Michael Rolfe

Twitter for Small Businesses – Why and How

19th Oct 2011 Social Media, Twitter 2 minutes to read

Discover why you should use Twitter and how you can use it – even as a small or local business.  As one of the Internet’s darling children, most online users have heard of Twitter – even if most of the ones you speak to might admit to ‘just not getting it’…

If you work at a large business where a lot of your users will be Tweeting about your products, service and news, then it makes sense to be involved in the conversations.  But what if you have a small or local business where this may not be the case?

Twitter is its own little ecosystem complete with its own terminology, etiquette and nuances, but let’s not focus on the details just yet because as a small business owner you first need to know why you would want to use it at all!

  • Get in front of customers -Twitter helps you find people who would be interested in what your business offers.
  • You can make announcements to your following, such as special offers, limited discounts, or your travelling whereabouts.
  • You can converse with them, follow their conversations and join in to add value.
  • By following competitors and industry leaders you can learn of new products, services and news to keep your business up to speed and competitive.
  • Twitter is digital word-of-mouth – any posts you make can spread throughout friends networks.

Many people shy away from ‘sales’ but the good thing about Twitter is that you only need to get involved in conversations.  Sales and traffic grow organically from good conversations.  Prospective customers can ask questions, make suggestions, and get to know your business on a personal level – your business now has a face that they can talk to!  Post pictures of what you’re working on, include some personal tweets if you’d like to share something you consider interesting, or use what others are tweeting about as inspiration for posts.

Setting up your account and finding developing a strong following can take a few hours of initial investment, and don’t be scared off by the idea of commitment – tweeting is just as quick and easy as a text message and can be done from your smartphone as well.  The most difficult part of getting to grips with Twitter is getting it off the ground – battling inertia.

Once you start conversing regularly, inertia will work in your favour and tweeting will start becoming second nature.  So when you have this going for your business you will start to notice all the subtle benefits of being connected with the type of people who are relevant to your business.

Here are some ways people use Twitter that you might find inspirational:

  • Share your expertise – build credibility
  • Listen to customers praise, concerns, complaints and more
  • Communicate internally with employees
  • Twitter as a helpdesk
  • Advertise special offers
  • Ask your customer base questions for market research

It is very easy to create an account and start following people according to their interests, location etc, so why not get started today?  For a step by step guide on how to create your Twitter account, just take a look at my colleague Andrew Tonks’ post on setting up a Twitter account for business, and experience the power of Twitter for small business!



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