Web designers, advertising agencies, and people with a firm grip on the online world have known for years that Twitter is indispensable. The trick has always been how to communicate that to the business owners who were their clients.
Flash to today. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo revealed at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco that Twitter is valued at $8 billion and boasts over 100 million users, 50 million of whom log in daily. Those users send 250 million tweets a day. In addition, Facebook is letting users update their Twitter accounts from Facebook, which will encourage even more use .
The number of daily users and tweets being sent per day represent missed business opportunities if you're not using Twitter well. Luckily, getting on Twitter is simple. For your business, you might want to take the extra step of having a graphic designer create a properly branded Twitter background for your profile. Also create a decent photo or logo to use as your Twitter avatar, the picture that appears to the left of your tweets and at the top of your page.
Find Followers Who Are Potential Clients
If you're a real estate agent, adding people interested in properties is likely to net you a following of other agents, not people interested in purchasing homes in your area. Go where your customers are. Search for users in your area who have interests similar to those in your usual demographic. If you sell condos, add a few followers a day who look like young urban professionals. If you sell homes, look for local mom bloggers and add them. This method takes a little more time, but it’s much more likely to net relevant followers.
Use Twitter Properly as a Business
Many companies get on Twitter and tweet boring stuff like corporate donations, company news, and their latest press release. While there is room on Twitter for these announcements, if they're all your company pumps out, potential clients will largely ignore your Twitter account.
Remember that Twitter is, at its core, a two-way channel to communicate your and brand to the world. It's not a one-way advertising channel. You need to make sure that you're interacting with your followers rather than just throwing links out to the world. Give a couple of people in your organization the job of managing the Twitter account, and make sure to pass along and follow up on inquiries and service requests.
Take a look at your core demographic. If they're seniors, they’ll appreciate links to helpful articles about programs to fight identity theft or other scams. If they're younger adults, they’ll more likely to click on links to cool YouTube videos.
Schedule Tweets to Save Time
With HootSuite, multiple users can log into a Twitter account and manage it from anywhere. You can schedule tweets, which means you can take a few minutes in the morning to line up tweets throughout the day. You can also set Twitter up to email you when someone mentions you on Twitter or asks you a question, which lets your company jump on the request right away without constantly monitoring the service.
If you were off the Twitter bandwagon until now, have a look at the numbers and examine if you can devote a small amount of resources to start up your account and maintain a Twitter account.
Angela West dreams of opening a Fallout-themed pub featuring wait staff with Pip-Boys. She's written for big insurance companies, small wildlife control businesses, gourmet food chains, and more. Follow her on Twitter at @angelawest.