Love it or hate it you can’t ignore the social media roller coaster that is Twitter, if only because the current Leader of the Free World seems to rely on it almost exclusively for getting his messages out and announcing policy decisions. For a small business Twitter can be a great free marketing channel, and it will work well for you if you’re prepared to give it time and focus.
Regular readers will know that I’m a sucker for statistics so here are some quick Twitter facts and figures to put this remarkable platform in perspective: -
• Number of active Twitter users globally: 317m (13m in the UK)*
• Number of daily active users: 100m
• Number of tweets per day: 500m
• Number of Twitter users on mobile: 80%
• Number of Twitter users who have discovered a small or medium-sized business (SMB) on Twitter: 66%
• Number of Twitter users who plan to purchase from the SMBs they follow: 94%
• Number of Twitter users who have purchased because of something they saw on Twitter: 69%
*As of January 2017
Click here for more “Twitter By Numbers” stats.
Here are the three key things you need to do to ramp up your business following and footprint on Twitter. All of them can be done by you at no cost and with minimal effort.
1. Refine Your Twitter Profile
Assuming you already have a Twitter account set up (if not, for a simple step-by-step "How To" guide check out my previous blog), here are the five basic elements of your Twitter profile:-
1. Your @name: This is unique to you and identifies you on Twitter. You can change it as often as you like but it should be the name of your business or describe your business very succinctly in 15 characters or less.
2. Your photo: This can be a photo of you or it can be an image that defines your business, product or proposition. Choose carefully as it will be the icon that gets displayed with every tweet you send.
3. Your bio: Remember the days when text messages had to be less than 160 characters? Twitter does! You have 160 characters to create a short description of you, your business, your interests or any other useful information that will help followers find you.
4. Your header image: This is different from your icon photo and an opportunity to create something really powerful that defines and broadcasts what your business is about. Again, you can change it whenever you like so it’s a good place for events, promotions or any other short-term messages.
5. Your pinned tweet: If there’s an important tweet that you want to keep at the top of your page then pin it. This is where followers will see any information that’s vital or key, such as your business hours, contact information or any news or announcements.
2. Get followers
This is the point of Twitter. The more people that follow you, the better your reach, the more potential customers get to see your profile. How do you get followers? In a nutshell, start following people and chances are they will follow you back!
1. Look on Twitter for everyone in your database or contacts list - and follow them. (Some users with private accounts may need to approve your follow request.)
2. Search Twitter for keywords or hashtags related to your business, your market and your interests – and follow the relevant and interesting accounts.
3. Start tweeting, retweeting and sharing content. Using myself as an example, whenever I publish a new blog one of the many channels I use to get the word out is my CBL Services Twitter page. Are you reading this blog because you saw a link to it on Twitter??
4. Show your @name everywhere - your website, email signature, promotional material, business cards, shop signage – everywhere!
3. What to tweet
A great way to raise awareness of your business or brand is to use Twitter to spark conversations and keep your audience engaged. Work on building up a reputation for sharing useful, informative and fun subject matter and your followers will love it! They will like and retweet, essentially building your fan base and doing your marketing for you. Just follow a few simple rules:-
1. Keep it short: There’s a 140 character limit and short, concise messages have the greatest impact. Don’t try to communicate multiple topics or ideas in one tweet. The good news is GIFs, URLs, photos, polls and quoted tweets don’t count in the character limit, allowing you to get creative without straining your copywriting skills trying to condense your message into a few words.
2. Get visual: Tweeting a photo, video or GIF is a great way to grab attention and a proven way to increase engagement. You can attach up to four photos in one tweet for even greater impact.
3. Use #hashtags: Hashtags are a great way to join in with ongoing conversations. A quick tip is to track what Twitter hashtags are currently trending using a tool such trends 24. If you see something applicable to you or your business, use it! Other people interested in that hashtag will see your tweet and – if it’s engaging enough – investigate your profile and your business. The basic rule is a maximum of two hashtags per tweet otherwise it becomes unreadable.
4. Use polls and ask questions: Create interactions with your followers by getting them to answer a question or vote in a poll. This is also a great way to gather opinions and learn about your target market.
5. Retweet: If you see something relevant that moves you in any way then like, reply and retweet it. Your followers will share it and the originator will see what you’ve done and might take a closer look at you. Similarly, if someone replies to one of your tweets or asks you a direct question then respond immediately: everyone will come to recognise you as a supportive and responsive business owner.
Inspired to get your business tweeting? Contact me now and I’ll show you how in just 30 minutes a day you can create and sustain a dedicated and enthusiastic Twitter following!