4 BEGINNING TWITTER TIPS FOR BUSINESS

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From 2014-2015 the number of Twitter users grew by 50 million, and it’s estimated that close to 1/5 of Internet users have Twitter accounts. The average Twitter user follows 5 businesses so if you’re not trying to reach your customers on Twitter you’re missing an opportunity.

Twitter is easy enough to understand, just share something 140 characters or less. You can share links, images, or videos. Here are a few other tips for businesses just starting out on Twitter:

Use Hashtags

Twitter is as hard to follow as the ticker tape on a stock page. It’s a constant barrage of messaging, particularly for those accounts that follow a lot of people. Hashtags, or pound signs (#), help people search for the information they want.

Using an appropriate hashtag can expand your business’ reach and help potential customers find what they’re looking for. Employ one specific to your business and use hashtags that are relevant. For instance, Jake’s Jewelry Store might use all, or any, of the following hashtags in tweets with images of gifts for mom: #jakes, #mothersday, #gift.

You can also use popular hashtags of trending topics, when applicable, like #marchmadness or #50shadesofgrey.

Share Images

This tip applies to most of social media but Twitter will display images prominently in the stream so it’s a good way to get your followers’ attention.

Rise Above the Noise

Find ways to stand out from others who are merely posting articles they’ve written. Ask questions. Have conversations. Thank people for sharing your content.

One of the easiest ways to create loyal followers, at least initially, is through commenting on what they share – either by providing your own opinions or asking them follow-up questions.

Avoid sending out automated thank you messages to new followers. While the concept seems nice – thanking them for following you – they come off as exactly what they are, robotic. Plus many Twitter users don’t check their messages box because of a large number of these they receive.

In addition to finding customers and potential customers on Twitter, it’s good to connect with influencers in your industry or audience such as mommy bloggers or niche bloggers.

Follow the Golden Rule

To follow back or not to follow back. That is the question and the answer for business is follow back, or do unto others as you would like them to do to you.

There are exceptions to this rule.

Twitter will cap you at 5,000 following (people you follow) if your followers (number of people who follow you) are not fairly equal. For instance, if you followed 2,000 people but only 500 followed you, Twitter will not allow you to follow any more until those numbers get within (about) 200 of each other. Twitter won’t tell you the exact number that it takes but you will be limited until those follower numbers rise.

You also don’t want your followers and following number too far off of one another because:

  • If you are following too many people, and a relatively equal number is not following you back, it looks like you’re not sharing worthwhile information.

On the other hand,

  • If a lot of people are following you and you’re only following a handful, you look like a bit of a jerk. That’s okay for reality TV stars but people who are using Twitter for business should be a little more congenial.

You can manage your Twitter followers through tools like ManageFlitter, Followerwonk (a Moz app) or Friend or Follow. Many of these tools can help you tell which accounts are spambots or fake accounts or inactive accounts. (You don’t want to spend time engaging those.) They also help you isolate influencers in your area.

There are pages and pages of tips written on topics like Twitter for business but the best thing to keep in mind is your humanity. Don’t make it all about your business and be gracious. Find ways to connect with people on a more personal level and imagine every tweet you’re sending could be seen by your grandmother, unless you’re in the type of business you don’t want your grandmother to know about.


Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and Memberclicks.

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Member Tip Monday: HOW TO FIND TIME FOR SOCIAL MEDIA

Build Your Visibility

Small business owners, especially those businesses with under 10 employees, find it extremely difficult to justify the time on social media because it doesn’t lead to predictable, measurable cost savings or revenue.

Social media and content marketing is about becoming an engaging resource for your customers. What’s the yield of a relationship? If you can figure out what a relationship is worth in revenue dollars, you should be blogging about it.

The truth is, we can’t. Not exactly at least. But we know people buy from people they know, like, and trust and that’s why it’s important to invest time in building these connections and affections.

Finding that time is easier said than done. Still here are a couple of suggestions on how to carve out some time to increase your efforts on social media.

Keep Content Handy

The first thing you’ll need is a place to keep content you find. Not all content will be applicable for sharing the moment you come across it. We’ve all seen people on Twitter who post 10 tweets at a time and figure they are done for the day. It is better to deal out your posts at multiple times than all at once. Often you’ll find content that you’ll want to share later so select a system in which you can easily access your content gems in the future.

Upload content to DropBox, use Evernote or keep a notepad handy (paper or electronic). Doesn’t matter if you keep fortune cookie messages in a shoe box. Never let what you deem to be a valuable piece of content escape. Keep it somewhere handy and build a cache of it.

