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Don’t dismiss Twitter

By John Lorince

Twitter may be the most challenging of the social media but it’s also a potentially rewarding one for electrical distributors.

When you first get on Twitter, don’t be discouraged if some posts are people tweeting about nothing more than the quality of their morning latte. Yes, there are few of those, but ignore them. If you give Twitter some time, you’ll find people that you want to follow, and vice versa.

On a Monday morning, I’ll search around the web for industry-related articles. And if I see anything interesting, I will take that link and post it on Twitter. It’s a good way for your followers to see that your company is active and in tune with what is going on.

When posting an article, if I know that one of the manufacturers following me is represented in that article, then I make sure that I’m adding them to my tweet. I’ll then ask them to re-tweet it on my behalf.

Think about who your audience is. You can search on Twitter and you might be surprised to find how many distribution colleagues are on it.

For this article, I may tweet, “How do you use Twitter in distribution?” And then add the link to the story. I might include in that tweet the names of some of my followers. If they see their name mentioned, then they might click on it and you can later ask them to re-tweet it. If they have more followers than you, this will help you to gain followers over time. That is the viral aspect of Twitter.

On Twitter, you are only allowed space for 140 characters.  Since you have to keep your tweets and links concise, http://bitly.com/ can be very helpful, enabling you to post more than that 140 character limit. Try it a few times and I think you’ll find it useful.

People will ask themselves, “What’s in this for me?” Why is it important for somebody to follow you on Twitter? What can you give them to show them that there is a value in that?

Here’s one example: Let’s say you have a new product release or a special holiday sale. Arrange it so the only way for customers to get that sale coupon is from a link you post on your company’s Twitter feed. That way people have to follow you. You have driven them to that site in order to get that offer.

Or a distributor and manufacturer might try something together and tweet: “Want to win a free tool carrier bag?” with a link back to their websites.

A salesperson in our business should follow distributors, many of whom post new product information on Twitter. Many of these distributors feature video feeds of these new products. That salesperson can look at that video and show a customer this new technology about lighting, for example, and show them that video feed.

As we’ve emphasized in these columns, always watch for people who might ask a question or have a follow-up comment. Respond to those questions or comments within the hour they’re posted, or that same day, if possible.

Don’t forget that you are using social media as an extension of your marketing plan. The one location to where you always want to drive the majority of your traffic is your company’s web site. That never changes.

There are ways you can use all the social media simultaneously—Twitter, Facebook, Linked In and even YouTube. We’ll take that up in our next column.

John Lorince is the marketing manager at Leff Electric, a wholesale electrical supply distributor headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. Contact him at jlorince@leffelectric.com

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