9 Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Should Be On Twitter – Twitter University

twitter-university

I meet and hear from entrepreneurs every day as a part of my business and one of the most frequent questions that I keep getting is “Why should I be on Twitter?” There are many sceptics out there who believe that Twitter is not worth it and is only for people with too much time on their hands. Used intelligently however, Twitter can be a powerful way to grow your business so long as you know what you’re doing and why.

“As a marketer you always want to be where your customers are. If your customers are using Twitter and you’re not a part of the conversation then your competitors will scoop the market from under you.”

Twitter is a tool, and just like any other tool, you have to know how to use it. If you’re still on the “Should I use Twitter?” fence, here are 9 reasons why you should consider opening an account and get involved.

1 – It’s where your customers are

As a marketer you always want to be where your customers are. Think about using Twitter as another networking opportunity. If you were invited to a wine and cheese party with a room full of your potential customers, would you want to attend? Your approach on Twitter should be similar to what you would do at a networking event – join the conversation. You wouldn’t go into a room full of strangers with a hard sales approach trying to close them on the spot. You need to learn about who you’re talking to, understand their needs, and see if there is a potential fit with what you can offer. If your customers are using Twitter and you’re not a part of the conversation then your competitors will scoop the market from under you.

2 – It’s where your customers will be

One of my favorite quotes is by the famous hockey player Wayne Gretzky who when asked to explain his success said “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” If your customers aren’t already on Twitter, they will be and as a business owner you can’t risk losing out on capturing this market. Twitter is already one of the most popular websites in the world and it is not showing any signs of slowing down. Think about it as having a website for your business. The businesses who got in early captured most of the customers and many of them still rank #1 for their important keywords in the search engines. If you are just setting up a website for your business today then you are far behind the game. Don’t fall behind the online marketing game by missing out on Twitter and where your customers will be.

“People are more responsive to Twitter messages than email (provided you are providing value, of course), so it can be a great way to get in front of customers and other important decision makers who can impact your business.”

3 – Twitter can drive targeted traffic to your website

Twitter has recently entered the top 10 sources of visitors to my website which is impressive given that I’ve been doing other methods for years and Twitter has already surpassed them. Twitter doesn’t drive anywhere close to the traffic that Google and the other search engines produce and the visitors don’t convert nearly as well as search engine visitors but the increase in the number of people on my site is noticeable. Twitter already drives more people than any other non-search engine partner of my business. Twitter also is sending more visitors to my website than Facebook, Wikipedia, LinkedIn, and StumbleUpon combined. Again, my search engine traffic far outweighs Twitter results and it converts to business much more easily. If I had a choice it’s a hands down decision to focus in on SEO instead of Twitter but why not do both if they are generating results?

4 – People are talking about you

This is the main reason that pushed me into Twitter. I went to Twitter Search, typed in my name, and found that people had already posted entries about my business. Most of them were very positive and I was genuinely surprised to see that the conversation was already taking place about my business without me having prompted it. More importantly, the conversation was happening and, until that point, I didn’t even realize it. You can never control a conversation in any social media setting but you can at least get involved to help get your message out as you want it. An easy way to get started is to do a search for your name / business name and then subscribe to the RSS feed. This way whenever somebody talks about your business, or any other important keyword you want to track, you can get updated through your RSS reader.

twitter-feed

5 – Connect with people you want to get in front of

If there are companies or prospects that you are trying to get in front of, Twitter can be an excellent medium to help make the connection. Getting someone’s email address or direct phone number can be difficult and you don’t want to appear as a spammer. Why not look to see if the person you’re trying to get in front of is on Twitter? You’ll be able to learn more about what they are interested in, what issues they are concerned about, and what is going on in their businesses. You can comment on their posts, offer insightful information, and begin to build a bond with them. People are more responsive to Twitter messages than email (provided you are providing value, of course), so it can be a great way to get in front of customers and other important decision makers who can impact your business.

