Interested in growing your business through social media, but not sure where to start? For business owners new to Twitter, micro messaging, and social media networking, we've put together this introductory guide to help get you started.
Meet Isabelle, owner of The Ideal Cup coffee shop. As an entrepreneur on a tight budget, Isabelle is planning to use online social media tools to help market and grow her business. Let’s take a look at how she can get started.
What is Twitter?
An online tool for instant communication between individuals, groups, businesses, and other organizations. Twitter allows you to follow other users, and for other users to follow you. The communication is intended to be brief, less than 140 characters per message.
Twitter is a way for Isabelle to send out brief messages about herself and her business. She can formally promote her business through twitter by mentioning new products, sale items or upcoming event, as well as using it to chat informally with her customers. The main goal of using twitter for Isabelle is to create a community of users who have an interest in her business.
How to Get Started
- Visit www.twitter.com
- Sign up for a new twitter account for your business. Be sure to use the name of your business as the username to better identify yourself.
- Try searching for other twitter users who have similar interests as you and your business. You can also try searching for your friends, colleagues, employees and local businesses by email address. If you find anyone you want to follow, feel free to add them to the people youare following.
Share your first tweet! Feel free to be creative, funny (or if you prefer – right to the point).
- Log in to twitter regularly to join the conversation. Respond to direct messages or mentions that your customers (or followers) send to you. If you are a smart phone user (iPhone, Blackberry, etc.) you can keep up to date with twitter through your mobile device by downloading the twitter application (app).
How to Grow
Once you have created a profile on Twitter and have started posting tweets, the next task is to build a group of users who are following you. Start by letting your customers know that you have a twitter account – awareness is the first step. The next step is to create interesting and useful content that your customers will want to read. Remember, people often stop following twitter users who are dull or inactive.
After three months of hard work and regular tweeting, Isabelle has over 100 followers, most of whom are friends, family and customers of her coffee shop. She regularly follows other coffee shops owners of local business through twitter, and keeps up to date on the latest trends and news for her industry with twitter.
Application (App) – a program designed specifically to run on a smart phone, or other mobile device. Twitter can be installed on your phone by downloading the official application, available at www.twitter.com.
Followers – this term is used to describe other users who are currently ‘subscribing’ to your twitter profile. Your followers are able to read every tweet that you post, as soon as you post it.
Following – these are the users who you have chosen to follow. You are able to read every tweet they send.
@mentions – this function of twitter allows you to see who has mentioned you or your business in their messages, or to alert others when you mention them in your tweets. i.e. Thanks for sharing this article @sba_bc
#hashtags – hashtags are used to identify topics or trends that people are tweeting about, and as a way to categorize tweets. Use hashtags to increase the exposure of your tweets, or to see what others are saying about a particular topic de jour. i.e. Meet Kevin #Bieksa this Thursday at @theidealcup for a 1-hour autograph signing. #canucks. By doing this, your tweet could be viewed by anyone searching for Bieksa or Canucks within Twitter.
Retweet – A function of twitter that allows you to share the tweet of someone you follow, with all of your followers. Can be used to quote something you feel is important, or to distribute someone’s initial message to a larger audience.
Tweet – A short message (less than 140 characters) that is instantly sent to the followers of the poster. Tweets are then stored online by twitter, and are attached to the profile of the person who created the message for a period of time.
Twitterfeed – this is where you can read all of the recent tweets from the people you follow, in chronological order. Any tweets that you post are instantly sent to the twitterfeeds of your followers.
Reading the tweets of people you are following is made easy with the twitterfeed.
Lastly - but very important, be sure to check out @sba_bc on Twitter to stay current with small business events, resources, publications and must-read business articles from across the web.
If your business is new to Twitter, be sure to send us a direct message or @mention and we'll be happy to retweet on your behelf!