I’ve seen too many Twitter guides to business already. The top 5 things you must do on Twitter. The top 10 things you should never do on Twitter. Do this, not that. Whatever. It’s really not that hard, so I thought I’d share a small business owners real ideas about Twitter and how to grow your business using the web’s most fun social network.
I’ve successfully used Twitter to grow my online business presence over the past few years and I’ve learned a few things that should help you figure out how to effectively use Twitter for your business.
First, be real. Seriously, no one likes (or likes to follow) a company that is treating Twitter like a press release syndication method. Interact with people. Talk about other topics in addition to your business. I own and operate a wine club and gift basket business, but you’ll find my talking about local sports, the San Francisco and Oakland food scenes, parenting and marriage. Basically, I treat people on Twitter the same way that I would treat them if I saw them in person. How boring would your life be if you could only talk about one topic? If you want to stay 100% on topic, great-spend more time on your business on Facebook.
Secondly, find influencers. For my wine business, it’s wine bloggers and reviewers. Some are more willing to chat and build a relationship than others. Find the good ones. The ones who complain about spilling coffee on their sofa at 7am when they were trying to get their toddler ready for school, not the one’s who only Tweet about their most recent blog article. These are the bloggers who are going to eventually talk about you. Being self absorbed is bad.
Lastly, talk about well known brands-not the huge one’s, but the ones from your industry. Here’s an example, if I mention an American winery, I’m lucky to have anyone retweet it, no matter how nice, cool and interesting I am. If I do the same about a New Zealand winery, I’ll gain 10 new followers and at least that many retweets. It’s an interesting phenomenon but you’ve got to find out what aspects of your industry people care about. Napa Valley wineries, evidently people only really care about the finished product. New Zealand wineries though, in a county of only four million? People feel like they are somehow connected to the quality and acceptance of those wines and will help those people who seem to be on the same page as they are.
The real question for any business owner-what’s the long term, ROI? Quite simply we’ve all struggled to adjust these calculations for social media over time, but as time goes by and social media becomes an even greater part of search engine algorithms, can you really not start today? In my niche, the average click costs over $5. I can’t pay that, but I can use Twitter to grow my business today and can count on it to continue to help me grow it into the future.
Mark Aselstine is an owner of Uncorked Ventures, a high-end wine business. Mark has learned to love social media and the interaction it can provide.