Social Media Week – Day 3 (for small businesses)

What is twitter & how can it help my business?

• Twitter allows your business to get instant customer feedback
• Twitter gives you access to new demographics
• Twitter can help you generate more website traffic

Twitter is an online service that enables you to broadcast short messages to your friends or “followers.” It also lets you specify which Twitter users you want to follow so you can read their messages in one place. (1)

Twitter is really leading the way in social media with mobile devices. People are using twitter anywhere and everywhere – This has huge consequences. If people have a good experience with a business online they are more likely to share with their network – this is great. However, if they have a bad experience with your business they can also send that out to their network – this could be hundreds or thousands of people! If a customer has a bad experience you want to know about it so you can find out what went wrong and turn the whole situation around. Being active within your twitter network will build more brand loyalty and show customers you are there to satisfy them.

Twitter-logos

If you don’t have a twitter account dive in. Here is a simple video tutorial on how to setup a twitter account or you can find the official twitter guide here. Its also a good idea to personalise your twitter account. Upload a profile image and ad a custom background to your twitter page to show the people that view your page that you have made effort. You can find a guide to customising your page here.

Examples some effective twitter profiles

//twitter.com/captivamktg
//twitter.com/ecocandles
//twitter.com/ecocandles

The Australian stats

The biggest increases in social media usage were reading and posting on Twitter, reading wikis and engaging with brands and organizations via social media. Twitter’s audience levels grew by more than 400% in 2009 and nearly one quarter of online Australians (23%) read ‘tweets’ in the past year, 14 percent ‘followed’ companies or organizations via Twitter (up from 5% in 2008) and 13 percent posted ‘tweets’ (up from 4% in 2008). (2)

So you need followers?!

Once you have set up your twitter account you need to have a look around. Learn how people are using twitter with their business in your market. Use the twitter search bar to find people who are talking about your industry and start to follow them and notice what sort of information they are posting. Use the twitter search bar to research your competition and learn from the things they are doing right. Every business works differently – you need to work out how your business can benefit most from twitter. It is going to be different for every industry but it all comes back to engaging with your target audience. Make comments and interact with people. Only post something if you have something of value to share. If it is not relevant to your target market and your industry don’t post it. Find your friends who are already using twitter and follow them and they will follow you back. If you continue to post useful information your audience will grow.

Here are some examples of how different businesses can use twitter.

• A restaurant can post (tweets) daily specials
• A real estate agent tweets info about new homes on the market
• A PR expert tweets publicity opportunities
• A chamber of commerce tweets local events or promotions.

Your online brand

You need to keep in mind why you are using twitter. You want people to become interested in your company, you want people to trust your brand, you want people to view you as an industry leader. Even if they don’t need your service or product right now, you want them to think of you first when the time comes. If you are creating this image for you will generate traffic to your website and it is there that you can sell you products/services.

Whilst you are on the platform of twitter don’t just broadcast out your current sales. Think about it, Have a conversation with your followers. This is the new way of inbound marketing – less aggressive and less invasive. It involves people willingly participating in conversation with your business compared to a television advertisement which is like talking at people. You are giving your company a face that people can relate these positive interactions to. ‘Guide’ them to your website, don’t push them – they will like you more. You will gain valuable feedback and be able to improve your business, improve your sales and increase traffic. It is also important to remember that the people you are engaging are an investment. This is not like a magazine advertisement that someone reads and forgets about. You are now building relationships with current and prospective clients and you have paid NOTHING!

Social media is still in its early stages but it already holds the attention of the world. As it grows in all directions it is important that your business is not left behind. Social media uses common sense, once you become involved you will realise the potential to reach a huge audience and grow your business. Don’t change the channel because we will be covering LinkedIn tomorrow. We have an interview with a leading recruitment guru who will explain first hand how he gets the most of LinkedIn and how it can help your business.

[Links]

The History of Twitter – fastest growing social network

Follow us on Twitter

Join the Social Media Week event here!