Most businesses that are new to Twitter make the same mistake. It seems like the right thing to do when you want to use Twitter to promote what you do, but it just doesn’t work. Their Twitter feed contains nothing but tweets like these:
When someone clicks through to your Twitter page and sees nothing but what amounts to advertisements for your business they will not follow you – and you have lost the ability to connect with them. So what DOES work?
Twitter is about building relationships. For a business, if you build relationships with those who are most likely to be interested in what you have to offer, when they need what you have they already know where to find you.
If your business operates locally your first priority is relationships with people in the geographic area you serve; however, you should be equally friendly to anyone who follows or interacts with you because they could have friends or family in your area or be researching for a client.
Just as most business owners do not turn away potential buyers at the door, you should welcome those who follow you on Twitter – unless they are obviously the online variety of a con artists also known as spammers who follow people and send them messages only to try to sell them something.
Some businesses new to Internet marketing do this because they don’t know any better; others because it works for them and they are too selfish to care about other people’s time. You do NOT want to be a spammer. You want to be a friendly, neighborhood business. (If you sell globally you simply have a much larger neighborhood.)
What SHOULD You Tweet?
Whatever you feel your potential customers who are following you would be most interested in, such as:
- Local News and unusual weather.
- Human interest stories
- Some humor now and then.
- Retweet things your followers share that you find interesting.
If you have time to do this consistently, do not despair. There are practical, acceptable ways to automate your Twitter feed. What we do is identify blogs that regularly publish the highest quality, most relevant content that would interest your followers and use a tool like Twitterfeed to automatically share that content with your followers.
We use another tool to automatically follow those who follow you. While this does have the drawback of following accounts you would not choose to follow manually there is no serious downside to that. The up-side is that you do not have to worry about getting busy and forgetting to follow the real people who want to reach you.
Even though you can put your Twitter account on auto-pilot it really works best if you spend at least a little time actually using it yourself. We automate what we can and then you only spend your precious time doing the fun part – actually chatting with people who want to know more about your business.
Every business should have a Twitter account because it is a really easy way for potential customers to reach you. Many people are tired of leaving voicemails and trying to find real emails in a sea of spam. For them, sending a quick tweet is a great way to see if your business is responsive and get a quick answer to a question they have.
Answering only takes a few minutes a day – unless you get super-popular in which case you can make lots of sales and hire someone to help! The number one way to close more sales and get more leads is to be responsive. People only buy when they feel confident they know what they’re doing. Answer their questions and they are far more likely to buy.
Today Twitter came out with a Twitter for Business Guide and we have a very good Twitter Best Practices post that contains links to all the processes we use. If you don’t want to do this yourself, setting businesses up on Twitter and teaching them one-on-one how to use it is one of the services we offer and part of our Small Business Internet Marketing Starter Package.