Columnists Ann Glynn Support your business model with Twitter

Support your business model with Twitter

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*This is the sixth in a series of six articles about Twitter Social Networking and its use in the Jewelry Industry

Last month’s article was about “Social Capital” and what it really means in terms of your business.

This month I’d like to wrap up this series of articles with some information about how you can easily structure your Twitter Social Network to support all aspects of your business model.

Over the course of the last 5 articles, my goal was to educate you about the general importance of Twitter as a Social Networking tool.  Social networking has the potential to be extremely useful to your business.  As it relates to your business model, Twitter can help you inform customers of new product offerings, sales events, announce private sales and trunk shows, reward loyal customers for their valued patronage and help build a stronger overall customer base.  This, in turn, helps promote your merchandise and gives you greater control of your business operations.

Your business model is the framework upon which your business is built.  Many of you might not believe me when I say that, used properly, Twitter can support all aspects of your business model, so let’s break it down and look at what that really means.

The framework for any business model includes the combination of the following things:

  1. Your products (merchandise)
  2. Your business operations
  3. Your infrastructure (staff, etc.)
  4. Your image (what you project & what is perceived)
  5. Marketing strategies

So, with that in mind, how do you begin?  First of all, set specific and realistic goals.  Do you want 50 or 100 Followers in 1 month?  That’s a great goal, and reachable if you know how to find followers.  But remember, the goal on Twitter for your business is to increase your business not just to “have Followers,” and that means you don’t want a bunch of spammers following you on Twitter.

Remember too, that Twitter Social Networking encourages a genuine interaction between the consumer and the company.  Your customer wants to hear what you have to say, and they want to know that you would like to hear what they have to say.  This allows for an easy exchange of information and communication.  Part of this exchange requires you, as the Retailer, to take a different approach to selling.  People on Twitter aren’t interested in Tweets that continuously push them into buying something.  Be creative and engage your customers in a way that “soft sells” them through your doors!

Beginning with #1 in the framework for a business model breakdown above, let’s review how you could structure Tweets for your products (merchandise) to support your business model, without a hard sell to your followers.

This is February, so some of your Tweets can be about Amethyst, the birthstone of the month.  Remember, you are passing along information that is positioning you as the expert in your industry, while at the same time, giving your customers something to (possibly!) excite them about coming in to your store and buying something.

I know I’ve said this in previous articles, but it bears saying again.  The beauty of Twitter is that it allows you to reach your audience multiple times a day with different types of information that carry a common goal - getting them to shop with you.

With that in mind, be sure to keep your Tweets specifically worded not to be a sales pitch, but rather to give information and generate interest in the topic it is addressing.

The second part of the framework for the business model breakdown would be to structure your Tweets to support your business operations.  In the loosest sense, and for the sake of this article, lets consider your “business operations” as the other revenue-generating part of your business that isn’t merchandise-based, such as repairs, appraisals, gold-buying, etc.

Tweets geared to supporting this part of your business would be framed much in the same way as the examples given above, and could be run in conjunction with product-related Tweets.  You want to make sure they are worded to pass along information and generate interest for your followers as such:

Variations in Gold colors such as pink, green, white & the new chocolate gold, are produced by addition of alloys to the liquid molten gold.

or:

Carat vs Karat:  Carat spelled with a “C” is the measure of weight used for gemstones.  Karat with a “K” measures the purity of gold alloy.

The third part of the framework for the business model breakdown is to structure your Tweets to support your infrastructure, in this case, your staff.  There are several ways this could be accomplished.  One way would be to have someone on your staff establish himself as part of your Twitter staff and have them interact with your Followers on a regular basis on your company account.  Another way would be to “Tweet” about the accomplishments of your Staff on a regular basis, and I would encourage you to consider this for many reasons.  First of all, it helps to personalize your store.  Second, it increases employee morale when they realize you are praising them in a public forum.  And ultimately, it shows a level of confidence & trust in your employees to your customers, and that is a big bonus that many store owners miss out on by thinking they have to be the “go to” person for every customer and every decision, every time.

Structuring Tweets to support your staff and wording them to generate interest for your followers could look like this:

The history of Venetian Fortunelles is 1 of Nobility, & a Lifetime of Good Fortune. Want to learn more about this Italian legend? See Jannie

or:

Congratulations to Mark, he successfully completed SJTA Certified Jeweler Program course Platinum & Lasers - the Ultimate Solution! Way 2 go

As you can see from the tweets above, they accomplish several things.  Aside from providing information to your Followers, they also act as “quiet, consistent reminders” of the credibility, knowledge and expertise you and your staff can deliver to them on a day to day basis.  Used properly, Twitter can help you do so much more than just build up your customer base.  Everyone likes to be acknowledged, and your employees are no different.  Twitter gives you a chance to compliment them in a public forum that can be rewarding for everyone.

The fourth part of the framework for the business model is to structure your tweets to support your image, both what you project and what is perceived.  This part isn’t as complicated as it sounds, but it does take some work, and since it will be different for every store, I can’t really give you any examples.

However, I can tell you this.  What you project for your image is everything, including your logo, your merchandise, your storefront, your advertising, your staff, your packaging, even down to the way you have your staff answer the phone.  So when you “Tweet” - remember that what you project in your tweets is also part of your image, too.  And if you tweet

I’m at Bill & Jill’s Burger Joint hanging out with a sloppy burger, having a beer and pigging out on fries

or:

Dancing on the tables & watching all my employees do shots and get crazy here at the hotel bar after the Show with our Vendor

there may be some ugly repercussions you have to deal with.

Other things to remember are more simple - proper spelling on words, especially trade-related words.  You are the industry expert.  Don’t embarrass yourself by not spelling your industry words correctly!  Keep in mind, too, that on Twitter, punctuation doesn’t really matter and many words can be shortened or abbreviated, such as using the number 4 instead of the word for.

One of the benefits Twitter has is being able to monitor what other people are saying about you simply by searching your user name.  That gives you an opportunity to address customer relation issues that might have slipped your attention before they get out of hand and more closely monitor how your image is being perceived.

The fifth part of the framework for the business model breakdown is to structure your tweets to closely mirror your marketing strategies.  The flexibility of Twitter allows you to run a campaign on a daily or weekly basis.  You can extend it, or shorten it, depending on its popularity, with very little work involved.  How hard is it to tweet:

February Twitter Special - $15.00 Chain Solders + free jewelry cleaning & ring inspection when you mention “February Tweet”

I know it isn’t easy, especially in this economy, to incorporate one more thing into the mix.  As I have said in other articles, I will continue to gently encourage you to consider adding Twitter to your mix of advertising.  If it isn’t something you feel you can do on your own, feel free to call me at (504) 615-1191, or e-mail me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with any questions, comments or concerns you might have about using Twitter, or about structuring Twitter to support all the aspects of your business model.

This was supposed to be the last of this series of articles, but the kind folks at Southern Jewelry News and Mid-America Jewelry News have asked me to continue writing more about social networking so I’ll see you next month!

Ann Glynn is a managing partner of GJB Partners, LLC, a company that provides technology, experience and information to assist members of the jewelry industry.  GJB Partners works with its clients to improve their business and profitability through a combination of Internet-based opportunities, including the Twitter Social Networking Service.  If you’d like more information on using Twitter to enhance your business, contact Ann at 504-615-1191 or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 
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