Following on from our blog on top tips for getting started on Twitter, this posts looks at specifics that small businesses can and should do to boost their profile and sales.
Assuming that you took all the advice in the previous post linked to above, then you are now in possession of a well-optimised account with a profile picture and summary information, and are hopefully tweeting reasonably regularly.
That’s obviously a good start, but building on that so you can increase your reach and target people who could potentially become new customers is what Twitter is all about for small businesses. With this in mind, we offer five tips designed to do just that:
1. Seek out local business groups and networking organisations, as well as simply individuals, by using the Twitter search function and searching for towns and areas in the vicinity. Following these accounts will hopefully encourage them to do the same back to you, and you are immediately linked in to an informative and influential circle. As well as making you more visible locally, this may also give you hints and tips about networking events close to you as well, which will help boost your profile even further.
2. Look for hashtag events that cover your area. Hashtags are words with a # before them during tweets, so that anyone can search on the #word and see all the tweets around it. Increasingly, local businesses are gathering together networking and sharing contacts via hashtags, often for a specific hour each week. Using hashtags such as #fleethour and #northantshour local businesses introduce themselves and share information and news. Check with other businesses or try some sample hashtags to see if there is one of these near you. If not, consider starting one!
3. Find and assimilate relevant information for your area of business, and share key nuggets with your followers. These can either be retweets (RTs) of reports or articles that may be of interest, pithy quotes that sum up an issue or, possible best of all, a link to a well-optimised blog on your site explaining your thoughts on whatever the issue is. Whichever you choose, the aim is to be, as well as look, like an expert in your area to attract more followers and keep the interest of the ones that you have already amassed.
4. Promote your Twitter handle on your marketing material and encourage customers to contact you there â€“ the real-time element can impress if you respond in a quick and timely manner. Only do this, though, if you monitor your account and any mentions or replies to you frequently, as not getting a response is bound to irritate.
5. Offer Twitter-only offers. Whether it’s a free gift with a purchase or a discount code for Twitter followers, offer them something tangible as a bonus for following you. It could mean the difference between them going with you or a competitor, so taking time to value who is looking at your tweets is never a waste of time.
Finally, just engage, listen and tweet in whatever proportions work for you and your availability. Twitter has no set rules, so follow our tips as much as they help but never be afraid to experiment.