Before I go any further I’m going to say whilst I use social media to good effect and have a good knowledge of social media practices, I do not claim to be a social media expert or guru or whatever the fad word at present is, I am merely going to give you my experiences of Twitter and tweeting from a small business and entrepreneurial perspective. My current twitter name is @businessplanhub
Twitter gives you just 140 character tweets to get your point over, so how can it be so powerful? Well as part of a social media strategy it can be extremely powerful. It helps you build brand awareness, exposes you to new customers and markets, drives traffic, gives transparency and acts as a point of customer service! Now do you see it’s power? I’ll take each one and look at it in turn:
- Twitter as a builder of Brands – Building a brand and customers associating that brand with quality is vital for long term success, many years ago having a brand was the realm of multinationals with million dollar marketing budgets, but with the internet and the introduction of social media and micro niches building a brand within one of those no longer takes up the resources required 20 years ago. So how do we go about building a brand, well firstly your Twitter should reflect your website in terms of logo, background, username, but more than that it should reflect the ethos of the business. Using us as an example we are aimed at helping startups, entrepreneurs and small businesses so the majority of our tweets are small business news, blogs, articles and documents which make life easier to our readers as this is why people are following us and it’s what they need to know. So although twitter may not drive 100′s of unique visitors a day what it will do is keep you as an authoritative source of knowledge on that subject so when one of your followers has questions or a need for your service, you are their immediate thought.
- Twitter to expose you to new markets and brands – Twitter is fast paced, always moving and people will follow and unfollow as their needs and requirements change. One powerful tool is the retweet, this means that another user retweets one of your original tweets. Let’s look at this from a numbers game. Say you write a controversial news article about the banks ineptitude at supplying financing to small businesses and you tweet that to your 10,000 followers, now it gets retweeted by 6 of your followers each with 5000 unique followers of their own and just 1 from each of their 5000 retweets it again and they have 2500 followers each, your news story has potentially been exposed to 55,000 people/businesses many of whom would not be aware that you even exist, where else can you get that kind of exposure for free? However let me make you aware that it’s not easy to get this exposure and it happens often due to you producing an engaging or controversial tweet.
- Drives Traffic – From my experience twitter is not the biggest driver of traffic, it regularly pulls in a few visits each day but it will never compete on it’s own with your organic search traffic, in fact from my statistics as of today 23/11/2012 it has brought in an average of 3% of my monthly traffic, but remember that traffic is highly targeted and has a good engagement rate. So is it worth it from a purely traffic point of view, I’d say no, but with all the other benefits you get from it, it is most definitely a vital part of your social media strategy.
- Transparency and customer service – How maddening do you find it when you can’t find a contact number for a company you have a problem with and all you can find is an email address and it take 12 emails to get them to respond with thank you for your enquiry we’ll get back to you ASAP. A customer knowing that a company is on Twitter allows them to target you with any issues they may have. They then ‘usually’ get a response fairly rapidly as it is in the companies best interest to do so, as not replying looks poor on the service front and bad news spreads fast. Twitter allows you the company to give your customers altimeter updates and is in a public setting which lends what you are saying some authority.
As you can see Twitter is a useful and in my eyes vital customer service tool and one that you should definitely use as part of your social media marketing and customer service plan. If you have any questions on Twitter and using it to help your small business then please leave a comment and we’ll get back to you ASAP.
If you think you’d be interested in what we say, please follow us on Twitter @businessplanhub