A lot of small business owners are thinking about social media marketing, but are not sure if or how to do it. A lot of them have heard about how Twitter tipped the balance in the last US election. But many business owners still are not sure.
Yesterday I was meeting with a group of SOHO entrepreneurs. To give you an idea of the crowd, there was…
- A local real estate agent
- A local gift catalogue agent (who can sell across Canada)
- A virtual assistant (Drop me a line if you want her contact info)
- A local mortgage broker
- A local home decorator/renovator
Notice the word “local” appears a fair amount? Can a local business, such as these SOHO folks effectively do social media marketing.
Yes. I advised them all to sign up for Twitter.
So, without further ado, here is David Leonhardt’s crash course in Twitter for SOHO business.
Pick a smiling avatar. At networking meetings, you need a firm handshake, a smile and eye connection. On Twitter and other social networking sites, your smile does all the heavy lifting.
Find people to follow who broadcast good information in you niche, such as links to articles, blog posts, other experts to follow, tools, etc. These people will do almost all the research you’ll need to keep up on new tools, new developments, new resources and more in your field. Congratulations! You have just hired a research department that won’t even ask to be paid.
If your business is local, follow as many people as possible in your area. Go to Twellow and search for a location. Some people will show by country, some by state, some by town, so you’ll want to do multiple searches. Follow these people, at least long enough to see which ones follow you back. If your business is not local, you can search by pretty much any criteria.
Remember that anything you type into Twitter will be read by just about anybody. It’s like a worldwide networking meeting with a microphone over your head, so be tactful and be professional. On the other hand, Twitter is a medium where people like to know you as a human being, so polite informalities are a plus.
Make sure you are tweeting the right things, things that will advance your reputation and your business. Things that will build credibility. Things that will create opportunities. Things that will attract more people toward you. Sooooo many people tweet the music they are listening to, the food they are eating or preparing, the trouble they have getting out of bed – I suppose they are trying to get intimate and help followers feel like they are right there with them. But so many tweets on those topics make one’s eyes gloss over and reduce your value to the majority of followers (my opinion). Here are a few things you can tweet:
- Tweet your successes. That reinforces both what you do and your competence. This builds your credibility as someone who is effective at what you do. Don’t brag, but do brag just a little.
Just sold another home. It was a tough one. Required extra effort. Feels good.
- Tweet profound or quick facts that your followers might find interesting. That also makes people want to keep following you and builds your credibility as a knowledgeable person in your field.
56% of Americans never read a nutrition label. How often do you?
- Tweet useful resources related to what you do. That also makes people want to keep following you and pay attention to what you are doing. It also makes you the person they come to when they need advice, which might lead to business for you.
Helpful guide to pre-workout stretching here: [URL]
- Occasionally – very occasionally – ask for clients. Why not? A little self-promotion is accepted by most people. And if you lose three followers and gain one client, it’s worth it.
Booked until end of March. Know anyone needing party planning in April or May?
- Ask questions. This is a great way to do research and make yourself more knowledgeable about the market. This tends to work best when you have a large number of followers.
Trade-in of keep it running – what are your car plans for the next few months?
Use Twitter to network, but if you start an in-depth conversation (which is good), take it off-tweet. Phone, email or even Twitters DM (direct message) feature are preferable. Your other followers don’t want to be bombarded by one side of a conversation they are not party to.
Remember that in all social situations, it helps if you give first. People give to helpful people, so send ideas, referrals and pats on the back to people following you.
There are also tools that can make Twitter more effective, but not really useful for a newbie. If you start getting really into Twitter and find you are following too many people, download TweetDeck and set up groups of people you wish to follow. For instance, you can set up a group of most important prospects that will appear in one column (so that you never miss the chance to respond to their tweets) and a group of your industry idols whose information you don’t want to miss.
Should a local SOHO business be on Twitter? Yes. You can do a year’s worth of networking in a week. You can find leads, referrals and clients. You get an instant research team. Go for it!
P.S. You can follow David Leonhardt on Twitter or retweet this post to your Twitter followers.