“Social Media” seems to be an annoyingly common buzzword these days, but it is often used without any sort of real meaning. Lots of advice on using social media exists for small businesses, but very little of it is actually good or worthwhile. Let’s take a closer look at Twitter, and whether or not it can actually be used to help a small business.
Knowing whether or not to use social media as an online business owner can be difficult. Many businesses use it, but not effectively, and so they are just wasting their time. If you don’t have many followers or your followers don’t use Twitter a lot, or even if they just ignore you, then Twittering is pointless for you. Twitter can be a virtual pot of gold for you, however, if used it correctly, because it can drive many customers to your site.
One of the goals of business use of social media is to get people to friend / follow you, as opposed to just subjecting them to some advertising that you paid for on TV. So if you are going to use Twitter, then you actually need to post content that isn’t purely promotional – no one wants to follow someone who posts straight ads.
Twitter can be worthwhile if you regularly post compelling content, and then occasionally mix in promotional content. Tweet funny or interesting things, or tweet about the latest news or trending topics. This way, your followers will actually appreciate following you because you add value to their twitter stream.
Within the other content that you post, mix in ads. Don’t make them obvious ads – people hate ads on the internet. However don’t attempt to disguise them, by talking about one thing and then posting a Bit.ly link to your site – do be honest about them. Otherwise, people will think you’re just spam. Once again, try to make your ads actual content that people will be interested in – maybe tell them something they didn’t know about a product, or advertise a really good deal that you have.
Whether you use Twitter or not is really a personal decision, and there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong choice. Traditional advertising can work too, but Twitter is a good way to brand yourself and to use the latest trend to drive valuable customers to your business.