Rubbing shoulders in the digital world: Marketing on Twitter

The internet can be a scary place if you weren’t born into it. If you’re not a natural computer whiz or you’re of an older generation, using social networking for business can be a daunting prospect. If you’re a small business and you’re not sure how you can compete with larger, more established companies, you might just not bother.

But don’t worry! Getting on social network is a positive step in growing your brand and company. Twitter is an excellent first choice for a social network. Its tight character limit means you’re not in danger of giving away too much or rambling. It’ll also make you a better writer for your website. When you’ve only got a double handful of words to express an idea, you get creative and agile very quickly.

Here are a few rules you can follow to help get started on Twitter.

It’s not a soapbox, it’s a dinner party

Some companies make the mistake of treating the website like a lecture hall, waffling on and on about their own products and only their products. Twitter was designed to be the town hall of the Internet.

Get out there and press the digital flesh. Use the ‘@’ function to address individual users. See someone a supplier you’ve dealt with in the past, or a favoured client? Start a conversation! Building your reputations online is just as important in building them offline.

Don’t limit discussion for people you know outside of a computer screen, either. You’ll get people asking you questions, and you should respond to them. Knowing that you’re speaking to a business owner – that there’s no one more knowledgeable in the company they could be speaking to – is empowering and affirming for customers. How many times have you heard someone demand to speak to a manager? It’s that same feeling of getting a bit of special care that can convert incidental inquiries into repeat business.

A rising tide lifts all ships

Cultivate a relationship with your competitors. Don’t give them your leads, but interacting with each other on Twitter in an organic and human way breaks through a lot of the filters many customers have for advertising.

This is the power of social media – it can humanise a business in an instant. And your key online demographic – Millenials – hate interacting with businesses. Any way you can bring out the person behind the keyboard is going to make them sit up and take notice.

The mainstream social media craze is over a decade old at this point, but there’s still money to be made and joy to be had for savvy businesses looking to acknowledge that there are a different set of rules here.

Don’t treat Twitter like a series of roadside billboards your customers drive past one at a time. Think of your online space like your physical space; everyone who comes into your store might not have the intention to buy, but it’s your job to convince them to.