How to grow small business on twitter

It’s 2013 and many small businesses may have experienced a significant drop in ranking. Some believe they will never fully recover and internet marketers are going crazy trying to figure out ways to fix their mistakes.

But if there’s one thing we are all sure about then that is Twitter is one of the most powerful marketing tools out there at the moment. It is estimated Twitter users will grow by five million in the U.S. alone, reaching 36.3 million users by the end of 2013 (this sourced by eMarketer). 

So what can small businesses do to improve their SEO with the powerful tool that is Twitter. First of all, the company should look at it’s appearance. It must have a good account name, preferably one that pertains to the company, and it should be short. Account names are incredibly searchable. Almost anything you type into Google will have a Twitter pal to go with it. Say you want to use a small freight company to send of material overseas – you type in their name and they will have a twitter account – it’s guaranteed that will be one of the first things that appears on the first page. So the name is important – it must correlate with the brand name. Your ‘handle’ must also be searchable. (For those who do not know, the handle is like your username and is what comes after twitter.com/freightcompanyforexample) It can be changed at all times but it’s important to keep it the same so as not to cause any confusion. Always have your website’s URL on your profile. 

The second thing you must do is optimise your bio and make sure you have good photos. It’s a good idea to put hashtags into your bio, so for example, if you are a freight company use something like #freight or #transport. Search engines use Twitter bios constantly. Use as many keywords as possible – but also try to make it an entertaining bio. Bio’s are important – it is usually the deciding point on whether someone wants to follow you or not.

Of course, it is important to make sure everyone knows you have a Twitter account. This means advertising it on all platforms, including in the signature of your emails, having a twitter icon on your website, on all your blogs and so on. You get the picture.

You must also make sure you follow the right people – there is no need to follow spammers and bride-seller professionals. If you follow the right people the right people will follow you.

The last but not least most important thing you should consider is what you are tweeting. Try to keep everything industry-related but also light-hearted and interesting. Also, try to add as much multi-media to your tweets, people love photos and videos. Re-tweet to get re-tweets, tweet regularly, try to involve yourself in conversations with other fellow like minded individuals and READ your feed. Very often people will not read their newsfeed – it’s important to know what goes on there. Understand your followers – get to know them -figure out what interests them. Another important tip is to make sure you keep your tweets short – this makes them retweetable. Re-tweets are obviously top priority if you want to reach new audiences. The golden rule is to never forget to use URL shorteners such as Bit.ly – sticking a huge link into your tweet makes you look hugely unprofessional – I suggest bit.ly because it provides a good analytics tool which you can make use of when trying to analyse your stats and clicks.

Lastly, you must multi-task. What I’ve done is I’ve opened up two twitter accounts – one that is directly related to the company – with a company logo and a company bio. I’ve also created a separate personal account which includes my company’s URL. That way I can have twice as many followers and spread my content faster and quicker. It may sound a bit too time-consuming for small companies but it’s totally worth the time. I promise, if you tweet right, people will respond. For more tips on Twitter email Ronny Lee  at ronboi11.rr@gmail.com or follow me on twitter @RonnyRod1

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Twitter and Business

Here are my top ten basic Twitter tips for business owners… If you’re new to Twitter these tips will get your business started on one of the most dynamic, cost-effective, and fun social networks for businesses 😀

 People go to Twitter to share what they know and learn in return. Twitter users are hungry for new ideas, opportunities, information, services, and products. If your business is not part of this exchange, you’re leaving two huge opportunities untouched—growing your business and improving it.

Business of all sizes use Twitter for a variety of reasons, from marketing to customer service, but for the small- to medium-sized business that’s still finding its footing on the microblogging site, we offer these five tips and best practices.

1. Define Your Purpose and Goals
Why is your business on Twitter? If the primary (or only) reason is to drive traffic to your website, you need to rethink your strategy. The Twitter community values interaction with real people. If the only thing you’re adding to the conversation is a push to visit your website, you aren’t going to have a strong and valuable reputation on Twitter. Some people will still follow you and click your links, but you’ll be leaving several unique opportunities on the table, untouched.

1. Define Your Purpose and Goals

 

Setting Twitter aside for the moment, what does your business or organization need to do better? Some misguided business leaders think they need to be Twitter because “that’s where our customers are,” and don’t see that Twitter is a tool that can help a business achieve its real goals. Is the business growing rapidly, and you need to find new employees or contractors? Is one of your business’s pain points that it doesn’t listen to its customers or clients? Do you need to improve internal communication between employees? Twitter can help you address those issues and many more—read on to learn how.

2. Assign the Right Tweeters
You’ve just hired a young, bright intern who’s active on plenty of online social networks, which is why her first assignment will be to set up a Twitter account for your business. Bad idea! If you want to really leverage Twitter for your business, you need dedicated employees involved. The intern can certainly help you monitor the account and maybe teach your staff basic Twitter etiquette, but she should not be the sole person behind it.

