ADVICE

Finding your voice online

'Reflect the online identity of your business.'

Posted 5/21/12

Growing numbers of small and local businesses are discovering that a tweet can be a powerful tool for making your presence known among customers, prospects, your area and your industry. In particular, Twitter is great for helping amplify your marketing messages and grow your business.

More and more of your customers are joining and using Twitter, so if you aren’t there you’re missing an opportunity to be part of the online conversation. To use Twitter effectively, what you tweet about – your “voice” – should reflect the online identity of your business.

Here are some ideas for things to tweet about on a regular basis from Twitter for small business:

• Spotlight on people. Look for ways to focus on the people who help create a positive customer experience at your business. You might, for example, include photos of them at work.

• Tweet offers and incentives. One easy way to boost your audience is to offer a discount to anyone who retweets your offer – but only if you reach an established number of retweets (perhaps 10 or 20). Offer customers a reward of some kind if they mention your business – such as a free trial or extra service. (It’s also a good idea to include a link to the terms and conditions of your offer.) Some businesses ask customers to show them the tweet on their phones at checkout. Online sellers sometimes send the follower a discount code that can be tracked at checkout.

• Try some Q&A. Pose a question in your tweet and then answer it yourself with a link to your website or another location. For example, a car dealer might ask, “What are the top 10 reasons that people buy a new car?” and then link to a blog post that provides the answers. Or a golf shop might ask, “Is there an easy way to correct a slice?” and link to the answer.

• Entertain and inspire. People love to share positive tweets that entertain or inspire them in some way. The tweets that are passed along or “retweeted” the most usually contain links, photos or videos. Remember that when you tweet something interesting it has the potential to be shared among many prospective customers.

• Tweet photos. Experience shows that a descriptive tweet that includes a photo will not only get clicks, it will inspire people to share it with others by retweeting it. Think of it as a caption and photo combination. The words in the tweet are the “setup” and the photo is the punch line.

• Base your tweet on a quote. Some businesses inspire customers by tweeting pertinent quotes from business, literature, history or pop culture. Try to choose quotes that your followers will find inspirational enough to pass along to their own followers. •


Daniel Kehrer can be reached at

editor@bizbest.com.

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