Reasons Your Small Business Should Be on Twitter

Know what you're doing before entering the Twitter fray

Social Media Site Twitter Debuts on the New York Stock Exchange
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Twitter is a social media platform that provides access to millions of users. A business that views these users as potential customers and markets to them appropriately stands to gain a great amount of exposure.

Using a platform such as Twitter gives businesses a cost-effective method of engaging with their consumer base. It gives them access to audiences around the world, while providing an opportunity to interact with customers instead of continuously promoting products and services.

When a business establishes a Twitter presence, consumers can act as brand ambassadors. The business can monitor competitors and act quickly to deal with any problems that arise. Twitter is a brand builder and marketing multiplier for businesses when used correctly.

Twitter Followers Can Help Your Brand

People who follow a brand on Twitter are more likely to visit that company's website. Three-quarters of companies with an online presence are using Twitter for marketing.

Establishing a presence on Twitter shows you want to interact with consumers who expect to hold a dialogue with companies they patronize. Decide what kind of Twitter presence you want to have (these are only a few of the methods):

  • Will you respond to customer complaints 24/7?
  • Will you create a "voice" that engages followers in a humorous or fun way?
  • Do you want your Twitter feed to be a broadcasting platform, where you push out company messages and promote products?

Your feed could be a combination of options. Once you decide on a style, try to stick with it, if possible. Your customers will come to expect interaction with your business. If you feel there is a need to add different customer interactions, you could try adding Twitter users specifically for that purpose.

Assuming your potential and existing customers are on Twitter, you can instantly announce a new product, give them updates or a special deal, or talk about an upcoming event they may be interested in.

Use Twitter to Monitor Competitors

Twitter lets you hear what other people are saying. Using Twitter Search, you can find out what people are saying about a particular topic, enabling you to keep your ear to the ground about your company and the competition.

If you're on Twitter, chances are your competitors are too. They are keeping tabs on you, just like you should be on them. Create a strategy behind your tweets, rather than blindly tweeting.

This can help you build relationships with your customers and edge out others that are not tweeting strategically.

Engaging With Customers on Twitter

Posting information about your products and/or services is the obvious use. Twitter also gives you another channel for sentiment analysis—gathering social sentiments (information on consumer feelings and consumer conversations about your products or services) and then analyzing the sentiments for themes.

The themes you identify might be suggestions for improvement or give you insights into favorite products and why customers like them. These are all nuggets of information you can use to make your business more successful.

By participating in Twitter—that is, using it to communicate with others, rather than pushing product announcements—you can present and develop the kind of image that attracts your potential customers, and refine your brand.

Create Business Networks

Twitter is a great networking tool. An active Twitter presence will give you opportunities to interact with people you would never have a chance to talk to otherwise. Some of those people might become business contacts, potential partners, someone to source products from, or even employees.

Some Final Thoughts

Like any other marketing tool, Twitter should be used by people trained in social media marketing. Your brand can suffer irreparable damage from a misguided or badly timed tweet.

The effort you put into Twitter will dictate what you get out of it. It's not very engaging (or social) to blast out one-way messages. If that's your goal, you may want to explore Twitter's advertising tools. 

Every opportunity to expand awareness of your brand is worth exploring, and Twitter can provide another channel for your small business to engage both current and potential customers.