You don’t often hear ‘Twitter’ and ‘wholesale’ in the same sentence, but this social media platform can add real value to your wholesale business. How?
Think of the last time you went to a tradeshow. How many people did you meet? How many new vendors or potential customers did you interact with? How much industry insider information (the legal kind) did you you learn?
Twitter captures those kinds of interactions and conversations, and makes them available to anyone else using the service. How many times did you wish you had had a chance to connect with a certain individual? Find them on Twitter. Know of an industry expert who always seems to be in the know? Follow them and read what’s on their mind.
In any business, it’s really about the relationships you have with other people. That’s what social media in general is all about.
But how does a wholesaler actually use Twitter?
You’ll need to decide if you’re going to setup the account to represent yourself or your wholesale company (or both). Fill out all the profile information so others can easily find you and ascertain that you’re legitimate. (There are plenty of bogus Twitter accounts.)
Twitter is like going to www.google.com - the page is blank until you search for something. Use the search feature to find people, companies, or industries you’re interested in learning more about, such as ‘wholesale’ or ‘wholesale electronics.’ Once you find someone or something interesting, ‘follow’ them. That means that on your Twitter homepage you’ll see what they’ve posted.
Twitter revolves around ‘tweets’ - very short messages (limited to 140 characters) that people post. The tweets are public, so anyone can read them at any time. These short posts are the basis of the ‘Twitterverse.’
For instance, one of your suppliers may tweet, “Ship late - not unloading this afternoon.” Thus, you know the supply chain may be delayed, allowing your plan accordingly.
When you find a tweet you think is interesting or valuable, ‘reweet’ it. This is like posting a tweet on your own, but with giving credit to the person/company that originally posted it. Retweeting helps other people see what you think is important or potentially helpful to them.
The quality and quantity of people following your tweets is indicative (to a degree) of how valuable others find what you’re tweeting or retweeting. You want people to follow you for a number of reasons.
One, relationships are important in business, whether they’re based on face-to-face meetings or virtual interactions. Two, the type of people following you helps you understand how the rest of Twitter sees you. If they’re primarily wholesale professionals, then you’re connecting with your target industry; if they’re IT professionals, you may be tweeting too heavily about wholesale electronics. (Then again, they may be exactly the type of people you’d like to connect with.)
A third reason you want to follow you is so you can engage in direct messaging.
A direct message is like a Twitter email between two people - private and confidential, safe from the prying eyes of the rest of the Twitterverse. This is important if you have some business to discuss or would like to ask a potentially awkward question. However, you can’t direct message someone who doesn’t follow you. All you can do is @mention them.
@Mention / @Reply
An @mention or @reply lets you tweet something directed at a specific Twitter user, whether they follow you or not. Useful to get someone’s attention or to direct your followers to another valuable user to follow for themselves.
Twitter is a bit different, even for users of other social media platforms. However, it is an incredible connector and information source, regardless of where you are in the wholesale business.