If you are not already an avid tweeter, Twitter is an online tool for creating short messages (tweets) that can be read by anyone who wants to receive them (followers).
Sometimes your followers will forward your tweet to their followers (retweet), and so on, until your original message is being read by everyone on Twitter that is at all interested in what you have to say. Although it is a social medium, it can be used for marketing purposes, as long as you are careful not to spoil all the fun.
Normally, a Twitter account’s success is determined by the number of followers it can muster. But this is not so when using Twitter to promote your business.
When it comes to Twitter marketing, a few clued-up, influential followers beat a whole crowd of passive observers every time. But these people won’t appreciate receiving worthless tweets sent just for the sake of it (you know the sort of thing: On way to meeting at Doncaster Travelodge). They want to receive something worthwhile, something that demonstrates your unique insight, something that they will want to retweet, something that contains one or more of the following:
Bribing your Twitter audience with a treat that is unavailable to the hoi polloi is a sure-fire way to make them love you, pledge undying loyalty to your brand and spread the positive vibe (especially if you allow the offer to be retweeted). Treats could include notice of price cuts, special offers, free online tools or vouchers that are only available on twitter. For example;
I’ve got 10 half-price driving lesson vouchers. Tell all 17 yr.old wannabe Lewis Hamiltons! dds.com/offers
Your news must be of interest to at least a few of your followers. If it is clearly a minority interest, then begin it with @username or make it a Direct Message (DM) so you are not boring the pants off your other followers.
Your news should relate in some way to whatever you want to raise the profile of, such as new products or services, a recent blog you have posted or a new addition to your website.
For example, if someone were to write a terrific book about marketing communications (see right!) and the publisher decided to spread this piece of hot news with an eye-catching tweet sent to all its influential followers (including The Federation of Small Businesses, local Business Links, Lord Alan Sugar etc) it could end up being retweeted to every wannabe entrepreneur in the land.
New book gives every start-up the self-marketing skills they need to get their idea off the ground. buspub.com/mktg
WARNING: Do not use Twitter for blatant advertising. Any promotion must be kept in context and be part of conversation. If you simply send out adverts, your tweets will be treated like spam emails.
Links to good stuff
Use tweets to guide your audience to interesting things that are happening off-Twitter. For example, you could post a link to a news article that you enjoyed, adding a short comment of your own, or a page on your own website (as long it relates to something of interest to the reader). This has the added advantage of boosting your Google rankings as Google incorporates social media links in their algorithms.
Council puts lots of new jobs out to tender. At last!
A difficulty with this is that web links can be very long – not leaving sufficient spare characters for you to add your comment. The solution is to tidy up your tweets with URL shorteners. There are dozens of URL shortening websites to choose from, and among the most widely used on Twitter are bitly and ow.ly.
WARNING: Check that the link works. Otherwise you might be inviting people to check out a big story in your industry that turns out to be a YouTube clip of a fluffy kitten.
Don’t tweet what you are doing, that’s not very interesting. But offering behind-the-scenes gossip and sharing your insight is a great way to get people hooked on your tweets.
Just been using Skype with a client and decided to have fun by turning on the voice effects. Hilarious! Give it a go.
Encourage a dialogue by asking questions and inviting opinions. Something not outrageous, related to your area of business and approached sensitively.
Topics can be serious:
How can a small business flourish when it is hamstrung by petty bureaucracy?
Was the Business Secretary nodding off during the Prime Minister’s speech last night?
Remember, Twitter is a two-way street, so listen and reply to your followers when they tweet back.
WARNING: Even the most innocuous opinion can generate unpleasant responses from disagreeable people hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet. Be professional and don’t rise to the bait.
Keep interested parties aware of last minute changes to any show, event or conference that you are either involved in or share an interest in. As well as being informative, it gives people a motivational nudge.
See you in Brighton tomorrow! #BrightonRocks
Take a look at some business’s Twitter account and you will see that most of them are painfully dull. Using these tips, your tweets will be interesting, informative and enjoyable enough to stand out from the crowd and get noticed. Just the sort of thing key people in your sector will want to read and retweet.
About the author
This article has been written for ByteStart by Ashley Hastings, author of I’m Here! How To Write Brilliant Marketing Material That Gets Your Business Noticed (CGW Publishing, 2015). This invaluable guide takes the reader step-by-step through the creation and application of 13 different marketing methods, enabling even a complete novice to write effective marketing material like a pro.
More help on promoting your business with Twitter and other social media
You’ll find lots more tips to help you become a social media whizz, try these for starters;
- 10 Top tips for small businesses starting out with social media
- 5 ways to maximise your business with social media
- How to get started with Twitter
- How to promote and manage your brand on social media
- Marketing your small business through YouTube – The 4 essential steps to success
- How to use Facebook to grow your small business
And these will give you even more ideas on growing your business online;
- Being successful online – A Digital marketing guide for small business owners
- Making your website work for you – 6 steps for better returns from your online efforts
- 7 Mistakes you could be making with your website
- When to get SEO for your website, and when not to
- 5 questions you should ask an SEO agency before you hire them
- 5 steps to building an online fan base for your business