6 – Add credibility to your business

Twitter can be a great way to boost the credibility of your business. Like it or not, the number of followers that you have count as votes in the minds of many people – the more followers you have, the more important and credible you must be. The best way to start building your followers is to begin posting! The more time you have to build your base, the easier it will be. Once your base is established it’s easier to get people to pay attention to you. For example, I’ll often let my customers or partners know that I’ll Tweet about them because I appreciate their business. The result invariably is a warm “Thank you!” and it’s a great way to add another touch point to my business relationships. The media is another great way to leverage your followers. The more followers you have, the more of an authority you seem to be and the more likely you can get the media to pay attention to what you have to say.

“Twitter can also be an excellent tool to help you leverage some of the work that you’ve already been doing to build your business. If you have a blog then you can set up the RSS feed to automatically post to your Twitter account.”

7 – Stay on top of trends in your industry

In point #4 I talked about staying on top of what people are saying about you through Twitter Search. You can also use the same tool to know what’s being said about your industry, competitors, and customers. It can be a wonderful market research tool but beware of the “Garbage in, garbage out” principal. If you don’t make use of the right keywords to track then you won’t get meaningful results. Another great way to stay on top of trends is to follow thought leaders in your industry and other people who you respect. Don’t follow the people who feel inclined to share every detail about their personal lives and Tweet about brushing their teeth and going for sushi. Follow only the people who are adding valuable information that can have a meaningful impact on you and your business. Just like the blogging world there are some blogs worth following and most that are not.

8 – Rank higher in search engines

While individual Twitter posts do not generally rank that well because they have so few characters, the username that you choose for your account has a very good chance of ranking on the first page of Google. Because of all the inbound links that Twitter has, Google is rewarding the site with extremely high rankings. My Twitter account, for example, ranks just after my own site for my name. If you’re targeting competitive keywords make your keywords the names / username for your Twitter account to help you dominate the first page of search results. Think about that .com domain name that you wanted to buy but was already taken when you started your site. You could soon lose the ability to get the Twitter account of your choice and rank well for it if your competitors get in before you.

twitter-google

9 – Leverage the work you’re already doing

Finally, Twitter can also be an excellent tool to help you leverage some of the work that you’ve already been doing to build your business. For example, if you have a blog then you can set up the RSS feed to automatically post to your Twitter account through services like TweetLater. Every time you post to your blog it will automatically create a new entry in your Twitter account to help expand your reach. Another simple way to leverage your existing content is to add the TweetMeme button on all your pages. This essentially makes it easier for anyone viewing your pages to post about it to their Twitter accounts if they think that it is of value. After you set it up you don’t have to put in any additional time and you can generate increased traffic from work you’ve already done.

Are you convinced yet? I would recommend starting small and not overwhelming yourself. See what people are talking about, register your own account, and begin posting. Set a posting schedule that works for you and don’t get caught up in it past the point of it being a valuable tool for your business.

About the Author

I #Believe in entrepreneurs.

27 Responses to “9 Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Should Be On Twitter – Twitter University”

  1. Karim H. Ismail says:

    Hi, Evan
    Thanks for the article. Most useful. I was beginning to put my toes gingerly into the world of Twitter – this article convinces me that I should move much quicker, so clothes are coming off . . .and soon, I shall be diving right in. Stay tuned!
    Karim H. Ismail
    Author: Keep ANY Promise: a blueprint for designing your future
    http://www.KeepAnyPromise.com
    CEO: Avidium Inc. – Dream. Commit. Achieve. Celebrate.

  2. Hi, Evan:

    This is such an excellent list covering many of the benefits of Twitter. I like item number 2, “It’s where your customers will be,” and the Gretzky quote. (Well, I like ALL of the points, but I like that one in particular.)

    Thanks for posting the information – I have retweeted it!

