4 BEGINNING TWITTER TIPS FOR BUSINESS

Twitter-art

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.

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.

SOCIAL MEDIA ISN’T OPTIONAL: WHY YOU NEED TO START TODAY

If you have too many customers and you can’t keep up; if your business’ revenue streams are more like Tsunamis, social media is optional for your business. If not, you need to embrace it today. Here’s why:

We are a very mobile society. Businesses can’t count on the foot traffic they once did or people just driving by and stopping in. We’re in our cars, going to the next appointment at lightning speed. There’s no time to just drop into a new store or business.

Social Media Establishes Know, Like and Trust

social-media-isnt-optionalIf you sell something that no one else does and people feel like they absolutely must have it, then forget about social media because you needn’t establish know, like and trust. For everyone else, it’s essential in the sales process. Someone buying from you must first know that you exist, then wants to like you/your company before doing business with you, and finally, they need to trust that you are providing a worthwhile product or service that is of good quality or value. Without those three very important things, you won’t be very effective in today’s non-ad-driven marketplace.

There’s good news and bad news about how consumers make decisions today. The good news is your business can stand out with very little money investment. You don’t need radio or television to make an impression anymore. There are millions of people you can reach through social media. However, the bad news is you can’t blast them with your marketing message and expect them to respond by pulling out their wallets. Now you have to develop a connection with them and establish “know, like, and trust.” This takes time. Old marketing success took money.

Your Content Gives Buyers Something They Need

When you share helpful, valuable content on social media you do more than establishing know, like, and trust. You provide helpful resources for customers who are trying to make decisions (and you can influence them through providing the much-needed help, particularly in a long buying cycle) and you give them social currency.

Just as you want to provide content your audience finds valuable, so do your customers. There’s a lack of great content out there. It’s hard to find it and there’s an unquenchable need. When you provide content your audience enjoys and thus shares, you become a source for them to build up, and meet the needs of, their tribe as well.

This makes your audience feel good because their tribe appreciates what they’ve shared. You’re making your customer (or potential customer) look good. That’s something they will remember and keeps your business being on your customer’s mind.

Social Media Is No Longer Mere Entertainment

facebook-demographicsIf you have been ignoring the social webs because you think it’s all pictures of gourmet meals and cat videos, you’re in for a surprise. 88% of Millennials (Millennials are the largest generational cohort in the history of the US and make up a quarter of the population currently) get their news from Facebook. While this may be a little disconcerting for some of us, the fact remains and speaks to the importance of social media in the lives of so many.

If you think social media is only for the young, think again. 72% of adult Internet users use Facebook, according to the Pew Research Center. 62% of the entire adult population in the US uses Facebook. Why aren’t you on it again? Before you answer, take a look at the chart of Facebook demographics.

Social Media Establishes a Connection

Today’s buyers want to feel a connection with the companies they do business with. From being involved in R&D to voting on names for new products, from selecting new flavors to supporting a larger cause, people want to “feel” something about the brands they support.

You can’t meet every one of your customers. You can’t take them out to coffee and get to know them because it doesn’t scale. As much as you may have an interest in them, it’s not possible to form personal, one-on-one relationships with each, but you can reach them en masse and make them feel like they know you and your business.

Social media allows you to give them a better look at who you are by setting a tone for your business and telling your business story. It also allows you to celebrate your customers in a way traditional marketing can’t. You have the opportunity to reach them all-day long, every day with content they will find value in for no more money than that associated with your time.

Social media isn’t a passing fad. It’s a business necessity today. If you’re not meeting your customers’ needs on social media, you can bet there is someone out there who’s willing to take up the slack for you.

Image via Graphic Stock

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.