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7 Reasons Why Your Business Should Be Using Twitter

Twitter is one of the largest 'communities' in the world - are you part of it?

Here are seven reasons why you should consider using Twwitter for your new business start-up.

No.1 - To build a community of supporters/followers/prospects
Twitter messages ("tweets") are by their nature short, sharp and punchy. This makes them quick to write and quick to send, which allows you to act very fast, even on impulse, as you get an idea for your next tweet.

Tweets are perfect ammunition for the phenomenon known as "viral marketing" (what used to be called word-of-mouth before the computer age, i.e. you tell one customer something, that customer tells a friend, who tells their friends, etc, etc.) Viral marketing can be one of the most powerful marketing techniques available to your business. It requires you to start the ball rolling with an interesting, attention-grabbing tweet that you send to your twitter followers; then you sit back and watch it spread and grow under its own energy without any more input from you.

Your tweets are more likely to be read than long-winded emails full of sales jargon because they are short and to the point. And additionally, twitter followers are more tolerant about receiving several tweets a day from the same person, whereas people soon complain of spamming when they receive several sales emails a day from the same company.

Twitter is in the mainstream of modern life, a phenomenon very much of the here-and-know, with huge numbers of followers in the UK, USA and across the world. Just think, if you can master how to tap into the massive marketing reach of Twitter, what results could you achieve for your business?

Once you get "into" Twitter, you will soon find out that from the big numbers of users of the service, it is relatively simple to drill down and find a smaller number of followers who are highly likely to be interested in a niche product or service offered by your company. (Essentially this is done using keywords and phrases similar to a website search engine.)

Once you have located your target market of likely customers ("prospects") the name of the game is then to attract their attention to your business with a range of innovative and appealing tweets. Some will be just a soft sell to remind them you are there; others will be in the form of a more obvious direct sell. But the main aim of every tweet you send must be to attract interest in what your business offers. This encourages people to sign up on Twitter to follow you, which means you have now captured the attention of an interested group of prospects to whom you can market your business with an excellent opportunity for success.

Think of it in the same way as building up your list of customer email addresses. (And you are doing that arent you?)

No.2 - Use Twitter to strengthen ties with existing customers recruited from your website or blog
When youve worked hard to attract customers to your business and generate sales, its highly desirable to keep in touch with them and sustain their interest in you with the hope of gaining further sales in the future. You can use Twitter to do this by creating interesting, attention-grabbing tweets to send regularly to customers and prospective customers that you have persuaded to follow you.

Attract followers by placing your own Twitter Username prominently on your website/blog pages and put a snappy little message with it to actively encourage people to sign up and follow you.

Also include your Twitter Username on the bottom of your emails, on letters, business cards, stationery and marketing material for your business.

As you prepare new items for your website/blog, start getting into the habit of considering how you can use them to make interesting tweets for your followers. With a little imagination you should be able to find two or three different angles on how to use the same website article for a series of related but different tweets.

From the Twitter website ( you can find out how to send tweets automatically direct from your website/blog page. Place the Twitter icon (the blue letter t) next to an article on your website/blog page. When clicked on, the icon creates a tweet which has a link in it to that article. The tweet containing the article link can then be posted to your list of followers as is, or you can edit it first and add more words, then send it.

Start asking for the Twitter Username of your customers when asking for their more traditional contact details, like postal address and email address.

No.3 - To shape the brand image of your business
Starting with the bare basics, you can customise the appearance of your Twitter Account home page with your choice of colours, images and backgrounds. So if you have a company logo, a letterhead, a distinctive photograph, a font that is your house-style, a tag line or catchphrase that is closely associated with your business, there should be a way of building that into the appearance of your home page.
The next thing to consider is what you are going to write in the Profile box on your account home page. There is room for a short paragraph about yourself and your business - so use the limited space wisely to get across the most important things that you want people to know. There are separate boxes for entering your location and for entering your website address. And of course you get to choose a Username which is what people use to contact you. Make it relevant to your business.
When youve finished setting up your Twitter Account (and it wont take you very long) you can then start to work out what you are going to tweet about(e.g. just business stuff, or some aspects of your personal life, or stories currently in the news ?)
Also consider what your house-style is going to be (e.g. professional/serious, or relaxed one-to-one conversational, or lots of jargon and buzzwords ?)
Then give some thought to key words and phrases that you want to use so that people can "get" what your business is about. Do this by repeatedly using the same word/phrase in your tweets and aim to keep all your tweets focused on the same theme. Dont go randomly way off-track because people just wont take your tweets and your business seriously.
So if you want to get smart here about using Twitter to create, maintain and develop the brand image of your business, then I recommend that you take a blank piece of paper, do some thinking about the points Ive raised above, and then write down a brief set of design guidelines for the appearance of your Twitter Account and also for the content and style of your tweets. One side of paper will be enough. Make sure that everyone in your business who is involved with the Twitter Account sees that piece of paper and understands what you are trying to achieve with the tweets sent from it.

