It seems like a lifetime since you chose your first profile picture or “liked” your first status update, doesn’t it? Last year, Facebook celebrated its 10-year anniversary. Although it’s still heralded as the biggest name in social media, there’s another platform that’s becoming more important every day: Twitter.
Despite its growing relevance, many small businesses still aren’t using Twitter to its full potential. According to a recent report, 94 percent of marketers use Facebook, but only 83 percent use Twitter. The reason is simple: Facebook has an intuitive ad platform tool that makes it easy for less-seasoned marketers to see results by selecting a few basic parameters and pushing their message out to users’ News Feeds.
Facebook is the tool of choice for small business owners wanting to connect and maintain relationships with customers. But as any savvy business owner knows, what’s easy isn’t always what’s best. Twitter can actually be a more effective real-time tool for most businesses, and anyone can master it with a few simple tips.
Why Your Business Should Be on Twitter
Although communicating in 140-character messages may feel a bit foreign, Twitter offers unique ways to reach new people and engage with existing customers. Here are a few reasons to focus on growing your business’ presence on Twitter:
- Twitter’s community is much more active. More than 100 million daily active Twitter users post 500 million tweets a day. That means the average Twitter user posts five times a day, compared to Facebook users who post less than once a day.
- Twitter reaches a different demographic. Although Facebook is growing in popularity with users over the age of 25, older teens are actually “embarrassed” to be associated with Facebook and worry their parents will be watching their every move. Younger social media users prefer Twitter to Facebook or Instagram.
- Twitter gives you more for your money. Thanks to a decline in Facebook’s organic reach, brands’ presence on Facebook is beginning to depend on just how much they’re willing to spend. Meanwhile, Twitter drives more clicks than Facebook and routinely outperforms Facebook ads.
5 Ways to Be Smartly Social on Twitter
The time to expand (or pioneer) your business’ presence on Twitter is now. Here are a few tips for maximizing the platform:
- Use hashtags. According to USA Today, hashtags act as a “force multiplier” for Internet and television advertising revenue. Find a relevant hashtag that’s trending now, and join the conversation in a way that’s meaningful and authentic to your business.
- Get visual. Add photos to your tweets to double your response rates. Twitter recently debuted its photo collage tool, which lets you add four photos to a single tweet to tell visual stories.
- Tweet like a person. Remember the rules of social engagement: Listen, think, and say something relevant. Mention people when you respond to their comments and questions to show that you’re paying attention.
- Give your Twitter followers something special. Launching exclusive Twitter promotions gives people a reason to follow you. Just make sure your promotions will get your followers excited.
- Insert yourself into relevant conversations. Create targeted Promoted Tweets that reach users when they tweet phrases relevant to your business. Choose the keyword targeting capability, and use this tool to give people an offer. For example, if your business is a coffee shop, you could reach users who are tweeting keyword phrases like “craving caffeine” and serve them an ad message, such as “Crashing? Grab a coffee on us.”
As you’re getting more comfortable with Twitter, remember the guiding principle that every business should adhere to: Social media is, above all else, social. Say something people want to hear. Communicate authentically, make connections, and use Twitter to create the buzz, excitement and loyalty your small business needs.
Adam Root is the CoFounder and COO of SocialCentiv, a Twitter marketing application for small businesses.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.