How to be Successful on Twitter
As a small business owner, you are probably thinking how can a social platform like Twitter impact my business? What can I really say in 140 characters? If this sounds like something you would say – you could not be farther from the truth.
Social media has proven to be an effective marketing strategy for small businesses. With the technology driven world we live in today, consumers expect all businesses (large and small) to be on social media and provide them with updates, specials and information at the press of a button. Twitter is not just for teens, tycoons and celebrities – it is a marketing tool that can help grow your business – and many smart small business owners are using Twitter as one of their main online marketing tools in their tool belt.
The numbers are convincing. Twitter has been around since 2006 and has grown substantially. Today, there are more than 284 million monthly active users, according to stats released by Twitter on their website. With almost 500 million tweets sent per day, you can see why this is a powerful marketing tool for any small business owner. As staggering as these stats may seem, you are probably asking yourself, how can Twitter help my business?
Here are just a few strategies you can implement to build your brand on Twitter:
- Connect – With the number of active users on Twitter, it makes it one of the best places to look for and connect with potential customers. Small businesses that cater to a niche market find that they are able to connect with their existing customers and interact with new customers easily, allowing potential customers the opportunity to learn more about their business and their brand. And stay informed of sales, promotions & special events.
- Brand Awareness – While the big brands do not need an introduction to get followers, small business owners need and want more people to know about their products and services. Twitter allows you to drip brand information on your followers. Before you know it, you are recognizable, reliable and known for your brand to millions of followers. Creating that trust with your followers is key in building lasting relationships with them, which will drive sales for your business.
- Relationships – Positive relationships are the key to growing your business. Your Twitter followers will feel connected to you and your business as you make an effort to post updates and tweets that your customers will find interesting and helpful. Value driven content is more powerful today than any other type of information presented. There is a balance needed – keep your direct marketing or sales promotions to a minimum – too many ads can make you come across to your followers as pushy.
- Informational Marketing – Introducing new products and services or making important announcements via Twitter has some great benefits. Not only is this a more cost effective way to release information on new products and services, but it also can potentially reach millions of people much faster than other marketing methods, such as print advertisement and even radio and television.
- Immediate Feedback – many small businesses are using Twitter to monitor, survey and handle feedback from their customers. This is a very efficient tool in gathering your customers’ opinions and it allows you to respond quickly. Responding to both positive and negative feedback, can set your small business apart from that big competitor down the street. Managing your online reputation in a professional manner, creates a positive atmosphere with your followers.
So Twitter can be a very useful tool for small businesses in a multitude of ways. Twitter can help you reach your consumers in ways that you never thought were possible. Here’s a few examples of how a few twitter savvy businesses used Twitter to build their small business:
- Coffee Groundz is a coffee shop in Houston, and was one of the first businesses to use Twitter for takeout orders. They fill their Twitter stream with promotions, upcoming events, pictures, and the announcement of their special flavor of the day.
- Crème Brulee Cart was a small side business started by a carpenter. Within a very short period, this business owner learned that customers were finding the cart each day through Twitter. As customers would stop by the cart, they would then tweet where the cart was and what they purchased. This business owner quickly started using Twitter to post where the cart was located every day and what the daily flavors were. Today, there are more than 20,000 followers on this Twitter account and the business owner was able to quit the carpentry business!
- Roger Smith Hotel located in New York City needed an edge to compete against the big name hotels in Manhattan. Twitter provided this hotel an edge that no one could have seen. After reaching out through Twitter to some online influencers and inviting them to stay during their next visit to NYC, the Roger Smith Hotel got exactly what it hoped for – happy guests that tweeted about their stay. Word spread quickly and now they are consistently booked. The hotel gives their Twitter followers special discounts and even has a special Twitter kiosk in their lobby to give them a special welcome.
Social media can be the driving tool for small businesses to develop awareness of its products and services. As a small business, you are in the perfect position to use Twitter to your advantage and build your business to heights you never thought possible. Maintain your values and remember the tips mentioned above. Before you know it, your followers, and sales will increase.
Social media is not going away. So don’t be one of those businesses that struggle and make the mistake of ignoring the potential of social media – especially Twitter. It’s one of the most economical ways you can increase your visibility and reach your audience. Which is why it so popular among small businesses. Make it a part of your marketing strategy for your small business – reach your audience quicker, and easier than ever before.
