Twitter Marketing: A Small Business Guide
Lately, the business world has been buzzing about Twitter, an online application that helps you keep in touch with your friends.
The tool has already helped some small business owners double their clientele, and effectively build upon their word of mouth marketing.
With all the possibilities available, how are you going to use Twitter?
When starting to use Twitter, the first thing you’ll have to do is create a username.
The username is how other Twitter users will see you and interact with you.
I highly suggest making your username, your business name. Not only does it add a branding element, but Google will rank your Twitter account for searches of your company. This makes it easier for your consumers to find and connect with you on Twitter.
Once you’ve set your username, the next thing you should do is decide on a profile image. If you’re the business owner and are tweeting yourself, it may be best to use your own picture. However, if an employee is tweet as the business, it may be best to use the business logo.
The profile image should be memorable since other users will begin to remember your username and image together.
The final step in preparing a Twitter account is to add a custom background. You can use one of the templates provided by sites like Twitterbacks, or you can simply display the logo.
A customized background helps make your profile stand out.
On Twitter, it’s important to customize your account as much as possible. Creating a relevant, branded username, image, and background increases how much other users trust you. The more effort you put into creating a strong account, the less likely you are to look like a scammer or fake.
Once you have your profile created and have built an account (filled out bio, included link to your site, added an image) the next step is becoming comfortable with a Twitter application. You can update and use Twitter from the web at Twitter.com, but using an application like Tweetdeck can make you more efficient, and help filter the conversation.
The first step is to download and install Tweetdeck. Create a Tweetdeck account so you can sync panels across computers. Finally, authorize your twitter account and begin tweeting.
The reason why I recommend using Tweetdeck when tweeting is mainly because of its use of panels. Each panel can filter a group of people or a specific search stream.
Search and tracking terms across Twitter can be overwhelming, but amazing. Think about the possibilities.
If you’re a local business, track your town or zip code. Find users that live in your area and follow them. You never know when they might need your service.
Offer a national product? Track your product name or keywords for problems you solve. From time to time, reach out to people who might use your product or who you can give advice to. Be very careful not spam people.
Make sure you are offering value, not trying to sell your product. The sale will come naturally from being a valued source of information.
Once you begin following people, you’ll want to start putting users in groups.
Creating a group for loyal customers and users that interact often is useful. Local businesses should also create a group for local users. Don’t forget to also create a group for competitors.
Use the groups to separate out users that you want to track. Responding to and interacting with other Twitter users shows an active account, one that other consumers will want to follow and connect with.
At this point, we have to answer the question “Why do people want to follow you?”.
Don’t expect to have thousands of followers, be more focused on building true customer loyalty. You want a core group of fans interested in telling their friends about you. You want to find a way to strengthen your word of mouth marketing.
There are a number of strategies you can use to build a following, I’ll explain a few that I suggest.
Using these techniques as a foundation and applying them to your own unique culture is important. Social media case studies should never be duplicated word for word, in the online world being creative and unique is important.
Every business solves a problem. People love to complain about their problems on Twitter. Put that together and offer these potential customers help on fixing their problems. This can help you build sales, with new consumers but doesn’t help you build customer loyalty.
To make sure your customers stay loyal and don’t stray, treat them like royalty. Take advantage of Twitter to find and solve your customers problems. If they have issues with your product, address is right away. Keep them happy, and their followers will know about it. Ignore them, and their followers will ignore you.
Tips and Tricks
Usually good business owners understand their industry inside and out. Giving free advice to consumers that need it, even if it involves a competitor, helps build reputation and value. But what good is reputation?
Reputation equates to sales, indirectly. Reputation is nearly synonymous with branding. The greater your reputation, the more likely consumers are to trust you. That trust means, they’re more likely to remember you and in turn believe your advertising or believe in your product.
The first question I imagine being asked is, “What does he mean by personality and how does that help my business?”. Well personality can be summed up simply by saying “be yourself”. So many businesses forget to be human and then slowly start to stray further and further from their consumers.
The less personable you seem, the less likely consumers are to believe you. Without trusting you, how can they trust your product or company?
Conveying your personality is great for businesses that use the owner as the voice and public relations head. Being able to contact and connect with an owner gives consumers a reason to follow, and helps create an incentive to buy the product.
Twitter offers businesses a new way to connect with consumers and build customer loyalty. It’s important to take the right steps to make your profile and workflow receptive to new customers. Properly fill out your profile, use a Twitter application like Tweetdeck, and create a strategy for your business to make the best use of this new social platform.