Twitter is the closest digital equivalent to a word-of-mouth spread of information. It’s a micro-blogging service that can, if used well, enable you to communicate with a large and receptive following.

For small businesses, it provides a low-cost way of connecting with your customers directly, allowing you to establish an online presence by delivering news and content to a global audience. While tweets are restricted to 280 characters, they can include photos or video, and links to other web pages. Overall, this makes Twitter an attractive portal to a huge array of content.

Tonnes of small businesses are using Twitter for marketing today, as it offers a fantastic opportunity to spread the word and engage with topical discussions. But how can you use make Twitter work most effectively for your business? Here are a few ways your small business can use Twitter for marketing.

For customer service

For customer service, it can be a massive boon. When you consider the time and effort spent managing customer service via email or phone, a quick tweet can save you a considerable amount of time. The visibility for customers who might have a query that somebody else has previously made is also a massive plus, as they may find their answer before even making contact themselves.

When using Twitter for customer service purposes, it’s a good idea to include business hours on your profile, to inform customers when they can expect to receive a reply from you. Also, avoid template responses, as people respond much better to a human touch.

Proactively ask your customers for their feedback on your business and what they would like to see more – or less – of. This potential for conversations and genuine interactions is a huge benefit for small businesses using Twitter as a marketing tool.

For trend spotting

Twitter is excellent for spotting trends in customer interest by listening to what people are saying about your line of business.

By searching and using hashtags, you can follow a subject of interest and engage in conversations on the topic. Working out your objective is important – and whether Twitter is the right fit to achieve this objective, given that your time and resources will be in demand as a small business.

For brand awareness

Twitter is a great place for new customers to discover your business for the first time. So, make sure your profile is fully filled out to give people a clear picture of what you do, how to contact you and where to engage with you via other social media channels.

You can also use Twitter to become an authority or a trusted information source on a particular – and relevant – topic, by consistently contributing timely and useful content on that subject.

Take advantage of Twitter’s ability to share photos and videos from your business. Videos don’t have to be polished and perfectly edited; you can record on your phone and share across multiple channels. You can also encourage engagement and boost reach by posting promo codes, competitions, offers or exclusives to your Twitter audience.

A fantastic Twitter marketing case study is Joe Wicks, The Body Coach (@thebodycoach), who became an internet sensation by sharing short videos of himself preparing healthy meals. His meteoric success comes from his relatability and the way he engages his followers through sharing their success stories and replying to comments regularly.

For advertising

A small budget can go a long way on Twitter. This can be used on ads to promote your account, expand your reach and grow your followers.

There is no minimum spend, so Twitter advertising suits a variety of budgets. With Twitter ads, you have the benefit of attracting the target audience you want to connect with and controlling how and where you spend your budget, with targeting options available for age, gender, interests, locations and keywords. Plus, you get free access to their suite of analytics to monitor the success of your ads.

Every social media channel has its strengths and limitations. In order to create a Twitter marketing strategy that works best for your small business, you must first decide what you want to get out of it – is it improved customer service, an increase in brand awareness, or to get to know your existing customers a bit better? Once you have a plan, with focused action on activities that will bring the results you’re after, Twitter can become a valuable tool for boosting the success of your business.

Of course, with success comes risks, so make sure you have the appropriate SME insurance in place to protect your business.

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