For small businesses with no marketing budget, the free microblogging site Twitter can be a powerful means of reaching customers and getting the word out.
Mobile food businesses use it to announce their next location and their menu for the day. Social-media savvy bloggers use it to share their latest postings and articles.
However, many more small business owners either do not understand the purpose of Twitter; or do not know how to use Twitter.
The new book Taking on Twitter: Strategic Tweeting for Small Business We interviewed Kathi Browne on how small businesses should use Twitter:
Why should small businesses use Twitter?
Twitter’s main strength is not selling a business or product. Its strength is in spreading information quickly. At the very least, businesses should consider using Twitter as a resource to stay informed about an industry, customers, and competition. Then those businesses will begin to understand how important it is to have a presence, too.
How can Twitter help business owners reach their target market? How does it help them build their brand?
Twitter makes a direct and indirect impact on a market. You know the saying, “say it enough times and it will be true.” Well, “get seen enough times and you will be known” is equally true. Brand recognition can be greatly improved if you tweet effectively, and that means more people know about you. In addition, the more buzz you create on Twitter, the more it affects your page ranking on search engines like Google.
What is the common mistake that you’ve seen small business owners commit on Twitter?
Too many businesses don’t take the time to understand how Twitter works. They either build up a huge following and then flood them with spam, or tweet really good content to a following of only a few.
Many small businesses hesitate to tweet because they don’t know what to say on Twitter. What should they tweet about?
Social media is about being personable. It is the human quality of a business that keeps people interested. Businesses shouldn’t tweet as a building, but as somebody inside the building. People want a glimpse of who that person is and what makes them adorable, funny, interesting, or unusual. Work a brand or promotion into the storyline and you have a good presence.
For example, imagine a Mary Kay rep tweeting from the perspective of a dog who thinks she runs the place. One day, the dog tweets that she will give a free lipstick to the first person who tweets a picture wearing the same nail polish she is wearing that day. Tweets flood in naming color after color along with pictures of customers wearing the product. Later, the dog announces the winning color (with a picture, of course) and comments on how nice everyone looks. Not only does she get people talking about their favorite Mary Kay color, but the customers enjoy being mentioned too.
What are your top 3 tips for small business owners in using Twitter?
- Communicate your social media strategy with all of your employees so they aren’t in the dark and so they can contribute to the success.
- Engage with others in two-way conversation.
- Give other people the gift of exposure so they will return the favor.
For more on Kathi, visit her website at http://BrowneKnows.com