4 Great Ways to Market Your Business with Twitter
Is your company using Twitter to connect with customers? If not, you should be. There’s no denying that Twitter is becoming more popular as a communication tool for companies – but that doesn’t mean that many companies don’t get it wrong. Having a Twitter account that feels impersonal or doesn’t respond to customers in a timely manner is worse than not having an account at all.
If you’re going to maintain a Twitter presence, then you have to be prepared to think about how – and when — to use it. More and more, customers are expecting compassionate engagement from the companies they follow on social media. With that in mind, here are four great ways to market your business on Twitter.
Put Customer Service at the Forefront
One of the biggest mistakes that companies large and small make on Twitter is ignoring customer service questions and complaints. It’s important to remember that everybody who follows your company can see that you’re not replying to questions if they take the time to look. Stellar customer service can do a lot to boost brand loyalty and your company’s reputation.
The best customer service on Twitter is personal, meaning that someone monitors your account on an ongoing basis and answers customers directly with @ Tweets. A good example of a big company who uses this strategy is airline Jet Blue. An examination of their Twitter feed shows that almost everything they Tweet is a direct reply to a customer.
While responding to customers is better than not responding, beware of responses that seem cold or impersonal. Some companies try to keep customer service off Twitter by redirecting people who post questions or complaints to call their customer service number. You’re far more likely to engage customers – and keep them in the long run – if you embrace the idea that Twitter is an ideal platform to provide great customer service.
Provide Value to Your Customers
You might already know that Twitter is not the best place to be bombarding customers with sales pitches. You already know that the people who follow you are interested in what you have to offer, but the most successful companies on Twitter know that sending out a stream of self-promoting Tweets isn’t a good idea. Instead, they find ways to provide valuable content to their customers.
Let’s look at some hypothetical examples. A local pizza parlor might Tweet out fun facts about pizza, or even tips for reheating the perfect slice the next day. A clothing boutique might Tweet pictures of people wearing the clothes they sell. A dentist might link back to articles on her blog about tooth whitening or dental cleanings.
What all of these examples have in common is that their intention is to share information that is relevant and valuable to the customer. Sharing valuable content makes the people who follow you on social media feel a sense of obligation, which in turn triggers a cognitive bias known as reciprocity. In other words, giving your followers something for free can do far more for your marketing than overtly trying to sell them on your services.
Open a Dialogue with Your Customers
One mistake that a lot of companies make is to forget about the “social” in social media. People follow their favorite brands on sites like Twitter because they want to engage in some kind of communication with them. That doesn’t mean that they want to be your friend, necessarily, but they do welcome the idea of friendly and thoughtful communication.
Let’s talk about some ways to do that. One technique that can be helpful for local businesses is to re-Tweet chosen messages from their followers. You can use a tool like Social Mention to monitor social media activity and find out when your brand is mentioned. When a customer says something positive or memorable about you on Twitter, re-Tweet it. It’s a good way of showing customers that you’re paying attention to them.
Another option is to ask your followers a question. If you do it right, this can actually be a subtle form of customer research. For example, you might ask your followers a question about how they use your product, or why they like it. If you offer an array of products, ask which one is their favorite and why. Alternatively, you could ask an open-ended question. For example, a local restaurant could Tweet “What’s for dinner tonight?” and include a link back to their menu. Yes, the menu is a sales pitch – but it’s a subtle one. If you decide to try this method, make sure to answer the Tweets you get in response.
Host a Contest or Giveaway
Another clever way of using Twitter to promote your business is to use it to get the word out about a contest or giveaway. Everybody loves the idea of being able to win a contest or get a free product, and Twitter’s an ideal platform to promote such a thing. A contest has the benefit of adding value to customers while also providing you with an easy way to broaden your reach.
One way to get the most out of a Twitter contest is to ask users to re-Tweet the information about the contest in order to enter. Using this method actually wraps several of the other tips in this article, as well. For example, a contest is a good way to add value for customers, and to engage with them directly. Sponsoring a contest is an effective way to find out how many of your followers are truly engaged with your brand, and asking customers to share your Tweet about the contest may help gain you some new followers too.
The bottom line is that Twitter can be an incredibly effective marketing tool if you know how to use it. The keys are to respond directly to customer questions and complaints instead of avoiding them, and to remember that the people who follow you are people, not machines. They don’t want to be hit with a constant barrage of sales pitches. What they want is something that feels like personal engagement and compassion. If you can do that, then Twitter can be a strong part of your marketing mix.
