How to leverage Twitter to help your business grow

May 21, 2008 Katja Presnal

Wendy at Sparkplugging is crowdsourcing – check out her blog post and especially all the comments and links – what a great source of amazing info!

I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts how to use Twitter to help your business grow. The deadline was actually almost 12 hours ago, but I have been writing this on and off today, and just now have the change to publish it.

GIVE, WITHOUT ASKING WHAT YOU CAN GET

Twitter is great for conversation. The conversation will help you to get information and give information.

When you just want to blurt out your company news, new blog posts and tell about incoming products without answering to people and talking to them – this is no conversation. This is twitter-advertising, and yes, you will get your twitter-ads out there and make a few sales, but in the long run – it won’t make your business grow. People might listen for a while, then you will just become background noise. Well, unless you are a Superstar and people would pay for the information you are giving them on Twitter.

Give information, help others. Yes, show your knowledge in your field and be an expert, but be helpful even when someone is looking for a great sandwich shop in your neighbourhood and you happen to know one. There really is such a thing as Twitter-karma. You help people and they will help you.

Don’t think Twitter as a tool, think of it as a Community of People.

These people are or could be your customers, your business partners, your suppliers, your retailers. They are all there. It’s up to you how you want to reach these people.

Just remember one thing – companies don’t do business with other companies. Am I crazy? No, think of it this way: it’s always a Person in a company doing business with a Person in another company, and ultimately those personal relationships with people will carry weight in our business decisions even if we didn’t want to. Frankly, do you want to do business with people you don’t like?

Most of our companies have competitors, and you need to give people a reason why come to you instead of going to your competitor. I know you have many of these reasons from better service or product to shipping and payment terms, or anything else. But you can be one of these reasons too. You personally are your business and can give the best reason for someone to do business with your company – so they can deal with you! Show that personality of yours – show it at Twitter.

SHOW THEM THE BUSINESS

To be honest, for some of us it is easier to join the conversation without even talking about our businesses. Well, you can be the most popular gal at Twitter, and have great conversations but if you don’t show your business – don’t expect your business to grow.

In the past two weeks many Twitter friends who are business owners have contacted me asking help with their business – and I’ve been surprised. I’ve known about your mother’s surgery (not a real example), but not that you even had a business!

You need to do these twitter ads, shameless selfplugs and engage and give people a reason to get to know your business. You need to tell them what you got!

The art of course is finding a harmony between giving people information and not just spamming them with your ads. According to the guidelines on http://dominatewithseo.com, you should do product updates, tell your on going sales or specials, share great news and ask help with not so great news or anything else. Just don’t do it too much.

It feels too simple even to say, but if there is no talk about your business at Twitter – Twitter is not likely to make it grow. You need to be the person to start the talk about your business, if nobody else has done it yet.

WAYS TO USE TWITTER

Surveys

Twitter is a whole new way to find your customers and their specific needs – follow people who you think might be in your target market, and just get to know them. The better you know your target market, the better you can serve it. When you have reached a certain number of followers in your target market, Twitter is a great way to ask directly from them, what they need, and how you can make your product/service better. Amazing way to do surveys – in real time, and get more specified answers than just “yes” or “no”.

Customer Service

Your customers can reach you via Twitter and you can help them in their buying decision or tell more about your product. It’s way easier than getting the phone and calling, and it also seems less formal – the customer is more likely to send a quick tweet question than calling.

Advertising

Like mentioned before – the 140 character blurps are great way to remind what your business does. Best if you just do it in one tweet, but never more than two or three tweets, then it really goes overboard, and you should have just done a blog post and tweeted a link.

Twitter-Giveaways

Works like blog giveaways – giving promotional freebies to your followers. Zappos is the king in this – follow him, you might win some shoes while you’ll learn how to do this.

Press Releases -> Viral Marketing

While 140 characters is short, you can get your news out fast, and even ask other people, your customers, suppliers, retailers and even bloggers to spread the word for you. Look at my right side-bar – see all those links? I had some great news a few weeks ago, I let all my Twitter-friends know about it, and many of them blogged about it. Now I have national and international press contacting me – and I haven’t even written an official press release yet. The word just got out – via Twitter.

AND TO BE CONTINUED…

My experiment with Twitter is still young, and these are my first couple months’ observations, written while on vacation. I am sure I will be revising this million times – but we all need to start somewhere, and hopefully these tips will help you to get started too.

Follow me on twitter – I’m @skimbaco – looking forward helping you to spread the word of your business!

