Use Twitter Effectively to Grow Your Business

By Cristina Aiello

Being a 20-something year-old college student, I can sum up what I like to do in my free time in one word: tweet. It’s really a blessing that I fell in love with Public Relations when I came to Simmons College because tweeting and staying connected via social media outlets is now part of the job description for many businesses.

If you’re not familiar with Twitter, let me bring you up to date. “Twitter is an online social networking or micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based messages of up to 140 characters, known as ‘tweets’” (Wikipedia). So why is Twitter important? Well according to the “Search Engine Journal,” Twitter is the fourth most used social networking tool in the world, and it doesn’t just benefit college students and young adults. Twitter is now taking over the business world and companies from all over are sharing a few ‘how to’ tips on using Twitter effectively for your business, your product, and yourself.

One website that I have found absolutely compelling is the Blue Cloud Solutions blog. Here are some tips from blogger Carter about five ways to use Twitter effectively:

1. Create a M.A.P.

The first step to effectively using Twitter is to create a M.A.P. or Marketing Action Plan for your business. Your M.A.P. will include a list of all the things you can tweet about – company news, blog posts, important announcements, special offers, industry news and so on.

2. Don’t be afraid to get creative.

The most effective Twitter accounts (aside from celebrities) are those managed by folks not afraid to take chances and get creative. Here are some great examples: CoffeeGroundzKogi BBQ and Maine’s very own BeadinPath. Add some flair and personality to your tweets. As a small business, you want to be approachable and getting creative and lighthearted can help you achieve that goal.

3. Engage in “two-way” conversations.

The last thing you want to do on Twitter is stuff the pipelines with constant “stuff” about your business. In addition to the items listed on your M.A.P., you also want to make sure that you are taking advantage of what social media is all about – fostering relationships and building a community around your brand. To do this, you need to engage in two-way conversations. Start by monitoring your “mentions” and see who is talking about you. And respond! Include the “@” symbol before their Twitter user name so that it feeds directly into their account (and they can respond back!). Also consider tweeting questions to specific people on Twitter or your followers in general. Encourage them to @ reply their responses!

4. Maintain a non-annoying frequency.

There is nothing worse than logging on to your Twitter account and seeing hundreds of tweets from the same person or business posted back-to-back within seconds (or minutes) of each other. Don’t do this! Maintain a non-annoying tweeting frequency. How often you tweet depends on who is following you, what you have to say, how often you are re-tweeted and so on. There is no one-size-fits-all-solution. Since Twitter streams move at a rapid pace, it is recommended that you tweet often – but not too often. Watch how your audience reacts and adjust accordingly.

5. Utilize a targeted follow/unfollow approach.

Listen. We all dream of having millions of followers or thousands of adoring fans. Problem is, focusing on numbers – especially on Twitter – is the equivalent of simply banging on a pot with a metal spoon; you’ll be generating a lot of noise. Focus on growing your Twitter following organically, in a targeted way. The best way to achieve this is to select one of your target markets and spend some time following accounts that fall within this area. Use the search functionality right on Twitter or visit listing resources such as Listorious. Follow up to 50 accounts. Approximately 48 hours later, go to a service such as Just Unfollow and stop following up to 50 accounts that did not reciprocate. The next day, repeat this process. Keep doing this with specific target markets or accounts you wish to follow – those that are most relevant and beneficial.

So there you have it. I hope that you find Carter’s tips helpful and useful. Now what are you waiting for? Get out there and tweet!!!

Cristina Aiello is a Simmons College student and an intern with CMN this semester.