Twitter is an online social networking service and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based messages of up to 140 characters, known as “tweets“. The service rapidly gained worldwide popularity, with over 500 million active users as of 2012, generating over 340 million tweets daily and handling over 1.6 billion search queries per day. Twitter has become one of the top 10 most visited websites on the Internet, and has been described as “the SMS of the Internet.
In the modern economy, Marketing makes or breaks a business. Luckily for some modern businesses social networking has been embraced and developed for the purpose of easy marketing opportunities without costs. Years ago it would have been a significant piece of budgeting puzzle is now an easy source of visibility for savvy businesses.
For individuals Twitter is a good way to keep in touch with followers and associates, but for business it’s a sleek and efficient way of staying in touch with customer base. In the spirit of sharing monetization strategies, Forbes Magazine assembled a visual list of Top 21 Twitter Tips to help enterprises and small businesses learn how to engage on twitter. While many of the examples and quotes would not relate to our Uganda economy, I picked inspiration from them and redefined them to suit our businesses. Here is my list.
1) Customer Service; MTN Uganda one of the leading telecommunications companies in Uganda with the handle (@MTNUGANDACARES) on twitter has taken a lead with this, using its online presence to help clients with problems regarding the service delivered. MTN Uganda has adopted the use of Direct Messaging on Twitter to help its followers who have issues with the service delivered.
2) Ordering; while the distance between introduction and action is only separated by a link, many businesses are using twitter to log orders. I use most of the time with my supplies like today i ordered credits for my SMS platform from Owino Solutions (@Owinosms) through twitter and paid via Mobile Money.
3) Focus Groups; Wisdom and creativity are widespread in social media. This is tuning in to the frequency of conversations related to the brand or market place, can serve as a real time focus group for innovation and adaptation. Airtel Uganda (@Airtel_ug) launched its 3.75 GB internet speed and used tweeps to help spread the word among their followers. Right people to spread the word and also call focus on the product for further development.
4) Business Development; Twitter as other blogs and social networks is abundant with conversations that broadcast and echo dissatisfaction with brands and products. One company‘s crisis is another’s opportunity. I have seen this happen among our Ugandan telecom networks, each is learning from the other’s mistakes with information shared by clients and then improving and developing their own business look and products.
5) Direct Sales; when we tweet about products we are using to our followers, we are selling for that item to our followers (wish I could get paid for that), we are validating for that company. Even when we are complaining, those hash tags are direct sales which that company gets mileage and sales. @mishmashganda lost sales because of the tweets mentioned about it’s racist nature, hash tag #Konshens is promoting a musician who is in Uganda to entertain people and a number of them are going because some one else tweeted to there.
6) Information Network; these can serve up helpful alerts and notices to help followers avert problems, change plans and also pursue new opportunities. I have seen this with AAR Uganda (@AARuganda) with their health awareness news and health tips.
7) Events; what should I say, tweetups are trending now days. Tweeps are creating real world connections and relationships; this is due to social calendaring networks transformed from e-mails or website-based consumer invitations and RSVP management solutions. Airtel Uganda (@Airtel_ug) had this covered during its 3.75GB launch used a RSVP management platform. The Children of the Nile (@TCONUganda) used email for its tweetup event.
8) Dedicated and Branded Channels; Social media can get overloaded with general information, making it difficult to truly create and foster communities dedicated to particular topics, interests, or industries so establishing exclusive channels dedicated to share specific information increases signal. NTV Uganda a television network (@ntvuganda) has @ntv_men as a channel on twitter this only handle this program’s topic interests not the general Television’s information . Crown Beverages has @MotoMotoUg as a channel helping with the actual MotoMoto promotion on twitter away from the general handle.
9) User-Generated Change; here Twitition and TinyPetition, are dedicated to organizing people on twitter to call for change officially. I remember this hash tag #UgandaisNotSpain petitioning the Spain government on the wrong representation of Uganda in the Prime Minister’s speech, then my favorite Twitition was the #Kony2012 hash tag it sparkled the whole world in to action and understanding the concept behind the Kony War in Uganda.
10) Special Offers; We live in a society that is distracted as it is informed thus people are making decisions on what to read, view, purchase, visit and sample based on information that is seen on the social sites. If the offer is compelling and affiliated with their interests, the consumer will make the connection to personal value and benefits.
Many more ways come up every day because social media is always changing, but these 10 for Twitter are most known effective one and already used by some enterprises to engage already successfully built online communities of customers and advocates.