Monday, July 25, 2011

Twiiter Helps Small Business Grow and Prosper

Canada it is said is one of the most connected countries in the world and in spite of paying some of the highest rates for internet and mobile phone, social networking is continuing to grow. If you run a business and have an online presence, chances are you have heard about the potential value that Twitter can have as a business tool.

The usefulness of Twitter and other social media for promotion, marketing, interacting with customers and building relationships has been promoted by a number of social media pundits and business professionals in a wide variety of industries. However social media has proven to be much more difficult for small business people to get a hold of and building an active presence on Twitter can me more difficult than expected. With and estimated 200 million tweets a day being sent simply sending off tweets won’t prove very useful nor will starting a twitter account and letting it lay dormant.
So in order to take advantage of what Twitter has to offer it requires having a strategy.

Here are some quick tips on how to start, build and maintain and active and effective Twitter persona for your business.
First step is to understand why you want to start a Twitter account for your business. It is important to have specific goals in mind when creating any channel and ensure they goals are reflected as you setup your profile for you and your business. It’s also important to understand how you will achieve these goals. For example if you are trying to find new customers, make sure what you will say and to whom to attract people to find you on Twitter, subscribe to your messages and eventually visit your store, website or blog.

Twitter takes some understanding to use it effectively. It’s important to understand that Twitter is pull technology and not a push approach to promoting. Traditionally you needed to force people to read your messages by buying some form of media or sending bulk emails to prospects. On Twitter, people need to follow you or opt in to read your messages therefore you need to make sure you saying something that is relevant or interesting to people vs. trying to achieve your goals.
Nobody is going to read a feed full of advertising. This media is called social media for reason as it puts the audience as part of the conversation. Most good case studies show that the most effective use of social media are those in which creative topics are created that are of interest to your potential audience. It’s therefore important to create creative ways to respond, reach out and respond to other individual messages too.

First of all, remember that Social Media can be used for more than just marketing. The key to any marketing program is understanding your customer, their likes, dislikes and interests. Once you have this profile, ensure that your Twitter messages are following these interests (for example, if you own a unique restaurant, tweet about food, preparation, recipes and equipment). Again, Twitter is an opt-in channel, so make sure what you say is something that your customer would want to read out of interest. Be as conversational as you can. In the restaurant example above, ask people what types of food they like and how they cook. Watch for the tweets of people you follow, and when they tweet about food, don't hesitate to reach out and share your thoughts in a friendly way.

Also, understand that tools are rarely effective in isolation. Mention Twitter in conversations, and link to it from your website. Perhaps even mention it in your other marketing materials.

Twitter can be a very effective marketing tool but needs to be used correctly. The key is get the conversation going, build credibility with your business approach or business focus, give information to your audience they want to read and be a source of inspiration and knowledge which will give you an advantage and help you build followers. Also look for key influencers in your industry and follow them on Twitter.

There following may also be your customer then you have a good chance of participating in a conversation with a variety of people that may also be interested in what it is you are saying. Remember, quality information, valuable knowledge, unique and key learning will help you grow your Twitter reputation and help others seek you out and develop a better understanding of what it is you do and what it is you have to offer.

Kensel Tracy is the Marketing Coach, Senior Partner for the Corporate Coachworkz and Managing Director of Stratejis, Results Based Marketing Solutions. He is also the President of Business over Breakfast Clubs in North America now opening up in every city in North America.