Katja Presnal

Katja Presnal shows how to live Nordic inspired life to the fullest and plan your dream life. Katja owns Presnal5 strategic marketing intelligence agency and wants to help marketing professionals to combine a dream career and dream life via freelance work.Katja is an award-winning marketing strategist, and a well-known speaker. Katja has lived in five different countries, and seven states in the USA. Her three children were all born in different countries within three years. When not working or jet-setting the world, Katja is at home cooking big family dinners.She has been featured in NY Times, Glamour, Redbook, Fodor's, Forbes and Woman's Day magazines among many other national and international publications and written for MTV3 and Lifetime TV networks.

Comments (8)

  1. Great post. I think those that aren’t actively engaged in social media sometimes have a difficult time finding value in Twitter. It may not be the best fit for all business models, but it can certainly be leveraged as a valuable & effective tool for many businesses.

    To me, one of the most valuable assets of Twitter is the ability to connect with your audience on a more personal level and engage them.

    Very concise article, thanks for sharing.

  2. Still having a difficult time understand how to use twitter . Why is it that I can send messages to some people and not all ……Would love to learn how to promote myself as a subject matter expert …. but still having difficulty seeing through all the clutter … Many people are just writing about anything

    thanks for your help
    Anthony

  3. Online Affiliate Business Guide

    Yes, twitter along many other social bookmarking websites help create backlinks and drive traffic. I recommend using twitter, google bookmarks, yahoo bookmarks, digg, stumbleupon, etc.. There is also a plugin for wordpress.org users called “share this” and for the blogger.com users you can use share this as well, but you will have to copy and paste the code manually, which is no big deal.

    I don’t know if blogger.com has a share this setup in their “layout section” or not, I can’t remember.

  4. Carrie

    Hello!
    I’ve just started using twitter & it’s starting to become a lot of fun. Your post is very helpful & I appreciated reading about how to use Twitter to help my business grow without ahem twitvertising :)

    Found you on Delightful blogs.

  5. kristen

    Great post Katja! Twitter has been great for me since I have strong “impatient tendencies” and when I have a question or what to say something I want it now- and there is always someone on Twitter so you get instant feedback or replies. So much better then sending someone an email and waiting for half a day not knowing if they even got it!

    And it’s so easy to connect with other people like you said and strike up a conversation.

    I posted a different twist about Twitter on how to get started at http://www.tubbybundle.com/blog/how-to-use-twitter-simplified/

  6. Mista

    Awesome article. And yes, I can see how this would expand with time. Guess you’ll have a new category for it!

    When I started my blog, FashionMista.com, three years ago (or four?), I didn’t know that it had changed my life until maybe 2 years later, when I was talking about things that my normal friends had no idea what I was saying. Sometimes, when I’m walking my dog in the woods, I wonder: “What if this Internet just went “POOF!” and disappeared? What if it got over regulated? What would I do?” And that’s when I realize that A. I depend on the Internet to grow my businesses, and that B. I would most likely have to open a coffee shop if I could not be online.

    During a night of Twittering, I came up with this Twitter article in response to a question of why to use Twitter. I call it Tweetworking, and it’s super fun.

    Ok, back to following you at Twitter, @skimbaco!

  7. Sugar and Sprouts

    I have found twitter to be an amazing tool for making friends (hence the social aspect) and talk to other Moms who are experiencing many of the same things I am (trying to start a business while still being SUPER MOM!) Well, at least Mom. It’s hard, especially for those of us (like me!) who are REALLY new to doing anything online but internet shopping.

    But you know, that is what made me start thinking about blogging and having an online shop. That is probably what led a lot of us here. It is simply easier sometimes with kids to shop online. It is an incredibly supportive environment to have people to blog to and twitter at.

    And although I was very hesitant at first to enter these circles, I have found a comfort zone. I assumed that the phrase “there is nothing meaner than a high school girl” (something I experienced first-hand) may also be true of Mommys who have pre-existing relationships. I was afraid of being the outsider. But I wasn’t that outsider for long.
    Mom Bloggers like the owner of Skimbaco have been super in helping me out.

    Most Moms are nurturing and caring and want to help. This article I am commenting on is simply a reminder of that. Thanks for the twitter advice.

  8. Ricardo Bueno

    When you begin to use social media tools as mere business tools it’s easy to focus on the “media” aspect of it all and forget about the “social” in social media.

    Remembering the social aspect of it all however wield yield wonders (results) greater than just simple advertising. When you allow yourself to converse with others, well, that’s where/how brands are born.

    I like twitter because you can elicit feedback from those following you. If you can master this and build conversations around it, you’re bound to build a greater following.

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