When you are competing with an average of 200 million tweets per day its easy to think that your voice is not going to be heard in the midst of all that noise. One may think, “what good is it to tweet if I have to talk over 200 million other tweets.” In today’s post we will attempt to convince you that, despite these odds, you can and will be heard — but you have to have a strategy.
Is Anybody Listening?
The best way to really be heard on Twitter is when your tweets are retweeted by others. Twitter beginners often measure their success on the number of followers they have. We see brands and individuals alike working to build their “follower base” through advertising and other promotions, but the secret to successful tweeting isn’t in the number of followers, but in the power of retweets. When people who follow you retweet what you are saying, you KNOW they are listening. Retweeting is kind of like an informal endorsement — if someone retweets your message they are essentially standing in support of or in agreement with the message you are trying to spread. And, if you have a follower with more followers than you, and their followers are engaged, your tweet could spread quickly to a very diverse audience.
Retweeting: Blessing or Curse?
Before you dive in, heed this warning: the same followers who may retweet your messages, standing in full agreement and support of you/your brand, could very well be the same followers who will retweet your mistakes! For example, every day someone will send out a tweet about a bad customer service experience. Often times, this person will use a hashtag to be sure and label the brand they are criticizing. If the brand already has a Twitter account, some will even @reply the brand in their negative tweet! Depending on the degree of poor customer service, and how many people are listening to the person tweeting about their bad experience, a brand could be staring down the barrel of a significant PR nightmare, just because they offended the wrong person with a high profile on Twitter.
Additionally, there is a risk involved when delegating or otherwise outsourcing tweeting to others. There are many examples of brands whose social media employees responsible for the brand’s Twitter account have accidentally tweeted inappropriate messages from the brand’s account. This is almost always unintentional, just an employee who carelessly tweeted from their work account on accident when they meant to tweet from their personal account. This happens more than you think; however, savvy marketers will be prepared to leverage these mistakes and turn them into opportunities, like The Red Cross and Dogfish Head beer did earlier this year.
How to Get Retweeted
The best way to get retweets is to first be a good listener. Twitter users who proactively engage with others will build a sense of trust and respect among those they follow. Users know you are listening when you respond to their tweets and retweet what they have to say. This typically results in more followers and eventually retweets for the brand who listens.
A friend recently tweeted that they had a great experience at a Wegman’s grocery store and hashtaged the brand in their Tweet. Wegman’s was already set up to take notice of anyone who tweeted about their brand, and responded immediately to my friend with gratitude and encouraging them to shop again. This is a great way to establish trust and online connections that lead to retweets. Now Wegman’s has a new follower and loyal customer, one who is very likely to sing the praises of Wegman’s from their own Twitter account.
The bottom line is, do not focus on being heard among millions. Focus first on listening to your customers and future customers, and then let them know you are listening by proactively engaging them online. The more you listen and respond, the more trust you build with your base, which will lead to more and more users listening and responding back to you. The best way to build loyalty to your brand online is to listen and respond to customers.