Twitter Basics for Small Business

twittereffectively-smIt’s been a few years now since Twitter marched onto the stage. It took a dip in the latter half of 2010 as various bugs and shortcomings were ironed out, but with the advent of the new “social search” phenomenon, its rise over the last few years has not only been rock-steady but accelerating. This article introduces Twitter Basics for Small Business, for the newbie (or as a review for Twitter veterans).

Twitter Statistics (2014-15)

  • The number of people using Twitter has increased by more than 50 million in the past year. The network now has over 270 million active users.
  • By 2015, one fifth (20.5%) of internet users in the US are expected to have Twitter accounts. This figure has grown from 15.2% in 2012, and is set to rise to 24.2% by 2018.
  • There are more than 284 million active Twitter users monthly, 80 percent of which are using mobile devices to tweet (Twitter).
  • About 63 percent of Twitter users regard their smartphones as their primary tweeting device (eMarketer).
  • Three in ten small businesses have yet to join Twitter. What are you waiting for guys?

Twitter gave birth to “micro blogging” with its short “tweets” of 140 characters or less. And, of course, it wasn’t long before internet marketers and entrepreneurs were falling all over themselves to put this easy as pie social network to use.

What emerged were five specific forms of Tweets:

  • Personal comments, venting, quips
  • Answers to questions
  • Replies to other peoples’ Tweets
  • Retweets
  • Announcements linking to articles and websites

How to Use Twitter

Those who use Twitter most effectively stress that a mix of all three types of posts work best.

The emphasis (with all social networking) should be on what your particular audience wants/likes to hear — even when you’re posting personal comments.

Before posting, ask yourself: “Will this post move my audience towards their goals? Help them feel connected and understood? Brighten their day?”

The post types that are often cited as seeming the stalest – link announcements, such as this:

  • How to Use Cabbage in 20 Delicious Recipes: http://bit.ly/abcDE1

The reason for this can be summed up in one word: Relevance.

If you’ve done your homework and you know your audience is obsessed by creating the perfect cabbage recipe, they’re probably eagerly clicking the moment your post appears.

If you just re-tweeted that post on there because it was the first link you found that dealt with recipes, you’ll leave them cold.

To Shorten or Not to Shorten?

 You’ll notice that many people shorten links to make posts fit the rigid 140-character limit by using URL-shortening services such as Bit.ly.

The advantage of this: Well, the shortness, of course. Plus the fact you can instantly track how many click-throughs your post receives.

The disadvantage? If you’re trying to build back links, your shortened URL does nothing for your blog or article marketing SEO.

 Whenever possible, always leave your keyword-optimized link title as is. If you can’t do so without running over length, shorten it. If you’re driving traffic to someone else’s post, shorten it — unless it’s someone you want to impress, to put it bluntly.

Twitter Tips and Tricks

You can use a social networking app such as HootSuite or TweetDeck (or even certain other social networks such as StumbleUpon) to post the same message to all your social networks at once.

 You can also use apps and services to schedule your posts throughout the day — while only investing in that one single session to set this up.

Whenever you do this, however, be sure to weigh the pros and cons. For example, although scheduling posts for later will allow you to be “present” on Twitter all day long without actually being there, if you don’t track comments and someone shoots back a heartfelt response or question to your automated post, they’ll lose interest in you pretty quickly if they’re met with flat silence and obvious absence too many times.

 

The time-saving social media app (application) I use and recommend is Buffer. There is a free version to get started and an Awesome version (the one I use). The initial free version will let you connect with three accounts. I suggest these: the Twitter account you use for business, your Facebook business page, and your Google+ business page. If you haven’t set up your social media accounts specifically for your business, get started at Buffer by connecting your Twitter account, Facebook profile, and LinkedIn profile. Subscribe to Buffer’s excellent blog and read on…
 

 Twitter Best Use:

  • Real-time engagement and connection, building a feeling of immediacy and creating actual conversation
  • Sharing a truly valuable link with your audience
  • Answering urgent cries for help (with a tip or a useful link to an article answering the question, or a resource someone needs)
  • Reminding people about your live events that are about to begin (or even in progress)
  • Showing your personal side
  • Sharing life

Twitter Tools and Apps

There are many tools out there to utilize Twitter. To mention a few I’ve used:

Tweetdeck: The king of Twitter clients

Via the app or the web, stay on top of your Twitter stream with Tweetdeck’s organization and tracking tools. Split your stream into segmented columns to stay engaged with what’s important.

TweetChat: Twitter chat management

Log in to follow a specific hashtag, hang out in a room that collects the hashtagged tweets for you, and reply as you like (with the hashtag added automatically to your tweet).

Tweepi: Tidy up who you follow

Cleanup inactive follows, flush those who don’t follow back, and reciprocate someone else’s follow—all done in bulk and with a few clicks of a checkbox.

Tweet Beat: List management

A powerful tool for managing your Twitter lists—adding, removing, discovering, and sharing.

These free Twitter tools – and 55 more! – listed and described in the Buffer Blog article here:

The Big List of Twitter Tools: 59 Free Twitter Tools and Apps to Fit Any Need – Buffer Blog

Need to see how other small businesses use Twitter? Good ideas here:

Nine Small Business Twitter Marketing Examples for You to Study – Social Media Examiner

And remember,

No sales without marketing! No marketing without relationships. That’s a social biz.

To your social biz success,

Kate

P.S. If you’d really like to dive in and do a course in social media marketing to launch your social biz success like a rocket, take a look at the course I did: Lynn Terry’s Social Marketing Results. While you are doing the course, join the Social Marketing Results Group at Facebook and get more tips and tutorials while you watch Lynn build her business with social media marketing.

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