Walk into any establishment today and you'll inevitably run smack dab into a sign that says, "Follow us on Twitter." Generally it's communicated on everything and proudly indicates, "Yes, we have checked that box off on our marketing tactic list." Unfortunately many of these Twitter accounts are not monitored or only exist to tweet the latest sale, special or company news.
What a shame.
Case in point, over the course of the past few weeks, I've had lunch at a very good local establishment. Each time, I've checked in on foursquare and subsequently tweeted how good the food was. In fact, during the second visit, a follower tweeted me to see how my lunch was. "Fantastic," I responded, including the restaurant's Twitter handle in the reply.
So, two visits, half a dozen tweets about the great food, and a direct recommendation to someone on Twitter. The establishment's response?
Nada. Zilch. Zip.
What an opportunity lost. A simple, "Thx, glad you liked it," response would've elicited another tweet from me telling them I'd be back. Fact is, a simple retweet of my recommendation to another Twitter user is better than any ad. Would they not respond if I praised them in the restaurant? Simple stuff, but for some, social media still remains a mystery to most businesses.
Lesson: Don't start a Twitter account as a business just to say you have one. This is actually a pretty common mistake. If you are on Twitter, you need to actively listen and participate. You'll hear great things you can share with your follower list. And if you hear negative things, you'll be able to proactively and positively respond and find out what you could do better next time.
Listen, then respond. It's how conversations get started.