How Successful Small Businesses Use Twitter – Part 2

September 24th, 2014 Comments off

blog_twitter-for-small-business-3In the part one of this Twitter marketing for small business series, we covered how to choose a username, how to write your bio and the one tip that will guarantee your success. In part two, we’re getting more in-depth with eight suggestions for tweets, how to gain more followers, how to handle customer complaints, and how to measure success.

What to tweet
The most important strategy for Twitter content is to vary your content. Avoid too much self-promotion to the exclusion of being helpful to your customers. Also, keep in mind that tweets under 120 characters are the most effective (they allow for retweets and comments).

Here are eight suggested topics:

  • A coupon code or special discount for your followers
  • A look behind the scenes of your operation
  • Tips for your customers (drawing on your subject matter expertise)
  • Positive press or news stories
  • The human side of your team/employees
  • Customer spotlights
  • Industry news
  • Best practices for your industry

How to gain more followers
Remember that Twitter is not all about you – it’s about community. The Twitter accounts with the most followers commit to a regular schedule and post at least once a day. Think about what you’re tweeting and ask yourself if it’s “share worthy.” Consider when your customers are most likely to be online as you time your posts. Finally, don’t forget to follow your customers, your employees, and industry leaders. Following often (but not always) means that users will follow you back.

Troubleshooting: How to handle complaints
Businesses can use Twitter as a customer retention tool, spotting unhappy customers and solving their problems. Sometimes customers take to Twitter to complain about a negative customer service experience. You’ll want to respond to those people. Think of it as an opportunity. When responding, express concern and offer a solution. Most customers just want to be heard, and may even tweet about how you rectified the problem (which is good press for you).

How to measure success
A good way to start is by using social media tools like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to help with tracking, engagement, and marketing on Twitter. Then, decide what your goals are. If your goal is to increase brand awareness and build buzz about your offerings, you’ll want to pay attention to your interaction count (@ replies and retweets). If your goal is to drive traffic to your website or store, you’ll want to pay attention to click-thru rates.

Consider these metrics to measure your success:

  • Number of quality interactions (retweets, favorites, @ mentions, lists)
  • Number of clicks (and clicks that convert to customers)
  • Tracking your hashtag

There’s never been a better time to integrate Twitter into your marketing strategy for your small business. Now that you have the tools, start brainstorming potential tweets, following your customers, resolving customer complaints, and tracking your Twitter success!

How Successful Small Businesses Use Twitter – Part 1

September 24th, 2014 Comments off

blog_twitter-for-small-business-2Twitter is a powerful communication tool for growing a small business. The service provides a great way to communicate with your customers and get instant feedback regarding how your product or service is perceived in the customer’s eyes.  It also provides an easy and free method to promote special events, new products or special promotions that your business is running.

If you haven’t used Twitter yet, we’ve created this two-part article series for you to get started.   Part one covers the Twitter basics including how to choose a username, how to write your bio, the one tip that will guarantee your success, and a bonus glossary.

How to choose a username
Prepare yourself for the likelihood that your first username choice is unavailable. If your business name is available, go with that option. If your business name is not available, try an abbreviated version of your name, adding an underscore, including your location, including your motto or mascot, or a new word combination.

How to write your bio
Think of your Twitter bio as an elevator pitch. There is a 140-character limit (just like tweets). Make sure to include who you are and what you offer. In your bio, describe your business in a compelling way and give people a reason to follow you. One or two hashtags (example: #postage) is appropriate. Don’t forget to add your website and location in the designated space, and to upload a simple photo for your avatar.

Listen first
If you remember only one tip from this post, make it this: listen first (and often). The purpose of marketing is to provide value to potential and current customers, and nowhere is this more relevant than Twitter. Use Twitter as an extra set of eyes looking out for what your customers care about (and when they’re upset). Before you start sending out tweets, spend a couple weeks following businesses that are similar to yours and observing their behavior. Notice who they follow, the frequency and content of their tweets, and their engagement levels (look at @ replies and retweets).

BONUS: Glossary
The basics, to get you started with 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.

Be sure to watch for part two of this series where we’ll be sharing ideas for what to tweet and how to handle customer complaints.

Now that you understand the basic methods for using Twitter, start today by visiting Twitter and signing up!

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