First of all, I want to start by saying that there is not one way to use Twitter. Obviously, there are many types of Twitter accounts. There are celebrity profiles where thousands follow their favorite celeb’s every thoughts, national brands that celebrate the fans that love them, and even customer service accounts, where sometimes irate customers can rant or get advice on a recent experience with a company or service. But what about Twitter for small businesses?
If your small business has a Twitter account, what is the most effective way to post on Twitter for maximum effectiveness?
1) Start with a goal for Twitter: Is your goal simply for brand awareness? Are you seeking sign-ups for your e-newsletter? Selling a specific product? Filling seats for an event? Retail sales? Or simply to be seen as a resource or expert in your industry? Before you begin a Twitter strategy, really take the time to think about your goals for your business, and how Twitter might be able to take you there.
2) Who is your Audience? Twitter is a big world. In an ideal scenario, whom might you want to become a follower of your Twitter feed? Who might be a good source of information to share with your audience? What companies or individuals that sell to a similar audience or who are in your same industry are also on Twitter? Use the answers to these questions to guide you as you follow others and develop segments of Twitter users to watch and interact with.
3) Who will be the face of your Twitter account? For businesses, you have the option of having one company account on Twitter but also a personal account with your name and photo. If you are a solopreneur, it probably makes more sense to be the official “face” of your Twitter profile, with your company name but your photo on the account. Just remember to let your personality come out a bit and don’t just hide behind your brand. If you have multiple employees, you may want to consider letting your employees cross-promote your business profile through their feeds.
4) 80/20 Rule (at least): Keep your tweets 80 percent conversational or educational, and 20% promotional, at a minimum. If all you do is promote yourself, it will turn your followers off very quickly. It’s okay to provide a link to your latest blog post, new product offering, special discount, or press release, but make sure this is not all you are doing on Twitter. I have seen many accounts that only toot their own horn, and these profiles will not grow in popularity (unless of course, they are a deals site or have a sole purpose of notifying people of special deals).
5) What to tweet? What to tweet? Develop your own personal style for tweeting. Some people enjoy commenting on others’ posts, and engaging in conversations with other Twitter profiles. This is okay and can serve as a cross-promotional tool as well, but overdoing back-and-forth conversations on Twitter can result in your Twitter feed looking like a bunch of private chats that the rest of the world isn’t privy to, and that can frustrate your followers. If you’re one of those people who likes to share where they are and what they’re eating, this is okay if kept to a minimum, but at least take a little more time to promote the business where you’re dining, or review a special dish you’re enjoying. For most B2B businesses, stick primarily to sharing business-related content on Twitter, and interject some personality here and there.
6) All Business and No Fun Makes Your Twitter Account….Dull. Try to incorporate something interesting into your Twitter feed, rather than to simply post links to your blog, other content or re-tweets of another post. Comment on something in the news (don’t forget to follow your favorite reporters), pose a relevant question to your followers, boast about one of your customers’ successes, or provide a resource to your followers that they might find useful. The key here is to mix it up a little bit. Give them a little of yourself, a little of your business, your customers, your partners, your industry, the world. Don’t give them all of one thing.
Hopefully this post helps you think outside the box a little bit about how to engage your Twitter followers and find new ones. If you follow trends, engage in thoughtful conversations, share meaningful content, do a little promotion, and all while keeping your followers’ needs in mind, you’ll be on your way to success.
Know any other annoying habits of Twitter profiles? Post them in the comments below!
Need help getting started on Twitter? Susan Young of AimFire Marketing offers personalized training as well as social media management packages for small businesses. She can be found on twitter too: @aimfiremktg where she tweets mostly about small business marketing, SEO, social media, national brands, her hometown of Indianapolis and occasionally about her two kids.