Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Twitter’s New Small Business Guide - A Summary

Can you sell your business in a 140 characters or less? That is the question many business owners are asking themselves as they consider jumping into the Twitter universe. As with the social networking giant Facebook, Twitter is a way for users to follow friends, celebrities and businesses to keep connected, find out news and information, and take advantage of deals and promotions. The hook is that a “Tweet” can only be 140 characters.

The good news is that Tweet can also contain a link back to a website, product photos or other types of information that can be a huge benefit to a business who is looking to build up its customer base. Sensing the need to help small businesses with the tool, Twitter released a Small Business Guide available as a free download.

 Here are some of the highlights from the guide:

1)      Back to Basics

This guide is a great resource for companies who are just starting out on Twitter and a reminder to all current users. The first chapter is a Twitter tutorial which includes explanations about:

·         Hashtags

·         Mentions

·         Retweets

·         Replies

·         Direct Messaging

·         Followers

·         Pasting Links

2)      Building a Business Personality

It also delves into the issue of a business developing their own personality through their tweets. As they explain: “Business styles vary. As you keep using Twitter, you’ll find your voice.” To that end, they encourage businesses to respond to customer reviews and or complaints. The caution is that you don’t want to start a “Twitter war.” Sometimes it might help to take certain discussions offline and find a way to speak to a customer directly about their particular complaints.

3)      Learn to Listen

Not only should you be following your customers but your business Twitter account should also follow businesses that are similar to yours. And even your competitors! This is a great way to stay on top of the competition. Due to the speed of the Twittersphere, you can respond immediately to any of your competitor missteps and capitalize on them. You could be inspired by a competitor’s tweets as to which direction to take for your own tweets.

Listening on Twitter also means tracking what your followers are interested in. Your tweets don’t always have to be about the hard sale but about building up a brand by creating a positive experience for your Twitter followers.

4)      Answer FAQs

Another positive benefit for small businesses Twitter accounts is the ability to answer frequently asked questions. These are the perfect type of tweets to link back to your company website. Keep in mind that you don’t have to wait for actual customers to ask those questions. You can create a dialog all your own.

5)      Build Up Your Followers

The Twitter guide recommends that follow news organizations and professional bloggers/reviewers who might be interested in your business. Retweeting their posts could help spread out your own tweets across the Twitter universe. It’s all about building up that online network.