This post is from members of Verizon’s small business team.
Whether it’s your friends sharing pictures on Facebook or watching that new viral hit on YouTube, it seems like you can’t go a day without hearing about some sort of social media. As a small business owner, you probably wonder how you can utilize these sites to improve your business. Fortunately, Twitter has become an extremely beneficial tool for small business owners. Businesses like The Coffee Groundz in Houston saw their sales double after three months of strong user engagement on Twitter. Even with all the potential benefits, as of last November only 10% of small businesses have made the micro-blogging platform a part of their social media marketing strategy. So if you follow these tips, you’ll be way ahead of the curve.
Find New Customers
As this article from Search Engine Land recommends, using Twitter’s search bar can help you locate potential customers.
The key is in knowing what to search for. Let’s say you own a Thai restaurant in Seattle and you’re looking for some hungry people. You could type in words like “hungry,” “starving” or “lunch” but the results are likely to be completely unrelated. You’re much more likely to get better search results if you type in phrases like “anyone know.”
People use this phrase all the time to get their fellow Twitter users’ opinions. Now if you make that search something more like “‘anyone know’ Thai Seattle,” you’re much more likely to pull up a tweet that says “Anyone know any good Thai restaurants in Seattle?” That’s your opportunity for engagement and let them know you exist with a friendly tweet. Then you can start a conversation and let them know where you are and maybe offer a discount to entice them to stop by.
If you want to go even more in depth, you can use Twitter’s Advanced Search. This search tool enables you to get extremely specific, allowing you to pick what phrasing to include and/or eliminate the location of the tweets, and even their sentiment (i.e. negative or positive).
Improve Customer Relations
Twitter is a fantastic forum for managing relationships with your customers. These days, customers expect a response almost immediately, but if you’re a small business owner, you probably can’t afford to have people manage the phone lines 24/7. You might not even need to. It might just be an infrequent request or complaint after hours. But you don’t want to wait to address it until you’re back at the office. That just gives them more time to complain about you to their friends.
Twitter is always on (apart from instances where the fail whale pops up, but those are getting more and more rare) and you can access it anywhere you have an Internet connection. Respond in a quick and friendly manner and you might turn complaints into praise.
Tell People Where You Are and Who You Are
Having a mobile business has its own set of challenges and for food trucks everywhere, Twitter is just as essential as the tasty treats they serve up. In fact, last summer, Mashable posted an article about 16 Different Food Trucks using Twitter. Not only are they able to let all of their followers know where they are at any given time, they can also tell them about specials and new items on the menu. The freedom of Twitter also allows you to add some personality, which makes following your business – you – a much more enjoyable experience too!
So, there you have it. Not as scary or difficult as you may have thought. Remember, this is by no means an exhaustive list. There are plenty of other ways to use Twitter to grow your small business. The key is to be friendly, persistent and creative. The biggest pitfall novice social media users fall into is when it doesn’t work for them immediately, they throw up their hands and quit. Don’t give up! Use these methods and stick with it and Twitter can be an excellent complement to your existing marketing strategy.
For more tips go to our free on-demand library of webinars presented by the Verizon Small Business Center. John Jantsch, small business owner, marketing consultant and expert offered some great tips to search for potential customers on Twitter, click here (http://bit.ly/KbPdfX) to see this webinar.
Now go to Twitter and follow us http://www.twitter.com/VZSmallBiz) then tell us if this article was helpful.
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