So, just when your friends and colleagues are saying, “I don’t get Twitter, and I don’t want to take the time to get Twitter,” here comes Twitter Co. polishing up their business pitch. Introducing, again, Twitter for Business.
Wait a minute, I thought this was the Twitter for Business page? There’s got to be something better than just an advertising push, right? Yes, young social cosmonaut there is, CASE STUDIES. Lots and lots of case studies.
So many case studies, in fact, you may go blind trying to sort through them. Or at the very least you’ll go bored.
Case studies don’t really do much for us these days in promoting and trying to execute social media business strategies. Sure, a lot of companies have DONE IT and ARE DOING IT. And a lot of companies have established bonafied success stories on the use of social media. BUT, very little of that information, very very little of it, will help you, plan a new or unique way to use Twitter to grow your business.
Maybe you don’t really need to reinvent the whole social media thing. Maybe a Facebook and Twitter account are sufficient to boost your sales in some meaningful way, and besides it’s free. Right?
Well, not exactly. That’s the rub. It’s all free, well, not this Advertise on Twitter stuff, but setting up accounts and asking for follows and likes, that part is still free. But the part that’s not free is the time you spend doing it. Updates, Tweets, Posts, those things DO take time. And… well… Time is Money in this current economy. So we can at least agree on the fact that social media is NOT FREE.
Fine, so let’s look at Twitter’s offering. Well, wait… Not so fast.
The BUSINESS OF TWITTER does not involve ADVERTISING ON TWITTER. At least, not if you have limited budgets and someone who’s watching over this little understood secret theorum, ROI. If you are looking to spend a buck or two to bring in several bucks or four for each buck spent, well, ADVERTISING on TWITTER is not your best bet. It’s not even really a long shot. It’s a hail mary. Sure, someone is paying Twitter to promote tweets. Some one is going to pay them tomorrow based on their glossy new site and case studies, but they’re going to be one in a million who succeed with these brilliantly presented strategies.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is, you don’t need to ADVERTISE ON TWITTER to make Twitter work for you and your small business. You will need to spend a little time, Tweeting and responding to questions and tweets about your company. But that’s good business. One on the rationales behind getting involved in social media is, “You want to show up where your customer is.” And with Facebook that proposition is pretty clear.
SOCIAL MEDIA CHECK LIST:
- Is your target audience on Facebook. YES
- Are they on Twitter. NO.
- Do you know if they’re on Twitter. NO.
- What are people saying on Twitter about your business? I have no idea.
- Do you want to use Twitter to see if they are on Twitter and do you want to know if anyone is saying something about your business on Twitter? YES.
- How about your competitors, are they on Twitter. YES.
- Do you know what they are doing on Twitter? NO.
- Would you like to interest a few of your competitors customers (who are on Twitter) to try your product? YES.
- Do you have a plan? This is where a social media strategist might come in and help you answer that question.
- Does that social media strategist demonstrate their own understanding and experience on using Twitter for business? Um, you’d better go check on that. Ask if they can provide case studies of their own, in your business size or category. The Twitter for Business page isn’t going to help them tell a story about their experience. Or how they can help your business.
So, you want to use Twitter for Business?
Fine. Here are the simple steps that you don’t have to pay anyone to tell you.
- Set up a Twitter account for your business. Follow simple best practices: use a picture of a person, have a fun and descriptive bio, provide a link to your site.
- Find your competition on Twitter. Follow them. (A client I spoke to recently was concerned about following his competition. “We don’t want to give away too much of what we’re doing,” he mused.
- Find your customers on Twitter. (who’s following your competition) And follow them.
- Listen. Don’t tweet. Listen. What are they talking about? (customers and competition) What things are they tweeting tend to get responses or retweets?
- Do some research to learn more about hashtags and tools that can help you ID and follow more customers and more competitors.
- Learn and Listen to what’s going on on Twitter around your business and the type of business you are in.
- Try a “Hello World” tweet. Example for a theoretical non-chain auto parts store: “We’re just getting started on this Twitter journey. Thanks for following us, we will be tweeting specials and weekly deals as they come up. #autoparts”
- Listen. Respond. Repeat what works.
While I admire the blue sky graphics and uplifting spirit of Twitter’s business relaunch, I’m less certain that they care much about your small business success using Twitter. Now if you want to PAY THEM to figure some of this stuff out, be prepared to open the wallet and pray for returns. My experience with PROMOTED TWEETS has not been repeated, not for any client. But maybe your experience will be an anomaly. There are a lot fewer hand-raisers out there than you think there are. And to reach and engage them you’ve got to be smart about WHAT you TWEET, and how you participate in the overall social media mix.
Here’s Twitter’s Business Advice (advertise with us) page: https://business.twitter.com/
Good luck out there. Start Tweeting. And if you DO get stuck, I’m here to help. (paid and unpaid)