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I often hear small business owners say they aren’t using Twitter because they have no time or interest in tweeting. But that misses the point. By taking that tack they’re overlooking some important business benefits of Twitter that go beyond simply tweeting.
One of the great unheralded benefits of using Twitter is the ability to check the pulse of what’s happening in your business…
When it comes to using Twitter for business, it isn’t just about tweeting. That might seem odd to anyone who hasn’t explored the Twitter universe. But Twitter also has much to offer the non-tweeters among us — and that’s a lot of local businesses.
Sure, you’ll still need to set up a Twitter account and learn how to use it. You’ll want to build a great Twitter profile for your business and include a link to your website. If an occasional tweet won’t kill you, that would be nice too. But that’s not too much to ask in return for the free marketing, public relations and other business benefits you’ll get in return.
Here are my top five Twitter benefits for local business owners who don’t plan to actively tweet:
- Learn by following. One of the great unheralded benefits of using Twitter is the ability to check the pulse of what’s happening in your business, profession or industry by “following” a variety of businesses and experts on Twitter. Following thought leaders in your industry, as well as specific groups, topics, brands and even your competitors can give you an edge and provide fresh ideas for marketing and growing your business. You can easily find appropriate people or businesses to follow by using the “Who to Follow” feature available on your Twitter toolbar.
- Monitoring your business or brand. Even if you aren’t an active tweeter, you’ll still want to know if someone tweets something about you, your business or your products and services. Use the free Twitter Search function to search your business name or related terms to see if you’ve been mentioned. You can also track what’s being said about your competitors and to check news and trends in your industry. And you’ll certainly want to know if a customer has expressed concern about your business via Twitter.
- A Twitter profile gives your business visibility. A brief business profile on Twitter will benefit your business regardless of your tweeting prowess. One valuable part is the link you include. Instead of putting in your main business website URL, create a special landing page on your site just for people who find you on Twitter. Use it to quickly introduce these visitors to your business and generate a lead.
- You can use Twitter as a prospecting tool. The free search and monitoring tools available on Twitter can also be used to plug into conversations and see what kinds of questions people are asking about the products and services you offer. When you locate people who might benefit from what you sell (because of a comment they’ve made or question they’ve asked, for example), you can look for ways to connect with them. Of course the best way is via Twitter; but depending on what information they have in their profile, you might be able to find a website, blog or other way to get in touch.
- Twitter offers a public relations bonus. Reporters, bloggers and other media folks tend to be highly active on Twitter. Finding them and following what they are doing and saying is a great way to gather details that can help you pitch your own stories to them via other channels. Two places to find them (in addition to Twitter search), are Seek and Shout and MuckRack.com (my favorite). Also keep an eye out for story topics that reporters and editors are working on for which you or your business might be a helpful resource.
Article courtesy of SCORE and Daniel Kehrer, Founder & Managing Director of BizBest Media Corp.