Twitter is one of the fastest-growing social media tools out there right now. The free service is used by millions of people everyday and continues to grow in popularity.
Twitter is an online tool, similar to instant messaging, that allows users to submit updates on themselves of 140 text-based characters or less. These updates, called "tweets," then get displayed on the user's Twitter page, where other Twitterers can "follow" what the person is up to and even comment if they'd like.
More recently businesses have begun to realize the potential of Twitter as a point of contact with their customers and have joined the site, using it in multiple ways. News outlets, like MSNBC, typically use the service to disseminate breaking news. Whole Foods uses it to release up-to-date product information. Comcast has received a lot of coverage for using it to solve customer service issues. Twitter is a great vehicle for businesses to create a dialogue and keep in close contact with many of their customers. Here are some additional ways you can use Twitter for your small business.
1. Announce new offers, deals or sales.
2. Announce news relevant to your industry or business.
3. Provide short tips or useful information.
4. Ask for suggestions or feedback.
5. Announce recent press coverage.
6. Report on live events you're attending.
7. Keep track of your name and brand and what people are saying about it.
8. Alert your followers when you have a new blog post.
9. Attract new clients by thoughtfully adding to conversations surrounding your industry.
10. Share valuable tools or resources.
Getting your business on Twitter is easy. Just go to Twitter.com and choose a username that relates to your business or is your actual company name. Then start searching for people who are interesting or might be interested in you. Start following them and start adding to the conversation. Keep in mind that you'll get out of it what you put in to it, so put some time and effort in to staying engaged.
For right now Twitter is free to all users, commercial or non-commercial, but Twitter co-founder Biz Stone announced last month that this might be changing for business accounts. It's been widely publicized that Twitter is having issues with monetization, and Stone sees charging businesses a sort of membership fee for their use of Twitter as a means of generating revenue. How much these fees will be is still unknown, but Stone indicates that sooner or later they will be coming.
Nonetheless, the point of Twitter is to connect people, and it can certainly connect you with your customers or potential customers. All you have to do is be engaged and provide users with information that is valuable and interesting.