If you’re a small-business owner, chances are – given that it’s 2015 – you’ve already done the digital basics; meaning, you have a website and a company Facebook page. Many business owners, however, have yet to take the next logical social-media step and join Twitter.
This is surprising, considering Twitter’s expansive reach:
- nearly 300-million monthly active users;
- some 500-million Tweets sent per day.
Twitter also possesses characteristics that should make a small-business owner’s heart sing, including the fact that it’s free to join, and tweeting generally doesn’t involve heavy lifting or require Silicon Valley-level techie skills.
10 Reasons to
While it would be both more appropriate and impressive to list 140 reasons why small-business owners should be using Twitter, 10 should be sufficient.
First, for those who’ve somehow missed the Twitter tsunami, here’s an encapsulated explanation. Twitter (http://www.twitter.com) is an online social-networking service that enables users to send and read 140-character messages called “tweets.”
Twitter can help build your business by:
Humanizing your brand – Brands, more often than not, tend to be bland and one dimensional. Via Twitter, brands can develop personalities not only through word choices, but also by posting photos and videos or linking to events/individuals that are in sync with your brand’s mission, vision, or core values.
Staying in the loop – Having a strong Twitter presence is among the most efficient and effective means of monitoring what is being said – positively and negatively – about your business and/or brand. You can use Twitter Search (https://twitter.com/search-home) or a dashboard app such as Tweetdeck (https://tweetdeck.twitter.com/)or Hootsuite (https://hootsuite.com/) to stay in the loop regarding chatter you should be aware of – chatter that can then help shape strategy.
Quelling complaints – Negative comments pack more punch than those of the positive variety, so it’s in your business’s best interest to quell complaints ASAP. Thankfully, Twitter is a prime platform to do just that. As mentioned previously, Twitter enables you to monitor potentially destructive comments and – equally important – it provides a means to quickly respond and, hopefully, to douse sparks before they burst into flames. Using Twitter, you can electronically escort displeased patrons offline, where their complaints can be addressed discreetly and – hopefully – satisfactorily.
Finding new customers – Having a continually flowing pipeline of new customers is the lifeblood of virtually any business, and Twitter can play a powerful role in meeting this goal. Here’s how. The billions of tweets posted weekly are searchable via http://www.twitter.com/search-advanced. Cast a new-customer net by searching for keywords related to your business or terms that prospects would likely use in relation to a problem that your business/product solves. You can then tweet-introduce your business/product to those your search uncovered.
Connecting with influencers – In addition to netting new customers, business growth also can be fueled by word-of-mouth, third-party endorsements made by trendsetters, journalists, and community leaders – to cite just a few examples. To forge relationships with these types of people, search for keywords central to your business, paying particular attention to those folks with the largest followings and greatest number of retweets. Once you’ve isolated these individuals, follow them on Twitter, and engage with them whenever you spot an appropriate opening.
Leveraging hashtags – For the uninitiated, a hashtag – which is used on social-media sites – is a word or phrase preceded by a hash mark (#); in this way, keywords and phrases become easily searchable. When a hashtag relevant to your business is trending on Twitter, you can then integrate said hashtag into your own tweets, thus reaching a larger audience.
Introducing new products – Twitter is an ideal platform to launch new products as well as to maintain marketing momentum. Unlike traditional advertising which essentially is a static, one-way street, a tweet introducing a new product can prompt comments (hopefully positive) as well as retweets, and also can attract followers who may well become customers.
Collecting feedback – As mentioned previously, monitoring Twitter chatter about your business can be extremely informative. In addition to mere monitoring, Twitter can be used to directly elicit feedback about your business/product/service through the posting of specific questions or by conducting a poll.
Offering specials – Offering discounts or freebies is a tried-and-true marketing strategy that’s transferable to Twitter. By posting special discounts or promotional offers on Twitter, you will strengthen relationships with existing followers, and hopefully attract new ones who will then become customers.
Monitoring competitors – In addition to tracking chatter centering on your business, Twitter also can be employed to monitor your competitors. Specifically, Twitter Search can be used to keep you abreast of competitors’ activities and what is being said about them in the Twittersphere – intel that can help inform your own strategic decisions.