5 Small Business Twitter Tips
Small businesses certainly do not have the resources to battle it out with much larger businesses, having to concede high profile marketing opportunities including newspaper, television and radio advertising to the market leaders. The Internet has leveled the playing field considerably, allowing even startups to find a place online and thrive.
No, you won’t be able to afford most online ad schemes, but you can afford to utilize popular social media and connectivity platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to connect with your customers and find new ones. With Twitter, the all-important short messaging service, your operating costs are close to zero – the only expense you will incur is the time you spend tweeting or the expense of hiring a virtual assistant or employee to send out messages on your behalf.
The following are some significant tips small business operators should consider when using Twitter:
1. Vet your representative carefully – Unless you’re sending out tweets yourself, you’ll be finding someone to do the work for you. A word of caution: the person who represents you need to be scrutinized carefully. Chrysler learned how difficult it can be to entrust a third-party to handle tweeting, when a marketing partner sent out an “f-bomb tweet” through its account. The user thought that he was using his own account; instead, the world got to read the expletive directly from Chrysler.
2. Set up your profile – Your Twitter profile can offer a lot of information about your business including a link directly to your website. Your user name can be different from your name, but why should it? You can supply a contact email address; choose your language; set up a local time; and choose your tweet location. Your tweet location can come in very handy especially if your customer base is nearby. Optionally, you can choose to share photos and videos to everyone; protect your tweets to appear only to people in your group of followers – not a good idea if you’re trying to expand you base; and use secure encryption if you want to encrypt your account information.
3. Make some time – You’ll benefit from Twitter by setting aside some time each day to use this social media platform. That can pose a problem for time-pressed business people who may not relish getting online at the same time during the day. If you’re handling the tweeting yourself, you can schedule tweets by using third-party or client manager tools such as TweetDeck, Hoot Suite or Seesmic. Schedule your tweets to appear at all hours of the day, at night and on weekends. Your messages will flow even when you’re not available to send them out.
4. Manage your followers – One of the most significant time drains with Twitter is managing followers. You can end up with scores of new followers every day, quite a few of whom are spammers are kids playing pranks. Instead of getting caught up in numbers, simply pick a day each week to quickly go through your list and follow the people whose tweets interest you and ignore the rest. Once a month, cull through your list and remove inactive Twitter users. I get rid of users who haven’t tweeted in 90 days, using a service such as Manager Flitter to keep my list manageable.
5. Use hashtags – Without a doubt, you can tweet without using hashtags, but why? Hashtags help out when what you want to say can’t be squeezed in to a 140-character update. You’ll make it easier for others to find out what you’re saying by using #hashtags for product #marketing, #news and #personality profile. Among others.
Do you still think that tweeting is a waste of time? Active users aren’t likely to agree. In a social media marketing report shared by Inc., 9 out of 10 people have claimed that it has helped them increase their business exposure. Personally, I can attest to this as I landed a client this year who found my tweets.