I’m a self-confessed Twitter addict.
I love it (sometimes too much).
As a micro business owner who works from home, during the day Twitter is my contact with the outside world. It makes me feel less alone. In addition it’s my main tool for online networking and a fantastic way for connecting with people from around the world who add value to Gem Writing and my work at the Hub.
Used wisely I think Twitter is an essential micro business tool (so long as you don’t use it to look stupid!)
And I’ve noticed micro business owners use Twitter in all manner of ways. In fact, I’m always surprised when I find new and unique ways to use my favourite social media platform.
So today a selection of our Hub Contributors have shared how they use Twitter.
So have a read and then join in. Tell us your top tip for using Twitter in the comments below.
Georgina El Morshdy – @GemWriting
Chris Garrett – @ChrisGarrett
I have lists set up as columns in my client so if I have one minute I can see if anyone has messaged me and respond, if I have more time I can see what my colleagues and customers are up to, and if I have more time I can browse topics from geek stuff to people in Canada.
A lot of people think I am on social media all the time but in fact I use Twitter as a water-cooler for my coffee breaks and to fill time whenever I am stuck for something to do, such as waiting in line, waiting for my wife and daughter to shop at the mall, in traffic (as a passenger, not distracted driving). Just catching those moments adds up and builds rapport with my followers, plus I get to see some interesting content shared by others”.
Russ Henneberry – @RussHenneberry
One of the most effective strategies I have employed with Twitter over the last year or so is something I have called The Short List. The idea is actually something that crosses into all of my social media activity. I have created a very small list (currently 38) of people that I believe can make a big difference in my business. I use the Twitter List function to filter everyone else. I add and remove people from The Short List only after serious consideration. The goal is to be able to monitor and communicate with these influencers. I don’t spend 100% of my time monitoring my short list but I do spend the majority of my time. This method has allowed me to become very focused when using Twitter.
Henneke Duistermaat – @HennekeD
Some people sound like robotic, self-promotional broadcasters on Twitter. Fair enough. It’s not easy to be engaging in 140 characters. But it is possible – if you’re prepared to put in a little effort. With these six tips you can become more engaging, more human, and more fun:
- Tweet thank you when someone retweets your tweet; and add a question such as That was a good article wasn’t it? or My fav was #5, which was yours? or Hope you’ve had a good weekend?
- If you’re tweeting a link to an article – add the Twitter handle of the author of the article. It’s preferable to have the Twitter handle of the publication and the author (if they differ). But if you don’t have enough space for both, go for the author. Do a Twitter people search or check their website if you don’t know their Twitter handle.
- Rather than tweeting the title of an article (which everyone is tweeting already), pick an inspirational quote from the article.
- Use emotional words like I love this post, brilliant, wow. But only when you mean it.
- Mix professional with personal tweets. I’ve noticed this really helps build relationships. People get to know you a little more, and it makes it easier to reach out.
- Wink. Smile. Try a big grin. Be generous with emoticons.
Jo Waltham – @MagentaSkyUK
I find Twitter is a great resource for quick expert help and advice. If I have a question, am stuck on something or need a recommendation, I’ll tweet something out. I’m always amazed at the pace and the variety of responses I receive – even from people who are not in my circle. These responses often solve my issue, help me re-focus and work smarter. It’s invaluable.
Chris Dyson – @RootsWebSol
Twitter is a great tool you can use to help find people who may link to you. Followerwonk can help you identify other Twitter users with certain interests or who are based in a specific location. There are lots of Twitter Tools out there with similar abilities but Followerwonk is one of the best. As a Micro Biz owner we usually aren’t trying to find more people who are like us, but instead trying to find people in other industries such as journalists or even potential clients. Another Twitter tool I use to assist me with reaching out to others on social media is Mentionmapp
Robert Peters – @FreshEyesConsul
Twitter is great for meeting new people, from partners to potential customers. But one hundred and forty characters is very little, and it can be hard to build relationships if you only talk to people on Twitter. I look for ways that I can expand the conversations. For instance, if I can share some knowledge to help someone I’ll offer to call them, meet for coffee, talk on Skype or have a Google Hangout. All of these activities give you more time to get to know people and for them to understand more about what you know and how you can help. I’ve found this very effective in developing opportunities, and conversations that originally started on Twitter have turned into new clients.
Daniel Honey – @Honey_Digital
Twitter has been my favourite platform for a few years now, both personally and professionally. I like it for its immediacy. Channels like Google+ and Facebook allow you more written freedom, but something about 140 characters is more challenging, instant, and provoking. I mean, a great 140 character headline can have you responding, re-tweeting, or throwing your arms up in dismay at your monitor.
There’s also the networking aspect. I’ve met (virtually and in real life) and stayed in touch with more people on Twitter than I care to remember. It’s lead to both rewarding personal and business relationships.
So when you Tweet, think about the possibilities each Tweet can lead to. You might inspire someone; you could meet your next client; or even find that next news item before it ends up on BBC News. To paraphrase a past TV ad campaign – “Twitter – the possibilities are endless“.
Lucy Thornton – @ThorntonLucy
One of the biggest challenges with Twitter is keeping up with what’s happening with all the people you follow – it’s so fast-moving it’s easy to miss something important, so I use lists to manage all those who I follow.
I’ve created four lists: customers, influencers, experts and desirables (those who I’d love to work with!). I have segmented the people I follow by adding them to one of these lists, so if I just want to see what my customers are up to, it’s easy to view their tweets. This makes it easier to build those relationships through conversation and retweets.
(You may also want to create a list for your competitors if they’re frequent tweeters – you’d hate to miss anything important from them!)
Sue Ritchie – @SusanJRitchie
My tip is a strategy that I used when I first started in business in a new town where I only knew two people – simple but effective.
If you’ve recently started in business, a simple but effective tip is to start following local businesses and organisations. Do a search for your local area. Find businesses and people in your area, follow them and put them in a list so that you can keep an eye on them. Make a note of when they are online; lots of my contacts locally are early birds and I know if I want to engage with them, then early morning is the best time. Then begin to respond to their tweets – strike up a conversation, don’t sell to them. Your focus is on building relationships, which you can eventually take offline. If at first they don’t tweet back, persevere. Ask them questions, interact with them – it’s unusual if at some point they won’t answer you! I’ve used this approach to build my business from scratch in a new town. It’s also got me onto my local BBC Radio station on several occiasions and has led to networking and speaker events.
Today’s Micro Action
Take 5 minutes to think about how you use Twitter in your business, and let us know your top tip in the comments below.