It’s easy for anyone like me to play up all of the things you should do or could do without regard to the time you have to actually do them.
Twitter, which has about 190 million daily users, is a good example. Give it a shot. But clearly, you can make money without it.
Absolutely, get involved with Twitter. If you do nothing else, make an account so you can get the Twitter profile username that works for you. I couldn’t get twitter.com/onlinemarketingcoach because it was too long (you only get 15 characters). So I had to settle for mikeonlinecoach.
In your case, you would want to establish a username with some aspect of your business – part of the name, a reflection of your value, what you sell, where you’re located, etc. Take your pick.
If you decide later that you made the wrong choice, you can always change it without causing harm. As Twitter points out:
“Changing your username will not affect your existing followers, direct messages, or @replies. Your followers will simply see a new username next to your profile photo when you update. We suggest you alert your followers before you change your username so they can direct @replies or direct messages to your new username.”
Twitter on the early going – much like Facebook – got a bad reputation for mindless Tweets. People literally Tweeted about fact that their cats (who cares?) or the fact that they just had a great 5-mile run (thanks for the sweaty TMI reference). I don’t think I Tweeted once about finishing a half marathon in October 2012 (my first after taking up jogging for the first time in my life 5 months earlier). But maybe that would have been OK. I did include a comment on my personal Facebook account.
In my case, Twitter is 98% all-business (no I didn’t actually calculate the percentage of non-business posts). You could have a personal Twitter account and a business account. But social media, including Twitter, is about relationships. Why not put your face with your Twitter account for business (in addition to your logo and other branding in the design)?
What would you possibly Tweet about as a part of your day? Who will read it? And more importantly, who will act on what you write?
Is it worth developing a following?
Yes – if you have the time, interest, expertise or budget to get someone to help you keep up.
Twitter is an option, not a necessity for doing business with the Internet. But you would be very foolish for ignoring it or not giving it some serious thought.
Sure, some people will never see your Tweet. That’s how it works. Tweets come and go and even your followers may not catch your Tweet when you first write one. But take the time to find followers and you will increase the odds of being seen. Over time, some followers will use tools like Hootsuite to deliberately track what you Tweet and have easy access to your recent Tweets. I have some favorite people I check on because I value what they say.
It’s all about being engaged – putting information out there, replying to what someone Tweets, Retweeting another Tweet, etc.
Eventually, you’re going to get people to your web site, which should have outstanding conversion opportunities. Hopefully someone can quickly learn about what you sell and why you’re the best choice. He should have a chance to download something, sign up for a trial offer, get a coupon – or at least find your phone number without going on a treasure hunt. Don’t ever bury your phone number. Some business owners have allowed designers to make the phone number placement and font the equivalent of a copyright notice in the footer. Yikes.
I like Twitter. I appreciate the sense of community. I share and join in from time to time. And when I have something to promote – like a book, study or industry guide, I put it out there for others. In fact, if have something I really want to push, I cleverly recast the same or similar information and Tweet about it more than once over several weeks.
Small businesses have plenty of opportunities to Tweet. For example, you can Tweet about:
- A new product or an update to existing one
- New or enhanced services
- An event you’re going to attend (encourage others to join you – live)
- Changes or regulatory updates within your industry (write about diverse topics and not just your company)
- Interesting or odd articles that others may want to know about (include a link)
- Company events (formal workshops, webinars, seminars)
- Special anniversaries (like the employee who joined the company five years ago)
- Company outings (a trip to a sporting event)
- Community involvement (organizations that you support with cash and volunteers)
- Visitors (maybe a mayor came by for a tour)
- Special offers
- Press mentions
- Great testimonials
- Quotes that reflect your company’s values
- Quick stats and facts
- Ask questions
- Compliment others for what they say and share
Even with all of these suggestions, keep in mind that your Tweets should really be more about what others are saying and doing than self-promotion. The people who follow you will appreciate being alerting to interesting news, trends and facts they may have missed.
Over time, you’ll establish relationships with others who will engage with you through Twitter. Be a resource and others will support your business along the way.