February 19, 2010

Tongue-Tied on Twitter?


Hostway Team

By Samantha Gluck

In an effort to promote their business and add clientele, many small business owners have jumped on the Twitter bandwagon. Once on Twitter, the account owner is often at a loss regarding what to actually say (tweet) and how to gain followers.

First, Find Your Followers

First of all, for the tweets to reach fellow tweeters, the business must have followers. Business owners can promote the fact that they are on Twitter by adding a "follow me on Twitter" line to the business email signature and the same on the company Web site.

Ask other associates such as vendors and industry leaders to follow the company on Twitter. Most businesses will want to encourage followers in their local area or region as well. To find locals with Twitter accounts use Twitter’s advanced search function or click on Nearby Tweets. Beware of following everyone who follows the business. The tweet stream on the company Twitter site will become cluttered with tweets having nothing to do with the business itself and possibly of little or no interest to the other followers.

What to Tweet

After collecting the first few followers, now what? As mentioned in the first paragraph, many businesses join Twitter and then have no idea what to say to pique the interest of followers. Some ideas are as follows:

  • Send out tweets about what you are currently doing relevant to your business at the time. One Houston, Texas personal trainer sends out tweets letting clients know what gyms and clubs in town he will be visiting to train customers. He also tweets about special pricing or discounts for first time customers.
  • Check out the conversations of your followers and get involved in it. Ask your own questions.
  • Search for competitors in your industry, see who is following them and check out their tweet stream. Join in on the conversation and follow them if they are a good fit as a customer.
  • Tweet about local events and news relating to your business and mention those you are collaborating with.
  • Tweet about your business or products, but also throw in something personal and upbeat. One photography business owner throws in positive tweets about her organic garden and which plants are currently sprouting or ready to harvest.
  • Put on a Twitter contest. Those who wish to enter the contest must re-tweet one of your company’s tweets of your choosing. Choose only one winner, but offer a discount on your products or services to everyone who enters. The contest could be as simple as asking a little known trivia question about your industry. The first tweet with the correct answer is the winner.
  • Tweet links to quality blogs about your business industry. Make certain the information in relevant, well written, and interesting.
  • Re-tweet interesting tweets from followers and industry leaders

The key to making Twitter work for your company is commitment and relationship building. Make a commitment to spend at least one half hour a day on Twitter connecting with followers and others.

About the Author

Samantha Gluck has had more than a decade of experience helping businesses better focus their Web sites to enhance ecommerce and Internet presence by utilizing Web analytics, relevant design elements, and marketing campaigns.

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