Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Using Twitter for Business.

In the day and age of social media as king, businesses are trying to effectively use as many platforms as they can in hopes of reaching more customers and clients.  One of the first and most popular of these platforms is Twitter, a fast-action form of social media that allows people to interact through statements of 140 characters or less.  Think of it a little as public texting.  The messages that go out from your account are seen by all of your followers in your feed, but they are also public to anyone who clicks on your account.

What is Twitter anyway, and how does it work?

from Edudemic

But what about for business?  How can you effectively use your account to help your business?  Ideally, connecting with others on Twitter will help get your brand out there, connect with potential customers and other sellers, and help you find opportunities for your business.  Here's a quick guide to help you get started:

Twitter can be insanely helpful for business networking, but you have to be proactive and work it.  I polled a bunch of my Internet-based buddies and asked them for their biggest Twitter do's and don'ts:

The biggest "do" from everyone I asked: Actually post!  If you are being yourself and you are live-posting information (as opposed to scheduling your tweets), that is going to be the best way to attract an audience.  Twitter happens in real time, so the biggest reaction you are going to get is going to happen almost immediately.  Be there to respond to comments and questions and connect with your audience.  People who respond to your tweet want to connect with you, so take the opportunity to do so.  It also helps to tag people that you want to know in your tweets, and if they respond, respond back.  Get a dialogue going and become the "face" of your brand.

As for those things you don't want to do:

1. Consistently complaining.  About work, life, your kids, your husband.  We know you're human and have things happen, but it's the constant griping about everything that gets on people's nerves and will cause them to unfollow.  This also includes long multi-tweet rants about something that's on your nerves.

2. Being too personal.  If you are using a Twitter account as a business and it's your only account, be careful about what personal details you are putting out there.  Your feed is public unless otherwise set, so anyone can see about your illnesses and bad dates and your cuss words.  Think about what you're saying- if you had a boss, would you want them to see it?

2. Tweeting nothing but self-promotion. Yes, you are a business.  Yes, you want to (and should!) promote yourself.  But you also need to interact with people.  If you post a promotion, a new listing, a new blog post, etc., and that's all you ever do, and you never actually talk to anyone, no one is going to care about your business.  It's social media, so you have to be social.

3. Retweeting a whole bunch of things in a row.  Please space it out.  While you may find every single thing you read to be interesting, think about what will connect best with your followers and share those things a few at a time.  You are trying to cull your audience and present yourself as a brand so choose your retweets wisely.

4. Tweeting every single thing you list on Etsy.  If you have an online shop, and you're loading it up, you have the option of sharing it quickly on Facebook and Twitter.  Don't do it for every item!!  Perhaps choose one item in a category you're working on and share it instead of tweeting all 50 listings that you're putting online.  People will not click on them, and it's a great way to get people to unfollow.  Similarly...

5. Auto-linking all your accounts.  Social media sites have this great feature of being able to link up, so say if you take a photo of a new product and post it on Instagram, you can also share it on Twitter.  This is a great feature, as you often have different followers on different platforms, but you have to try and not abuse it.  People hate (I don't know if I can say it strongly enough- HATE) when Twitter accounts are auto-linked to Pinterest and Facebook.  Meaning, if you go and pin 20 recipes for rice, your followers are going to see all. 20. links.  And that is just plain annoying and will lead to unfollowing.  Same goes for Facebook.  Do not auto-link your Twitter feed to tweet everything you post to Facebook.  First, it's repetitive to followers on both platforms.  Second, it's better to do these manually and have control over what you're posting.  In some cases people forget they're linked and may post something they didn't intend for certain followers to see, or you end up seeing the exact same thing two tweets in a row.

The moral of the story?  Twitter is a great conversational medium, but you have to work at it for it to work for you and you have to be authentic about it.

Written by Kristen of Milo and Molly.  Kristen runs her business while staying at home with her two small children. Fueled by an endless supply of tea, she sews late into the night when the house is quiet, most often accompanied by her faithful poodle, Casey. (Follow her on Twitter!)

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