Here’s the first of a new series of posts we’ll have with tools for small businesses. We believe, of course, that blogging is the cornerstone of any social media strategy, but you can and should build on that. This one shows you how to use Twitter. It’s good advice that you should follow, or do what we did and find a social media intern, who can turn into a great social media guru, which is what Chaviva is now for Blogmutt. And she’s a great Blogmutt writer, too. –Scott
Social Media for Small Business: Let’s Talk Twitter
You started your small business — success! You created a blog and are filling it regularly — more success! And then? You’re stumped. You know you should be using social media, but you’re not sure how or why, and you don’t know where to start.
One of the big gripes about Twitter by non-users and business owners is that no one out there can possibly care about what you ate for breakfast or how many delicious cookies you happened to sell. The truth is, Twitter is so much more than a stream-of-consciousness receptacle. As the great Social Media guru Jeff Pulver says,
Twitter is social media tofu: It takes on different forms depending on what’s around it and how you use it.
What does that mean? It means that Twitter is different for everyone. For some people it serves as a mass text messaging service, for others it’s a way to aggregate content during a conference, and yes, for some, it is a breeding ground for bathroom visit posts. It’s also an incredibly popular space for customer service, where users can kvetch or praise you in real time for all of the world to see.
No matter what you think Twitter is, people are using it and you need to be there to catch the good, the bad, and the ugly. People who could be your customers or are your customers and want to interact with your business in new and unique ways. Many brands have seen great successes because of their Twitter prowess, such as Southwest Airlines, American Express, and Wells Fargo.
We know, we know. Now that you know how important Twitter is, you want to know what happens after you get it set up, right? Well, for starters, take that amazing blog content you’ve got up on your website and set it to autofeed to your Twitter and Facebook accounts using a service like Twitterfeed.com. The great thing about an auto-feed service is that it looks like you’re constantly sitting in front of the computer updating your feed.
But don’t become the kind of small business that only speaks and doesn’t listen. One of the biggest faux pas in social media is talking at users and not talking with them. The whole crux of social media is interaction, dialogue, making your brand come alive for the consumer, so find and follow people on Twitter — whether they’re current or potential customers, people in your field, or other small businesses — and let them know you’re listening. Once you get rolling, just run with these simple best practices via Twitter.
- Share. Share photos and behind the scenes info about your business. Even better, give a glimpse of developing projects and events. Users come to Twitter to get and share the latest, so give it to them!
- Listen. Regularly monitor the comments about your company, brand, and products.
- Ask. Ask questions of your followers to glean valuable insights and show that you are listening.
- Respond. Respond to compliments and feedback in real time.
- Reward. Tweet updates about special offers, discounts and time-sensitive deals.
- Demonstrate wider leadership and know-how. Reference articles and links about the bigger picture as it relates to your business.
- Champion your stakeholders. Retweet and reply publicly to great tweets posted by your followers and customers.
- Establish the right voice. Twitter users tend to prefer a direct, genuine, and of course, a likable tone from your business, but think about your voice as you Tweet. How do you want your business to appear to the Twitter community?
Social media for small businesses doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Just start small and check out Twitter’s Small Business Guide.
And, of course, if you ever need any blog content so that you have tweets that point back to your own site at least once per week, just contact us!