Wednesday, October 5, 2011

biz ladies: How to Use Twitter to Make Your Business Grow

Found a interesting post on Design Sponge Blog.

Today’s Biz Ladies post comes from Erin Giles, a creative business coach and artist. Erin is passionate about helping female entrepreneurs shine online. She is currently working on a free e-book that will be available October 10th on her site, and today she offers her knowledge on how to leverage Twitter as a powerful business tool. From socializing with other businesses to promoting your goods and website, Erin explains how to use Twitter to its full potential. Thanks, Erin, for this useful post! — Stephanie
Read the full post after the jump . . .

I was the girl who didn’t want to join Twitter. But once I finally caved, it was the best decision I made for my business. If you have yet to take the leap and commit to using Twitter daily to leverage your business, now is the time. I am going to share six key ways you can use Twitter to make your business shine brighter than ever before.

1. Making Connections That Stick: When you first join Twitter, the big “zero followers” will seem unnerving every time you login. How do you even begin to make connections? You must first find people in your niche to follow and scroll through the people they follow. I would not suggest going “following crazy,” but do read through bios, and you will find descriptions of their careers, businesses and passions. By tweeting others and creating conversation, you will soon form connections and friendships that may open up doors of opportunity for your business.

There are a few important do’s and don’ts of communicating on Twitter that you would rather not learn the hard way. 
DO: Retweet great tweets; thank others when they retweet your tweets; participate in Follow Friday; always direct message private messages rather than tweeting them for the whole world to see; and congratulate others on their big successes. 
DON’T: Ask people to follow you; gossip about others on Twitter; tweet about going to the bathroom or other personal foolishness; and don’t incessantly tweet only about your new products or offerings.

2. Being Authentic: As entrepreneurs, our business tends to be our lives. It is vitally important for our business and branding to be authentic to our beliefs. Shouldn’t our use of social media be the same? All you have to do on Twitter is be yourself; no sleazy saleswoman impersonation or super seriousness required. Talk about what fires you up or what you are thankful for, and your true followers will rally around you and your vision, creating the tribe of cheerleaders you have always wanted.

3. Creating Hype about What Your Business Has to Offer: Certainly the most enjoyable and rewarding part of Twitter is involving your followers with your business happenings. So how do you create hype? By tweeting photos of your most recent projects and products, asking for your followers’ opinions or taking a poll when you need an outsider’s perspective. You can even do something as exciting as a book launch count down and have an online party once it has kicked off.

Anything you can do to involve your followers in the current undertakings of your business, the better. When you turn to them for their opinions and involve them in the creating process, a community will start to form, and they will be thankful to be part of it.

4. Promoting Your Website: Sometimes promotion has a nasty reputation. So think of promoting on Twitter as sharing. You will be sharing your business’s website in all its glory to your followers and friends on Twitter.

If you are promoting a blog post or a video post, a good rule is to share it three times a day and to share it in three different ways each time. Get in the mind of your potential consumer. In 140 characters or less, capture their attention with either a question that will be answered in your post, an eye-catching statement that you take out of your post or simply the title.

5. Creating Community by Throwing a Twitter Party: Throwing a Twitter party or a tweet chat is a fabulous way to gather a group of people around an idea or topic. No matter what type of business you own, there are people on Twitter who are passionate about your business’s purpose as well.

By throwing a weekly or monthly tweet chat, you can address individual topics in each chat that may be of concern to other business owners in your niche or even your potential customers. By allowing plenty of time to create awareness of the tweet chat, posting images that invite your followers on your website and Twitter and reminding them several times of the chat, your tweet chat will grow more and more each time you meet.

6. Managing Your Time: Once all of the above is in place, Twitter can get a wee bit addictive. You feel like you’re going to miss something, so you soon find yourself checking in any chance you get. You still need to live a productive life outside of Twitter, so you must manage your Twitter time wisely:

Create lists. Lists allow you to organize whom you are following into groups. This lets you to login and only check your lists for important tweets if you don’t have ample time to read through your entire feed.

Set a timer. By setting a timer, you give yourself so much time to be on Twitter and once it goes off, you log off.
Turn off notifications. If you find yourself getting dozens of alerts and emails throughout the day that distract you from doing your work, it’s best to go into your account settings and turn them off.

Many business owners feel that Twitter is only for the younger generation and that it won’t make a difference in their business. But I’ve found that when you embrace Twitter for all it has to offer your business, it is not only worth the time but also worth breaking away from Facebook, where everybody knows your name.

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