So you want to tweet, but you’re not convinced of the benefits of Twitter for small businesses?
Well, despite the apparent simplicity of the microblogging platform, which is built purely around messages of 140 characters or fewer, there are plenty of compelling reasons to create a profile and add your voice to the global discussion.
1. Massive Reach
The global nature of Twitter is the first reason to think about creating a profile – there are few other mediums that allow you to communicate with potential (and existing) customers all over the world in real time.
If you’re a freelancer or small business, this can unlock previously untapped markets – and potentially let you into much less competitive parts of the world, if your local area is packed with people doing the same thing as you.
2. Ease of Use
While Twitter has a few features beyond basic tweets – hashtags, mentions, searches and so on – it’s still very, very simple.
That means you can learn the basics without any special training, allowing you to become your own social media manager in a matter of minutes.
3. Advanced Users
In turn, advanced users can make use of the more advanced features, such as hashtags and free-text searches, to find work opportunities that might not show up on your ordinary timeline.
Together, the basic timeline and tweets, and the more advanced searches, mentions and direct messages, put an arsenal of microblogging weapons at your disposal, with which you can target business opportunities across the globe.
4. Brand Promotion
Twitter is not just about finding new customers – it’s also about managing the relationship you have with existing clients and customers.
Certain formal processes, such as debt collection, should be kept well away from social networks, but for informal, ad hoc communication with clients, Twitter’s a great way to keep the conversation going.
5. Reputation Management
By being approachable, you give your customers a chance to raise any concerns directly with you, which in turn means you can take steps to resolve the situation.
That can stamp out a fiery issue before the flames take hold, and in turn can make sure the word of mouth surrounding your brand is wholly positive.
6. Speed of Use
Twitter isn’t just easy – it’s also fast.
Try typing a support email in fewer than 140 characters, and you’ll realise how ‘micro’ the microblogging platform really is.
Move your customer support over to Twitter, and you can greatly cut the time taken to deal with each customer’s issue – which can be a big help if you’re a sole trader who has to handle support requests yourself.
7. It’s Mature
MySpace is past its best, even for musicians and other entertainment industry professionals.
Facebook has never really worked well for most businesses – it’s just too geared towards personal users.
And Google+ hasn’t gained much traction since its launch, apart from with internet marketing professionals, who are all in there sharing links with each other, seemingly oblivious to how few non-marketing users there are.
Twitter has traction, a well-established user base, and plenty of good prospects for business users – making it arguably the best of the social networks for commercial purposes at present.
Of course, there are a million more reasons why Twitter might work for you – and, occasionally, businesses for whom it’s just not the right fit (if you’re an internet marketer, for instance, you might want to join the party on Google+…).
For many people though – whether individuals, small businesses or big brands – it’s already proved to be a whole new way to communicate with customers all over the world, with very low demands on time and costs.