***This is the presentation I used to speak at a Moms In Business #Twittorial event with @npnparents organized by @toyshopkeeper.
While big companies/brands have the budget to hire marketing professionals to run their Social Networks, small businesses are depending only on themselves to paddle as fast as they can to get on board and not be swallowed by the next big wave of more networks to come. Being that I run SocialRevUp – a company that connect brands and bloggers together, I’ve been lucky enough to listen and have conversations with Social Media pros on the best ways to use our social networks. And after years of being a user (ok, addict) I have grasped enough experience and understanding about how people use Twitter effectively.
Below are the 4Cs on using Twitter for your small business: Building Credibility, Building Community, Building Conversation, Being Consistent
I – Build Credibility
A) Create the best 1st impression with your profile picture – Put one in if you haven’t. Without an uploaded picture It shouts spammer and when you choose one, remember that it would be the first thing people will check out about you. Here are my suggestions:
• If it’s a twitter account under your company name, then it should have your company logo or a picture that best represent your company. Your profile description should say the name of the person tweeting to make it more personalized.
• If you’re using your personal account to tweet for your company, then the picture should be of yourself. Really try to stay away from cute cat, or anything funny that has nothing to do with your business or you. Unless of course you’re a veterinarian, then the cute cat best represents who you are.
B) Your profile should have a link to your website – So many businesses forget to do this. A big loss of opportunity.
C) Your business website and business card should show you are on Twitter – Remember when everyone was just starting to have websites pop up. Now-a-days, if you don’t have a website, people will not consider you as a legitimate business. Well, the time has come for your Social Networks. Showing that you have a Twitter and Facebook invite your customers to contact you and stay in touch with what your company is doing.
II – Build Community
Find leads and build a relationship
• Follow Twitter conversations with the hashtag. Try searching #Obama on the Twitter page and you’ll see hundreds. If you’re interested in Obama then you will more than likely know who to follow by reading who’s tweeting. So try searching your industry with a hashtag like #bakery #chicago if you have a bakeshop in Chicago. (What is a hashtag?)
• Follow your competitors – follow their followers and who they’re following, read their tweets and what works for them. It’s not stalking – it’s research!
• Be the leader of the pack – Acknowledge competitors on great stuff they’re doing. Start building a community within your industry. This sets you up as the expert in that field. Customers are more likely to look for the leader of the pack first!
• Be the one to break and bring the new news in your industry. Because, that’s what leaders do!
• Attend (IRL) In Real Life events like local Tweet-ups. Better yet, host one! I’m a big believer that face to face networking is very important in building your online followers. Join your local Social Media Clubs. Chicago has one of the most robust Social Media Club network and attending their events open you up to lots of contact to keep in mind.
“You’ll gain more followers if you show that you’re interested in them and not trying to get them interested in you.”—– Erik Qualman – author of Socialnomics and his recent book, Digital Leader
III – Build Conversation
• Less selling and more conversation Biggest mistake on some businesses starting is that they just focus on marketing their blog posts, sales, etc. on Twitter. Not much conversation there. Not to say that you shouldn’t, but there should be less selling and more conversation.
• Be relevant. What could a dentist tweet about? You can only talk so much about teeth, right? How about “Whoa, Jessica Simpson just said she only brushes her teeth once a week! So many health concerns can come up!” That simple tweet can bring conversation and questions from the dental expert who tweeted.
• Example Twitterers to check out: @Refrigeration who runs a refrigeration and cooling business in Chicagoland is on Twitter just bringing normal friendly conversations just like @el_chorizo who owns a computer tech help company and @ChicagoCabbie who obviously drives a cab and find ways to engage conversation on Twitter (definitely not tweeting while driving according to @melisalw – a SocialRevUp partner). I see them in a lot of IRL events and they are very active on Twitter. Guess who I’ll be recommending if someone ever need experts like them? Exactly.
I V- Be Consistent
Respond quickly – People are impatient and one big reason social media works is because it’s fast. Email can be answered after a day or two but tweets and Facebook statuses for business should be almost instant. Set your smart phones to notify you. If people don’t get an answer right away, they will find another one that will.
Tweet Regularly – Once a day doesn’t work. Everything goes so fast so the possibility of your tweet being read is almost impossible. They can certainly go to your Twitter front page to see your last tweet, but that is if they visit.
Overall, don’t give up easily - It’s A LOT OF WORK, but it works! Not to mention that it’s a FREE SERVICE. Remember that no one else can better present your brand other than yourself, so take control on what is being said about your brand and your industry by actively engaging in Social Media.
—– SocialRevUp will be offering Hands-On Social Media Classes for Beginners focusing on Small Businesses very soon in Chicagoland. If you are interested in learning when these are coming up, please email info(at)socialrevup.com to let us know and don’t forget to follow me at @mjtam and @socialrevup