Find a Scheduler You Like

There are many options to help you pre-schedule posts. Scheduling is important because you can’t spend your whole day posting, nor do you want to be that person who bombards others with a firehose worth of content once a day.

Find a scheduler you’re comfortable with. Many systems allow you to control when you post and often give you the ability to do it several days out. One of the most basic is Buffer. It allows you to schedule across multiple platforms. It offers a free and paid version, but even the paid is only about $10 a month.

The most popular is Hootsuite, and while I use it occasionally because it offers greater capabilities than Buffer, I do prefer Buffer’s minimalist design. Hootsuite’s interface is busy but allows you to monitor in real time. If you’re developing relationships, this is a powerful ability to have.

Multi-task

I’m not telling you to turn off the TV when you get home, but there is no reason if you’re “vegging out” that you can’t use that time to schedule a few posts for the next day. Don’t let mindless tasks, like television watching, steal your productivity.

“Steal” Time

We all have moments where we’re waiting – before doctor’s appointments, before meetings, on the phone, while the kids finish up with practice, you get the idea. Many of us fill this time with other mindless tasks like scanning pictures of our friends’ pets on Facebook. Instead, use this time to be productive by finding content, scheduling it, or responding to people on social media.

I am a firm believer in scheduling posts but the interacting cannot be scheduled, so use this stolen time to reach out and connect with people.

Look for Content Everywhere

Content ideas are everywhere – airplane magazines, overheard conversations, commercials, popular TV shows, as well as all over social media. Use the many messages that bombard you daily to find gems you’d like to share. Retweets are only the beginning.

Take Pictures

Along that line, take pictures of everything that moves you and some ordinary things that don’t. Pictures you take can be used in blogs, memes, and image quotes without concern over cost or copyright. Links with pics are more likely to get shared and clicked. Encourage staff to do the same.

You don’t need huge chunks of time to make connections on social media. The key to success in this area is the same in most business- or relationship-building. Give people what they want/find valuable; do so without expectation. Become a resource for them and help them. Be consistent in your efforts so they know they can count on you. This takes minutes a day. Schedule good content and steal time for interacting. Then watch your relationships grow as people share your resources with others.


Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog. She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.

Congratulations Michael Kline, Chamber Ambassador of the Quarter!

Congratulations to Michael Kline, our Ambassador of the Quarter!

Michael is the 13th of 14 children born into poverty to an alcoholic father living in a michael-klinejunkyard. He lost his mother at age 7 and discovered powerful lessons about resources. His journey from junkyard to country club is proof that anyone can do anything. He became the turn-around president of a franchise company with 35 locations, then a six-time successful entrepreneur. He is a Certified Jack Canfield Success Trainer, a RIM Master, and Success Coach, working with clients here and around the world. He and his partners provide corporate training and coaching in the areas of leadership, communications and emotional intelligence. Having grown up in Orlando, Mike moved back to Florida just over a year ago with his husband Sal, after 21 years in New England.

Congratulations, Michael! We greatly appreciate the dedication that you give to The Chamber and to The Chamber Ambassadors’ program. Michael’s inviting personality and engagement through the Chamber Ambassadors with welcoming and on-boarding of new members makes him a great representative of The Chamber. Thank you, Michael, & keep up the excellent work!


For information on the Chamber Ambassadors program, please contact Megan Neal or Craig McGonigal

Affinity Partner Spotlight: Office Depot

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The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce partners with Office Depot and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to bring you an Affinity Program that allows members to purchase from Office Depot at a discounted price. The National Chamber Program is a network of over 1,500 Chambers of Commerce working together to create savings and opportunities for its members.

The discounts on this purchasing program include products from nearly every product category needed to run your business. This includes general office supplies, ink & toner, cleaning and break room supplies, technology products, copy & print services, furniture and even school supplies.

If you are a member of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, there is no cost to take advantage of this purchasing program.

How to Take Advantage:

If you would like to take advantage of this Affinity Program, simply call or email Office Depot Business Development Manager Paul Stumpfig. Paul.stumpfig@officedepot.com or (941) 720-5037 and he will get you enrolled.

Welcoming Chair of the Board, George McGonagill

As I begin my year as Chair of the Board I want to first off thank Lisa Krouse for her

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Chair | George McGonagill | Questar Construction

leadership as Chair of the Board this past year.

The Chamber has come to mean so much more to us: from readying our workforce for the jobs of tomorrow to preparing our future leaders to engage in this community. I am honored to be this year’s incoming Chair of the Board. I know I have — “tall heel”s — to fill. I want to take a moment to thank our volunteer leadership, in particular, our Executive Committee, who has diligently and wisely guided our Chamber to this point, and whose support I will continue to rely on in this coming year.

