Many business owners have started to take advantage of the opportunities that social media adds to their marketing efforts. Facebook is the most common social media platform used by business owners today. Since most business owners were already familiar with Facebook to begin with, the jump to creating a business page wasn’t that far. Twitter is still like the new kid in town for a lot of business owners. They know it exists, they have heard this and that about it, they are curious, but they don’t know what to do with it. Matt McGee of Small Business Search Marketing put it this way:
For a lot of small business owners, I think Twitter is like one of those odd & curious gifts you get at Christmas: It looks kinda interesting and seems to have potential, but what do you do with it?
Matt McGee has laid out the 8 most common questions that he gets from business owners, along with his thoughts on each one. Here is a summary for that part of you that is craving some long overdue Twitter knowledge!
1.) Do I really need to use Twitter?
Not necessarily. If your customers and/or potential customers aren’t active on Twitter, you shouldn’t be spending too much time on it, either.
That said, you may also want to consider that even if the majority of your target audience isn’t on Twitter, it’s still a great place to find and connect with influencers in almost any industry.
2.) How do I know if my customers are using Twitter?
I’d start by asking them, either in person or via your website. You can also check your analytics software to see how much traffic you’re getting from Twitter
3.) How many followers is a good number to have?
Don’t worry about how many followers you have. I know that’s easier said than done, but there’s no direct benefit to your bottom line from having tons of followers. (Twitter doesn’t send out monthly checks based on your follower count.)
Rather than counting followers, count how many new customers your Twitter activity brings in (or all of your social media activity, for that matter). And remember that quality is better than quantity when it comes to all of your social media connections. Better to have a small group of loyal and active followers than a large group that ignores you on Twitter.
4.) How much should I tweet every day?
There’s no hard and fast rule on this. Tweet as much as you can while still being interesting. Don’t worry about counting your tweets on any given day. It’s okay to tweet a whole lot one day, and then much less the next day.
5.) Is it okay to retweet praise from customers, or does that look like we’re bragging?
I’d be careful here. It’s probably okay as long as you do it in extreme moderation. Do it humbly. Be grateful. But keep in mind that your followers will find it incredibly boring if you retweet praise too often.
A better idea, though, is to just send a direct reply to those kind tweets. Thank the person directly, one-to-one, and s/he’ll probably be even more appreciative of your customer service savvy.
6.) Should I link to other sites in my tweets?
Sure. Why not? Your customers/followers know what the Internet is. They know you don’t own the only website on it. Don’t pretend you do. If you find interesting content on some other site that you think your audience will enjoy, share it with them.
7.) Should I link to (or mention) the competition in my tweets?
I think there are circumstances where linking to a competitor is the right thing to do, and something that will make you look good. For example, if another Twitter user asks a question about a product or service that you don’t offer, why not be helpful and point the person to a competitor who has what s/he wants? That’s good customer service, and the person will think more highly of you because you made helping him/her your top priority, even if it means also helping your competition.
8.) Should I reply to all users who tweet something to/at me?
“All” might be pushing it; you should ignore spammy messages. But if the question above said “customers” instead of “users,” the answer would be “yes.” Acknowledge everyone who tweets you until you become so successful that it’s impossible to do so. (That will probably take a long time, if it happens at all.) Answer their questions. Offer assistance. Be available and reachable. Don’t underestimate the value of a social network reply to your customers and prospects.
Thanks to Matt McGee for these amazing tips!