Small businesses today, more than ever, have the opportunity to use social media services such as Twitter to raise awareness for their businesses and grow their customer bases. Like all things, Twitter has it's own set of rules. Here, OPEN Forum experts give their best advice on how to get started, what to do, and what definitely not to do.
You wouldn't go to a board of directors meeting in jean shorts, so why would you use Twitter without knowing the dos and don’ts. Serious Eats' Maggie Hoffman lists the eight basic rules for avoiding an awkward online faux pas. Don't be a screamer. Do be inquisitive and engaging. Think of Twitter as if it is a dinner party—the most popular guest is the one asking questions and sharing interesting stories.
Self-promotion gets old fast. If you're going to keep your followers interested—and attract new ones—you have to keep it fresh. Remember, a picture is worth 1,000 words and, since you're only dealing with 140 characters, it's definitely worth posting a few here and there. A retweet is the ultimate compliment. Consider retweeting a customer who says something particularly brilliant (and hopefully relevant). And remember to keep it personal: Shout out employee successes and personal stories.
Even if you're not ready to start tweeting, Twitter can still help you become a better business owner. In the video below, Gary Vaynerchuk explains how he uses Twitter's search page for market research.
Sure, many of your Twitter followers will follow you on Twitter simply because they love the products and services you offer in the real world. But that doesn't mean you can't increase engagement and loyalty by giving them some online love. Mashable's Lauren Drell can get you started, with six ideas to reward your Twitter followers.
Think of your Twitter followers as potential customers—you want to keep growing that base. One great way to keep bringing in new followers: Create a contest. "You really want people to post your giveaway in their Twitter feed," says Jennifer Berson, president of Jeneration PR. "…you could tweet, 'WIN 1 set of product—to enter RT this giveaway and check back on Friday." Another great way to get your name out there: attract a big-name influencer in your field. Don’t be shy—e-mail them, tweet at them, or send them your product.