Twitter is like the Swiss Army knife of social media networks.
At first glance, it seems simple—a website where people share news stories, blog posts, and other content with colleagues and businesses using 140 characters or less.
But take a deeper look into how it can actually be used, and you find that the value it brings to small businesses is anything but simple. In fact, it’s one of the most powerful networks available to business owners today.
Engagement marketing is all about connecting with customers in the places they’re already engaging. With more than 500 million users, it’s safe to bet that Twitter is one of those places.
Here are 8 ways Twitter can help your small business:
1 Twitter makes it easy to drive word-of-mouth
We all know how important word-of-mouth is for small businesses. Without the marketing budgets of “the big guys,” small businesses rely on current customers to help introduce their brand to a whole new audience.
Twitter makes it easy for your customers to do just that. With a single click, a customer can introduce your business to an audience of hundreds if not thousands of new supporters. All you need to do is make sure you’re sharing the things your current audience will enjoy, want to engage with, and, most importantly, want to share with their network.
2. Twitter is a powerful tool for customer service
Twitter is a powerful tool for customer service. It provides customers with yet another way to connect with your brand online and provides you the opportunity to share real-time updates to keep your audience well-informed and up-to-date.
If your customers have questions, concerns, or even complaints, you’ll you want to know about it. Twitter provides the type of quick and easy communication that makes it easy to address all of those issues.
A recent study found that 70% of brands ignore customer complaints on Twitter. Be part of the 30% and provide the type of customer service on Twitter that customers have come to expect in your store.
3. Twitter can make your next event more social
Twitter has become THE social network for event professionals – mainly thanks to “event hashtags.”
Hashtags are those “#” symbols you may have seen on Twitter or some of the other social networks (Pinterest, Instagram). The purpose of hashtags is to help users organize content and categorize searches based on specific topics.
Using an event hashtag is a great way to give customers a way of staying connected and adding a brand new level of engagement to your event strategy.
The best hashtags are made up of abbreviations or acronyms and the year of the event.
4. Twitter can help strengthen relationships
Relationships matter for small businesses. Not just the relationships businesses have with customers, but the ones businesses have with other.
On Twitter, connecting with other businesses will help strengthen relationships and get more exposure for your brand. Twitter lists are a valuable resource for organizing the people and organizations you follow and want to connect with. We recommend organizing your followers into at least three categories:
Peers – This list would contain people within your industry that are at about the same level as you. These could be people you already have strategic partnerships with, or people you’d like to partner with.
Pros – This list is for the experts or thought leaders in your industry, or the people with businesses at a level you’d like to reach. Use this list to monitor how they’re using social media or what they’re talking about.
Patrons – This list would contain the people who are already customers or clients, or people you’ve deemed likely to buy, donate, or volunteer.
Think of ways you can connect with members in each of these lists – sometimes all it takes is an occasional retweet of other businesses to start building those valuable relationships.
5. Twitter can get your newsletter in front of a whole new audience
You work hard to create your email marketing newsletter and you want to make sure people are actually reading the news, articles, and tips you’re sending each month.
Twitter is a great place to share that content to drive more readers to your newsletter.
Are you announcing a new product? Inviting readers to an upcoming event? Or just sharing a helpful “do it yourself” article you found online? That’s all stuff your Twitter followers will love and sharing it on social media and linking to your newsletter throughout the month, is a great way to introduce your newsletter to new audiences.
Also make sure you’re linking your newsletter to Twitter and making it easy for readers to become new followers.
6. Twitter lets you become the expert
Twitter is the perfect place to showcase your brand’s expertise.
One way to do that is by sharing your own content – whether it’s your newsletter, blog posts, or other publications.
But you can also showcase your expertise by sharing content that other people have created. Sharing news articles, blog posts, or links to other resources in your industry, will position you as a thought leader and a source for content that your customers can share with their own social networks. (And that will go a long way when it comes to staying top-of-mind with your target audience.)
7. Twitter makes it easier to get more publicity
One of the biggest benefits of Twitter is being able to quickly and easily connect with people and organizations that can really influence your business. This may be a popular local blogger, a known member of your industry, or a reporter for a local media publication.
A simple Google search can reveal the top blogs and Twitter handles of the people that matter most to you and your industry. Reach out to them via Twitter.
You may find they have questions or problems that you can offer the solution to, or that you have content they’ll want to share with their own followers.
8. Twitter lets you connect with customers on-the-go
Connecting with customers – wherever they are – is becoming more and more important for small businesses. As the world gets increasingly mobile – your business needs all the tools it can to connect with customers on their smart phones, tablets, and mobile devices.
Twitter is one of the most mobile social networks, with 60 percent of its entire user base connecting from mobile devices. The simplicity and fast paced-nature of Twitter, makes it perfect for an increasingly mobile customer base.
This means when you share updates about specials, send out event invitations, or promote a local deal through Twitter – users are more likely to see it and thus more likely to take the actions to help grow your business.
Extra, extra, tweet all about it
For many small businesses, Twitter has become somewhat of an afterthought.
Business owners are busy – they have a business to run, an email newsletter to create, and a Facebook Page to manage. It’s understandable why so many choose to put all their eggs into one social media basket (Facebook).
But with so much to offer small businesses, it may be time to make Twitter that second basket.
Are you on Twitter? Tell us how Twitter has helped your small business!