Leveraging Twitter for Your Local Business
Social media is one of the best ways to promote your local business. The likes of Twitter has been the backbone of many service and product providers, but only those who have used their account strategically. Simply opening a Twitter account and tweeting isn’t going to get you the results you’re looking for. So let’s see how leveraging your Twitter account can boost your local business conversion.
Use the Search-A-Lot Feature on Twitter
This feature can be quite advantageous for you if you use it properly. The advanced search on Twitter will allow you to refine your keywords to be location-specific. In the field that says “Near this place”, you can insert your city name, along with the keywords you believe your prospects are searching for. You’ll likely have to try out different keyword variations before you find the perfect ones. Once you have found keywords that dozens are people are tweeting about, you can save it.
Social Media is All About Networking
Of course, you want to focus your time networking with local influencers, rather than with just any ol’ person. You want to get to know other businesses that are being seen and heard by people in your city. One way to find out who these influencers are is to use Tweet Grader’s Top Twitter Cities list. Click on your city and you’ll generate a list of the most active accounts in your town. Don’t worry so much about finding those who are in your target market — it’s all about getting known on Twitter locally.
Knowing Your Competition is Key
You can’t beat your competitors if you don’t know who they are. If you truly want to top your competitors, you have to know their prices, strategies and customers. One way to get these details is to keep track of competition by using Twitter. You’ll see what they’re up to,so you can counter their actions in a timely manner.
Let Your Customers Know You’re on Twitter
A lot of local businesses fail to let their customers know that they’re on Twitter. You can let them know by placing it on your receipts, posting up signs in your business and put it on your Web site and business cards. As word spreads, your customers will follow you, and their friends and family may follow you as well.
Write Content that is Fresh, Not Self-Promoting
A lot of local businesses use Twitter to advertise their articles and blog posts. Even if you are just simply posting tweets, as a general rule of thumb, you should keep to a 70:30 ratio. This means 70 percent of your tweets should be to engage people and the other 30 percent can be promotional. No one wants to be advertised to all of the time, so keep that in mind when developing your social media strategy.
Choose a Memorable Username
The username you choose for your Twitter account should be compelling, not too long and unique. Everything about Twitter is short and sweet, so keep that in mind. With a shorter username, people will be able to share your content without going over the max character limit set by Twitter. Also, you should keep your usernames consistent across all social media networks, so that people can easily find and identify you. Also, in your profile, include a business description and a link to your Web site. The photo you choose should be a professional one, or a business logo.
Tweet with Personality and a Strategy
Jumping into Twitter without a sound marketing strategy will have you jumping through hoops to get attention. All you really have to do is engage with other users by jumping into conversations and tweeting things that people would be interested in sharing or commenting on. Your tweets should be authentic and have personality, so that it feels like a person, rather than a brand.
Another formula you can use, other than the 70/30 rule is to do 1/3 tweets, 1/3 replies or retweets and1/3 self-promotion or links. To learn when the best times are to tweet, you can use Followerwonk to see your followers’ most active times.
Follow Others and They’ll Return the Favor
A great way to get more followers for your Twitter account is to follow others. You can use the advanced search feature to find people you know, as well as individuals in certain fields. You don’t only have to follow influencers — after all, your customers are the ones you want to get attention from, so look for people in your area who are tweeting about your type of services and start to follow them and they just might return the favor.
Monitor Your Account with a Twitter Management App
When your account really starts to become active, you may need some help keeping an eye on things and ensuring that your consistency remains intact. With Twitter management apps, this is made easier. For instance, you can use Tweetdeck or Hootsuite, which allow you to segment your followers into categories like prospects, customers, VIPs and influencers. Then you can have notifications setup for when people tweet certain keywords. If you don’t have time to jump on Twitter throughout the day or every day, you can schedule your tweets in advance as well.
Learn the Language of Twitter
You want to fit in with your followers, so try and learn the syntax and tone of the folks you are engaging with. Listen to their tweets to get an idea of the type of language they use and if they are big on Internet slang. This will allow you to connect better with them when you post tweets. Understanding what hashtags and how RT (retweet) is used is also important.
Grow Your Local Business with Twitter
When you use Twitter the right way, it can help you to grow your local business gradually. Of course, this alone won’t do the trick, but it should be included in your overall marketing strategy. There are other social media accounts you can work into this method, giving you broader reach and higher chances of gaining loyal followers.