Twitter for Small Businesses

Twitter for Small Businesses - #TwitterSmarter chat with Amit Panchal

Running a business is tough, to say the least. Aside from building a name for yourself in your local community, you also spend all day making sure you give your customers the best experience. Is social media a right investment for you then? We invited digital media consultant Amit Panchal to talk about how small businesses can use Twitter. Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Amit Panchal
Topic: Twitter for Small Businesses
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: How do you decide if you need a Twitter presence?

We often discuss on #TwitterSmarter about knowing if your audience is on Twitter. If they’re not, then you should instead prioritize a medium they are on. However, that’s not to say you should ignore Twitter altogether.

Twitter, as Lance pointed out, is a worthy investment. Even though it takes a lot of time and energy to establish yourself on Twitter without an existing community, it’s totally worthwhile for its large potential reach, ease of use, and thorough, free analytics. If you can afford to dedicate the time and resources, definitely join Twitter.

As our guest explained, when people hear from small businesses on Twitter, they’re 2.7 times more likely to buy from them. That’s why Twitter is so powerful. It helps you acquire an entirely new set of audience.

Q2: Is your Twitter follower count important?

Simply said, follower numbers matter because it increases your chances of website clicks and sales. Besides, we’re all human. When we see an account with millions of followers, we automatically assume that their content will help us.

However, our community strongly felt that even though follower count is important, it’s worth remembering that engagement is often a more powerful indicator of influence.

As our friend from Salt Rank said, focus on getting your followers to engage with your content. Because if they don’t respond to you and your posts, then even millions of followers aren’t much use.

Q3: Share some tips to growing your audience on Twitter.

Amit shared a few great tips that you can start working on today:

  • Make sure your bio has a strong message.
  • Tweet as often as you can. The average lifespan of a tweet in a busy feed is only 3 seconds—so tweet your heart out.
  • Convey your personality and humaneness in your tweets.

  • Participate in Twitter chats to grow your network.
  • Use hashtags effectively. Don’t over do it though—two is plenty for a tweet.
  • Create content that addresses your followers’ concerns and questions.
  • Directly respond to your community’s tweets and constantly engage with them.
  • Add your Twitter handle in all marketing efforts—this includes print mediums, email signatures, and website.
  • Use visual elements in your tweets, and try video content to stand out in the feed.

Janet also gave us a great tip: tweet live from events. Well before Covid hit, live tweeting from conferences was a huge thing. And it always got results, too, because you use the event hashtag and tag speakers on your tweets. And now, even with conferences going virtual, you can still tweet about webinars and online workshops you attend or host. Not only is that a great way to share knowledge, but also a good way to connect with fellow attendees.

Q4: What are some major don’ts when building your community on Twitter?

Oh, there’re so many! But here are a few that our guest shared:

  • Repeating your links or your tweet copy.
  • Sharing a link without explaining why or what it is.
  • Keeping your account private. It’s understandable if you’re only using Twitter for personal reasons, but if you’re a business, leave your account public.
  • Bulk-following people hoping they’d follow back.
  • Using too many hashtags.

Amanda shared another great tip about not broadcasting. Twitter is meant to be social, and to get the most out of the platform, engage with your community. Respond to replies and notifications. You can even ask questions in an existing thread, which triggers a new conversation.

Q5: Do you need a Twitter strategy if you’re a small business?

Of course! If you’re a business on Twitter, you have to have a strategy. The size of your business has nothing to do with that.

Having a clear strategy can help you achieve your goals in a systematic way. Whether you’re looking to increase your followers, promote a new product or a campaign, or building up your community, you’ll need a plan to succeed.

As Sharanya mentioned, one of the greatest benefits of having a strategy is that it gives you direction. On a day to day basis, it helps create content, prioritize goals, and most importantly, help new members in your team or business understand what’s going on.

Q6: How do you go about creating a Twitter strategy?

The first step is to identify your target audience based on your business goals. This means you’re evaluating your business offering in terms of who you want to sell it to. You should understand their location, age group, interests, job function, and even the industry they work in. All of these can help you narrow down your target audience and create a more effective plan for them.

Once you have those details, you can start creating content that resonates with them. And always remember to reshare high-performing content. Those are your evergreen posts.

And to make sure your strategy is working, always be prepared to revise. As Marianne said, testing is your friend. If something seems awry with your strategy, learn, reevaluate, and make the necessary changes.

Q7: What kind of goals should a small business set on Twitter?

Looking at it from an end-goal perspective, one of the biggest motives for a small business is to increase website visits and clicks. Set smaller goals that’ll help you achieve that big goal. For example, growing your follower count, getting more engagement in terms of replies and retweets, and increasing click throughs on your links.

Roger said it well: social > media. Focus on developing relationships with people and building your trusted community. They’ll help spread your word. The more loyal fans you have, the more followers, and ultimately, more website clicks.

Q8: How can you use Twitter to monitor your competition?

One of the most common ways to monitor your competition is to follow them on Twitter. Allocate a time to periodically browse their profiles and understand their current campaigns and tweets.

Megan spoke about using social media monitoring tools like Hootsuite. These tools often let you create either alerts or columns representing a specific competitor, so you can have a broad view of what your competition is up to.

Lists are also a great way to keep up with your competitors. You can create a private list of all you competitors so that they don’t get notified that you’ve added them to your list.

Well, folks. That’s all from me this week. Thanks a lot for reading, and for more insights from our chat with Amit, have a look at this Twitter Moment that Joana put together. And if you’ve got time to spare next Thursday, join us for the #TwitterSmarter chat at 1pm ET.

About me, Narmadhaa:

I write all things—technical and marketing copy to fill the pocket; haiku and short stories to fill the soul. A social media enthusiast, I’m a member of the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and always happy to take on writing gigs.

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