Twitter has become a phenomenon in the social media world, and with more than 200 million active users and more than a billion tweets sent out every three days, it’s no wonder that 30 percent of small businesses use Twitter as part of a comprehensive marketing plan. And, it pays off. Research shows that Twitter followers will visit your web site 60 percent more often than any other target audience. What’s even better is that the people who visit your site through Twitter are 50 percent more likely to become your customers.new_twitter_logo

How to Get Started Using Twitter

Twitter offers lots of tools for small business, but it takes some basic steps to get started and get comfortable with the platform before branching out into its more complex marketing tools.

  1. Set up your Twitter account (for free). Use your company’s name as your username so it’s easy to find, then let people know you’re on Twitter. Potential followers can find you at twitter.com/username.
  2. Make your account visible to everyone. You don’t just want your followers to be able to see your tweets, so don’t check the box beside “Protect my updates.”
  3. Connect Twitter and Facebook. You do have a Facebook page for your business, right? Let Twitter post your tweets on your Facebook wall. Start at your Twitter profile and select “Sign into Facebook and connect your accounts.” Select your privacy settings (they’re public by default) and follow the prompts to complete your setup.
  4. Set up Mobile and IM tools. Your best tweets might not come to you while you’re sitting at the computer, so take Twitter with you on your smart phone. From the Twitter profile, select Settings>Phone and IM. Follow the prompts.
  5. Find friends and start tweeting. “Followers” tells you who is listening when you tweet, and “Following” tells you whose tweets will show up in your news feed. Find people you know and get current patrons to follow your Twitter account by posting notices at your business and on social media. You want retweets, so build your following with Twitter-only coupons, promotions and contests that focus specifically on building a community. (Ex: “Retweet our daily status for more chances to win our monthly prize package.”) Remember: tweets are limited to 140 characters or less.

There’s so much more to Twitter than catchy status updates, but that is where it all starts. Get comfortable with the platform, build your following organically, and then employ some next-level Twitter marketing tools to promote great ads and positive local media coverage.

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