7 Great Tips For Using Twitter To Market Your Small Business Or Organization

Tweets are popping up everywhere, and everyone from celebrities to executives to politicians to your kids are using the remarkably effective platform that produces them, Twitter. Despite its popularity you may still be unsure what it is all about. So, what is Twitter and why are so many people using it? Twitter is a microblogging platform that allows you to post 140 character updates to the internet and connect with your followers. It is succesful because it is “easy to use, free to use and fun.” (Gunelius) Essentially it allows you to send a short message out to your friends and followers rather than sharing your message via a blog, hence the term, microblogging.

Twitter is an amazingly simple way to share news, updates, thoughts and ideas. Furthermore, it is a great way to build relationships, grow a base of followers and reach people around the world. However, although it is simple to use it is not always simple to master. Many social media managers take weeks, months, or even years to become effective twitterers. Try using the following tips to develop your ability to use Twitter meaningfully.

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1              Develop your voice and community

Develop your own unique Twitter personality. As Heather Mansfield puts it, “share opinions and contribute to discussions.” (Mansfield) Let your followers get an understanding of who you are so that they feel comfortable connecting and engaging with you. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. Once they recognize that there is a genuine, living, breathing individual behind each tweet they will react far more positively and you are less likely to find your tweets being ignored, or worse, your account un-followed!

2              Share Your Own Great Content And Other Twitterers Content Too

Great content is vital to the survival of your social media strategy. However, if you constantly only tweet about your business or organization your followers will quickly become disinterested. It will appear that you are only online to promote your own agenda. Find other great content to share. Tweet about breaking news relevant to your business or organization. Tweet about similar organizations, articles from blogs, online newspapers, and anything that interests you and makes sense for your business. If you find that you are not getting any retweets or mentions then perhaps it is time to rethink your Twitter strategy and find different aspects of your business or organization to talk about.

3              Tweet, Retweet, Mention and Follow

Being retweeted and mentioned is the lifeblood of Twitter growth. But how can you expect to be retweeted if you don’t retweet others? Why would you expect to get mentions if you don’t mention other tweets? It’s not simply the polite thing to do. Engaging with others also increases the likelihood that you will find more followers and strengthen your presence on Twitter.

4              Use And Follow Trends And Hashtags

Try to find trends that relate in some way to your business or organization. Use them in your tweets. However, beware of using more than 2 or 3 hashtags or you may be seen as guilty of hashtag spamming. Begin by searching the hashtag to see if it takes you where you want to go. Then decide whether or not to use it. Create new hashtags that are relevant to you, your business and your message.

5              Aim For Five Tweets A Day

If you want to maximize your use of Twitter, aim for four to six tweets a day, or five on average. Perhaps this seems daunting but if you spread out your tweets throughout the day it will not be so challenging. Remember you don’t have to provide all the content, you can use other people’s content too. If it is confusing to keep track of this many tweets, try using Hootsuite or another social media management tool to help you schedule your posts for the day or week. Using a management platform has the added benefit of helping you to keep track of all your social media activities from one convenient location.

6              Use Twitter To Advertise Specials And Deals

Do you have a business? Twitter is a great tool to use if you have a retail operation or a restaurant. You can quickly promote a product, reach your followers and attract interest from others as your tweet is retweeted or mentioned. Give away coupons, free products and services, prizes. The sky is the limit. Use your imagination.

7              Don’t Neglect The Power Of The Image

Photos, images, and videos catch the eye and draw attention to your tweet. They generally receive more attention than simple text. Take the extra time and effort to increase the number of visual stimulating tweets you send.

Summary

Twitter is an excellent social media tool, but like any tool, it should not be used in isolation. View it as an integral part of your social media strategy as it is one of the most important social media apps you can use.

 

References

Gunelius, Susan. 30-minute Social Media Marketing Step-by-step Techniques to Spread the Word about Your Business Fast and Free. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011. 81. Print.

