Twitter Marketing for Small Business

Twitter is the social platform for news and events. When news stories unfold, details often come out first on Twitter. When events take place, it’s the platform where people share takeaways. If your small business is involved with news and events at any scale or level, Twitter is a platform to use.

Getting Started with Twitter

Start by defining the content that is best shared on Twitter. This may be a channel that is useful everyday, or just during particular times when news and events occur. Define your calendar of topics and timing.

Next, consider what unique value you will bring to Twitter. Retweeting what others are saying isn’t enough. What talking points and insights can you contribute? What voice will you bring to the conversations?

Focusing on who you’re Tweeting to is essential if you want people to interact with your content. Have a clear picture of who you’re talking to and what they care about.

Set Goals and Measure Success

The only way to know if your Twitter marketing strategy is working is to set goals. Once you have defined your goal, then determine how you can measure progress. Twitter analytics is a source of data. Your website metrics may also help monitor impact. Pick the metrics that provide you with insight.

Post Effective Content

On Twitter, there are lots of different options to interact with customers. Regular text tweets are common, but you can also tweet videos, polls, images, and GIFs. Try out different formats and see what works best for your business’s marketing strategy.

Engage on Twitter

You need to do more than post to get value from Twitter. You need to engage with your audience there as well.

Monitor your Twitter notifications and respond to mentions, good and bad. This will help you build a community on Twitter and you’ll get useful feedback too.

Make sure your customers know you’re on Twitter and ask them to follow you. When a customer mentions your business in a Tweet, always reply and retweet as appropriate.

Establish customer service approach to guide you when a customer has questions. Document your approach to determine what warrants a response and how that response will be composed.

A good small business Twitter marketing strategy should be real and resonate with your customers and prospects, and highlight your brand relevance to news and events. It should be monitored and measured to assess impact on your goals.

Don’t Take Relationship Marketing Too Far

Relationship marketing works, but don’t fall into the trap of taking those relationships to a personal place. Yes, connect with your customers and prospects in a meaningful way to build a healthy business relationship. No, don’t confuse that with personal relationships.

There is such thing as oversharing and TMI. Here are two examples of relationship marketing gone bad.

YouTuber Uses Platform as Confessional

I follow a smart YouTube marketer to learn best practices and proven techniques. Her early episodes have taught me to do things that I have used. Her authentic person-to-person approach kept me coming back. All good.

Until recently.

Apparently her success has led her to decide that she needs to be even more authentic on YouTube. Her latest videos talk about her issues growing up, her entire dating life, her relationship with her family, and more. Too much more.

What her most recent videos lack is anything related to marketing on YouTube, the topic of her channel.

I like her, but as a YouTube expert. I do not want to be her BFF.

Restaurant Owner Overshares

I love to shop local and found a restaurant run by a local couple. Win! I follow them on Facebook to get the specials.

Well, I got much more recently. Apparently both the restaurant and their relationship fell apart. One spouse shared about the other’s apparent issues with alcohol and allegations of cheating. I know that they have lost their life savings and more.

This is very sad, but isn’t something that patrons should know. I want a good meal, not to take sides in the relationship.

Relationship Marketing with Boundaries

In both of these examples, the oversharing on social media has led to increases in online followers. I argue that’s not necessarily a good thing. People following for voyeurism doesn’t help achieve your business goals.

As you leverage social media to build a community for your brand, never lose focus on the purpose of that community. Relationship marketing should be about helping people to know your products and services. You want them to understand the value you bring.

Your marketing goal should not be to build the largest community or to get the most views. Relationship marketing is about connecting with the right people who will act by doing business with you.

 

The Stages of Business Growth

Guest Post by Tina Johnson, Founder & Chief Strategist, CEO Consulting Group

Turning a small home business into a large and successful company is a big deal—and unfortunately, the process can’t always be replicated. While every business’ growth pattern is unique, there are trends and similarities that translate from one sector to another. Here, we’ll discuss the five stages of business growth.

First Stage: Existence

A business in this stage is in its infancy, and the owner should focus on finding customers and the right products for the market. These companies are typically run by a founder or a partnership and have few systems in place. Here are a few questions to answer:

  • Do people want what I’m selling?
  • Can I profit from my ideas?

The failure rate for businesses in this stage is high: about 20% within the first year and roughly half in the first five years. If you find a marketable product and generate cash flow from it, you’re more likely to make it to the second stage.

Second Stage: Survival

A business in this stage is likely small with few in-place systems. However, the owner has likely found customers who like what they’re selling and keep coming back for more. During this stage, generating enough cash flow to break even is the primary focus. With that accomplished, it’s possible to build a sustainable business model.

Third Stage: Success

Once your business has become profitable, you’ll face a major decision: what to do with the money. Most owners either pour it back into their companies or spend it on themselves. During this stage, think about building systems that ensure continued profitability and finding team members who can help you achieve your goals. If you can succeed here, it’s time to move on to stage four.

Fourth Stage: Takeoff

A business in the takeoff stage is growing rapidly, so managing those developments becomes a top priority. Your company may become decentralized, which creates a new set of challenges. You’ll have to find out how to hire people who can keep up with customers’ demands, how to manage internal growth, how to fund it, and how to keep from overextending yourself. Business owners in this stage must focus on strategies that fuel sustainable growth, and if they do so, they can go forth to stage five.

Fifth Stage: Maturity of Resources

Expansion can’t last indefinitely, and if you’re entering the fifth stage of business growth, you’re coming to realize that fact. If your company has reached stage five, there are systems and resources in place that will allow you to focus on stabilization rather than development. Companies in this stage fail often, mostly because of diminished momentum. However, if you can learn how to scale the business while staying innovative, your chances of success are greatly increased.

Closing Thoughts

It’s all too easy to think that the strategies that worked to get your company off the ground will work forever. However, some tactics are impossible to scale. As you’re striving for the next milestone, keep in mind that what got you where you are may not get you any further.