Using Twitter for business is gaining ground, but many small business owners continue to hold out. I hear “nobody cares about what I had for breakfast” or “no one on Twitter is serious about doing business”. Well, for you hold-outs, I challenge you to “listen” to tweeters for only a day. I think you’ll find people tweeting about more than their breakfast fare and you will be convinced that is is an effective platform that reaches hundreds (or thousands) of business-focused people in a matter of seconds. That’s tip #1, more on that below. Other small business owners know it is powerful, but remain wallflowers, not really knowing what to say. Well, there is an art to using Twitter for business, but after listening and thinking about the tips below, I know you will find your business’ voice.
Top 3 Tips on Writing Business Tweets
Listen, listen, listen
Good advice on and offline. You must understand what your competition and prospective customers are talking about.
- Learn about #hashtags. It is a simple concept but complex because it is loosely defined. Basically, tweeters use #hashtags to identify their tweet as a part of a greater concept. If a tweet is related to small business, #SMB is frequently used. If about a specific conference, webinar, or other event, usually the event organizer will add a special #hashtag for that event on presentation materials so that attendees can tweet before, during, and after the event. There are lots of ways to use #hashtags, but I point them out here because they are a great way to listen!
- Log into Twitter
- In the search field, enter a #hashtag like #plumbing, #drycleaning, or #houston…whatever your business is about. (check out Twubs to explore #hashtags). Then hit enter.
- Voila! You see tweets about that topic.
- You can also use regular keywords with no hash or search for competitors’ Twitter accounts.
- Watch what others tweet.
- Use a tool to help you efficiently listen. There are several tools that will do this, but I like Hootsuite. You can set up a free account, then create “streams” with #hashtags and keywords and save them so you can peek at them when you have time. You can set up multiple tabs of streams to listen to different topics. The best part of the social management tool is that you can listen across social media communities. In one stream, you can filter Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn posts. Very powerful.
Plan your tweets
It can be scary, so plan your tweets. Select a topic for a week. Then write out a few business tweets about your own content or promotion. Add in a few quotes, even some personal observations if you dare. Tweeting others’ content is a good practice, just be sure to give them credit:
- Find others’ content to tweet by setting a Google alert using keywords in the topic you are watching. So, if this week you want to tweet about discounts for your plumbing business, you can set up one or more alerts with keywords like “plumbing discount cleveland” or “how to pick plumber”. Then the alert delivers online content that you can tweet.
- In Twitter, to give another person credit for their content, use this form: “Got a Leaky Faucet? See the amount of $ you can save if you call a plumber, link.com via @plumbing-world”. By stating “via” and using the author’s Twitter handle (or if they don’t have a Twitter handle, then just their company name), you are alerting others that you find this information useful and you want to pass it on, but you are not the author.
Tweet for Business, just do it!
The ultimate goal for any Twitter small business user is to have their content mentioned, talked about (positively), remembered, and ultimately seen as a valuable resource that leads to a new customer. When using Twitter for business marketing, consider the following:
- Choose impactful or attention grabbing, “headline” style language.
- Make it re-Tweet friendly by leaving at least 15 characters fewer than the 140-character limit.
- Be personable and interesting, focusing on communicating instead of selling.
- If you would not say it to someone in person, don’t Tweet it.
- Use a personal Twitter account for your personal life and a dedicated business account for business.
- Some people think they can hide behind the avatar of their Twitter handle, but you can’t. Never lie or exaggerate. You’ll get caught and your business will lose credibility.
Really Twitter is like any other marketing. You have to figure out what customers want to hear about, then use an appropriate style to communicate it. So get out there and listen for a while, the Tweet your way to success! Have you used Twitter? Have you found success? Why not? Comment below!