5 Ways Small Businesses Can Use Twitter Effectively

by Carter

Everyone is talking about Twitter these days and for good reason. Twitter is an amazing microblogging platform and one that every small business should embrace as part of their overall social media marketing strategy. If you’re operating a small business, here are five ways you can use Twitter effectively:

Create a M.A.P.

The first step to effectively using Twitter is to create a M.A.P. or Marketing Action Plan for your business. Your M.A.P. will include a list of all the things you can tweet about – company news, blog posts, important announcements, special offers, industry news and so on.

Don’t be afraid to get creative.

The most effective Twitter accounts (aside from celebrities) are those managed by folks not afraid to take chances and get creative. Here are some great examples: CoffeeGroundz, Kogi BBQ and Maine’s very own BeadinPath. Add some flair and personality to your tweets. As a small business, you want to be approachable and getting creative and lighthearted can help you achieve that goal.

Engage in “two-way” conversations.

The last thing you want to do on Twitter is stuff the pipelines with constant “stuff” about your business. In addition to the items listed on your M.A.P., you also want to make sure that you are taking advantage of what social media is all about – fostering relationships and building a community around your brand. To do this, you need to engage in two-way conversations. Start by monitoring your “mentions” and see who is talking about you. And respond! Include the “@” symbol before their Twitter user name so that it feeds directly into their account (and they can respond back!). Also consider tweeting questions to specific people on Twitter or your followers in general. Encourage them to @ reply their responses!

Maintain a non-annoying frequency.

There is nothing worse than logging on to your Twitter account and seeing hundreds of tweets from the same person or business posted back-to-back within seconds (or minutes) of each other. Don’t do this! Maintain a non-annoying tweeting frequency. How often you tweet depends on who is following you, what you have to say, how often you are retweeted and so on. There is no one-size-fits-all-solution. Since Twitter streams move at a rapid pace, it is recommended that you tweet often – but not too often. Watch how your audience reacts and adjust accordingly.

Utilize a targeted follow/unfollow approach.

Listen. We all dream of having millions of followers or thousands of adoring fans. Problem is, focusing on numbers – especially on Twitter – is the equivalent of simply banging on a pot with a metal spoon; you’ll be generating a lot of noise. Focus on growing your Twitter following organically and targeted. The best way to achieve this is to select one of your target markets and spend some time following accounts that fall within this area. Use the search functionality right on Twitter or visit listing resources such as Listorious. Follow up to 50 accounts. Approximately 48 hours later, go to an service such as JustUnfollow and stop following up to 50 accounts that did not reciprocate. The next day, repeat this process. Keep doing this with specific target markets or accounts you wish to follow – those that are most relevant and beneficial.

Experts agree that Twitter is a must have tool for today’s small business owner. By spending a little time tweeting each day and selectively building up a targeted following, you can give your small business a big boost. And best of all…it’s free!

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

David LaGuerre August 8, 2011 at 5:41 am

Great tips. Another strategy for building relationships and potential customers on twitter is outlined here:

http://www.latteperday.com/twitter-search/

Hope it helps!

Kevin McNally November 29, 2011 at 11:07 pm

This is helpful list, I struggle with the “how often” question because you don’t want to be annoying to your followers.

Thank you!

Carter November 29, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Kevin – I hear you on that. I’m pretty sick of people just tweeting to gain followers and empty traffic. I think the next big revolution of social media is going to find a way to filter out quality vs quantity, but who knows how and when. Thanks for the response.

Carter

Selena January 3, 2012 at 7:00 pm

I completely understand that fear of being that person who tweets too much. What I do now is schedule some concrete info about every hr from 7 to 4 every business day (well when I remember). In between those, I will have my own quirky, fun or personal tweets randomly (cause I also have an entertainment and teenie bopper following besides professional). This helps with everyone getting what they need and not just constant tweets that are irrelevant. That’s when too many tweets get annoying.

@Sele_Ana

Insulation Contractors March 29, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Interesting post. Especially like the part about the non-annoying frequency. There is no one-size-fits-all, you say and tweet often but not too often. Sometimes we feel daily is too often, but maybe not, especially since we want to increase followers. How do you know when it’s too much?

Carter March 29, 2012 at 2:11 pm

You’ll probably know it’s too much when people start unfollowing you at a rate that is not just natural attrition (1-2 a day). If you notice that you’re losing 4 or 5 followers a day, you want want to back off.

Also, a lot of it is just a gut check. Use the “friends and family” rule – would you send every one of those tweets to your brother in law?

Good luck,
Carter

Selena March 30, 2012 at 3:37 pm

I agree, You know it’s too much usually when people start to unfollow you.

Using tools that tell you how effective your tweets are doing. For example, Hootsuite and Crowdbooster has these features. You also can see what times are best to tweet based on your accounts activity.

Justin Daniels February 11, 2013 at 6:01 am

I know it is important to engage in two way conversations, but one thing I have noticed is that larger companies tend to have separate Twitter handles for complaints and rebates etc. Do you think this is a good or a bad idea for smaller companies to engage in?

Carter Thomas February 15, 2013 at 12:39 am

I’d keep one twitter account for everything when you’re small. People like to see personality behind the screen so they trust you.

Serge Conus August 27, 2013 at 2:39 pm

I agree with Kevin

Jonah February 24, 2014 at 3:32 pm

Great tips! I also use Twitter for my business, but don’t you think it’s time consuming? I mean searching for a good tweet takes me lots of time. Recently I found a nice tool that helps me to growth my business. It’s Colibri https://colibri.io Now I don’t have to waste my time. Especially on Twitter or Facebook. I can monitor my conversion from social media and other blogs or forums. It’s so convenient!

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