Any business in the 21st century knows that they need to be marketing themselves via social media but just being on these platforms is not the answer. There are plenty of people advocating the use of social media as a marketing tool but just following their advice aimlessly is not going to improve your efforts any more than writing your marketing material in invisible ink would.

Social media marketing takes a lot of work and there is no point going into it half-heatedly otherwise you will probably find that it won’t work for you. That isn’t to say that you need to take any more of a strategic approach to it than you do your general marketing; just that this is not something you can dip in and out of effectively. So here are three ways you can use Twitter correctly in order to benefit your business.

Engage –

Just tweeting aimlessly is sure to attract less attention than a whisper in a shouting match but actively engaging with your followers is what will get you noticed. The great thing about social media is that it allows you to get in contact with your target audience almost instantaneously and on a much more personal level, so this should be used to your advantage.

Instead of just tweeting about anything that’s happening in your industry try to encourage interaction by asking what your audience wants from you. By discovering what they would like to see you do you can really get an inside look into what makes them tick. You could also hold regular question and answer sessions using Hashtags so that you can find out any frequently asked questions and use your marketing material to answer them.

Promote –

Although a lot of social media marketing is about promoting your business; it is not the be all and end all. Too much promotion is going to turn your followers away and they will begin to ignore your tweets so try and keep the shameless plugs to a minimum. Instead you can try and create awareness by crafting interesting tweets that are going to get people realising you have a presence on Twitter.

Also you should try and promote other peoples work that you like. If you read something interesting then retweet it so that your followers can enjoy it too. Retweeting other people’s and other company’s tweets is a great way to create a community and the chances are they are likely to do the same with your interesting tweets. A good example of this is Simply Zesty who are a social media agency but who constantly promote other people’s work via social media.

Competitions –

Competitions are a great way to create interest for your brand and if you make them interesting enough then they are a sure fire way to get people on board. By asking people to follow you and retweet one of your posts in exchange for the chance to win one of your products or any other exciting prizes you can really extend your outreach and build your online community. Make sure that you are adhering to competition rules and regulations and try and create a fun and exciting competition; not just retweeting something.

A good example is what SEAT did recently when they launched their new SEAT Mii. They suspended one of the cars 35 metres above the ground and then encouraged followers to ‘tweet it down’; as they tweeted it was lowered to the ground and then one tweeter was chosen to win the car.

Chris Mayhew is a writer and social media marketer working for internet marketing agency Marketing By Web. They offer professional services in PPC, social media marketing and SEO in Bristol

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