Mansfield, Heather. Social Media for Social Good: A How-to Guide for Nonprofits. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012. 97. Print.

COM0015 – Blog Post #1 Social Media Tools and Sources

154 Blue Chrome Rain Social Media Icons

154 Blue Chrome Rain Social Media Icons (Photo credit: webtreats)

The Internet is completely cluttered with social media, so it can be very hard to keep track of the updates and posts that are actually of interest to someone. My two favourite tools to keep me updated are HootSuite and my Facebook feed in general. In my business, I use HootSuite to track all of my social accounts. This allows me to monitor what my accounts are doing, who they are interacting with, who I need to reply to. Since my business is photography, I use mostly Facebook and Twitter. Facebook allows me to post pictures as well and keep them in different albums on my fan page.  I have my Facebook account linked to my Twitter so that everytime I post on my fan page, it automatically posts to my Twitter account as well.  I find that with the help of HootSuite to monitor my business accounts, I can spend time on my personal Facebook feed and Twitter to find the news that interests me. I look at the ‘trending’ section of Twitter to see what is going on. I appreciate hashtags and use them frequently so that perspective brides searching for #Ottawa #wedding #photography can find me with ease. I also scroll through my Facebook feed to see what stories are cropping up among my friend and business circles. Being directly connected to people I have a shared history with, or have met at mutually interesting events keeps me abreast of news that I would like to hear about.  I also receive updates from fan pages I’ve liked. With functions like these, it is obvious to me why Facebook is the giant in social media.

I also have an account with YouTube. This allows me to post slideshows of my works for my clients to share and to entice perspective clients. ( See www.youtube.com/jbphotocanada ) You Tube, or links to sites from Facebook to You Tube videos, are where I tend to find most of the news that interests me.  In fact, just today while I was scrolling through my Facebook feed I stumbled upon a TED event video. It was a young man talking about his fantastic idea to clean up the oceans of all the plastic waste that is clogging it up. (see below) This is something I never would have heard of without the Internet and my Facebook feed. You Tube allows for embedding video on to web pages, making content literally come alive. Although some You Tube submissions must be taken with a grain of salt, reposts from established broadcast channels make it so that an audience can catch almost anything they may have missed. By subscribing to a You Tube channel like the TEDxtalks channel, gives me access to the content I want to see. I prefer to watch news through You Tube as I don’t have cable or satellite. You Tube also allows me to watch videos that are educational and can help me with professional development.

Though it sometimes clutters my inbox, I do also like to sign up for newsletters. I, myself, use the free service MailChimp to keep my subscribers informed. To my business, keeping in touch with my clients through newsletters is paramount. Newsletters also keep me well informed of events that are of interest to me. For example, I subscribed to a newsletter that informed me about Creative Live, as service I never would have heard about otherwise. Creative Live allows you to watch experts in the field of marketing, photography, graphic design and more, give workshops over the Internet. Even more fantastic, is that these events are free to watch. Or, if you like to watch them repeatedly, you can purchase the event after you’ve seen it. Creative Live has helped me hone many of my photographic skills and I continue to watch segments today.

Newsletters may seem old fashioned, but they are also a great way to get free information from people hoping you will purchase what they are selling. I think the key to a good newsletter is not to go for the sale, but rather to have a goal of informing your subscribers. I subscribe to a few social media ‘guru’ sites that send out tips on how to maximize my social media. Once I am done with them, I delete them and always unsubscribe to any that I feel are not serving me well. My e-mail is the one thing I check every day, without fail. Having information delivered to me in this way is very convenient.

I prefer Facebook feeds, Twitter trends, You Tube and newsletters primarily because they are something I can scroll during the time I choose. I can search through my Facebook feed for either the top stories of the most recent. As I previously stated, using hashtags I can see the stories that interest me. You Tube is delivered to me on both these fronts and newsletters are sent straight to my inbox. All of these sources keep me well informed and my interests fed.

Jennifer Walker