SOCIAL MEDIA: Spreading your wings with Twitter

Social media columnist
Social media columnist
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You don’t have to have a huge list or a huge marketing budget to make Twitter work for marketing your business.

Local businesses can use Twitter in the same way that multinational corporations do. In fact, local businesses will probably get better results than a large corporation because their target audience is smaller and so your offerings will be more direct and relevant.

First thing you need to do is set up your Twitter account correctly:

Choose a great headshot: Use a headshot and not your logo for your profile photo. People want to buy from people they see and if they see your face and eyes they’re more likely to trust you as a person rather than a nameless, faceless corporation.

Make an awesome background and header: Twitter allows you to set up a great background and header complete with your logo and branding. Take advantage of this in order to differentiate yourself from others.

Write an eye catching bio: In 160 characters you’ll need to write a bio that stands out, so be direct and say what you do and where you’re based. Also add what problem you solve.

The next thing you need to do is start following the right people. You want to follow people who are your target audience or who service your target audience but are not directly competing with you. You can find the right people by using Twitter search and searching by keyword and location. Take a look at someone’s profile before you follow them. There is no point following people who aren’t either somehow related to or are your actual target audience.

Segment people by using the list function. Lists allow you to look at a particular group of people you’re following to find out what they’re talking about at a glance. This saves you having to trawl through a mass of tweets! You can create a list of customers, potential customers, complementary businesses, whatever makes sense for you and your business. I have several lists, including clients, charities and organisations I support, so I can find messages they’ve tweeted and retweet them, sharing them with my followers, quickly.

Using Twitter to promote your local business is not a time to share what your dog is doing, who you follow politically, or even what team you support. Keep most of your Tweets focused on business but not necessarily on selling your products or services every moment. Rather, focus on the problems you solve and customer relationships, not on controversial issues outside of your business’s domain. If you want to make that kind of comment, have a personal Twitter and a business Twitter and try to avoid accidentally tweeting something of a personal nature or vice versa, on the wrong account!

Use polls, coupons and questions to interact with your followers. You can offer specials to only people who are following you on Twitter. Remember, most people tweet from their mobile devices, so particularly for restaurants, tweet a ‘Twitter only savings’. It’s likely you’ll get at least one response if you keep doing this in a regular basis. I recently tweeted that I had a spare place on a course I was running and had someone sign up within an hour via Twitter.

Don’t forget that the news media use Twitter all the time to monitor what is going on, not only all round the world but locally too. Following and interacting with journalists can be a great way to get more publicity for your local business. In fact, it was via Twitter that I became involved in writing for the Bury Free Press! So it does work!

Finally, send out tweets on a regular basis so that your followers don’t forget you and you’ll find that Twitter works wonderfully as an online marketing tool for your local business.

BREAKING NEWS

Facebook

A new feature makes it easier for Facebook Admins to comment as a Page on other Pages and to switch between commenting as a profile or a page.

According to a study published by Socialbakers, the number of videos Facebook Admins directly upload to the site could soon overtake videos linked from YouTube.

Facebook also introduced Rooms a new mobile app that lets you create places for the things you’re into and invite others to join you. A room is a feed of photos, videos, and text with a topic determined by whoever created the room. It’s a mobile version of forums, message boards and chatrooms.

Twitter/Instagram

Twitter and Instagram Grow as Teens’ Social Networks of Choice Over Facebook: The latest semi-annual report by Piper Jaffray find that American teens are gravitating towards Instragram and Twitter over Facebook. Roughly three-quarters of respondents reported using the visual platform, up from 69% in the previous survey. By comparison, only 45% said they use Facebook, a significant drop from 72% in previous study this past Spring 2014.