Guest Author - Deborah Crawford
You've heard of Twitter. You may even already have an account there. But, have you thought about using Twitter for your business? Twitter is a microblogging tool. You have 140 characters per post to say whatever you want to say. So, posts on Twitter are very short. There are millions of people using Twitter. That could mean a lot of new customers for your business. How can you use Twitter for your business?
The first step you need to take is to set up a Twitter account. It's very easy. Be sure to put as much detail as possible in your profile. Most people check your profile to see if they want to follow you, so it's important to give them enough information. If you have a blog or website or an online site where you sell your items, put that in your profile.
You can also create your own twitter background. I made mine by shrinking my company logo using Paint. It was quite easy. You could use almost anything as a background, but company logos are good for business twittering and photos of your products are great, too.
The key to using Twitter for your business is to build a list of followers that matches your target market. These people will be interested in your posts and will read them. The key to building that list is to post (or "tweet") things your target market is looking for and to search for people who are talking about those things and follow them.
For example, let's suppose your business is selling things you knit. Go to http://search.twitter.com/ and type in knit, knitting and any other relevant keywords to find people who are twittering about knitting and follow those who seem like good prospects. Most people will follow you back and that's how you start to build your twitter list.
You can also get followers by posting your twitter ID on other sites, like your website or blog or even your Facebook or other social media pages. Twitter is a "social" media tool, and the more you interact with your followers and the people you are following, the better your results. If you just use Twitter to post ads for your business, you will likely find that you do not get good responses.
Imagine if you were watching television and all you see is commercials. Unless those commercials are highly entertaining, you will likely change channels. The same goes for Twitter or any other social media outlet. It's about conversations and connections and the better you are at interacting and communicating with people, the better your results will be. When people I follow post too many ad-type posts and never seem to be interacting, I unfollow them. And, if someone follows me, I check their profile for the same thing before I follow them back.
So, post (tweet) about knitting (or whatever your "industry" or "subject") in general at first. Talk to others about knitting instead of just advertising your products. You can do that by using the at "@" symbol to reply to them and comment on their posts, or you can send them direct messages (they must be following you for direct messaging to work).
Another powerful Twitter tool is the "retweet". Retweeting is when you repost someone else's Tweet to your followers. It is considered a huge compliment to retweet someone's post. It is a great way to introduce your followers to others they might want to follow, too.
When you first start using Twitter, it can seem like a loud, noisy cocktail party where you don't know anyone. You might not know what to talk about or who to talk to. But, you will eventually get the hang of things. People do tweet about any and everything and there are lots of people there, so it can be intimidating, but you can start slowly and take your time until you get comfortable with things.
Often, newbies are not sure what to tweet about. Reading other tweets can help. Just start by talking about what you are doing or reading or contemplating. To go back to our knitting business, you could tweet "picking out yarn colors for a new scarf I'm knitting for my daughter. She's 12, fave color is lime green, Suggestions?" So, the same kinds of things you would talk about to your offline knitting friends, only in 140 characters or less.
You should include Twitter (and other social media sites) in your marketing plans, and in your action plans. Set goals about how many followers you want to have, how many times per day you will tweet, and even what those tweets will be about. The "big" goal is to get more customers to go to your site and buy from you. Twitter can help that by allowing you to communicate and network with your target market.
For more information on marketing with TWitter, read this book: Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time
I'd love to meet you on Twitter, too! Feel free to follow me and mention Bellaonline. My twitter ID is debcrawford.