Social media has become a critical part of marketing efforts for any small business. For those small companies that have a marketing strategy in place, one of the tactics within that strategy likely includes social media and for most, that includes Twitter.  If used correctly, Twitter can be an effective marketing tool for small businesses. For those who need some help getting started, we’ve provided tips below on how to use Twitter to grow your small business.

Start with the basics on Twitter

There are many great resources on how to set up a Twitter account.  One of the resources, naturally is the Twitter site itself. Start here to understand how to set up an account, use hashtags, tweet, retweet, like and follow people. These are the basics you’ll need to know to effectively leverage this social media platform.  Once you get the hang of it, it’s fairly simple and yet can be a powerful tool if used correctly and consistently.

Present your brand to the world

It’s important to stop and consider how you set up your account, your username, etc. when you get started on Twitter. Remember, once you get on Twitter, you’re presenting your brand to the world so really think about how you want to present yourself and what you want to say. Take the time to pick a good username, profile image, and be sure to craft a complete, engaging profile for everyone to see.  Your Twitter presence needs to be an accurate and effective illustration of your brand so consider carefully what images you use and what description you present to introduce yourself to the world.

Start getting followers

You’ve set up your profile, careful to keep your brand in mind.  You’ve read up on the difference between hashtags, DMs, tweets, retweets and all other proper etiquette when it comes to using Twitter.  Now what?  Now you need to get connected with people.  The best way to do that is to start following other people on Twitter, but be sure to follow the right people! Be sure to follow interesting, influential and useful people; people who you’d like to have as clients, or people you think would be great brand advocates for your small business. Connect with people who share information you’d be interested in sharing with your followers.  Why?  Because you want to become a resource of useful information for your followers, so while you may occasionally share information about your company, you’ll often be sharing useful, relevant information from other sources to your followers. More on that below.

Provide useful, relevant and engaging information

As mentioned above, your approach on Twitter isn’t to turn it into a platform to constantly barrage followers with information about your service or product.  You want to position yourself and your company as a subject matter expert, a resource for useful information.  If all you do is constantly talk about your company and nothing else, you quickly become the boring person at the dinner party; uninteresting and perceived as self-absorbed.  There are several reasons why people follow you on Twitter, and one of the biggest reasons is content.  Is it interesting? Is it relevant? Is it even shareworthy?  Consider what you put on Twitter as your way to show the world you are an expert and not only that, one who is helpful in providing information people are looking for.

Engage consistently

Twitter is essentially a news feed, so if you tweet once a day, you’ll quickly be lost as your content is pushed down in your followers’ feeds.  To combat this, tweet consistently consistently throughout the day, every day.  The idea is to stay in front of your followers, providing information, so your brand stays top of mind at all times.  Don’t overdo it; post a tweet every 30-60 minutes to be consistent but not overwhelming. Mix up what you’re sharing, but keep it all relevant to who you are as a brand, and what your services or product is.  With consistent tweeting, people will become accustom to seeing you in their feed, and come to look for your content if it’s useful and relevant.

Use tools effectively

Small business owners are busy, so use social media management tools to not only stay on top of these efforts, but measure the effectiveness as well.  Hootsuite is a popular tool that many businesses use, but there are several others to choose from, and most are free to use, or come with a small cost for advanced features.  Be sure to use tools for efficiency and measurement to get the most out of your activities.

Other ways to use Twitter

Twitter is a great way to engage with an unlimited audience, so don’t limit yourself to sharing industry info and occasionally talking about your own company.  Here are a few other ways you can use Twitter:

  • Use it as a customer service tool – encourage people to tweet to you regarding questions they may have
  • Answer questions – encourage people to tweet questions to you that you can answer (be helpful)
  • Ask questions – a great way to engage is to ask questions and see how your audience reacts
  • Just listen – sometimes just watching the conversations on Twitter provides great competitive information.  Take the time to listen

Twitter can be a very powerful tool for small businesses. The ideas above should help you get started on effectively using Twitter in your own marketing activities.

Patty Hughes
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