Twitter is one of the most popular social networking or social media marketing sites on the Internet – it is one of the top players along with Facebook, YouTube, and Linked In. Two years ago there were not as many ‘common folk’ using Twitter – it was more the early adopters and also celebrities started getting in it. But today, nearly 5 years after Twitter first launched, many people are using this network as a way to keep informed and stay in touch. Networking for business is another reason people are using Twitter.
Twitter has become ingrained within our society: The awareness of Twitter has jumped to over 87% of Americans have heard of Twitter. More than celebrities are getting into the world of Tweets; local and national news channels, radio stations, big business and now small business and everyday folk are all jumping on the Twitter bandwagon. And, chances are, if they haven’t yet – they will be soon!
So, what makes Twitter such a great tool for making connections for your business?
Here are a few reasons a Small Business should be considering using Twitter:
1. Your target market is on Twitter. As we talked about above, Twitter is an ever growing community. This means the chances are very high that many people in your target market is on Twitter. Use this to your advantage and get yourself in front of them.
2. Twitter use is Growing. With everyone and their brother joining Twitter, its reach is constantly growing. What this means for you is that you have a larger audience (that’s growing constantly) that you might not have been able to reach with other forms of media or networking.
3. Showcase your Expertise. By sharing bits and pieces (in 140 character tweets) you can allow people to see why you do what you do and showcase your expertise quickly and easily to tons of people in that market.
Because Twitter is limited to 140 characters, you don’t have much space to get wordy about the topic you’re tweeting about. This forces you to get to the point. No long-winded explanations were necessary. Twitter streams move quickly so if you want to get noticed, you need to come up with a way to catch the attention of your followers quickly.
4. Target market research is super easy with Twitter’s search function. Now you don’t have to work so hard to find out EXACTLY what your target market needs. Creating surveys of your current customers and leads is a great way to learn these things, but let’s face it you don’t always get the results you were hoping for. Searching for people talking about your industry or problems you help solve is simple to do using Twitter’s advanced search. You can easily see what your market is talking about and share with them the products or services that fit their needs; you can also adapt to make changes and give them what they are looking for.
Those are just a few of the reasons Twitter is perfect for business networking. Now, because everything has both good and bad points, let’s discuss some of the cons of Twitter.
Drawbacks of Twitter
1. Limitations of Space to Talk. You’re limited in what you can post with each message. While being quick and to the point is a good thing, it also stifles you some times. With only 140 characters to say what you have to say, this can be a drawback at times for business owners.
2. Twitter streams move FAST! Because people can follow thousands of people at a time, it’s not uncommon for your message to get lost in the shuffle. Repeating yourself is almost necessary – but do so with caution or you’ll get unfollowed quickly. In other words, if you’re releasing a new product, don’t post the same tweet about it four or five times in a row. Go slowly and incorporate it within your tweets over several days. Excess is easily misinterpreted as spam – so don’t make it a habit to only promote yourself. Make certain to be networking as well along the way. Have conversations – talk to people, don’t always be ‘selling’.
3. Spammers have found their way in! As with every other Internet-related site/program spammers have found their way into Twitter. One way they’ve done this is by using the direct message (DM) feature to blast their websites and businesses to anyone who follows them. Unfortunately it is hard to completely avoid spammers unless you meticulously go in and block those who follow you that you don’t want to associate. Auto DM’s can be used but they should not be used as a pitch fest for your business.
4. Confusing to Learn and Understand. Twitter provides many wonderful opportunities to build a network and share your services and products with a targeted and interested market. It is fairly simple to use and there are many applications available that make it very easy to “tweet” from almost anywhere.The trick is learning to use this platform efficiently and effectively for your business. Without some guidance or training of some sort – whether tutorials or social media training programs, it can be confusing to figure out how to incorporate and use Twitter for your Business. I suggest getting support or training of some sort to help you start off properly and learn to become more familiar with this tool to properly reach your market the most efficient way possible.
As a Social Media Virtual Assistant, part of what I do (along with my team of Associate VAs) is to help people get online with a proper setup of their social media accounts and then help them manage their networking and marketing activities. Sometimes this support is what can make or break a business when they start using Social Media. It can be confusing and challenging at first – but many of our clients find this aspect of their marketing a breeze now because of the help we provide along the way.
I firmly believe most businesses can benefit from using Twitter, no matter the drawbacks. Read what some of our clients have had to say about our social media support!