How to use Twitter more effectively for your small business

Nearly every business serious about growth uses social media. Why? There are millions of untapped users on these platforms. And though you won’t make clients and customers out of all those users, even a tiny percentage would be considered a win.

According to Statista, there are nearly 70 million active Twitter users in the United States alone and over 330 million users globally. That’s a significant audience for your small business that you definitely shouldn’t ignore.

But how do you make the most out of Twitter? It’s a vast landscape that, to some, seems to fly by without concern for who or what your business is. Fortunately, there are ways to use this social network effectively. Let’s dive in and uncover some of the methods that might benefit your small business.

 

Why You Should Use Twitter

The first thing you must do is decide what you want to get out of Twitter. The microblogging platform is great:

  • To increase sales.
  • To add customer support.
  • Increase awareness of your brand.
  • Follow the trends of your industry.

Defining your goal will help dictate how you use Twitter. For example, if you want to increase sales, you’re going to have to target users with specific hashtags (more on this later) and monitor Twitter to help you find new customers. If you’re jumping into the platform to bolster your customer support, you’ll need to make sure you have staff available to answer inquiries in a timely fashion. Remember, social media moves at the speed of thought.

Deciding how you want to use Twitter will help to focus your effort. If you don’t approach this with a plan, Twitter can get overwhelming very quickly. Be specific with what you want to get out of Twitter, so you can plan the attack.

 

Engage with People, not Customers

This is crucial. The last thing you want to do is to turn potential users off by making them think the only thing you want to do is sell them something. People react negatively to such behavior, especially on Twitter. You want to engage with people, not customers. That means interacting with them by answering questions or enjoying a back and forth about a particular topic.

Say, for example, you’re business outsources quality assurance. You don’t want to just constantly post tweets promoting what your business does. Instead, engage with users on a topic that might relate to your business. Let those users get familiar with you. By doing this, you make those users interested in you. They can then connect the dots to your company.

But let the users be the ones that make those connections, don’t do it for them. This will ensure those Twitter users who do follow you will be more likely to become loyal followers and/or customers/clients.

 

Use Media Wisely

Here’s the elephant in the Twitter room. Feeds fly by very fast. That’s the nature of the ecosystem. Because of that, all of your text-only posts can quickly get lost. To avoid that, use media. Try to always add media to your posts. Images, media, sound … anything to boost your post’s “signal”.

It is important, however, to use that media wisely. Don’t just add random images to your posts. If your small business sells a product, use images of the product in the tweet. It is important that you not only include high-quality, well constructed images of your products, it’s also important to do so in such a way that will be engaging to your followers. Add a touch of humor to your images, or invite users themselves to post images with your product.

Those eye-catching photos will do a much better job of getting followers to engage with your posts. But remember, you’re still connecting with people, not customers. That adage always applies.

 

Hashtags

Hashtags (words that start with the # character) can be your enemy or your friend. There are two ideas you need to consider when using hashtags:

  • Use relevant, trending hashtags.
  • Use the right amount of hashtags.

First off, make sure the hashtag you use is relevant to your tweet. If you’re tweeting about QA & testing services, you wouldn’t add a hashtag for Apple’s new AirPods (unless your QA services covered those devices).

To find trending hashtags, look on the right side of your Twitter feed. Under the Trends section (Figure 1), you’ll see a list of trending hashtags. Click Show more to see even more of what is currently trending.

 

Figure 1

Currently trending topics on Twitter.

Remember, this is fleeting, as a hashtag can very quickly fall out of trend. If you see a hashtag that is related to your business, use it as fast as you can.

As a rule of thumb, never use more than three hashtags. Ideally, two hashtags is the sweet spot. In fact, according to this infographic by LinchpinSEO, tweets with more than two hashtags see a 17% dropoff in engagement. So limit your hashtags to one or two.

 

Reuse and Repurpose

Remember, Twitter is a fast-moving ecosystem. Chances are that the brilliant tweet you crafted will be missed by most of your followers (and will most certainly be missed by those that don’t follow you – yet). Because of this, don’t hesitate to tweet the same thing multiple times.

That doesn’t mean that you should post the same thing in rapid succession. Instead, schedule those tweets (with a tool like Tweetdeck) so they are tweeted throughout the day. The best time slot to do this is between 8 am – 7 pm. Before and after that time frame it will be a wasted effort.

Used wisely, Twitter can be an outstanding platform for your small business. Don’t get too put off, however, if you see no results at first. It’s going to take time to make the most out of this platform. But once you start building followers, and get the hang of using Twitter for your business, the payoff can be great.

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