“Marketing Your Business in 140-Character Bursts” by the Business Development Bank of Canada

Jun 28, 2011 | Corporate Member News

When Twitter first emerged in 2007, it was mocked by many for its dubious spelling and banal content. Today, it’s evolved into one of the most popular social media tools in the world with 200 million users worldwide.

Many entrepreneurs are embracing Twitter because of its capacity to build brand recognition and provide an easy way to interact with customers and prospective customers. 

Twitter isn’t for every company, but if you’re thinking about getting involved, here are some ideas to help you make the most of the medium.

Set realistic objectives about what you want Twitter to do for your company. For example: drive traffic to your website, generate sales leads or help you to improve customer service.

Listen to what people are saying about your company before you start tweeting. You can monitor tweets and references to your business through the Twitter site at http://search.twitter.com. Also take time to learn the abbreviations and etiquette of the Twitter world. Don’t worry; it’s easy.

It’s hard to go wrong on Twitter if you are courteous, helpful and generous with praise. Keep in mind that you want to share information to engage your followers. Avoid overtly selling products and services in tweets. That leaves a bad taste and will discourage people from following your feed.

Share interesting links such as pertinent articles and news of upcoming industry events. A common practice is retweeting (RT) information in your field. But before you do, be sure to check out what it is you’re retransmitting to make sure it’s credible and of high quality.

Assign more than one Twitterer in your company to share the load and ensure your tweets are diverse. Those people should coordinate their activities to prevent repetition in tweets and other foul-ups.

Ask your employees to be careful about what they are tweeting about to avoid revealing confidential information or inadvertently offending colleagues, customers or other businesses. These matters should be part of a broader social media policy for employees.

Take advantage of Twitter as a low-cost focus group by soliciting opinions about your company. Your followers are already interested in your products and services and probably willing to help make them better.

Keep a close eye on mentions of your company and on direct messages. If a customer tweets a request for help or a complaint, acknowledge it and resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

Be sure to promote your Twitter feed on other communications tools. Use your Follow Me on Twitter button in newsletters, websites and any online communications.

Measure your results. Use tools such as Google Analytics to monitor the amount of traffic, leads and customers you’re generating. You also want to keep your eye on increases in blogs posts and news articles about your company.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter!

This article originally appeared in the June 2011 edition of eProfit$, the electronic newsletter of the BDC. That edition also featured: 

  • Summer reading: Keep it simple in a complex world
  • Fromagerie Yannick: A different kind of cheese merchant
  • Taking the ERP plunge
  • Federal Budget offers increased support for entrepreneurs 

Check it out here.

About BDC
Canada’s business development bank, BDC, puts entrepreneurs first. With almost 1,900 employees and more than 100 business centres across the country, BDC offers financing, subordinate financing, venture capital and consulting services to 29,000 small and medium sized companies. Their success is vital to Canada’s economic prosperity. http://www.bdc.ca/EN/Pages/home.aspx

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