Should I be using Twitter as a customer service tool (we sell shoes online)? Or is it a little too informal? Should we encourage people to email/call us on Twitter?
The simple answer to this question is yes, most definitely.
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However, if you’re concerned that Twitter is too informal for your business you should first consider what it is you want to get out of having a Twitter profile, as this is sure to determine your use of the site.
Twitter gives a business owner the ability to be as informal or formal as they like, there really is no limit in terms of your social personality. Most businesses we speak to tend to get more enquiries online when they edge towards the informal – creating conversation with your customers on Twitter is one of the best marketing tools you can adopt. Once you are successfully doing this, you don’t need to encourage your users to contact you – they simply will!
Our advice would be to set up a Twitter account and start following businesses that are similar to you from all across the globe. This will give you a good indication of what others are doing and if it’s successful or not.
Follow designers and fashion writers too – the brilliant thing about Twitter is that is give you access to almost everybody. As you don’t have to be approved to see what people are talking about, as a business owner in the shoe industry you can use this to give you a huge advantage over your local competition. Think of it as an open forum – a platform that displays your competition and the experts in your industry. There is a lot you can gain from Twitter before you even begin to start engaging your customers.
As you do this, try and start conversations with people… you will soon see the amount of followers you have grow. Once this happens it’s down to you what you say to your customers and how you choose to engage them. Twitter is designed to be as formal or informal as you make it. If you want to simply talk about trends in your industry and answer questions as and when they arise, do so. But be aware however, that the more dynamic you are, the more attention you will get. Try posting photos of your latest designs and encourage others to leave their opinion. This isn’t informal – it’s informative!
One shoe brand in Australia used images to their advantage… they took pictures of their shoes in “secret” locations across Sydney, giving clues to their followers as to where their shoes were hidden. The campaign spread like wildfire and hundreds of eager shoe-lovers fled to the streets looking for free shoes. Their following grew by thousands. Informal, yes… but for a week of informality they have had very steady business ever since.