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People often ask me how a business can use Twitter effectively. It is easy to site examples of corporate Twitter accounts such as Best Buy and Direct TV.
Each of these companies are certainly great examples of how big business uses Twitter for branding. However, it is more difficult for smaller companies that are not a household name to get noticed. The question, obviously, is how your small company or goods/service site can use the power of Twitter.
Surely, you have read many posts and sites about “The Top Ten” ways to use a social media tool like Twitter more effectively. And, if you are like me, you are tired of reading/ hearing theories or seeing ads for so-called “proven” tools for companies to better use Twitter to their advantage .
This Twitter case study does not involve guessing or making suggestions. It is an example and step-by-step guide of how a small company/website employs Twitter to get traffic to its blog and website; move the brand forward; and obtain reciprocal or one-way inbound and backlinks.
Anyone who follows me on Twitter has pretty much figured out that one of my clients is a wedding website. Weddzilla has had a Twitter account for around 8 months. In that time our Twitter followers have grown from zero to over 2835 followers. I have been Social Media Director for Weddzilla since June of 2009 when they had 200 followers. This is quite impressive for a website that has a niche audience (engaged couples, more-so brides). How did we we get all of these followers without a live website? And what have they given to Weddzilla?
I was contracted by Weddzilla in June of 2009. Before I was hired, Weddzilla was using a busy background (basically wallpaper of the old logo) for their Twitter Page. One of my first recommendations was to customize the page to match the new site’s look and feel as well as to match up the logo.
Before I was hired, Weddzilla’s followers were basically friends or associates of the CEO, his VP and the web design firm. I started by vetting all of the people who were following Weddzilla and made sure that we had the right people were following us and we were following the right people. In the Weddzilla world, a quality follower is a bride-to-be, groom-to-be, a wedding vendor, a travel site, a DJ or band, etc.
Previous to starting with Weddzilla, the CEO was writing and scheduling all of the tweets at a rate of maybe once a day plus a news feed and a blog feed. I increased this to once an hour. I also tweeted about @weddzilla on my personal account since I have over 2000 people following me. I also recommended that a “follow us on Twitter” badge to be added to the Weddzilla site and blog our Twitter account.
We gained about 650 followers in the first month.
The Next Phase
Once I had a better handle of who Weddzilla was following and who was following us, I did a few things:
1. I become the voice of @Weddzilla on Twitter.
2. My role was as a promotional evangelist first, and a human FAQ for Weddzilla second.
3. With the help of our graphic designer, finally developed and placed a Twitter friendly designed page.
4. I choose not to auto tweet. Instead, I made it obvious that we were taking the time Tweet personally.
5. I utilize Twellow, a twitter directory. I was able to find vendors and brides with a substantial (>1000) following. I would follow those users and hope that they’d visit our Twitter homepage, see what a great resource we were, and follow us back. And even if they didn’t follow us back at first, I would RT (re-Tweet) the high profile company(s)’s tweets and link to posts on their website(s) and blog(s) that were appropriate to Weddzilla.
6. I encouraged Weddzilla’s CEO and Director of Community to tweet at least once a day and participate in the conversation so they are both aware of what our followers are passionate about.
7. I created “Theme Days” which have become very popular with our followers (and have generated new followers). For example, Mondays are #DIY Monday, Tuesdays are #Travel Tuesday, etc. Each theme pertains to Weddzilla’s business and followers. These themes have directly resulted in more niche followers (photographers, favor vendors, etc).
8. I run small giveaways of Weddzilla logo-ed shirts, stickers and swag, using Twiveaway to track these.
This phase was even more successful. Over the next three months, I was able to increase our following by 1600 as well as discover find some real applications and advantages from the times spent on Twitter.
When talking about the benefits of corporate Twitter accounts, here is what I have seen in regards to @Weddzilla:
1. We have over 1000 followers who want to hear what we have to say. These individuals would not have found the Weddzilla website had it not been for that Twitter account and efforts.
2. We receive 3000 visits to our blog daily directly attributed to Twitter. This number obviously increases traffic and page views in regards to vendor/bride registrations and revenue.
3. We have over 1000 people who we know are interested in weddings and Weddzilla that we can promote social media stories to (via StumbleUpon, Digg, etc.). We also have a dedicated audience to vote in online contests (like the WeddingChannel awards, which we were winners in two categories)
6. Weddzilla.com receives free brand exposure on Twitter by our followers who re-tweet our links and tell their friends who are engaged to visit our site or tweet at us for advice, vendor recommendations, etc.
7. We’re able to get instant feedback from our followers by using informal Twitter polls and keep our site going in the direction our brides and vendors want.
8. We get lots of content ideas from the questions and comments we see from our followers.
9. We have made friends via wedding-related Twibes that have resulted in obtaining an exclusive sponsorship of DCGWC’s $50,000 Green Wedding Giveaway ( thanks again, @GreenWedDC). Our salespeople have already been contacted by at least 10 of our vendor followers to purchase advertising. These are just two of many examples.
For the Weddzilla website, Twitter has been a valuable tool – both from a branding standpoint and a learning tool as far as understanding what our vendors want to see when the site goes live. We hope that we will be able to track revenue generation once the site does go live this month. We will be offering exclusive sales and discounts to vendors via Twitter.