Twitter is becoming one of the most talked about social media tools. It provides a platform for businesses to connect with each other as well as with industry professionals. By listening and engaging in conversations and also creating and sharing content, construction companies can form long-term relationships, increase brand awareness and establish their presence in the social media world.
Construction companies need to ‘get in on the action’ to achieve a competitive advantage in the marketplace so I have compiled a list of the top 5 ways Twitter can be used for business.
1. Networking and building connections
Getting to know industry peers and prospects that you would probably never have met in person is one of the greatest things about Twitter. You have the opportunity to interact with like-minded people who share your interests and passions. It’s a two-way relationship whereby you and your followers both listen to and learn from each other.
Twitter has huge networking potential through which you can make more people aware of your company and services, leading to future benefits such as testimonials or peer recommendations. Twitter networking is also a great precursor for networking offline because you can meet and follow prospects online, engage with them for a while and this could eventually lead to a business relationship offline.
- Aim: build up your network and become an invaluable resource to others because the more people you know and the more people know of you or your company, the greater the potential for future business opportunities.
2. Sharing company news and content
The ability to easily share instant links to videos and articles makes Twitter a constant stream of information that can drive traffic to your website. This can be used to your advantage by distributing relevant news about your company (case studies, news stories, videos, white papers) and its services.
Construction companies can also use Twitter to share industry knowledge by promoting their blog or newsletter to position themselves as ‘industry educators’. Twitter is the ultimate viral marketing tool since it has the potential to push your message around various networks in a matter of minutes. Businesses just need to know what their target audience is looking for, and interested in, so that followers will want to share your messages and refer your company to others.
- Aim: to establish your company as industry experts and prove this leadership through publishing relevant and educational content (blogs, articles, newsletters). This will also increase your website traffic as people get directed to the blog/website through links on Twitter.
3. Building awareness of a marketing campaign
Twitter can be seen as the ultimate traffic generation tool by placing links to your website and campaign landing pages within company or personal profiles and include the campaign in discussions and conversations so that people will be motivated find out more. It is a great marketing tool because it can spread information to groups of Architects or Civil Engineers at the click of a button. If your company is working on a new campaign such as a product launch or a raise awareness of a scheme, Twitter could help raise awareness by encouraging followers to share the message or campaign on their profile so that everyone within their networks can also view the campaign messages. Before you know it, your marketing campaign becomes viral.
However, be careful not to over-promote your business because Twitter users do not want to be bombarded with self-promotional, self-serving tweets so find the right balance between sharing your content and other news/articles. Most importantly, be personal, because Twitter users want to follow a person/brand with a personality, not a robot.
- Aim: ensure that as many people as possible know about your company to increase exposure for your specific campaigns and other marketing activities. Be engaging and interactive by showing your personality so that people can get to know the person or team behind the brand/business.
4. Listening to brand mentions – what do people say/feel about your company.
The great thing about Twitter is that it provides a great opportunity to listen to what people are saying about your company, products and services and your competitors. Through this you are able to understand their requirements, needs and how best you can go about attempting to solve them. Businesses are always looking for feedback and ways to improve so Twitter is offering you this for free and without asking for it, all you have to do is look for it. Search tools are available to keep track of brand mentions and smart companies will use this information to improve their products and services.
Construction companies can monitor and develop their online reputations. By finding what is being said and intervening (when necessary) you can regain trust and respect if you handle the situation/complaint in an appropriate and admirable manner. Therefore be careful how you respond because it is a public platform and everything you say can either work for or against you. Twendz is a Twitter tool that allows you to track brand sentiment which is important because it gives you an idea about how people feel about your brand/company. And as you know, emotions rule most of our decision-making so it is important that the emotions about your business are positive!
- Aim: be aware of what is being said about your company so that you can monitor brand mentions and improve your offering by taking the feedback on board. Online reputation management is critical for brand building so make sure you know where your customers are, what they want/need and show them that you can provide this better than competitors.
5. Internal marketing- communicating with employees
Twitter also presents a great opportunity for businesses to communicate internally and share the latest company developments with their employees. It does mean that your employees must have access to Twitter and also have individual profiles which follow the company profile. Using Twitter for internal communications is especially useful for collaborating on group projects (when people are located in different offices) or letting your employees know about any forthcoming product launches, events, training days or new project wins.
Using Twitter for internal communication does not replace any form of existing method of communication but instead just adds another communication channel. But remember to make your tweets private so that they are only available to your employees. More information can be found here on setting up Private accounts: http://support.twitter.com/entries/14016-about-public-and-protected-accounts
- Aim: discover new and productive ways of communicating internally so that people both in and out of the office are in the loop at all times. This could improve employee morale as everyone can get involved in the project and feel that their opinion is valued.
So, Twitter is not just about personal use but also for business purposes. There’s a fine line between the two and getting the balance right is essential. These are only 5 suggestions for using Twitter for business and I am sure there are many more ways in which it can be employed effectively. It all relates back to our previous blog post on the need for a defined strategy with clear objectives and whether you use social media for networking, marketing or both.