The Definitive Guide to Twitter for Small Business Owners, Part 2

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The Definitive Guide to Twitter for Small Business Owners, Part 2

Published By Janet Gershen-Siegel at August 25, 2017

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In Part 1, we talked about getting started. Here’s some more about getting your Twitter act in gear.

Your Profile

You have some space (it’s not a lot) in your profile to add information about your business.

The name can be up to 20 characters and it is a searchable field. So it could be McSweeny’s Original.This clarifies things if your Twitter handle is just McSweenys.

The location should be meaningful information. If McSweeny’s is in Chicago, then this could say they’re in Chicago or in Chicagoland, a recognized name for the surrounding area.

There is space for a URL, so put in your website or blog here. You can switch up this URL if you like, plus it’s searchable. Don’t leave this valuable real estate blank!

As for the remainder of the space, use phrases and break them up with pipes (|) or asterisks. It might say something like: McSweeny’s Original | Best Sports Bar in Chicago | Specials Everyday.

What to Tweet

You’ve got 140 characters at your disposal for each tweet. Let’s make the most of them.

Your small business’s Twitter shouldn’t be all sales, all the time. So, what should you tweet about? Here are a few ideas:

  • Tweet coupon codes for your products. Differentiate by giving them names with something that makes it clear they come from Twitter if you are running the campaign on multiple platforms. So your Twitter coupons might say 5PERCENTOFFTW whereas you might call your Facebook coupons 5PERCENTOFFFB.
  • Use landing pages wisely. You can tweet links to your site, your blog, and your Facebook page, or really anywhere else. If you want to tell people about your sale on widgets, then tweet a link to the widget sales page and not your site’s home page.
  • Will you be closed unexpectedly? That’s a great message to tweet.
  • Is your company related to another, or sponsoring an event? If McSweeny’s has a battle of the bands going on, then they could tweet about the competitors.
  • Is a major community event going on? Even if you have no connection to it, you do as a member of the community. A Chicago company could tweet to encourage local sports teams.
  • Same thing with news stories. You probably want to stay away from politics, but if your city was just chosen as a future Olympics site or the governor is visiting or something like that, then that’s good Twitter fare.

Interacting on Twitter

Don’t just talk on Twitter. Listen. What are your customers saying? Regularly search for your company name, and pay attention when your Twitter handle is mentioned. Your customers might complain about slow customer service or rave about your low prices. Thank people for praise, and try to make the complaints right or at least learn from them.

Crisis Management

Respond directly to customer complaints, even if the answer is “I have to ask someone else.” It’s better for it to be obvious that you’re listening, even if you don’t know the answer yet. Speed is of the essence, so answer as quickly as you can. For anything which has privacy implications (customer addresses and credit card numbers, legal matters, etc.), tell the person complaining to take it to direct message so that you can help them better. Explain why if you have to.

Lists, Timing, and Metrics

You don’t have to follow everyone; you can make your own lists or follow others’ lists. Group your lists into customers, local people, etc. You can also have private lists, so why not make a private list of your competitors?

There are no perfect times to tweet but here are a few pointers:

  • If your customers are working people, they are probably only going to be on Twitter before or after work, during lunch hour, or on the weekends. 3 PM on a Thursday is probably not a great time to tweet. But 8:30 AM on Monday or 5 PM on Friday are great.
  • If your customers are international, take their time zone(s) into consideration.
  • Use a scheduling app like Hootsuite or Tweet Deck to schedule tweets for when you’re asleep.

Twitter’s own metrics are rather basic. If you use Hootsuite to shorten long or complex URLs, you can get some metrics on those URLs (they take the form of ow.ly).

Another metric is just your follower/followed ratio, which is a simple math problem. If you have more followers than people you are following, that generally means you have more influence than someone with the opposite ratio. But the quality of your followers matters. Being followed by a lot of spam accounts won’t help you.

Twitter is essentially a microblogging service. You broadcast your thoughts to the ether. Some of those thoughts are more interesting than others. Keep yours more on the interesting side and you’ll become a Twitter pro in no time.

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