Twitter-BirdI am not going to list 80 ways to use Twitter.  At least not yet.  But I will give a few helpful hints about what you want to accomplish by using this tool.  It’s not terribly complicated, but for some it’s not only hard to figure out what to tweet, but it’s hard to figure out what the goal behind that tweet should be.  So here is a list of goals each tweet should attempt to accomplish.  It doesn’t need to be all, but it should be some.

  1. Communicate with your customers.  Check out @yogijones, @foiledcupcakes, and @designsponge to see how these two small businesses and one very big blog use Twitter to engage and communicate with their followers.
  2. Build your brand with information about new products or a sale going on.  Twitter is the perfect place to inform your followers of what is going on in your business.  Also, if you want to make sure your followers feel extra special, you can offer discounts only to those who follow you on Twitter.  It’s a great way to gain a following and reward those who choose to spend their time seeing what you are tweeting.
  3. Create a conversation. Nobody wants to talk to you if you aren’t going to talk back.  Respond to every tweet you get.  Engage your customers.  Twitter is really about community and conversation, it’s not about promoting yourself.  @Chrisbrogan has a rule that he is only allowed to promote himself once he has promoted twelve other people first.  Just something to think about.
  4. Build your own personal brand. You are your small business, so be who are you.  Are you funny?  Re-tweet something that made you laugh.  Are you into gardening?  Share something that you found interesting.  Making people like you will make them like your business.
  5. Use the tricks. Bit.ly will let you shorten your links so you aren’t using up all your characters linking to your blog or website.  Twitpic will let you share pictures on Twitter.  There are many, many more.  Do some research and see which tricks will enhance your Twitter experience.

The most daunting part of Twitter can be finding followers.  It feels a bit like the beginning of Facebook when everyone competed to see how many friends they could get.  However, Twitter doesn’t need to be like that.  You don’t need 8,000 followers to have a voice.  Just start building a loyal following by following people who interest you and people who you think would be interested in your brand.  And read this article if you do decide you want 8,000 followers.

Twitter is the place within social media where it’s best to be yourself.  Let your personality shine through.

So once you know how to tweet, it’s time to learn how to use Twitter as a way to listen.

Make sure to follow conversations about your own company.  Make sure to follow your competitors and see what they are up to.

What do you think?  Are you going to learn Twitter and use it?  Do you already use it?  Do you find it to be a useful tool?  Sound off below.





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