5 ways to use Twitter’s Direct Messages as a small business

Editor’s note: This post comes from our Constant Contact UK team. You can view all the posts from our UK team here. Or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

You know about Twitter. But what about its lesser-known Direct Messages feature — the self-professed “private side of Twitter”? Well it turns out you can win some serious brownie points with your audience when you use Direct Messages correctly.

Great social marketing is about feeding the conversation around your business. Yet it’s amazing how many businesses forget that conversation is a two-way thing. Sure, publishing your own content and watching the clickthroughs is lots of fun. But it’s important to listen too. A positive back-and-forth over the digital ether can leave a lasting impression on your audience: turning a prospect into a customer and a customer into a repeat purchaser.

Here are five ways to use Direct Messages to build bonds and break boundaries.

Personalised support

It’s the age of the Twitter complaint. If a customer is venting at you over Twitter, you want to make that interaction private as soon as possible to preserve your reputation. You know what they say. Never wash your dirty laundry in public.

Even if someone isn’t effing and jeffing and simply needs some support or has a few questions about your service, it’s best to make the conversation private. Most people don’t want their Twitter feed clogged up with one-to-one conversations between people they have never met.

You can start a private conversation with anyone who follows you.

Behold! Limitless group chat….

There are two super-cool things about Direct Messages. One: there’s no character-limit, liberating you from the shackles of 140 characters. Two: you can exchange messages with multiple people at once. Yep, Twitter does group chat. Some neat uses of group chat are to introduce people or to exchange thoughts and ideas following a networking event. You can probably think of a thousand other uses.

Again, you can start a group message with anyone who follows you.

Arrange your meetings

Sharing real-world plans publicly on Twitter has some fairly glaring privacy issues. But what happens when you want to try and arrange a meeting between a group of prospects or potential partners but don’t have their email addresses? Just hop to the Direct Messages function and type away.

Solicit your next testimonials

Authentic testimonials are a powerful marketing tool. But for some businesses they are incredibly hard to come by. Adopt a mindset of don’t ask, don’t get. If you notice one of your followers talking about your service or one of your products, send a private message asking them to elaborate by sending you their honest thoughts — good or bad.

Check-in with your brand evangelists

It’s the little things that make the difference when it comes to customer service. Sending your most loyal customers timely, thoughtful updates will help to make sure they keep coming back to you — again and again.

It could be anything from a short message to let them know their order has been dispatched to a well-timed update about your bank holiday opening times. Be natural. Be helpful. Avoid slick sales patter or obsequious ingratiation. People know when they are being sold to and you could lose a valuable customer forever.

Ready to get started?

Direct Messages can be a really useful way to build bonds with your target audience and break down the traditional boundaries between business and customer. More than anything else, great marketing is a conversation between you and your prospects. So get personal and have one. The folks behind Twitter have written a short guide to getting started with Direct Messages.

Go forth and converse!

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