Twitter has been growing rapidly in influence over the last year. The company has been making progress developing its ads and promoted offerings to businesses. One of the most recent developments was their launch of the Vine app for all to use. The company is moving forward and continuing to improve. If you aren’t already using Twitter for your business, you should be. But how do you take advantage of the service? By being timely.
Timeliness Is Key
The internet moves at light-speed. Sometimes it feels like it moves even faster than that. Information is shared, tweeted, re-tweeted, posted, and re-posted among thousands, and at times millions of people. It can be hard to wrap your head around how Twitter is helping your business.
Unless you’re lucky and stumble into a tweet or content that becomes viral, you’re going to have a hard time pinpointing what kinds of tweets help your business the most. Although, I believe that approach is ineffective and wrong. With Twitter, your business needs to think of it as a long-term project which grows your brand and consumer identification over time.
It can be hard to know how to tweet in an effective manner. It’s comforting to want to be told, “OK, this is how you should tweet all the time to get the most out of social media.” But that isn’t going to happen, nor is it the right approach. You need to think more broadly.
If you’re looking for a broad rule to follow to help improve your Twitter account’s relevance to customers I would argue that you should focus on timeliness of your tweets.
Tweeting with the Right Perspective
Paying attention and being creative are two of the most important steps you have to take to take advantage of timeliness on Twitter. But there is a bit more to the concept. Brad Philips at FastCompany has a great post explaining how to approach your tweets.
Brad lists six important tips for how you can use Twitter that you should definitely read about. I’ll go over them briefly before hitting the tips about how to tweet timely. First you need to “know the culture” or know your audience. Make sure you tweet messages or Vine videos that will interest the customers you’re trying to attract, otherwise, why tweet at all? Second and third, listen and participate. Read the tweets directed at your company directly or with hashtags and respond to them. Make sure you always consider how a message will be received; you don’t want to end up like Applebee’s recently did from handling social media poorly.
His last three tips are essentially to be casual, quickly and politely respond to negative feedback (with the goal of correcting the problem or helping a disgruntled customer), and keep track of your feed throughout the day. With this basic background, you can start focusing on timeliness and start the process of turning your fans from like to love.
So how does one go about actually tweeting timely information to their customers? You need to find the resources that are related to your business or to US consumers as a whole. One of the easiest ways to stay on track of what’s happening now is through the news.
Google News is a great tool to keep track of breaking news when checked regularly throughout the day. But go beyond Google News and use a variety of sources to find your information. Industry or business specific resources can be great, as well as other web portals like Yahoo. For example, when I’m looking for timely news for my daily blog post, I focus on Google News, TechCrunch, CNN’s Trending News page, Mashable, and a few more.
There are three other great resources I want to mention briefly that you can rely on for timely information. First, you and your company are a great resource. If everyone is talking about something that’s going on in the greater society, you have right there something timely and trending. Second, other businesses or competition can be a great resource for generating buzz for both of you. Outback Steakhouse brilliantly called out Oreo on one of their social media marketing campaign challenges, and it turned out great for both of them.
Third, Twitter itself is one of the timeliest platforms out there. Make sure your business account follows the organizations, businesses, and people that will keep you in the know. Checking Twitter to find timely events, situations, news stories, or announcements in a wide range of interests will go a long way in giving you the opportunity to tweet in a timely manner.
The Super Bowl Example
Probably the best (and most recent) example of the power of timely Tweets happened during the Super Bowl. Tweeting timely means tweeting something creative that either promotes your brand, or simply shows a connection from your business to consumers in general. Both are important and your timely tweets can focus on one or the other. Even better if your brand fits into a timely event and you can combine connection and brand or product information.
Back to the Super Bowl. Remember the black out that sent everyone to Twitter to talk about and figure out what was going on? A few brands took advantage of this to put out some killer tweets that encompass the power and value of timely tweets.
Audi took an aspect of its brand and product, its super bright LED lights, and applied it to the blackout with a great timely tweet:
Sending some LEDs to the @mbusa Superdome right now…
— Audi (@Audi) February 4, 2013
Be sure to check out Samantha Murphy’s great post on Mashable about other brands that took advantage of a great timely event on their Twitter feeds.
Get Help with Apps
One helpful note is that there are apps out there, like Timely, that can help you tweet in a timely way. If you know an event or announcement is going to occur and are able to plan a tweet ahead of time, apps like Timely can help you schedule these tweets and automatically post them to Twitter for you.
Worth the Effort
Making an effort to keep on track of trending news and events can pay off. All it takes is checking up on your resources a few times an hour to see if there’s a great opportunity to tweet about. It helps your business communicate and interact with consumers on a more personal level and, more importantly, in a more relevant way.
How do you make sure your business takes advantage of timeliness on Twitter?
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