Twitter and Small Businesses

We have seen the successes of small businesses from using Twitter (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/23/business/smallbusiness/23twitter.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=Mom-and-Pop%20Operators%20Turn%20to%20Social%20Media&st=cse).  They attract customers in their market segment and are able to promote themselves more effectively.  By speaking directly to customers in their geographic area about important topics, they can pitch themselves efficiently.  For example, many non-profit organizations can discuss their causes by sharing newspaper articles and creating discussions through Twitter.  However, many businesses do not think they have the resources to use this social media tool.  But it is really simple.
1.    Post newspaper articles about the cause or product to create discussion.  Others will start to RT the posts or comment about their opinions on the matter.  Retweeting will attract others to follow you on Twitter and expand your customer base.  Some users will even share newspaper articles about the topic with you, teaching you more about your mission.  If you are lucky, someone will Direct Message you and show his or her interest.
2.    Take advantage of trending topics.  Users frequently click on this list on the sidebar.  Find a way to connect your message with one of the current trending topics.  More people will see what you have to say if your tweet comes up as including those words.  Then, maybe your cause will become a trending topic!
3.    Network, network, network.  Find people whose profile shows an interest in your focus.  Send them a message.  Start a conversation with them.  I guarantee they are connected to people on Twitter who are discussing the same topics.  It is all about expanding your network.
4.    Start a contest.  Twitter users trying to win a MacBook Pro were told to include #moonfruit at the end of their tweets.  Users will soon find out about your cause if you include a contest like this one.  Everyone wants to win a prize, and if tweeting, a daily activity for many, is going to lead to prizes, users will find out about the cause.
5.    Engage your followers in conversation.  During the primary election between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, it was said that because Obama communicated with his followers, he won over that audience.  Obama followed the people on Twitter who were following him (myself included), but Hillary did not.  Though this did not cost her the election, it was a contributing factor.
6.    Keep the conversation going.  Once Twitter starts to bring in business, do not stop posting tweets.  Abruptly stopping tweets can be more harmful than helpful to a business.  People want constant communication, and it may even be offensive if the communication ceases.
7.    It is possible to search for certain words on people’s tweets.  You can even dispel misconceptions about particular topics.  For example, if you are promoting green products, and someone posts a tweet saying that “going green” is a hoax, you can reply to them with facts that show that their statement is false.  Not only will your followers be provided with more information about the cause, but this person will learn that he or she spoke falsely.
8.    If you are promoting a product, tweet about sales and exclusive events.  If you are promoting a cause, tweet about special events surrounding your mission.  Provide exclusive information on Twitter.  Currently, JetBlue posts deals on Twitter so that their followers immediately know about discounts on flights.  Make your followers feel special, and give them a reason to continue following you.
9.    Recognize your followers.  Ben & Jerry’s sends messages to certain users who have sent tweets to them.  For example, I shared my blog post about Ben & Jerry’s latest product, and they thanked me over Twitter then sent me coupons to get free ice cream.  This technique increases customer support.
10.    Most importantly – IT IS FREE!  Why not take advantage of a free tool that can improve your business?
Take advantage of Twitter.  It is simple, quick, and a free media tool to increase your network and improve your mission.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s