Knowledgeable. Depending on what goals you’ve set, you need someone who knows the issues related to those goals inside and out. Let’s say your business is growing and you need to hire six Java programmers in the next three months. The person you want tweeting in that case would be someone who codes in Java, not the human-resources manager. If your goal is to better address customer comments—and these will include complaints, questions, and praise—you need someone on Twitter who handles customer service, which in a very small business might be the CEO.

A good listener. The person or people you assign to manage the Twitter account should be as good at listening as they are at speaking and writing. It’s very important on Twitter to respond to people who post messages at you (using the @ symbol next to your Twitter account name, and through direct messages that are more like email). I’ve interacted with several professional businesses on Twitter who have never once answered my messages. I no longer follow them. You don’t need to say much to acknowledge another person’s existence on Twitter. A simple “@TwitterName It’s a known issue. We’re working on it” or “@TwitterName Thanks!” is all that’s needed.

Trustworthy. Most important of all, put people you trust behind Twitter. It’s a powerful platform that spreads information to millions of people very quickly, and one misguided employee can cause disastrous effects. You need to trust the people who represent your company on Twitter completely. Larger businesses may want to have their employees agree to a few basic guidelines for social media, although I personally feel that a contract-style social media policy is usually unnecessary. One of the problem of contracts is that they don’t convey trust. The employees representing your business on Twitter need to feel trusted in order to cultivate their voices and write like a human being. Twitter is not an advertisement or slogan—it’s a real person talking with a community of other people. Find people you trust completely, and give them reasonable autonomy.

 

3. Cultivate a Voice

3. Cultivate a Voice

Real names. People on Twitter want to know the name of the person on the other end. Here’s how some of the strongest businesses on Twitter do it: they use the company name as the Twitter handle, and in the profile information, they list the employees who manage the account by their real names. The employees then identify themselves when they tweet by include a carrot and their initials (like this: ^JD).

Identity. If it’s important for a brand to have a “voice” or identity, it’s even more important for a real human with a name to have one. Photos help, but with Twitter, you can only upload one photo per profile. How do you get real faces on your Twitter page if more than one person is using the account? General Motors, often named one of the best business on Twitter, came up an elegant solution. The company designed a background image that contains the names and photos of the four employees who tweet for the company. It’s a brilliant solution.

Guidelines, not rules. Getting an individual’s voice to blend with the organization’s can be tricky if the employee is not a PR or marketing professional, but with some general business guidelines and good common sense, it should happen quickly.

Personally, I don’t think most companies need to shroud their employees with a full-force “social media policy” because the rules usually focus too much on what not to do, and that runs counter to community values, like honesty, openness, and sharing. If you trust the people tweeting for your business, let them do what’s natural and comfortable for them—their voices will come through, which will improve their reputation on the site. The one guideline they need is this: “If another person on Twitter asks you anything you’re not sure about, tweet, ‘I’m not sure. I’m going to ask the right person and will get back to you by the end of the day.'” Encourage your tweeting employees to be honest and upfront. Push home the point that tweeting is an integral part of the business and that other employees should be involved, too, if only as a resource for the designated Tweeters.

4. Follow the Right People
I’m a firm believer that on Twitter, quality outweighs quantity. It’s best to follow and be followed by interesting, influential, and useful people. Remember that your profile is open to the public (only in the rarest of circumstances would a business make its Twitter account private). Anyone can see whom you follow and who follows you, and those people can affect your credibility.

Clean lists. Block, report, or delete all the spammers and people pushing adult content (unless that’s your line of business, of course) who follow you.

Find connectors. Keep the list of people you’re following chockfull of relevant users who will be interested in your content and will feed you interesting ideas that are worth re-tweeting. Look for active Twitter users who post frequently (at least a few times per week) about your field of business. Try to develop a relationship with these people, and be as valuable to them as they are to you.

Use search. Twitter’s search bar is one of its greatest assets. Search for your business name and terms related to your field of work often, and when you see the same names and faces turn up in the results day after day, follow them. You can create saved searches for terms you look up frequently, letting you perform this action in just a few mouse clicks. Get in the habit of it.

5. Have a Sense of Humor

5. Have a Sense of Humor

Related to the third tip on this list, having a sense of humor helps immensely on Twitter. No one likes a drone. When people are free to cultivate their own voice and speak freely in 140-character messages, a like humor is going to come through, and your customers will appreciate it.

 Business-appropriate. Keep your business Twitter account business-appropriate when it comes to humor. You don’t have to be funny and crack jokes; just keep a positive and light-hearted attitude. For example, I tweeted at Starbucks Coffee, “I keep reading that you are one of the best biz tweeters! Care to share a tip or two for how it’s done?” and the reply was, “smile a lot. And drink coffee, lots of it.” It’s not ha-ha funny, but it’s not a straight and dry answer either.

For more tips on how to use Twitter for business, see Twitter’s list of best practices for businesses.

Follow me on twitter @RonnyRod1