Be In Control like Rafa: Take Charge of Your Company's Twitter Account

I’m a big tennis fan. HUGE. These next few months are going to be heaven for me, as there’s the French Open, Wimbledon, and then the 2012 Summer Olympics AT Wimbledon. I can’t wait.

One player who’s ready for it all is Rafael Nadal, currently the world’s #2 player. Rafa, as he’s known to fans, is a relentless tennis player. Some say he’s the Terminator of the tennis tour. He’s already a great player because of his skill, but when you add in his tenacity and heart, he’s a monster. Rafa chases down every ball that’s hit to him, making his opponents work even harder to beat him.

Rafa likes to control every thing about his matches that he can. Whether that’s through his serve, his forehand down the line, or how long he slides into a shot on a clay court, Rafa is in control. He’s even in control of where his water bottles sit at the change over chairs. He’s so meticulous about it, that he’ll sometimes spend the entire 90 second change over repositioning them so that they’re just right. (In case you’re wondering, the label has to be facing the side of the court he’s serving from next.)

There’s a lesson in Rafa’s meticulousness that we can apply to marketing. Specifically your social media marketing through Twitter. Here are 7 ways you can take charge of your company’s Twitter account.

#1-What’s your purpose?

Why are you tweeting? Looking to inform customers about corporate news? Want to engage customers in conversation? Trying to help with some customer service? Twitter can be used for all of these things, but you’ve got to decide which is for you and stick with it.

#2 – Use different accounts for different purposes.

If you are going to be using Twitter for different purposes, I’d recommend establishing different accounts for them all. That way your message is appropriate to the audience, and your followers will read your messages. For example, Mashable has different accounts for the different sections of the site: @mashabletech, @mashbusiness, @mashsocialmedia, and so on. Etsy has a main account, @etsy, but also one for the site status, @etsystatus. Foursquare does the same thing through @foursquare, @4sqSupport, and @4sqOnCampus.

#3 – Have a consistent voice.

I’m not just talking about tweet subjects here, I’m going deeper and talking about the words you’re using. Use the third-person plural when tweeting, as it’ll seem more natural (we/our.) Using “I” in tweets from a company can confuse readers, especially if the account isn’t for a specific person at the company (like the CEO or VP of Marketing.)

Example: “We’re launching our new software release in two days. Are you ready?” or “Our very own VP of marketing will be attending the conference. Come on by to Booth 221 to meet her.”

#4 – Schedule tweets to take advantage of prime working hours of your readers

Ensure that you’re taking advantage of the prime working hours of your readers. Use tools like WhenToTweet and Tweriod will help you determine when your readers are most likely to be online. Twitter clients like HootSuite and Buffer will help you schedule your tweets for maximum reading.

#5 – It’s a conversation, so reply to readers. (Remember though, everyone’s watching.)

Remember the “social” part of social media, and engage in conversation with your followers. It’s especially important if you’re using Twitter for customer service – they’re asking for your help, so you’ve got to give it.

But don’t spend any time on the spammers and negative followers. They’re not worth the time and energy. Plus it’s not a good idea to engage them out in the open.

#6 – Take care of influencers, active & connected users.

Similar #5, you’ve got to take care of the influencers and active users in your Twitter stream. Retweet them a few times, reply to their tweets, engage them in conversation. If you have the time, go visit their sites, and comment there too. They’re influencers for a reason.

#7 – Aim for quality over quantity.

Even if you have a Social Media Manager, or Community Manager in charge of your Twitter account, there’s no need to tweet every 5 minutes. You’re aiming for quality over quantity, so make each tweet count.

My favourite is Number 6 (Take care of influencers, active & connected users), but I’d bet Rafa’s would be Number 3 (Have a consistent voice.) That consistency makes him one of the greatest tennis players of all time (in my opinion, of course.) Which one is yours?

Julia Borgini + Spacebarpress helps geeks sell their stuff through winning case studies & online content. Contact me today to find out other ways I can transform your corporate blog.