Here at Acorn Enterprise, we’re looking to create blogs on topics which will empower you as a small business owner and help you on your entrepreneurial journey. So, the next stop in our blog series is…Twitter.
Now week 12 on our 2nd Free 20 Week Business Accelerator Programme, another topic that keeps coming up amongst our “Acorns” and the small business owners we meet is Twitter – the micro-blogging site which gives you just 140 character messages to engage with the world.
How do I use it? Why should I be on it? How can I make my profile stand out from my business peers?
Let’s talk about Twitter…
We’ve created this blog in order to explore the great potential Twitter yields for small, dynamic business owners like you.
This blog will give practical advice on how to use your 140 characters wisely and some #twittertips on how you can get the most out of your profile. We will also reflect on the three lessons we’ve learned as a small business; and share with you examples of other local businesses using Twitter well.
Having used Twitter for over a year here at Acorn Enterprise, we’ve learned a lot and as a result, we’ve constantly adapted and refreshed our content strategy to keep our community engaged – remember to follow us @acornenterprise! We see Twitter as a great opportunity to really involve people in our Acorns’ journey.
A key part of our Twitter strategy is seeing the 140 character limit as an opportunity; not a restriction. It allows us to succinctly say what we want to say and makes us think outside the box. There are ways to fully maximise the space you have available and we use these techniques ourself:
Ways to Maximise Your Tweets!
- Use tools such as Bit.ly in order to shorten your links and track the number of clicks your links receive.
- #Hashtags are at the core of Twitter as they allow you to give tweets context. They can also be used to categorise tweets which makes it easier for people to find things relevant to them. For example: “I really enjoyed attending the Meet the Acorns #Networking event in #Rosyth today.” In this example, people searching for networking events and/or Rosyth should find this tweet easily.
- Simplify your vocabulary- use word like ‘get’ instead of ‘procure’ etc.
Having offered tips on how to get the most out of your 140 characters, check out the following #Twittertips on what you should be thinking about before setting up your Twitter profile and how to go about handling your activities on a daily basis:
Before Setting Up Your Profile
You really must ask yourself: why am I on Twitter? Who are my customers?
If you don’t know who they are, how do you know what kind of message you’re going to send to them?
Ultimately ask yourself, is this the right social media platform for me to be sharing my story?
Now you’ve scratched the surface by asking these crucial questions, you then need to:
- Set objectives
- Is your Twitter profile about generating business awareness and leads?
- Making noise?
- Establishing relationships?
- Or all above?
- Familiarise yourself with how Twitter works and accept that you will make the odd mistake but that’s ok!
Running Your Profile Daily
- The art of conversation: Strike up a conversation with one or two (if you’re feeling chatty) of your followers each day – don’t just be number focused!
- Don’t just post stuff constantly about yourself, share other people’s content that is relevant to your business/ industry
- Have a sense of humour about yourself. Make your page lively, fun and make people want to come back for more
- Be patient. Your influence will not happen overnight; it took us some time before people started ‘re-tweeting’ and ‘favouriting’ what we were ‘posting’.
- Acknowledge your new followers but don’t ‘ask them to marry you on the first date! e.g. by bombarding them with requests to sponsor, donate etc.
- Check your lists regularly and see if your followers are engaging with you regularly – if not, consider unfollow them as Twitter is about real engagement.
- Hashtags: these are useful and important as they easily signpost users to discussions and topics you’re covering. It’s also a great way to involve your audience e.g. inviting your customers to use the e.g. #fifebusinesschats hashtag to comment on a discussion you’re hosting surrounding Fife businesses
3 Lessons We’ve Learned About Twitter
1. It’s important to mix up your approach to content. Don’t just ‘schedule’ your updates, ‘live’ tweet at events and make your supporters feel part of your business’s journey.
2. Gaining influence on Twitter takes time. Retweets ‘favourite’ and reply to tweets will not happen overnight so be patient
3. The art of conversation. Don’t be afraid to speak to people on it. Remember, don’t just talk about yourself, share and engage with your other people.
2 Great Examples
- Trotter’s Indepedent Condiments: have built a real community around their product by enegaging with fans, posting details and pictures from events they attend, and asking people to pose with a jar of their delicious condiments – with the people who post the best pictures receiving a free jar! @trotters_ic
- We Are The Future: used live tweeting and live Q & A to add extra value to the attendees of their recent Start-up Summit. @WATF_
To sum up…
Having shared innovative ways to make the most of the 140 character rule, listed #twittertips, in order to make your business stand out, described some lessons we’ve learned running a Twitter account AND examples of awesome local companies using Twitter well, we’d now like to leave you with three things you need to remember with Twitter.
These are: strategy, patience and persistence. As aforementioned, you must plan a social media strategy so you can use Twitter (if appropriate to your business) to its full potential. Your influence on Twitter does not happen instantly so stick with it!
We look forward to talking to you on Twitter very soon, make sure you use the #acorns to continue this conversation!