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Twitter for Small BusinessPosted by Jenn on Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

I know you hear it everywhere Twitter this & tweet that and it’s certainly great to use new and interactive outlets to get your message out online but you also need to consider that you’re going to get out of it exactly what you put into it.

Twitter is not a set-it and forget-it kind of medium. The Twitter community is active and interactive, full of champions and critics and if you’re going to enter their arena you better be prepared to do more than keep up with the Jones’.

If you’re considering entering the Twitter-sphere you first need to ask yourself: What are my goals? Polling users and engaging end users? Interacting with other professionals in my industry? If you’re thinking ‘I just want to have a presence’ Twitter is not for you.

It could still be for your business if you find that someone else in your company is more suitable and willing to engage with your Twitter followers; but of course this raises other issues about voice and the persons ability to be an ambassador for your company but I’ll leave that for another post.

To be a successful Tweeter you need to read as well as write. Since it’s the interactiveness and responsiveness of users, some of whom are highly regarded professionals representing large corporations, that draws people to Twitter you couldn’t participate to any great effect without reading and responding to tweets by others.

You’re also going to want to be interesting. Instead of inundating your followers with constant sales pitches you need to show them (or tell rather) why you’re passionate about your industry, offer company news and insights. Let your followers become insiders – share who you’re meeting with or what exciting new projects are coming up, offer sneak peeks and solicit opinions.  Try engaging followers with thoughtful questions about areas of mutual interest, read the responses and respond back – take an interest in your followers and they will have more interest in you.

You might be thinking, as the business owner/operator/manager, all this has the potential to take considerable effort on your part, and you’d be right. And what does it offer in the way of pay-offs? Certainly nothing is guaranteed but you could argue that a more engaged user base would be more loyal and the easier you make it for your users to spread the word, say by re-tweeting your latest post, the more often it would happen and more people would become aware of your business.

Clearly for businesses contemplating joining Twitter there is more to consider than the buzz surrounding it. Some people adapt and excel naturally and for others it becomes a chore. Do yourself a favour and seriously consider all the implications before jumping in with both feet.

One Response to “Twitter for Small Business”

  1. Business owners may come to realize that they won’t necessarily communicate with customers so much as potential strategic partners through twitter. It’s also expected that communication through twitter is more “human” than, say, a press release or that dreaded phrase “You’re call is important to us”.

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