Twitter: A Crash Course for Small Businesses

Erica Brooke Fajge

With social media an essential component of marketing your small business, you need to be aware of the best ways to use new media to the benefit of your business. As a small business owner or manager, you may not have all the answers when it comes to social media, especially Twitter. If you think you’ve got social media down pat because your business has a Facebook page, think again: These days, with Twitter’s 302 million active, monthly users, having a presence on Twitter has become essential for most small businesses.

 Okay, so how can using Twitter help my business?

Like Facebook and other social networking sites, Twitter enables you to connect with followers and share links, photos, videos, and updates, but due to Twitter’s 140-character limit, it is especially useful for relaying quick information in real time.

Use Twitter to:

  • Post links to your website as well as relevant articles of interest.
  • Share images of products or services, or photos of staff, customers, and happenings at your location.
  • Attract followers with fun graphics, videos, or GIFs.
  • Offer quick customer service through responding to direct messages.
  • Inform customers of offers, rewards, and promotions.
  • Provide quick updates to customers (hours, closing times).

Now that you know what you can do with Twitter, you need to know how to use it effectively.

Read on for 4 tips, and find out how other small businesses like yours have utilized Twitter as a successful marketing tool.

1. Post regularly and consistently, and keep your content engaging.

Sharing regular updates will keep your followers engaged and entertained and keep them coming back for more. Your followers can also be a great source of feedback. For example, Kiss My Bundt Bakery, a small bakery in Los Angeles, asks followers what they think of recipes. The owner, Chrysta Wilson, regularly shares pictures of new items to get feedback and invites customers into the bakery to sample these items. With over 3,000 followers, this small bakery has gained a strong following.

2.Easily connect with influencers in your industry who can increase exposure to your page.

The Roger Smith Hotel is a New York City boutique hotel that needed an edge to stand out from larger hotel chains in the city. Hotel administrators reached out to journalists and online influencers in the social media space, and presented them with an offer to stay. The strategy proved to be a genius move: These influencers all tweeted about their wonderful stay at the hotel, and suddenly the Roger Smith Hotel was on the map. Today, the hotel boasts an active Twitter page with over 16,000 followers.

3. Engage with your followers, and don’t just self-promote.

Although Twitter is a marketing tool, no one wants to be inundated with constant self-promotion. In order for Twitter to be effective, you have to use it to build relationships. When followers comment or ask a question, do your best to always respond, and be friendly and helpful. If a follower’s question is ignored and goes unanswered, it’s likely that follower will start looking elsewhere. Active engagement with your followers shows that you are a responsive business that cares about your customers.

For example, Dr. Michael Sinkin, a dentist in New York City, uses Twitter to respond to questions and help people with their dental needs. For example, in response to a complaint someone tweeted about tooth pain, Dr. Sinkin sent a list of remedies and told that person to “Feel better!” Interactions such as these have helped this dentist step out of obscurity, gain followers, and attract new patients.

4. Don’t overdo it with posts or hashtags.

There is a reason tweets are limited to 140 characters. Keep your posts brief and to the point. Don’t use several tweets to break up longer posts. If you have that much to say, post it to Facebook. For Twitter, keep it short and simple.

When it comes to hashtags, the same rule applies. Hashtags are not just for tech-savvy millennials; they can help increase exposure and engagement to your page. Whenever you use a relevant hashtag for your industry, users will more easily find your page when searching. But don’t go crazy with the hashtags; more than 3-5 clutters your post and just looks silly.

With these tips, you can create a Twitter page that works well for your business, or refine the one you currently have. But don’t get discouraged if you don’t see instant results; gaining an active Twitter following takes time and patience. Just remember: Slow and steady wins the race. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be winning the Twitter race in time.

We want to know: How does your small business use Twitter as an effective marketing tool? What tips and techniques work for you?

About the Author

Erica Brooke Fajge

Erica Brooke Fajge is a contributing author for Booker by MINDBODY. She has extensive experience in the tech and digital marketing industries, specifically in web content, online publishing, and startups. Erica also shares her expertise as an adjunct instructor at the Fox School of Business at Temple University in Philadelphia, where she teaches Business Communications in the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management.

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