Twitter is a go-to social network for many companies, as the 140-character message limit provides a great platform for short, sweet, and direct communication. You don't have the space for extensive messages, which means embracing succinctness is an essential part of your Twitter marketing experience. Over time, you build up a following and populate your feed with plenty of relevant accounts as well. Now that you have a strong Twitter foundation, how do you engage with your audience to keep them interested?

Customer Support

Twitter is a popular customer support channel for many companies. As one of the largest social media sites, consumers expect the businesses they patronize to be a part of the community. When they have problems with a product or service, they aren't going to turn to phone or live chat for their first support outreach. They talk on Twitter about their experience. If you catch the consumer early on in their social media rant, you can address their problem before it becomes a major PR issue. In many cases, turning an angry customer into a satisfied customer creates a significant amount of brand loyalty for your business. Over time, your biggest adversaries turn into your biggest advocates. You can't buy marketing like that, and all it takes is staying on top of your Twitter account. If you have social media managers handling the account at specific times, make it clear when customers may get a response. A customer waiting a few hours for a response is less upset if he knows when to expect a response.

Behind the Scenes

Want to show your customers some of your company's personality? Use Twitter for short slice of life looks at your business, from pictures to overheard quotes. You separate yourself from the companies that stick strictly to business, which is especially valuable if you want to establish yourself as a trendy company that's relatable to your audience. Make sure to ride the line between approachable and unprofessional, however. The informal nature of Twitter makes it easy to slip into a too familiar approach with customers.

using twitter for customer service

Social Listening

Social listening tools are your best friend when it comes to driving Twitter engagement. Not everyone knows about your brand's account on Twitter. Instead of engaging with you directly, they use related keywords and hashtags, or don't tag you in their messages. Social listening tools scan Twitter and other social networks to see who's talking about you. You can jump in on the conversation and add your input or provide help for an upset customer. Some of our favorite listening tools include SproutSocial (our main dashboard as well), Mention, and Hootsuite.

Building Connections with Influencers

Go beyond your own followers and look for your industry's influencers. Track what they post on Twitter, when, and the kind of response it gets. You want to form connections with these influencers, making yourself and your brand known to them. They may tweet about your company or contact you directly for other opportunities. Never underestimate the possibility of securing native advertising with influencers either, as this is a growing field.

Own Your Hashtags

Establish unique hashtags for your business and make sure you keep up on them. You don't want so many hashtags that don't make sense for your company, especially if you have a hard time tracking multiple hashtags. Keep the conversation in your brand name or relevant events, and look for trending hashtags you may provide valuable input on. You don't want to take advantage of tragedies or disasters by jumping in and trying to be clever, but many other trending Twitter hashtags give you reach to a wide audience.

Leverage Live Event Marketing

Live event marketing gets plenty of popularity, especially with B2B companies. You don't just get the benefit of the event for in-person attendees. You can also utilize this event for social media marketing. Sit your social media managers down in live sessions and presentations and have them live tweet with the event hashtag. You can also use event-specific hashtags to help attendees connect with each other for networking and after-event entertainment. You might not have the resources to live-tweet everything yourself, but promoting the hashtag helps encourage attendees to do so as well.

Social media marketing is more than posting a few articles here and there on your Twitter account. You need to actively engage with your audience to keep growing, making the best use of those 140 characters possible.

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