4 Twitter Tips for
Small Busines Owners
business articles and tips
posted: August, 2010
Do You Twitter?
When it comes to social media sites, Twitter offers a unique way for businesses to communicate by allowing them to send 140 character updates about their products, services, and other important news.
Launched in 2006, Twitter employs fewer than one hundred people and it doesn’t turn a profit. In fact, it doesn’t even make much money (yet), which isn’t the way you’d run your business. Then again, when investors have pumped millions into your business model with only an expectancy of an eventual return on their investment, then you have to figure that there is something about Twitter besides tweets.
Obviously, fifty million plus users think that Twitter has staying power – is your business tweeting yet?
I signed up for Twitter back in 2007, but only began taking this micro-blogging platform (short messaging service) seriously in January 2009. I now manage three accounts which I use to tweet up and follow news for my clients as well as for my businesses, an important way for me to connect with other like-minded people.
My one regret is that I didn’t get started earlier, but I’m glad to be actively involved with Twitter now. If you own a business, whether that be a multinational conglomerate or a sole proprietorship selling fashion handbags, you can benefit by using Twitter as one way to extend your brand.
In fact, if you don’t use Twitter you may be ceding an important point to your competitors. During these economically challenging times you cannot allow anyone to steal your thunder or at least out shout you online.
With this article, I’m not going to cover the basic Twitter stuff (please see the resources following for more information), but I will cover some points I believe every business owner should consider when making use of Twitter.
- Your Good Name –
Twitter is much like the wild west activity of the earliest days of the internet where rampant lawlessness reigned. Conceivably, one of your competitors can use your name to bring your customers to them.
Is this illegal? It could be, but you’ll never know about that sort of activity if you haven’t signed up with Twitter or aren’t monitoring the site. If someone does rip off your name, you can contact Twitter to cancel their account, but be forewarned: Twitter doesn’t have the resources to handle every single complaint quickly.
- Your Product Pitch –
Once you set up a Twitter account, you then can fill out a profile to customize your site.
Some very important things to consider: use your business logo or related photo by uploading a 700K or less gif, jpg, or png picture; fill out the 160 character profile to describe who you are/what you are selling; include a link back to your site; and consider opening up additional Twitter accounts if have multiple products you are selling.
In addition, change your standard Twitter background to complement what you’re all about. Visual appeal is important to help attract people to you online.
- Tweeting v. Listening –
You can send 140 character updates to your heart’s content, but perhaps one of the best ways to see how Twitter works is to discover what business mentions are being tweeted.
Known as “inbound signaling” you can learn what people are saying about your product or company by using a desktop application such as TweetDeck or search.twitter.com to find out. This is very important especially if you want feedback about a recent product launch or discover a quality issue before it gets out of control.
- Direct or Indirect – One complaint that small businesses have about Twitter is that they simply don’t have the time to tweet directly. But businesses may not realize that some of their employees could be regular Twitter users and might be able to tweet on their behalf.
Instead of paying your employees to tweet on their own time, why not allow them to take some time out of their work day to send and review tweets? Warning: you can’t control what your people tweet and a disgruntled worker can spread negative news quickly.
Perhaps the best strategy for any business to get started on Twitter is to secure their company’s name (branding), then plan the next approach. There are businesses available who will tweet on your behalf and you can even use services such as Ad.ly to send the occasional paid tweet ad out on your behalf.
But be forewarned: Twitter users are among the most savvy people online and they may not take kindly to an overt pitch offered through a third party service. Use this method sparingly, not glaringly.