In the time it takes you to read this sentence, around 30,000 tweets will have been sent worldwide. Pretty impressive!
Since bursting onto the scene in 2006, Twitter has become the platform for ‘breaking news’ with global leaders, governments, celebrities, and organisations joining individuals in sharing their thoughts, news, and opinions.
Twitter has changed the media landscape, and altered how businesses interact with their customers.
Who knew 140 characters could be quite so influential?!
Over 310 million monthly active users send around 500 million tweets each and every day, and in many cases, it has become the main point of contact between businesses and their customers.
Twitter is a hugely useful platform for small businesses, and in this article I take a look at using Twitter for business, how to gain followers on Twitter, and how to use Twitter in your overall marketing plan…
BENEFITS OF TWITTER FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
- Communicate with your audience in real time.
- Monitor customer satisfaction and feedback – both positive and negative!
- Enhance your website with your Twitter feed as a news stream.
- Generate interest and publicity for your brand – a great PR tool.
- Monitor the competition…Social Statistics
- Make new contacts.
HOW TO USE TWITTER EFFECTIVELY
Personalise your profile & reflect your brand. The great thing about Twitter for business, is being able to personalise your profile to really reflect your brand. When using Twitter for business, I’d always recommend giving your profile the same look and feel as your other online branding.
Don’t forget to choose your header and profile images carefully too. Many small businesses use their business name for the account, but add a personal photo for their profile image. This can give a personal touch. Alternatively, you may want to feature your logo as the profile image.
Choose your username wisely! This is extremely important when using twitter for business, so give it plenty of thought. Nothing expresses your brand on Twitter more than the username you give yourself, and let’s not forget, it appears next to each and every tweet.
I recommend choosing a username that doesn’t use punctuation, and fits closely with your business name where possible. Consider the spelling of your username too, to make it easier for people to include you in tweets! Find out more about choosing the perfect Twitter username here .
If you’re just getting started, this article has a number of tips for getting started on Twitter – Twitter Article.
Lay the foundations. Now it’s time to fill in the profile information fields. Be sure to add your location so users can find you, and to make sure you appear in local search results. It’s important to add your company website here too, as users may want to click through and find out more about you after your interactions.
**TIP** Why not create a special landing page on your website just for Twitter? That way, you’ll be able to measure incoming traffic!
The bio is an important part of your Twitter profile, but you only have 160 characters so go for personality, and a punchy summary of the benefits your business can deliver.
Follow the right people. When it comes to ‘following’ people, it’s advisable to consider the following ‘categories’ as you search for those influential accounts.
Think about your customers (existing and potential), your business partners, suppliers or contractors, your competitors (always best to keep an eye on them!), trade organisations, any nearby businesses in the same town/city, and businesses you already know.
Join the conversation. The Twitter platform is pretty fast and furious. The topical or ‘trending’ issues change with the weather, and everything happens in real time.
At first, it can be really useful simply to sit back and watch a conversation unfold. Perhaps check out a ‘trending topic’, and watch the tweets roll in. When you’re happy to do so, jump in and join the conversation.
**TIP** While Twitter can be a great place to express opinions and beliefs on a number of topical issues, it’s best to do so from a separate account to that of your business. Try and keep your business Twitter account on-message and professional. A Twitter ‘spat’ is certainly no good for business!
How to gain followers on Twitter. With just 140 characters, you’ll need to think carefully about wording your content, and also about what your target audience wants to hear. Remember Twitter is a very instant, responsive platform, so try to engage in conversations with users. Take advantage of trending topics, engage with other users or businesses, and you’ll soon be a ‘top tweeter’.
Twitter provides an instant platform for your customers to communicate with you, so make use of it! While this ‘real time’ communication is often positive, it also gives customers the chance to share any negative experiences online too, so make sure you are checking and responding to interactions daily.
**TIP** Handle any negative tweets quickly and professionally. Always avoid confrontation, and deal with the situation as you would deal with a customer complaint in person. Often, you can quickly regain credibility by handling a complaint quickly and calmly.
Twitter is a great way to drive traffic to your website, so make use of it! Simply create a tweet around a link and send it to your followers. It’s a good idea to use a URL shortener to make the most of the available space.
There’s loads of great ideas online to inspire you when it comes to creating content – Planning Corporate Twitter Accounts.
Twitter Marketing fits nicely in your overall business marketing strategy. Reflect & Reshape are opening up their doors to their Business Accelerator Programme to the first 30 people in the next few weeks! If you want to skyrocket your business and become a real success then submit your application now before we close the application process.
To apply for the Business Accelerator Programme click the link below
THE JARGON BUSTER
Many small businesses want to know how to use Twitter effectively, and my Twitter jargon buster will help you get started.
Tweet: a message sent out to all those who follow you.
@Reply: a public tweet that includes the Twitter username of a brand or person, and is in reply to an existing tweet.
Mention: a message you send out that includes another @username.
Retweet (RT): a tweet shared with the people who follow you, that was initially created by another user.
Direct Message (DM): a message created and sent privately to another Twitter user. It is only possible to send a DM to someone who already follows you.
Hashtag (#): A ‘topic’ on Twitter. By clicking on the hashtag, you’ll be able to see all tweets posted that include this particular topic.
For more information about the language of Twitter, check this out: The Language of Twitter.
EXAMPLES OF TOOLS
When it comes to identifying ways to use Twitter for marketing, you might want to consider using these additional tools…
Download the app – The easiest way to stay connected with your Twitter followers, is to download the Twitter app. You’ll be able to react quickly, and monitor any trending topics or ‘hashtags’ on the go.
Schedule your tweets – If you’re heading away on holiday or are not able to tweet during the day, scheduling your tweets may be a good idea. It’s always worth remembering that Twitter works best in real time, and you won’t want to miss vital interactions with your followers!
There are lots of great scheduling platforms out there, but Tweetdeck and Hootsuite are among the most popular. You can find out more about scheduling your tweets here How To Schedule Your Tweets.
Measure your performance – Google Analytics is a great way to track your social media success when using Twitter for business, and can be integrated into your website SEO strategy How To Measure Your Performance.
Find the keywords & hashtags that best suit your brand – Twitter is all about finding the key hashtags that get your tweets noticed. There are lots of great platforms out there to help you identify these hashtags including Keyhole and Hashtracking.
It’s a wrap…
So there you have it…Twitter is a great tool and can provide a whole host of benefits for a small business when used correctly.
If you still need a little inspiration, check out these small business success stories using Twitter – Business Success Stories.
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