By Rieva Lesonsky
Too many people mistakenly think you need some type of seed capital to get your business off to a strong start. You don’t, but you’ll need to work every angle you can. Luckily, social media provides an easy way to make a big impact on your small business marketing.
Over the next few months, in my posts here, I’ll give you the scoop about how you can market your business effectively, without breaking the bank—or having to apply for a small business loan.
Let’s start with Twitter. Although not as large as Facebook, Twitter use has been surging. In fact, according to Twitter Use 2012, a new report from The Pew Internet & American Life Project, 15 percent of all adult Internet users in America used Twitter in February 2012, and the percentage of people who go on Twitter daily has doubled in the past 9 months.
If you’re not in the Twitter game yet, you’re missing out on a hot marketing and communication tool. When starting out on Twitter, it can be overwhelming to see other small business owners with thousands and thousands of followers. You don’t need to have that many followers at the outset. Get started slowly, and if you’re patient you’ll see your numbers rise. Twitter for business is becoming important. Don’t deny this invaluable tool.
If you don’t already have one, get started by setting up a free Twitter account and importing your email contact list. Start following those contacts who have Twitter presences. See who they are following, and follow them, too.
Once you’ve done that, search for your customers and potential customers and follow them (hopefully, they’ll follow you back!). You never know when customers check their Twitter feeds—for some, it’s more often than their email inbox, so by being on Twitter, you might get a response you never would have otherwise. And don’t forget to follow your competition to keep up on what they’re tweeting about. Many people are on twitter for business purposes so why not you!
Worried about what to tweet? Think about all the useful information you read about and see in your daily business and personal life. Would others care? Likely, yes, someone will care and want to pass along the information. Tweet information related to your business—including (but not limited to) deals, coupons and special events. Make sure what you tweet is valuable information, not just a marketing message, and the word will spread you are important to follow.
Start taking control of the sheer volume of Twitter at the beginning so you don’t get overwhelmed down the road. Visit http://twitter.com/downloads for Twitter management applications to simplify and organize your tweets. Tweetdeck (www.tweetdeck.com) lets you sort your Twitter feed into easily monitored columns. Also, look into using some kind of Twitter analysis tool so you know if your efforts are working. NutshellMail is one tool that monitors all your social media accounts, including Twitter.
Know the lingo so you aren’t a Twitter dork. Don’t confuse your “tweetups” from your “hashtags.” Check out the Twitter glossary so you sound like a pro.
Finally, don’t forget to add your Twitter “handle” in all your email correspondence, on your website and your business cards.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports