A Small Business Guide to Twitter Marketing

The business world has recently been inundated with the buzz about Twitter, a web-based social networking application assisting those who wish to keep in touch with customers, clients and friends. Remarkably, it’s already allowed some entrepreneurs to double their clientele while efficiently enhancing their word of mouth marketing. The following will provide a thumb-nail sketch of the most important steps and tips for effectively using Twitter.

Getting Started
I highly suggest making your username, your business name. This will add a branding element in addition to Google ranking your Twitter account for your company searches, thus increases your prospects’ chances of finding you online. For your profile image, use a picture of yourself so that followers can associate your image with the company name. This is especially true if you as the owner are doing the tweeting. When designing your profile background, use one of the templates provided by sites like Twitterbacks or FreeTwitterDesign. Customize your account as much as possible by creating relevant a username, image and background to convey your brand.

Using Tweetdeck
After creating your account and customizing your profile, it’s vital to supplement your account with a management tool or application. Tweetdeck is probably the most used site for this which allows you to update and use Twitter more efficiently. Having thousands of followers necessitates the ability to filter the multitude of conversations. For example, it can allow you to just see a handful of your friends’ tweets even though you may be following 5,000 people. It also lets your search for a group of people based on keywords specific to a given business. The possibilities are virtually endless with this capability when you consider a local business seeking to track a certain town or zip code.

Personality
So many businesses fail because their customers do not know, like, and trust them. Today in 2009 it has never been easier for small business owners to integrate their personal touch with their product by using the internet and social media sites like Twitter. The less personable you seem, the less likely consumers will believe you. Consequently, you should also feel free to tweet non-business updates that allow your customers to acclimate themselves with your true character and interests.

Building Value
Don’t expect to have thousands of followers from week one. Rather, focus on building true customer loyalty and satisfaction by what they take away from your updates. Your goal is to garner a core group of fans who end up telling their friends about who you are and what you have to offer. One example of this is by you giving free advice, tutorials or samples to consumers that need your product or service. It strengthens your reputations and integrity if done with sincere honesty. In the long run these customers will remember you when their need arises, thus equating to more sales and greater revenue.

Summary
Twitter offers businesses a new way to connect with consumers and build customer loyalty. It’s important to take the right steps to make your profile and workflow receptive to new customers. Properly fill out your profile, use a Twitter application like Tweetdeck, and create a strategy for your business to make the best use of this new social platform.