Twitter for Small Businesses: Is it Worth it?

20 Aug 2009


Have you heard yourself saying something similar to this: Social media isn’t for me or my business. Twitter is just for kids. My clients don’t care about that kind of stuff.

Well, think again.

Nielsen NetRatings just published a surprising research study: Teen’s don’t Tweet. That’s right, 84% of Twitter’s recent growth is due to users aged 24 and up. Chances are you already know someone – a client, a friend, a neighbor, a family member – who’s addicted to Twitter. Read the full article here.

So the big question…

Should you or your business get on the Twitter bandwagon? The answer is yes, probably.

You’ll join the ranks of successful companies like Dell, Comcast, and Southwest Airlines that effectively use Twitter to boost sales and keep customers in the loop – heck, even Obama’s on Twitter. But surprisingly, Twitter has been most successful for one group: small businesses.

Why? Well, Twitter is FREE (great for businesses with little or no marketing dollars to spend), easy to use, and can connect you with thousands of users that might not otherwise know about you and your business. Users love it because it gives them instant updates, tips, and news about the things they care about. The idea behind Twitter is simple and sweet: 140 characters, send out your news, anyone has the option to follow you or ignore you.

Some Ideas to Get You Started on Twitter

A lot of people might be thinking “Oh, I just don’t have anything to Tweet about.” My response is: well of course you do.

Surely something cool is happening in your life or your business – did you just get a new shipment in? Did you find a cool article online that relates to your business or clients? Do you have an event coming up?

The New York Times’ recent article about Marketing Small Businesses With Twitter outlines some great ways that small businesses are using Twitter to bolster sales and connect with other industry professionals. Their new uses for Twitter may surprise you – like the street vendor who uses his Twitter account to let followers know where his location is for the day, and what flavors of crème brûlée he’s featuring.

Need help getting started? I’ve put together 9 ways small businesses can take advantage of a Twitter account:

• Industry news and updates
• Company updates from the CEO (a big pull for investors)
• As a hub for customer service communications
• Networking with other businesses or users
• Market research – directly ask your readers questions about what they think!
• Event updates
• As a communication tool for your team (like chatting, but more mobile since you can do it easily from a smartphone)
• Deals/specials of the day/week/month
• New products/services/features you’re offering

What do you think – are you convinced, or not? Send us your questions about Twitter and your most difficult business idea: we’ll see if we can figure out an angle for you Twitter profile.

And check back soon for my next blog on Twitter Etiquette: The Dos and Don’ts!

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