Visual.ly’s Guide Helps Small Businesses Use Twitter More Effectively: Part 1

Whether your small business is looking to increase sales, customer engagement, or boost awareness of your brand, Twitter can be an extremely useful tool to help you directly interact with your current customers, while also driving new business. A problem that many small businesses face when using Twitter is that they either don’t understand how to properly utilize it, or they’re having difficulties creating an effective marketing strategy. Visual.ly recently released their Small Business Guide to Twitter, which provides essential tips for small businesses who are just getting into Twitter, and those that are using it but want to take their marketing to the next level. Here, we break the guide down into two parts, with part one explaining Twitter basics, and part two helping companies who understand Twitter create a strategy.

What if I don’t “get” Twitter?

Don’t worry! Twitter is an easy-to-use application, and it’s quick and simple to set up a great looking profile. But before you do that, it’s important to learn the basics of Twitter.

If you’re reading this and you don’t know what Twitter is, Visual.ly’s guide summarizes Twitter as a “real-time information network where people can discover what’s happening in the world right now, share information instantly and connect with anyone, and any business, anywhere.”

Learning how to use Twitter is quite easy, and one can approach it as a microblogging tool where users can send and read messages of 140 characters or less called “tweets.”

Other commonly used terminology include “mentions,” where a Twitter user can tag or mention another Twitter user in their tweet, “retweets,” where a Twitter user can resend an already broadcast tweet, “followers,” who are Twitter users that subscribe to view other Twitter user’s tweets, and “hashtags,” which are words or phrases preceded by a pound sign (#) to identify and tag specific topics.

Now that you have an idea of commonly used terms within Twitter, it’s time to set up your profile!

Similar to other popular social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, a Twitter profile includes many of the same features such as a logo or profile picture, a bio, and a location identifier such as a city or state. In addition to a logo of your business and a bio that gives other Twitter users a compelling reason to follow your account, you’ll also want to include your website’s URL, and a header image that represents your business.

All right, so you’ve set up your awesome looking business profile. You’ve included your company logo, your website URL, where you’re located, a nice, big header image, and a bio explaining what your business does. Now what? Well, it’s time to get some followers and start turning them into customers!

Some interesting statistics to consider when your small business is looking to capitalize on Twitter include:

  • 30% of respondents see Tweets from a small-medium business (SMB) every time they log in.
  • A full 90% have engaged in a conversation with, or about an SMB.
  • 60% have purchased something from an SMB based on something they saw on Twitter.

It’s clear from these statistics that Twitter can make a big impact on your business’s success. So how can you find your existing and potential customers on Twitter?

First, use the Twitter search bar. Just like a search engine, you can search for users, keywords, and hashtags relevant to your business with the Twitter search bar.

Second, consider your community. Visual.ly’s guide recommends you, “Create a list of partners, community influence and industry leaders. Mention them in your Tweets to build relationships and gain reach.”

While you’re doing this, check out your competitors to stay informed about what they’re doing. Like the old adage goes, “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.”

Finally, Twitter allows you to import your already existing email contact list, so that you can find customers already in your database. To do this, click on the “Find people you know” link at the bottom of the “Who to Follow” section.

And there you have it. You now understand the basics of Twitter, how to set up a profile, and how to target your customers. Stay tuned for part two on how to build a strategy and take your marketing to the next level.


Published May 22, 2014 by Luke Severn.
Categories: Social Media, Twitter