    GT Bulmer :)
    StarrBizz.com

  3. Thank your for the great material. I am new to Twitter and it is really helpful to read articles like yours.

  4. Simon Payn says:

    Great list, Evan. I’ve found Twitter to be a remarkable networking tool. I think of it as being like a giant, worldwide networking event that you can dip in and out of anytime you want (and you don’t have to juggle a glass or orange juice either.)

    A friend of mine picked up a large marketing project through networking on Twitter – and lots of opportunities have come my way through it.

    So I try to use Twitter in the same way I would network – offering value, not selling, helping, communicating.

  5. I’m glad everyone seems to have enjoyed the first post of this blog! I’ll continue updating with more useful Twitter tips over the weeks to come along with other bits of practical advice to help you grow your businesses.

  6. I was just searching for about this when I came upon your post. I’m simply visiting to say that I definitely liked seeing this post, it is very well written. Are you going to blog more on this? It looks like there’s more fodder here for more posts.

    1. Hello, yes, I do plan on making additional posts on how entrepreneurs can benefit by using Twitter. Look for “Twitter University” in the subject of upcoming posts. Thanks for commenting!

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  8. Twitter Comments:

    banksy6: simple points agree with all

  9. RT @tweetmeme 9 Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Should Be On Twitter – Twitter University http://bit.ly/urolD

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  11. Forum Comment: GTBulmer

    Hi, Evan:

    A great theme for a blog and a great blog post to launch it! There is so much wisdom in your nine Twitter points. In particular, “It’s where your customers are” and “It’s where your customers will be.”

    I submitted a comment to the blog post where I mentioned the quote you used from Wayne Gretzky: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” I have always admired Gretzky for his talent … and it doesn’t hurt that he helped make my home town famous! :lol:

    Keep up the good work, Evan.

    GT :)

  12. Forum Comment: MichelleJ

    Hi Evan

    Great new blog and I agree with GT an excellent post to start it off. Twitter is a great tool to use if used correctly, unfortunately to many of us don’t take the time to learn how to get the best from it.

    This post will help a lot in improving that situation.

    MichelleJ :D

  13. Forum Comment: TannyL

    Hi Evan,
    Congratulation on the new blog and I agree that’s a very good post.
    I wish I had more time to work with twitter.

  14. Forum Comment: Trent Brownrigg

    I also really like the new blog and the post is great!

  15. Thanks guys – more posts to come soon!

  16. […] Evan Carmichael on June 17th, 2009 // In my last Twitter University post (9 Reasons Why EntrepreneursShould Be On Twitter – Twitter University) I discussed why it was important for business owners to get involved with Twitter. Today I wanted […]

  17. Dave Clough says:

    For those who don’t think Twitter will benefit their business, here is a great blog posting on twitter for business: http://bit.ly/CyyHS

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  22. Kendrick Yi says:

    Hey Evan. Great post!

    I have 2 questions. I heard that it is important to follow the right people (your prospects) and I can’t seem to find the right people. Most of them seems to already be Internet marketers or bots.

    As a result, even though I tweet whenever I write a new blog entry, I don’t get any referrals from Twitter.

    How do you find the right people to follow?

    The other question is, what time of the day do you tweet? I think many Internet marketers have followers from different time zones so some followers will see your tweet on their home page while others won’t.

    Thanks
    Kendrick Yi
    UnlockSecretsToWealth.com

  23. Hi Kendrick – the easiest way to get started is to follow people who contact you. They are prospects who you meet first through a different avenue than Twitter – then you can do a search for them on Twitter, follow them, and build the relationship.

    A way to find potential prospects through Twitter is to search for key words that they are likely to type in – then offer answers (but don’t sell directly through Twitter!)

    Most people never look at their Twitter homepage – they use tools like TweetDeck and other Twitter management applications. I wouldn’t get too caught up in thinking about what time you Tweet – just make sure you’re Tweeting valuable material that will make people want to follow you.

    Good luck!

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