No.4 - To promote special offers
Twitter is a perfect medium for creating miniature marketing campaigns directly focused on a single product or service. Use it for "Deal Of The Day" or "Offer Of The Week" promotions.

Come up with an attention-grabbing introduction to your tweet; then some general information; then the sales team phone number, or a link to a website page.

Promotion Codes can easily be included in your tweets of course. This makes it easy to use a Code as a mechanism for a certain group of customers to obtain, say, a discounted price which you are not making available to another group of customers. This also makes it possible to do split-testing for your marketing campaign, e.g. compare sales of a product to tweeters and non-tweeters; or compare sales of Product A to sales of Product B.

Twitter is excellent for enticing sales from a niche market of customers. In fact you should look into having several Twitter Accounts, each focused on a carefully defined niche audience that you are trying to attract and engage with. Obviously you send a customised message to each niche, e,g. "10% Off Ford Car Parts" , "10% Off Volkswagen Car Parts", etc. etc. as part of your overall marketing campaign which is offering 10% off all makes of car parts. I think you will understand what I mean now.

The main point to have in mind is: the more relevant you can make your tweet to the interests and needs of a group of followers, the better the response will be to your promotional campaign. Go for a quality audience, not a big quantity of people.

No.5 - To build a buzz of expectation
If theres something new or big about to happen to your business use Twitter as part of a public relations campaign to build up interest and expectation before the event.

Send out tweets which drop a few clues about whats on the horizon, e.g. "Been working hard on an exciting new product", "will include a new market-leading innovation", "just adding the finishing touches", "nothing quite like this ever before", "the artwork for launch day is being prepared right now".

Near to the time of the product launch (or whatever the event is) start to feed in clues about the timescale to hype up the buzz of anticipation among your followers. This will also help to generate an instant response to the event as soon as "Zero Hour" is reached.

A common ploy that further helps to create a customer response when the event finally happens is to tweet something like "availability of the new product will be limited to 200 units made available strictly on a first come-first served basis". Or how about "this special service for our customers will only be available during the first two weeks of July. Dont miss out. Book now." Or "dont miss this chance of a lifetime". Or "dont miss this one-off opportunity. When its gone, its gone! "

To keep up the urge to buy amongst your Twitter Followers after the launch day or event, use tweets where you say something like "Only 16 Left And Selling Fast", or "Only One More Day To Go Before This Offer Definitely Ends". Create a sense of urgency so that your followers feel compelled to act straightaway and buy from you there and then.

No.6 - To spread breaking news
Use Twitter to spread the story of any newsworthy event that involves your company directly (e.g. new products/services, new marketing campaigns, sponsorship deals, charity events, financial results, stock flotations) and also to comment on stories not directly connected to your company. For example, there may be a story in the news that you want to give your opinion on, to position your business as an "expert" on the subject, e.g. new inventions, a breakthrough in research, I.T. developments in your industry.

More urgently, you could find Twitter extremely useful for issuing frequent updates from a dynamic event such as a sales exhibition, business conference or Annual General Meeting. And it is also extremely quick in getting out a response to, say, bad publicity or an attack from a competitor.

As discussed above in Section No.1, Building A Community Of Followers, the "viral" nature of the Twitter network is fantastic at spreading the word. You just need to be aware that sometimes it can be good at spreading bad news - but at least you can use it instantly to have your say and put the record straight if needed.

No.7 - To keep websites and blogs fresh (and its good for your search engine ranking too)
Websites and blogs about news and sport now commonly include content from tweets. These can be placed alongside the traditional text-based story, mixed in with the text of the story, or displayed in a dedicated area such as a discussion forum on a separate page.

The benefit of having tweets directly on the news pages is that they add a constantly changing stream of fresh, real-time comment on whats happening and can add a strong "human interest" feel to the main story.

Retailers and marketers are increasingly accepting tweeted content onto their customer forum and product review pages. You should consider doing this too. Its very helpful as a kind of research tool that reveals problems, misconceptions, future opportunities and positive endorsements of your products/services. Also, there is often comparison with and comment about your competitors. All very useful information for your business.

Finally, using Twitter as part of your website/blog is very helpful to your search engine ranking because the search engine spiders still place a good value on regular new content that has a high relevancy to the theme of the website/blog. A steady flow of tweets to your website/blog will achieve this for your site on its own, without you having to constantly create new content for yourself. All youve got to do is monitor and interact with the tweets as they come in.

# So there you have it. Seven Big Reasons Why Your Business Should Be Using Twitter For Marketing. Now take action. Set up your Twitter Account and get tweeting. Its quick, its easy, its fun - and it will definitely increase your brand awareness amongst potential customers, plus spread the word about the products/services that your business offers. Happy tweeting!

You can find more hints, tips and free factsheets about being an entrepreneur and starting your own business at our website and on our two blogs: "Business Skills Now" and "Entrepreneurs Universe" For personalised help with getting your business up-and-running, why not hire one of our experienced business advisers? You can pay-by-the-hour to match the needs of your business. No job is too small – why not use us to focus on one dedicated project that you need doing right now? See our website for more details.

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