You can’t turn on the radio or the television without mention of Twitter these days – whether its politicians, celebrities and sports stars getting in trouble over their Tweets or David Dimbleby uncomfortably soliciting viewer interaction with the Newsnight Twitter account during the programme.

Use Tweetdeck to mange your twitter account

But what about your business?  Do you fancy paying someone to tell the world what they had for supper, do your clients need to know about the lastest funny incident in the office, so you can prove you’re human after all.?  No, I thought not.

But, Twitter does present a major opportunity for small businesses as a low cost marketing channel, a networking tool and a way to promote your website through Tweeting links to your content – hopefully aimed at a well-targeted audience of followers.

But don’t expect that from the outset you will have thousands of people hanging on your every word and buying your products left right and centre, there’s a lot of noise on Twitter and you will have to cut through this and identify and engage your target audience.  With a little time and investment it can be a great tool for networking and creating dialogue where there was none.

Some of the benfits we’ve enjoyed from twitter have included arranging meetings directly with people that would have normally been barred by a secretary, getting peers and potential customers to comment on our work and other opportunities that have come to us directly as a result of my Tweeting.

There is a learning curve though as you set-up your account, add friends and send your first tweets.  Finding your voice is important too – setting the tone.

Some companies opt for a dry announcement style of tweet that has clearly been vetted by many layers of marketing police – whilst others swing past infomal and can become inane diaries of the micro-variety (or vaguely offensive).

One tool I couldn’t live without is Tweetdeck.  This software can be downloaded to your desktop (or mobile device) for free and helps you to manage your twitter account(s) in a much more user friendly manner than the Twitter.com website.

My recommendation is to add three columns – Mentions (when someone publicly uses your @twitterusername to publicly address or mention you), New Followers and Direct Messages (when someone sends you a private message).

These three elements will give you a good at-a-glance view of your account and allow you to welcome new followers and respond to messages and mentions without missing any.

The small matter of etiquette.

- Thank people who Retweet (RT) your Tweets or mention you

- On Fridays, mention interesting people or people you think worthy of following with a #FF (Follow Friday) mention

- Don’t spam people  – either with public mentions or private messages

For advice on the set-up and use of social media in your business please get in touch to arrange a consultation.

 

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