Spring has nearly sprung, and we’ve already started to hear the symphony of “tweet tweets”. No, those aren’t canary’s you’re hearing; it’s your phone or desktop alerting you of a new Re-tweet or Direct Message on Twitter.
Twitter is an excellent social-media resource that allows individuals and businesses to communicate with their friends and clients in a casual, but intimate, way. Registration is free and use is easy. You simply compose a message (“tweet”) in 140 characters or less to publish to your followers. Your followers (and the people you follow) do not necessarily have to be people you know; people with interests in your business can find you on Twitter and follow you, making Twitter an excellent tool to gain new customers.
Like most things, the more you put into Twitter, the more you will get out. From the outset, you ought to make sure that people can easily find your Twitter profile. Make you handle something that people will recognize and be able to find quickly when they search for you. Change your background (like EWI did!) to your logo or pictures of your products.
Hashtags are a cultural phenomenon that Twitter has brought about. Hashtags serve two purposes, one of which is the intended purpose and the second being that which Twitter-world has created. The original intended purpose of a hashtag was to create a searchable term so that other Twitter users could see who was tweeting about what. For example, if I was going to a concert I would tweet “Waiting in line for the #DaveMatthewsBand Concert. Can’t wait!” In that tweet, “#DaveMatthewsBand” is the searchable term, and anyone could see that I was tweeting about that topic.
However, hashtags have turned into a form of subtext in the Twitter universe. So, while they still serve their original purpose, they have also allowed Twitter users to express sarcasm or wit in their tweets. For example, if I was having a rough day at work I could tweet “About to pull my hair out. #marchmadness”.
In terms of gaining more followers, first focus on the followers that you already have. Tweet at someone (to do this, type @ then the users Twitter name into the message field). If someone Tweets at you, tweet back. Or, if someone mentions you in a post, Re-tweet it.
Timing your tweets is also incredibly important. As David Meerman Scott writes in New Rules of PR and Marketing, think of social media (especially Twitter) as a cocktail party. You don’t want to bombard those attending with information and then remain absent until the next attack. Instead, find a schedule that works for you to publish your tweets. There are many online resources (some free!) that can help you organize and schedule your tweets and other social media output, such as HootSuite and Tweet Deck.
As you can see, Twitter can be an extremely lucrative tool for a small business. For more examples of how Twitter can turn your business into a success, click here.