If you’re not currently using Twitter to grow and promote your business, it’s a safe bet your competitors are—and that’s reason enough to start tweeting today.
Get started by signing up and making a Twitter profile for yourself. Create a fun and informative description of your business, with a link to your company website. Your Twitter bio can be a variation on your elevator pitch—short, to the point, and intriguing to prospective customers. Be sure to upload a photo so people can attach a face to your username.
Next up, start following people you know and trust, then branch out to include your employees, loyal customers and others in your industry. In most cases, the people you choose to follow will you follow you back.
What can you tweet about in 140 characters or less? Plenty! A good starting place is simply sharing links to news of value to your followers—an emerging industry trend, the results of a new customer survey, etc. Tweet about upcoming special events, a limited-time discount on your product or service, or “expert tips” that help make your customers’ lives easier. Another popular strategy is retweeting messages from others on your list. This way, you become known as someone who shares relevant information, not just gossip or random thoughts about life in general. (Lots of other people have that last activity covered.)
Here, courtesy of Ana Ottman at Stamps.com, is a glossary of Twitter lexicon:
- @ Sign – Used to indicate a username. When you put an @ before a username, it links to that Twitter profile.
- Direct Message (DM) – These are private tweets between the sender and recipient.
- Hashtag (#) – This symbol is used for keywords or topics in a tweet.
- Mention – A mention is including another user in a tweet by using the @ sign followed by the username.
- Modified Tweet (MT) – Use this symbol before someone else’s tweet that you’ve changed.
- Retweet (RT) – This forwards a copy of someone else’s tweet to your followers.
- Tweet – A message posted on Twitter that is 140 characters or less.
Once you’re actively involved on Twitter, be sure to let everyone know. Your Twitter handle should appear prominently on your website and in various marketing materials, so prospective customers (who happen to be avid Twitter fans) can easily find and follow your business.
Becoming part of a community
You need to commit to Twitter, just as you do to other marketing activities for your small business. This means carving out time every day to listen to what others are talking about, offer your own comments and share what you learn with your followers. Just keep in mind that Twitter isn’t all about you and what you’re selling. It’s about becoming part of a community of like-minded people who want to share knowledge about topics of mutual interest.
Twitter is also a great method for monitoring customer perceptions of your business. When people have a bad customer experience, they don’t hesitate to share what happened with their followers. If that bad experience involves your business, a prompt and sympathetic reply can save that customer and head off a negative perception among people who up to now know nothing about your business. In many cases, an apology and offer to correct a problem is all a dissatisfied customer wants. If you handle the situation properly, that customer may well end up tweeting about your “fantastic” follow-up service.
Twitter isn’t the place to expect a quick return on investment. Entrepreneurs, business owners and others who go there with the goal to build a reputation for expertise and nurture long-term relationships will find benefit and value for their time.
We invite you to join other entrepreneurs, CEOs, and senior-level executives in a confidential group setting where you’ll be challenged and rewarded like never before in your professional life. Learn more about becoming a Catapult Group member today.