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Twitter Tactics: How to Use Twitter for Small Business!

There’s no denying it: Twitter is a social media platform you and your small business should not ignore. With nearly 200 million users to date, more and more small businesses are using Twitter as a way to engage and connect directly with consumers. But before immersing your company in this particular social arena, we have a few key pointers to help you effectively use Twitter as a powerful marketing tool. Learn the basics – Okay, let’s take a step back. Before you can effectively use Twitter, you should have a solid grasp of proper Twitter terminology.
  1. Tweeting: This is the physical act of posting to Twitter.
  2. @ reply: Specifically tweeting a person (@ followed by their profile username—also known as a “Twitter handle”).
  3. Twitter Handle: See above.
  4. RT: Short for “retweet”. This refers to the act of re-posting—or forwarding along—another user’s tweet.
  5. DM: Also known as “direct message.” This feature allows you to send another user a private message that is only seen between the two parties. (Note: In order to "DM" someone, both parties must be following each other.)
  6. Follow: The act of tracking another user’s tweet. If he or she is an important figure in your industry, then you may find valuable insight into your target market – like insider tips, news story alerts, colorful commentary and links to other interesting articles located online.
Digging Deeper – Now that you have learned the terminology, it is time to begin learning valuable tactics.
  1. Stay on Topic: It is important to tweet about topics that are relevant to your products or service. So, if you are in the auto industry, you might not want to tweet continuously about the current New York Times Best Selling book—unless, of course, it’s related to cars or transportation.
  2. Use #hashtags: One of the most useful search features on Twitter is the ability to add and follow hyperlinked hashtags. Think of them as indexers. When you place a “#” in front of a word (#tech) you include in your tweet, not only will your tweet be seen by your followers, but it will be included in a larger stream of tweets with that same tag. This allows you to expose your knowledge-rich tweets to tons of potential new followers and leads.
  3. Be a News Source: To be seen as a leader in your industry, it is important to share breaking news from that industry. The best way to do this is by gathering information via Google Alerts, RSS feeds or by following news services or other industry influencers on Twitter. You can also search Twitter for industry-specific keywords such as #smallbiz. By doing so, you will discover current events that are trending and can then join the conversation.
  4. Give Incentives: One of the best tactics you can employ to encourage new leads is to reward followers of your company. This can be done by offering them a one-day discount at your store, or, if your business is e-commerce only, consider giving them a discount code that can be used online.
Now that you are a bit more familiar with how to get started on Twitter, what are you waiting for? Jump into the Twittersphere! Get out there and start engaging with your customers.  If you’d like to stay up to date with the latest news and trends in small business, be sure to follow us on Twitter: @WaspBarcode!