How Twitter Works: Listening to Your Target Audience

I was recently on social media when I happened to connect with a favorite artist of mine. I’ll admit, I’m still amazed how Twitter works; I can connect with famous or semi-famous people all day long. Perhaps I’m less amazed after this encounter. While I was trying to compliment the artist, I was pretty much blown off and corrected on the minutiae of their work. The person wasn’t awful, but I was a bit disillusioned on the person’s attitude.

If you want more Twitter followers, don’t do this!

It may seem like Twitter for Dummies, but some brands are still alienating followers. A recent study shows that only 58.4% of companies monitor their brand on Twitter. Furthermore, 42% of customers expect a faster response time on social media. All this adds up to a pretty bad experience for Twitter followers. If brands want target audiences to respect, appreciate and ultimately continue to purchase products from them, this interaction needs to change. Now.

Answer! Again, this might seem like Twitter 101 or Twitter for Dummies, but nearly 50% of brands are not doing this. Even my grumpy artist managed to get this one. All the other suggestions below are built upon this simple fact. Even if your answer isn’t perfect, at least you’re answering. Followers will quickly learn they can trust you to respond to their comments if they ask you something. That goes a long way.

Answer Promptly. More than half of Twitter users are expecting an answer from brands within a day or two, and 25% are expecting an answer within a few hours. Remember that social media never sleeps, so you may need to answer a random question at 10:30 pm. It may seem daunting at first, but most questions can be easily answered within a minute or two.

Answer Politely. You may call it a target audience, but don’t go hunting for a fight! Anyone that’s worked in conventional customer service knows that you can never win a fight with a customer. Either they prove you wrong logically or they get mad when you prove them wrong. And mad customers do not continuing buying products from your brand. Do not get adversarial; even if the person on the other end does.

Get Help. Hey, we all get in over our heads sometimes. There’s no shame in asking for help from colleagues or your clients. I get asked highly technical questions on Twitter throughout the day. I have to lean on my fellow social media managers or connect with my clients to get those answers. It’s also important to seek help if you’re dealing with a less-than-friendly customers on social media. Sometimes asking for help can clear your head and help you answer your own question.

Social media is all about engaging with others. On Twitter, people can quickly and easily pose questions and comments to their favorite companies. Realize the amazing power of that forum and use it to help others fall in love with your brand.

Have you ever had a bad experience with a brand that didn’t understand how Twitter works? How did it shape your relationship with them? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.