When Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield took to the Twitter waves the world took notice. Becoming privy to Hadfield’s daily affairs on the International Space Station in 140 characters or less suddenly became significant. Twitter not only elevated Chris Hadfield to celebrity status, but renewed the world’s romance with space.
Back here on earth small business can benefit from Twitter in a similar way. Twitter helps:
> drive traffic to your website
> provides direct access to your customers and their friends
> and can help establish your company as a trusted subject authority.
Every time a company tweets, it’s making noise about its brand and website. A good tweet contains not only a message but a URL directing the reader to a specific web page. That’s a great way to drive traffic to your website when the reader needs more information on a specific car or event.
Twitter gives you the opportunity to speak directly to your customers. Just listed a new product? Once it’s listed on your website, send out a tweet. Believe it or not, you can say a lot in 140 characters and still have room for a website URL. Your followers might not be looking for that particular item but they may know someone who is and re-tweet to them.
Tweets don’t always have to be about your business. There might be a particular article or information that might not work on your website, but can be tweeted to your online community. Doing this will not only increase customer engagement but help establish your business as an ‘expert’ amongst your followers.
If you aren’t on Twitter, it would be wise to sign up, just to claim your company name. You begin by creating a unique 15-character user name which acts as a personal identifier. It appears on your twitter profile page and is used following the ‘@’ sign to identify you to your followers.
The best way to learn Twitter is to start following a similar company. At first, just following conversations will help identify experts while you are picking up a few tips. Your first couple of tweets can be simple ‘re-tweets’ – repeating someone else’s tweet – to your followers. Re-tweeting helps draw attention to your own Twitter profile, and gives you an idea on what content works best.
Don’t have time? We heard that when the business community first starting using e-mail. Admittedly, social media can become consuming, but there are a couple of tricks. Many businesses check their Twitter accounts only two or three times a day to see what’s current. Also, scheduling your tweets saves time.
Not every social media tool is for every business. But without exploring the options you’ll never realize what works best for your company.
> Tweets must be 140 characters and that includes spaces. Be precise, creative and humor works well. Keep in mind that you are trying to engage others in a conversation so resist ‘blasting’ out messages all the time.
>Since you want direct followers to your website include a URL to a specific page. However, save characters and use a URL shortener such as TinyURL.com.
>Going viral actually takes work. Others need to see your tweets and re-tweets. So, if you’re responding to another tweet, make sure that you include their Twitter handle (@mybusiness) in the conversation. By using their handle, your tweet will appear on their Twitter Profile for their followers to see as well.
>Scheduling your tweets in the beginning is not such a bad idea. You can spread out what you want to say over a week, at the same time practice crafting your 140 character message. A couple of great Twitter Tools for scheduling and other applications include Tweet Deck or Hoot Suite.
> Practice makes perfect and you will experience a few ‘oops’. Give yourself some time to become comfortable with Twitter before you evaluate it.