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Do you know anyone who thinks that they can use social media to talk directly to the whole world? Yes, these people do exist, I know because I’ve heard it said that Twitter allows the smaller businesses and organisations on this tiny island to engage with a global audience – what’s more, it’s so easy to do and achievable with so little effort.
Let me invite to you consider this scenario. Imagine you are standing atop a mountain. All around you are hundreds of what look like potential new customers ready to hear your irresistible and well-crafted marketing message. You begin volubly extolling the virtues of your services or product – but you then realise that it’s not that you are not being heard – why not? Simple, because everyone else is doing exactly the same thing at the same time; and the noise is deafening. That is Twitter for you.
I tried a similar exercise with a group of businesses at a networking meeting recently and had one Director tell me it was everything he’d tried for years to explain how he envisioned Twitter; loads of noise going on with everyone shouting at each other and getting nowhere slowly.
Twitter is like any other communication means that you may have in your marketing toolbox – it has to be used correctly and appropriately. Ask yourself this question; after spending years refining your approach to market segmentation so that you are a finely tuned and accurate sniper, why would you suddenly invest in using a Blunderbuss to target new customers?
If you want to be successful in using Twitter you have to invest time, effort and resources into finding the right people to talk to and to organically growing your following list.
So how are you going to do that? Well the simplest way is to look close to home and to engage in a little sneakiness. If you have not already done so, make sure you are following all of your customers and any associations connected to them. If you are targeting a particular sector, then look for associations in that sector and follow all of their appropriate followers. In my experience you will get at least a third of those you follow fairly quickly following you back. Make sure you recognise them when they follow you back and do it on their timeline rather than in a Direct Message. There is so much abuse of automated Direct Messaging that hardly anyone bothers to read them these days; I’ve come across a number of Twitter accounts that actually state they never read a DM.
Your existing customers are likely to be following or being followed by similar businesses or organisations, so check out their follower lists for potential targets and follow them and introduce yourself at the same time.
And now we come to the sneaky bit. All Twitter follower and following list are in the public domain so there is nothing unethical about looking at your known competitor’s lists and following potential targets there as well.
Be consistent in your activity, make regular but different posts. Have a mix of formal and informal posts in your timeline so that you seem human and make sure you are checking your notifications on a regular basis. I ran a campaign for a client recently that ended up engaging with three new unknown contacts, all of whom expressed an interest in doing business with my client. If we had not checked the notification files we could so easily have missed these valuable connections. We put in an awful lot of effort to shift their traffic and follower numbers to achieve an 80% increase in following and 15% increase in follower numbers inside seven days but the client is now seeing substantial organic growth in followers as its network expands on a daily basis. The more your tweets are seen on increasing numbers of timelines, the more opportunity you have to connect with potential new customers, suppliers or referral agents.
Focus down on your Twitter targets and you will get better results, carry on taking a broad-brush approach from the top of the mountain and you will still be shouting in the wind until you are hoarse with very little to show for it.