Twitter is a popular online service that lets you share information and updates with other readers. Check out our Beginner’s guide to Twitter for more information. You can also follow our HP Business Answers Twitter feed: @HPBizAnswers. Here are some tips that will help you get started and get the most out of it to promote your business.
- Create a user name that people will associate with your business. If your business name is unique and memorable then use it.
- Your page. You want your Twitter page to stand out, but you also need it to represent your business.
- Follow other users who share your interests. Replying to questions or comments and re-tweeting interesting posts will help you connect with people who could become prospects for your business.
- Research your competitors. Using a Twitter application that supports lists can help track down competitors and innovators in your field.
- Identify your audience. The beauty of Twitter is that you can potentially reach anyone in the world but business users often forget to narrow their scope. Targeting niche audiences with Promoted Tweets could be a powerful way to use Twitter for business.
- Make the most of your tweets. Each tweet is an opportunity to connect with your followers. Ask questions, provide answers, promote your blog and/or Web site and retweet interesting posts.
- Utilise Twitter tools and mobile applications. Mobile applications let you post and read tweets from your mobile phone and tools such as TweetLater schedules tweets in advance.
- Use Twitter to generate feedback. Even a small business can use Twitter to get immediate feedback and offer assistance. You just need to devote time to monitoring Twitter on a regular basis.
- Track your re-tweets. Another measure of Twitter's effectiveness is not the number of followers you have, but the degree to which your information is re-tweeted and shared across Twitter.
- Don’t make it all about business. Too much self-promotion can be off-putting and impersonal. Twitter is more than just a promotional tool; it is a fantastic way to connect and build relationships with people and businesses in your field.
Forget flashy PR agencies and marketing consultants. All it takes to get your business noticed online is some imagination and a bit of spare time.
Be the expert
A sure-fire way to build your profile online is to be seen as an industry expert. Aim to get your company’s name on a variety of relevant websites:
- Help people out. Join online forums that are relevant to your business, and then answer questions there whenever you can. You’re usually allowed to include a link to your website at the foot of messages, though you should avoid more overt promotion.
- Offer free content. Use Google to find blogs about your industry. Think up an interesting subject, then offer to write a guest blog post for one of these sites. Many will be happy to plug your business in exchange for interesting, free content.
- Get known on social networks. At a basic level, social networks are just people talking to each other. Search for discussions about your industry, then join in. To get started, find out how to use Twitter or LinkedIn - and read this guide to getting results from social networks.
Raising your profile on forums and social networks works best when you contribute frequently. It’s a good way to fill dead time, so bookmark relevant sites on your notebook or smartphone, then log on when you’re out and have a spare moment.
Looking to make a big splash online? If you don’t want to spend on advertising, you’ll need some imagination:
- Offer a killer deal. It’s hard to do this cheaply, but a great offer will get noticed by sites like HotUKDeals, seriously boosting your profile. For instance, this hotel’s £1 room sales get lots of online attention – and as the rooms would probably be otherwise empty, they don’t lose out.
- Run a zany story. Travelodge have mastered this, getting exposure on high profile sites like the BBC and Telegraph. Brainstorm a story (running a survey is a good way to find an angle), then compile the results and get the details out to some relevant websites.
That last point is a reminder that traditional PR methods can help too. Write your own press release (you can use a Microsoft Word template as a starting point), distribute it through services like PR Newswire and use the mail merge option in Microsoft Outlook to send it to your contacts. You might be surprised at how much coverage you pick up.