Twitter is a force to be reckoned with it’s a force that can be tamed and channeled to make an effective social media campaign. In fact a social media campaign that does not include Twitter is a non-starter. What has made Twitter a winner in the tough competition of social networks? It is the ability to give news in real time and the way it has brushed aside the egoistic nature that prevails in Facebook.
If you know how to use twitter and real time search you really can stay ahead of the game in business and news. Twitter does not allow you to add photo galleries, relationship status and all that other personal information; this causes the streamlining of twitter into a place for purely sharing information and not for showing everyone how wonderful your life is. The question then remains, how can small businesses build their Twitter profiles and use it to grow.
Building a twitter profile
The cool approach
The first thing to remember about twitter is that it represents modern attitudes and modern ways of thinking. The old car salesman approach of the past is extremely unpopular, coaxing somebody to browse or follow with salesman like offers is initially off-putting. It is much better to entice followers with things that are considered ‘cool’, funny videos, new music, interesting stories, a scientific break through etc.
After having a quick look through ‘who to follow’ I found this user, their last three tweets are instantly off-putting and somebody I would not want to follow. I find the below more interesting, instead of saying come here and you won’t regret it “my income increased within 24 hours. Really!’, why not say nothing and allow people to decide for themselves.
Be yourself and have some dignity when you tweet; if you want to sell then it has to be covert rather than overt car salesman approach. You may find it easier to create a twitter account as a person rather than a business. If you have a business selling armchairs then create your account as yourself and include the link to your business; do not create the account under the business name. Twitter users tend to follow people not organisations, however people do follow the big influencial organisations such as ‘converse’ or ‘microsoft’; being a small business I doubt you are at that stage yet.
The local approach
The great thing about the net is its worldwide reach, having said this the local approach can be more beneficial for small businesses. Here are some simple tips on finding twitter users near you.
- The first trick is to search in twitter for things related to your area, for example place name, local landmarks, local businesses, event venues, museums and public locations, local fairs, parades and community events, and finally hashtag identifiers for a local community or event. Remember you might have to try a few combinations of a certain search before you pick anything up.
- Another simple solution to finding local people is to use ‘tweets near you’ and ‘people’ in the search options. The ‘tweets near you’ will show people who are using twitter near your location and allows you to view their profile, if they fit in with your ethos then click follow. The ‘people’ search can help you find people who list their city in their profile, just search for your city and see what you find.
- Try advanced search, set your parameters, choose your search terms and away you go.
Twittergrader lets you search for people to view their grade, and pull up lists of the twitter elites. The list of elite cities produces some interesting results, take a look below:
As a side observation it is interesting that London takes the top position as the most twitter active city in the world, with no other UK cities anywhere to be seen it really shows how important London is for the UK. Another interesting result has to be Jakarta, having visited Indonesia many times it is a place that I’m fond of. Indonesia is often forgotten about as a world player, but their economy is growing and the young people there are armed with iPhones and blackberries ready to make their voice heard (Indonesia also has the second largest facebook population – watch this space). The next South East Asian city on the list is Manila at rank 63.
Twellow, dubbed ‘the twitter yellow pages’, organises twitter accounts into many different categories to make finding twitter accounts as easy as it could possibly be.
Realtime search is the future, get to grips with it now and you can be ahead of the game. Realtime search has been especially useful during the recent protests in North Africa, simply search for ‘Libya’ and it will produce all the latest tweets and news articles that have mentioned that search term.
It can also be used to help your business stay fresh and up-to-date with what your customer base thinks is ‘cool’. For example, a search for ‘sneakers’ produces the results shown below.
In realtime search the information is constantly updated as people tweet or post open source articles, because people tweet so often realtime is dominated by tweets. The information shown above can be used to take a marketing campaign in a certain direction, keep checking the results to see if trends appear that your advertising team can jump on.
The blogs these days are full of advice for people trying to build online businesses, increase their followers, make their facebook pages work for them and so on. The advice given above points out some simple measures to really make twitter work for you but it’s not rocket science. The piece of advice I can really hand over to you is, RESPECT THE PANDA AND BE GENUINE.