Small Business Marketing with Twitter
Twitter is one of the many social networking services that have taken the web by storm. With this particular social site you only get 140 characters to type your message and let the world know what you are thinking. This is actually a fantastic tool to add to your small business marketing plan; the key is in knowing how to make your tweets the best tweets they can be.
Whether you've been tweeting for awhile or just getting started, chances are you just aren't sure how to effectively incorporate Twitter into your small business marketing. Maybe you aren't getting enough responses, or any retweets, or your number of followers has stagnated.
Regardless of where you are at in your Twitter campaign, here are some tips to make your tweeting a more effective piece of your small business marketing plan.
• Getting it All In
The thing about 140 characters is that it is direct; it is short enough that even skimmers are going to read it. So it is great way to get your message out there. The bad thing about 140 characters is that as a small business owner you have to pack as much information in those 140 characters as possible in order to get the maximum benefit from this marketing technique.
One of your goals is to keep people retweeting your message. This gets your message out there over and over again in a viral way and this is really what makes Twitter a valuable small business marketing technique.
One of the best ways that small business owners use this site is to gain publicity and traffic for their website by linking to recent articles, blog posts or reader comments. Unfortunately, the URL for your blog post or web page will probably take up a good portion of those 140 characters. But there is a solution.
• URL Shortening
There are a variety of websites that will turn your long URL into a short one. These sites are known as URL shrinker sites and most of them are free. They take your long address and create a tiny one, generally around 20 characters. You'll no longer have to devote half of your tweet to a URL; using a shortened URL leaves you with 120 characters left to dedicate to your message.
• Retweet Code
Once you have your long URL shortened, you'll need to keep in mind that you're trying to get retweets. In order to allow other users to retweet your message without having to edit or fuss over it you will need to leave enough space in your original message for the retweet code. That means other Tweeters need enough space to add RT @YourNameHere. So, if you want to encourage retweeting, make sure there are enough character spaces left in your original message. And, if you haven't yet created your Twitter account, keep retweeting in mind when you register at the site and make your username as short as you can.
• Creating Your Tweet
So now where does that leave us? You are dedicating about 36 characters to the shortened URL and retweet space (depending on how long your username is). You still have a little over 100 characters to get your message across. Believe it or not, a 100-character message can actually say a lot. For example "The House is on Fire" can be said in only 20 characters. So imagine what you can get across with 5 times that much space.
Make sure your message is intriguing, so people will be tempted to click your link. Use benefits whenever possible - what will the reader learn if he or she decides to click through? Consider your typical audience. While your Twitter followers (those who read your tweets) can be from any industry and/or any walk of life, if you're using Twitter for small business marketing, chances are you are trying to reach a particular audience. What does your target audience want to hear? What would they be interested in?
Make sure your tweet is interesting and pertinent. If you can tie your message into current events some how, you're almost guaranteed to get an increased number of click-throughs. For instance, when promoting a young entrepreneurs business plan competition for a client recently, we created posts such as "Tired of hearing about Lindsay Lohan? Look what these young adult are doing: link-to-web-page" and "Think the economy is bad? This kids are taking matters into their own hands: link-to-web-page".
Twitter is an excellent tool to add to your small business marketing toolkit. The key to using it effectively is creating tweets that are brief, benefits-laden, and as current. Before incorporating Twitter into your own small business marketing plan, why not spend a few hours on the site and take a look at what others are doing? Then be sure to model the best of the best.