not live on an island of it's own. Instead think of Twitter as a big fishing net you can use to connect with all different walks of life and human beings. You should leverage Twitter to meet new people, connect with them and eventually bring them back to your own home base such as a blog, website, or whatever it may be. Leveraging content from your blog, video and other platforms will help bring credibility to your brand on Twitter and overall. Putting all of your business eggs in a social network basket you don't own is a recipe for disaster.
22. There is only one way to do social media and Twitter. Remember, there is only one way to do social media and Twitter, and that is the way that works for you and your business. Build your own ship. Run your own race. This is your journey, enjoy it and have fun!