The goal has been clear. To leave the Chamber in the strongest position possible to move forward with its new President. The team that will be supporting our new President is dedicated, knowledgeable and just chomping at the bit to create new opportunities to represent, support and be responsive to our members’ needs.

Our adoption of Chamber membership tiers will transform the way we deliver benefits and services for our members. Customized. Resonant. Relevant. It’s complex, not complicated, and in the best possible way. This new framework will ultimately allow each member to get the most of what they want out of their membership and maximize unique growth opportunities for their business.

I look forward to working with each of our members, volunteers, and staff to continue to bring benefits and support to our members and the community.

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George McGonagill

2016-2017 Chair of the Board

Member Tip: Press Release Tool

As a benefit to our members, this tool provides easy distribution of press releases to current media contacts in the greater Sarasota area. Our press release tool is a great stepping stone for you to make connections with our local media. Plus, non-date specific press releases submitted are considered for future Chamber communications. Before starting please check our best practices.

Follow the steps below:

  1. Login at SarasotaChamber.com with your member credentials.
  2. Click Press Release Tool on the right-hand side of your screen under Quick Links.
  3. Fill out the form and submit!

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Other Tips

Tracking Your Press Release

The simplest way to track your coverage is to use Google Alerts. To set up a Google alert, visit www.google.com/alerts and create an alert for each keyword you are interested in receiving a notification about. If you are entering phrases with multiple words, be sure to place quotation marks at the beginning and ending of the phrase. This will ensure that you receive notifications when something is published online with the entire phrase, rather than every individual word within the phrase.

Media Directory

Visit the Florida Public Relations Association – Central West Coast Chapter website for more details on how to purchase a complete Media Directory for the Sarasota-Manatee region.

PLEASE NOTE: The Sarasota Chamber is not responsible for what our local media picks up or doesn’t pick up. However, we do know they like good news, like new hires, ribbon cuttings, grand openings, etc. 


If you have any questions about using the Press Release Tool or submitting, please contact Dillon Buckland, Communications Coordinator at dbuckland@sarasotachamber.com or (941) 556-4039.

Meet Our Members: CareerSource Suncoast

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Give us a brief history of your business/organization.

Previously known as Jobs Etc. and Suncoast Workforce Board, CareerSource Suncoast is nonprofit employment agency serving job seekers and employers in Manatee and Sarasota counties. We’re part of the CareerSource network which includes 23 other local boards with a 100 offices statewide. All 24 regions rebranded under the CareerSource umbrella in 2014.

What are your business/organization’s core values, goals, and overall mission?

To help recruit, train and retain talent for employers on the Suncoast

How long have you been in business in the Greater Sarasota Community?

There have been workforce programs in the community dating all the way back to the enactment of the Wagner-Peyser Act in 1933, which is still in existence. Prior to becoming the Suncoast Workforce Board, the Manasota Industry Council ran workforce programs in Sarasota starting in 1983.

In a nutshell, what does your business/organization provide its customers/clients?

We provide services to meet their employment needs. For employers, that can range from hiring events and job postings to training grants and labor market data. For job seekers, we have 3 offices across the two counties to assist with job applications, unemployment filings, a networking group and a series of workshops to write better resumes and to perform better in interviews.

Complete this sentence: “When a customer/client walks into my business/office, they can expect…”

A bright colorful atmosphere staffed by some very caring and dedicated professionals.

What makes your business/organization unique?

Anyone can be our customer. Job seekers, businesses, schools, we work collaboratively with all of them to connect employers and job seekers in our community.

What benefit(s) attracted you to The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce?

The ability to reach so many businesses in our community to talk about helping them find and manage their talent to grow the business and the prosperity of their staff.

Is your company/organization involved in any community/civic activities?

We sit on the boards of many other community partners such as the United Way, ELC, the EDC and so many others. We’re also active in advisory groups at the high schools and technical college for their career education programs.

Where do you see your organization in five years?

Fulfilling our vision of bringing increased economic prosperity to the businesses and individuals who reside on the Suncoast by providing great education on careers and the labor market in our local area

What are three things your business/organization can’t live without?

We can’t live without collaboration, community, and chocolate.


For more information about CareerSource Suncoast, visit their website, like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Your business or organization could be featured in The Chamber Buzz. “Meet Our Members” is a member spotlight feature on The Chamber Buzz blog and e-newsletter, showcasing our member businesses, their products, and services. To be considered for the spotlight, simply complete this form.