Why Must I Tweet? A Primer For Reluctant Twitter Users


Too busy to tweet? Think Twitter is a waste of time? Your competitors don’t. Savvy small business owners know that Twitter is quickly becoming the face of the real-time web. If you’re a small business person you need to be on it. Here’s why:

Twitter enables amazing and immediate access to customers. For example, I received the opportunity to write for this blog directly from Twitter. The publisher read a blog post I wrote and reached out to me directly through Twitter, and the result has been a mutually beneficial relationship for which I am very grateful.

Twitter is also a great networking tool. As a freelance writer, I’ve used it to get advice from colleagues I respect and meet them in person at conferences.

As a so-called “micro-blogging” tool, Twitter is experiencing a similar kind of traction that blogs did in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. It exploded on the tech savvy scene in 2006 at cutting-edge internet conferences like Austin’s SXSW Interactive Festival, and those early adopters have blazed the trail all the way to the mom and pop shop down the street. Imagine how quickly you can get a message out to your marketplace using Twitter to test out a new idea, interact with customers or find new ones.

Yes, it’s a pain to Tweet often, and you want to post something of value for the people following you, not how much beer you drank last night or when you’re going to get that root canal done. Always remember that anyone following you means you have an audience. That means it’s important be mindful of how you represent your product or service, or just your own personal brand.

Twitter is the name of the game when it comes to customer service. It’s an excellent tool to listen better to your customers. Even if you’re not Tweeting, it’s a good bet your customers are. Use search.twitter.com and type in your name or your company’s name to find out what people are thinking right now. Besides marketing research, Twitter Search is a great way to take the pulse of any topic, marketing-related or otherwise.

Twitter is also an amazing way to communicate critical information to a large group of people. For example, during the aftermath of the Chilean earthquake and despite numerous power outages, first responders were able to communicate via Twitter as part of their search and rescue efforts. Many people were helped directly as a result.

You can use Twitter to stay on top of current trends by following people you respect in the field. As you follow people, make sure your “follower-to-followee” ratio is healthy. In other words, in general you want more people following you than you are following. Twitter frowns on people with low follower counts who are following hundreds or thousands of people and has been known to suspend those accounts due to spam. So make sure your Twitter profile is “Twitter-friendly”.

Twitter can help you position yourself or your business as a thought leader in your area of expertise. By posting little bits of useful information on a regular basis, it’s easy to build up your social media profile and become known as someone who “gets it”. So what are you waiting for? Get your Tweet on and start using Twitter to help build your business.

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