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Social Media – can Twitter make a difference to your clinic business?

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According to a recent survey (01/01/2014) there are roughly 645,750,000 registered users and 135,000 new ones signing up everyday to Twitter. By the numbers alone it should be clear that Twitter is not just some social media site used by teenagers, really Twitter is a huge conversation and you’re just missing out by not being a part of it.

Pros

Being a business on Twitter has big bonuses and a lot of small startups get well known because they use Twitter regularly and well. Here are some pros of being a business on Twitter:

  • Brand recognition – There are 2.1 billion Twitter search engine queries every day, so it is fair to say people check their accounts fairly frequently, having your business’s account active helps as when users log on, they see your tweet and begin to know and trust your company.

  • Real time customer service – Another good aspect of Twitter is that your followers can ask you any queries they may have about your clinic and, if you can answer all of them, people on Twitter can see this and think you have very good customer service. This way of contact is preferred by the customer because they can feel as if they are contacting an actual person rather than a nameless email address.

  • Quick communication – Once you have a reasonable number of followers – say 500, you can really get a message out quickly, for example, say that your clinic is having an offer, you tweet about it and then your followers will ‘retweet’ it. (Which someone does if they like a tweet and want to share it with all of their followers too.) Using that method tweets spreads like wildfire.

  • Quick and easy – Tweets are limited to 140 characters, while this may be a downfall for expressing all of your thoughts in one or two sentences, it does mean that you are usually direct with what you mean, which is something people tend to like. It also makes it easier to be more active on Twitter as it takes less time.

  • Customer relations – the hashtag ( # ) in Twitter is when somebody joins into a specific conversation. (E.g. #WhatClinic would be a conversation talking about WhatClinic.) So, if you found a hashtag about your clinic you could reach out to the people talking about it and engage with them.

  • Advertising – Twitter does offer promoted posts for a price which could generously boost your followers and business, it is at a cost but could be worth a lot more, as the phrase goes ‘You’ve got to spend money to make money’.

Cons

However useful Twitter is, like everything there is are downfalls too. Here are some cons of being a business on Twitter:

  • Busy – Most of the users on Twitter follow several hundred profiles, with many of these profiles tweeting throughout the day it is easy for your tweet to be unseen among the many other tweets.

  • Time consuming – It is important to remain a frequent user of Twitter, lest you be forgotten but, that does take a lot of time and energy which many people would find tedious.

  • Limited characters – Although this is on the pros as well, it is both a blessing and a curse, a negative feature for example, would be if you want to answer a customer’s question, you might not be able to fit your response in the space given.

Getting started

If you don’t have a Twitter account yet, or are relatively new to it here are some tips to get started:

  • Do not lock your account (To lock your account is to make sure only people who send you requests can follow you.) This is a very bad move because as a company on Twitter you want to spread your influence as far as possible but by locking your account you are very much limiting the value you will get out of Twitter.

  • It is good to know that following people on Twitter is different to other social media, it is much more passive. Dont be afraid to follow random people and let random people follow you.

  • There are sites from which you can buy followers to make your company look better on Twitter, this is a very bad idea because it is very easy to discover fake followers on Twitter (The ‘people’ usually don’t have any tweets or followers themselves and their names could be in another country’s script, which could be suspicious if you’re based in Europe and all of your followers are halfway across the world) When it is discovered that you have fake followers (and it will!) it could make your company look foolish.

Takeaways

Even though there are some basic downfalls to Twitter, I think that it is still a very useful tool especially for a small business or clinic, it gets your name out without pricey broadcasting ads. It may seem foreign and strange at first but soon it will become second nature.

 

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