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How do I use twitter to promote my business?

How do I use twitter to grow my business?

Everyday, the number of smartphone users is increasing, along with the number of social media users. Businesses that do not master effective use of tools such as facebook, twitter, and Google+ will be left behind. Consumers now use a variety of resources to carry out research before purchases, or simply to view opinions on products and services. Not sure if twitter is right for you? Chances are pretty good that it is right for at least 1 of your competitors.

So, where do you create an advantage for your business? By understanding what twitter means to your marketing efforts and then using it effectively. Here are 3 simple things for getting started:

1. Build your followers
Start by importing your existing contacts, if you have a facebook account, post on your wall letting your friends know that you are on twitter now. Once your twitter account is live, look for interesting and like minded people to follow. Be sure to use the #MyFirstTweet hashtag, and every Friday keep an eye out for #ff – Follow Friday. By using this, you are putting it out there that you are looking for new followers – just remember that there will be other new users, so be sure to reciprocate.

2. Research hashtags
Hashtags help other users to find your content, and also allows twitter to index the popularity of content. Hashtags have become so popular, that facebook and Google+ now pick them up and use them for metrics. Just remember, don’t over do it, and don’t send out tweets full of nothing but hashtags. This leads me to the next point…

3. Be short and to the point
twitter is a great way to grab the attention of a wide group of people for a short amount of time. This is mainly possible because everything from your tweets, to your profile and Direct Messages (these are private messages to your followers) is limited to 140 characters. You will need to remember to be efficient (so attach pictures to help tell the story and send a clear message!) and get your point across. You can always use twitter to send someone to another site, like your facebook page, so that you can tell a more complete story. Imagine that you are writing headlines – you just need to grab someone’s attention.

Here is an example:

Be sure to join us for our next monthly meeting. It will be held at Bob’s Pizzeria at 8AM. This is a great chance to network with fellow business owners!

This is way too long. To send the same message in 140 characters, try something like:

June 18 at 8AM – Biz Centre meeting @bobspizzeria – networking and fun! #smallbusiness

Same message, and about 30 characters left. Don’t worry if you don’t get it right the first time. Practice makes perfect.

And remember, if you really get stuck, just get in touch for a free Social Media consultation.

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Do I need a Social Media plan?

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Social Media has created a marketing revolution. As little as 10 years ago, digital marketing depended on early viral content, E-Mail marketing and advertising that bridged print and the web. It was a completely different world, and fortunately, we now have great tools like twitter, facebook, Google+, instagram, and more. These tools allow even the smallest of businesses, and NGO/non-profit organizations with limited resources to reach a global audience. So, just open your accounts, tweet when you have time, and the dollars will roll in, right?

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Like any marketing or business activity, Social Media requires a well thought out, strategic, and consistent approach. If you’ve asked yourself do I need a Social Media plan? then at least you are on the right path. Here are 3 things to keep in mind when formulating your plan:

1. Not all social media are created equal.

What do you really want to achieve with your social media campaign? Of course we all want to sell something – it could be Comic books, the feel-good that donating to a good cause provides, or the latest gadget. But remember, each social media does something a little bit different, so try and think of your goals (which should lead to increased sales when done properly) as the following:

i) Engage and create more local followers: try facebook. facebook is an excellent way to engage local customers through targeted content and ads. You won’t be restricted to 140 characters, so you can tell your story in greater detail. Just remember to view your post on a smartphone. If it doesn’t fit on one screen, it’s probably too long.

ii) Reach a wider audience within a narrow window: try twitter. twitter is very much in the now. One day you get retweeted by Hulk Hogan, and the next you are in obscurity. Make everyone of your 140 characters count, always add a picture, and don’t overdo hashtags.

iii) Keep the sleeping giant happy: have a presence on Google+. Google is the undisputed global search leader and is always creating exciting new things. Google fundamentally understands the Internet, and will not allow itself to fall behind in the social media game. Google+ helps with your SEO, and in many ways blends the best of facebook and twitter together. Sure, everyone’s top of mind social media is facebook, but consider the potentially higher engagement of Google+. If I have 700 facebook friends and 100 Google+ friends, there is a far better chance that I will read your Google+ content.

iv) Tell your story in pictures: instagram or Pinterest. instagram and Pinterest are amazing visual mediums for storytelling. Some of us simply think in pictures instead of words, and when teaching or presenting information, it is are more likely that your audience will retain images over words. While I think that I may be a bit shallow, my designer friends remind me that we simply appreciate good, attractive imagery.

v) Reach another business or groups of professionals: LinkedIn. Hands down, LinkedIn is your B2B social media of choice, and is a great way to engage other professionals given that 81% of LinkedIn user belong to 1 or more groups. If your target audience is another business, or a group of professionals (say, accountants), then you must take time to post to LinkedIn. As a rule of thumb, if you want to reach 60% of your LinkedIn network, you need at least 20 quality posts per month.

2. Set aside time each day for social media, including blogging – and know what you will write about.

Social Media needs to become a habit. You wouldn’t stop selling, just because you are too busy, so don’t stop marketing! Social Media has become a must for any company; if you don’t have some kind of facebook presence, people will ask questions. You need to have a consistent presence to see any kind of payoff. Even if you can start with 5 minutes a day, 5 days a week, you will start to see results. This is one of the key components of your plan, the other is knowing what you will write about. Are you running a special? Looking for newsletter signups? Have a free trial going on? Whatever it is, you need to have some kind of focus for your social media plan. Use monthly or quarterly themes to stay on track, and try and write at least 2, 300 word plus blog posts a month. Remember, your content should always be unique (no copy and pasting!) and be sincere.

3. Set aside the proper resources.

It takes time and/or money to make money. At some point, you will need to buy Google AdWords or social media ads to really expand. Google AdWords can get pricey – for example ios app development – could clear $20 per click. This means that even if you don’t get a sale, someone clicking your add could be very costly. facebook can be a bit cheaper, and LinkedIn can represent a tremendous value. Just be sure to set a reasonable budget and measure your results! You need to know your ROI, and if it is worth investing more or looking at other opportunities.

Does this sound daunting? Don’t think you can make the time to grow your social media presence? Then hire someone. If you are not setting aside the proper time then you are really losing out. If you can’t find someone in your office to help out (or if you are an overburdened solopreneuer) then let us help.