Using Twitter to Advance Your Business

The technological explosion within the last decade has introduced an abundance of social networking sites, like Twitter.  Many business owners are overwhelmed at the thought of mastering yet another networking tool that many believe holds endless marketing potential.  Some have decided to avoid these internet sensations, hoping they will eventually go away, while others have chosen to invest hours and hours of time using Twitter to update, promote and tweet their business to the next level.  Both of these options are a bit extreme; your Twitter success probably lies somewhere in the middle.  Here are 6 simple do’s and don’ts that will help you ease your way into the Twitterverse:

1. DO take time to build an appealing profile (before all else).

Upon setting up your Twitter account, you may first be tempted to start following people because, well, that’s what Tweeters do.  But lest someone, curious about their new follower, flit to your profile, they might be severely disappointed and choose not to follow you back as a result.  Take the time to create an engaging profile that includes a picture, a thoughtful bio and, if possible, a link to your website.

2. DON’T use Twitter to market relentlessly.

Remember that you can be unfollowed with one simple click—don’t tempt people.  Joel Comm, author of Twitter Power 2.0, explained, “…if all you do is tell people about your new product or try to send them to some affiliate site, you’ll soon find that you have no followers at all.  Don’t forget that some of your followers will be receiving your tweets on their mobile phones.  That means that they might be paying for them.  If they don’t think that they’re getting value for their money—whether that’s entertainment value, advice value, or any other kind of value—they’ll stop following.”

3. DO use Twitter as a way to gather information.

In his article entitled “5 Top Twitter Tips for Business,” Phillippa Gamse suggests that Twitter be used to watch your competition and see how they’re using these social networking sites to promote their own businesses.  You can also follow the leading experts in your industry to stay current or post tweets intended to help you better understand your industry and potential clients.

4. Don’t become obsessed.

Like other social networking sites, Twitter can also become a time drain, sucking away countless billable hours.  To prevent this, we suggest you impose a daily limit on social networking.

5. Do send messages to others and retweet especially interesting tweets.

Twitter is all about building a solid community for you and your business.  If you choose not to engage with other users, Twitter will become a stagnate and useless tool.  By sending messages to others and retweeting interesting tweets, you reach out to other tweeters in attempt to build significant relationships that could, eventually, help build your business.

6. Don’t limit yourself.

Twitter is most rewarding to those that try to test its boundaries.  Consider the types of tweets you appreciate, and then be sure to tweet likewise.  Include tweets that are informative, interesting, funny, and valuable.  And believe it or not, that can be done in 140 characters or less.

Just because a technology exists doesn’t mean you have to dive in and use it extensively.  However, in order to maintain a competitive advantage, it’s important that you do your research to determine how this social networking tool could benefit your business.  Use these 6 easy tips to ease your way in and see what Twitter can do for you.

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Comm, Joel.  Twitter Power 2.0 John Wiley & Sons: Hoboken, New Jersey: 2010

Fitton, Laura, Michael E. Gruen and Leslie Poston.  Twitter for Dummies Wiley Publishing, Inc: Indianapolis, Indiana: 2010

Gamse, Phillippa.  “Top Five Twitter Tips for Business (with a Healthy Dose of Skepticism).” 30 November 2010