If you only do One Thing this month- to improve your business’ potential to market itself online- start using Twitter.
Twitter + Google = Love
Twitter has recently reached an agreement with Google to provide real-time data, to use in Google Search. Early reports suggest that Tweets are going to show up in the Google search results– along other web pages. As a result many more businesses are going to be jumping to Twitter- so it’s time for you to join the conversation, as well.
This isn’t the first time Twitter and Google have worked together. A few years ago Twitter gave Google access to it’s “firehose”- a direct stream of tweets. At that time Google used this data to access real-time news and also to identify pages that needed to be added to the Google index. For example, a client came to me about a website that Google wasn’t serving in the SERPs. I noticed that there were no links to their website- so I wasn’t surprised. I tweeted a simple link to their homepage and Google indexed it within 30 minutes. This phenomenon ended with the Caffeine update (about a month before Google Plus began)
With Google’s new partnership with Twitter, this might work once again. Then again, it might be different to. Only time will tell.
What should you do about this?
What does this mean to you, as a business owner?
Create a Twitter Account
First of all, if you don’t have a Twitter account in the name of your business, create an account. If this is the only thing you do, you’ll at least have access to this profile to use at a later point.
Follow Some People Using Twitter
Already have a Twitter account? Then follow some people. Who should you follow?
- Are there any associations or organizations active in your industry?
- Are there any business organizations to which you’re a member?
- Are any news organizations in your city, active on Twitter? Think: newspapers, TV, radio and even particular reporters.
- Are any industry periodicals active on Twitter? Follow them and individual reports that cover your “beat.”
- Are any of your competitors tweeting? Follow them? Heck, follow who they are following.
- Follow some of your clients. Then again, you might not want to in case your competitors want to follow them, too.
- Follow any partners or vendors you trust.
- Follow people you know professionally (or even personally).
- Find relevant Twitter users with a tool like WeFollow.
Why follow them?
- Twitter is about communication. Following people is the first step to getting people to listen to you. Remember- the best communicators are great at listening to others.
- Sometimes, when you follow people, they will follow you back. These will be your first set of followers (the people interested in listening to what you have to say).
Start Speaking with People on Twitter
You might already have a Twitter account. You might already have some followers. What’s next? Start speaking with them. Notice I didn’t say, “start talking to them.” Social networks, like Twitter, are no different than networking in person. Remember the last time you went to an event where you had to hob-nob with other professionals? Who did you spend the most time with? Was it the person who only tried to sell you their services or the person who wanted to get to know you? Twitter is no different: if you jump-in and just start selling, no one will want to hear what you say. Take some time and listen first. When I say, “listen” I mean, “active listening” that is, ask some questions and learn what other people are thinking.
Here are some great “conversation starters” for Twitter:
- Ask them how they are using Twitter in their business.
- Ask them to tell you about their current challenges
- Ask them how business is going
- Ask them for advice about a problem you’re facing
- Ask them anything (brief) that you could ask in a public message. Heck, it could be anything. The point is- start communicating.
Don’t Take Shortcuts on Twitter
This takes a lot of time. I understand. The temptation is to take shortcuts. Some people attempt to buy followers. That might give you numbers- but are they actually listening? Some people just start promoting themselves- but who wants to just follow your ads?
How Twitter Will Help Your Business
Using Twitter the right way takes time, but it will pay off in a couple of ways:
- When you’ve got something important to say (a new product launch, a special offer, a new webinar) people will be ready to listen. In fact, if you’ve built-up some trust they might even help you promote it- for free.
- You can use Twitter to gain valuable information about your market and your industry. This can help better inform your other marketing efforts.
- Twitter followers are a great soft-lead. People might not be ready to contact you for your services, but willing to follow your Tweets.
- You can use Twitter to multiply your other marketing channels. This is most clear when it comes to the partnership between Google and Twitter, when it comes to organic search.
- For some businesses, Twitter can be a direct source for leads.
Where should you start? I’ve provided several ideas here- start with at least one.
- Create a Twitter account
- Start following people on Twitter
- Start speaking with people on Twitter
It might not transform your business over night, but at least it gives you more opportunities in the future.
Is your business using Twitter? What have you gotten from it? What has been the hardest part of using Twitter, for your business? Leave your thoughts in the comments, below.