Use Twitter to Grow Your Small Business: Part 2

Looking for Part 1? Visit last week’s Bop Blog post covering Twitter basics.

Twitter isn’t just for celebrities and teenagers. It’s become an effective tool for promoting and growing a small business—some might say an essential tool. Here are more tips on making Twitter work for you.

Create content that matters

After taking care of the preliminaries, it’s time to think about what you want to say in your Twitter posts. Great content informs and entertains. It answers questions, comments on developments in the marketplace and keeps a trending topic going—all in messages of 140 characters or less. (In fact, tweets are best left limited to roughly 100 characters, with space left over for links and hashtags and so others can easily retweet your posts.)

People quickly scan Twitter posts, so the headline you create must grab attention. Craft a headline that relates to your business, but also promises value to others. For example, if you’re in the house-painting business, tweet “5 Reasons to Paint Your House in the Summer,” with a link to a blog post or article either on your own website or elsewhere. “How to” titles are also very popular.

Use your Twitter feed to ask a question, sponsor a contest, initiate a hashtagged discussion thread. Tweeting news about your business is fine, but mostly in small doses. The broader strategy should be to establish your presence as an industry leader and as a sharing, enthusiastic member of the Twitter community. And when you come upon great content from others, do your followers a favor and retweet it.

Develop a schedule

Like anything else online, it’s easy to get sucked into spending long periods of time writing and following others on Twitter. For the activity to be time- and cost-effective, test different times and days until you find a schedule for reading and writing tweets that works best for you. Whatever schedule you choose, you must commit to active participations—if not every day, then as often as possible. Going days or even weeks without posting means losing touch with your followers.

Build your community

Rather than click “Follow” on every tweet you see, adopt a strategy aligned with your Twitter strategy. Make a point of following people who influence your industry, who employ your targeted keywords, as well as customers and professional colleagues. It’s considered good etiquette to follow someone who’s chosen to follow you, but it’s not mandatory. You can also click “Favorite” on someone’s tweet, which frequently means they’ll choose to follow you. For small businesses, quality is more important than quantity when it comes to followers.

Promote your presence

Include your Twitter handle on your website, in your email signature, and in your marketing materials. It’s also a good idea to re-post your tweets elsewhere online (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). Some businesses opt to create a dedicated landing page for their tweets as a way to snag new lead information.

Track your activity

With tools like Google Analytics or TweetReach, you can track and measure activity on Twitter. This helps you refine your efforts, based on the types of communications that prove to be most effective, and when they’re sent. The social media management dashboard Hootsuite enables you to monitor tweets using particular keywords and phrases—another valuable resource for sifting through the vast jungle of tweets for the information of most interest to you.


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