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Marketing your business on Twitter

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Twitter is excellent for connecting with people are in your area, especially if you are a bricks-and-mortar operation. On a very basic level, you can use search.twitter.com to start to geo-target in a specific area. Here are a number of other tips to help you use Twitter to best advantage:
  • Target keywords. If location is not important, you'll want to narrow down the twittersphere by industry and niche. Perform searches based on keywords and reply to relevant tweets. If you can phrase your interaction as a question, that's even better: You'll have a much higher response rate when you are asking someone to respond.
  • Be genuine. When you're having a conversation with potential customers, you want to be genuine. You want to start a conversation with qualified leads and grow the conversation organically. You don't need 500 people a day to respond to you. Having five or 10 qualified leads will add much more to your bottom line.
  • Always have a presence. You can't possible be at your Twitter account all day long, but you don't want to leave your followers with nothing from you, so schedule some helpful tweets for your followers to read while you're busy doing other things.
  • Give credit. One big mistake often seen on Twitter is tweeting out loads of unattributed RSS feeds. If you know of a blog you think your followers will be interested in, retweet it. This will show up on the blog feed owner's account as an “@ mention,” which increases their chance of returning the favor to you and helping to increase your own traffic.
  • Time your message. One of the great things about Twitter is the inherent viral quality of a tweet. An interesting study was done by Twitsprout showing the true retweet counts of the “Twitter elite.” When a tweet catches fire, the message can be amplified and the life of a single tweet is majorly multiplied.
  • Serve your customers. Twitter is a great way to handle many customer requests, especially if you can do it in as close to real time as possible. Set up searches for keywords related to your brand, and put in the time daily to handle requests and route them through appropriate channels if necessary. Set up specific Twitter handles for your support and curate all support to be handled by that account. A happy customer is a repeat customer.
  • Use lists. You can create Twitter lists for different groups of people. It's a great way to curate the massive amounts of information that will come through your home timeline on a regular basis.
  • Don't be afraid to unfollow. Generally if someone isn't following you back, there's not a whole lot of point in following them (the exceptions are larger companies you may follow). Remember, if they aren't following you, they aren't seeing anything you say, so the relationship is very one-sided.
  • Monitor your competitors. Set up searches for your competitors. If you don't mind publicly following them, you can add them to a Twitter list, but you may prefer to just set up searches privately. You need to know what your closest competitors are doing at all times, and Twitter is so real-time that you can be in the know almost as quickly as they launch something.
Tammy Fennell is CEO of social software company MarketMeSuite (marketmesuite.com). She can be reached at tammy@marketmesuite.com.
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