Tweeting for Business Growth
The success of a small business depends on relationships with customers and a strong sense of community--but in this digital age, a "community" doesn't have to have to occur within your immediate area. Because of social media sites like Twitter, anyone with a smart phone or an Internet connection can check in with your business regularly. You can connect with the 15% of online Americans who use the network from your home or living room.
But some rules of making connections haven't changed; your customers want to be able to communicate with you, and know that you're listening. Tweeting for your business is a great way to make this happen--but do you know how to use Twitter chats to get the best information about social media, small business management, and other subjects?
What IS a Twitter chat?
Essentially, Twitter chats are forums for the exchange of information on a designated topic. Chats happen when a designated time and topic are scheduled, and every user is invited to participate by using the same hashtag. You can search the hashtag (such as #SocialMedia) to get the most recent Tweets on the topic online. The easiest way to keep up on social media chats is through a list in your HootSuite app.
To extend your Twitter reach, you can participate in chats that are relevant to small business ownership, social media marketing or anything else that's related to your business.
Why Join a Twitter Chat?
Participating in a Twitter chat makes sure you stay up-to-date on social media trends in the ever-changing Twitterverse. Here are some reasons to jump into a chat:
1. Network with others in similar fields. This can be as general as small business owners or social media marketers, or even more specific (restaurateurs, retailers, etc.) But the fact remains: You can hear from, and swap information with, other Twitter users in similar fields. This exchange of ideas and creation of new connections is priceless.
2. Gain new insight from folks with more expertise. There's always more to learn, and when experts Tweet, it's your opportunity to gain new knowledge.
3. Get inspired. Because Twitter is a wonderful platform to quickly exchange links, photos, videos and other media, there will be thousands of new ideas at your fingertips during every chat. Learn from others, and see how their ideas can work for you and your business.
4. Build and expand your social media reach. Your customers, and potential customers are probably online right now. Keep your business fresh in their minds by appearing in their Twitter stream, and reach out to new customers when your current followers ReTweet or Reply to you. Your appearance in a Twitter chat can only add to this momentum, and bring your Tweets to the attention of new viewers. This helps you build a reputation as a savvy and accessible business.
1/2. Keep Learning After the Conversation is Over. Once the Twitter chat has ended, the learning doesn't stop. Build Twitter lists of the experts who hosting or chimed in with some compelling information, because there's a good chance they've got great links and statistics to offer throughout the week.
Twitter chats can help you stay ahead of the curve in many areas, providing you find relevant chats to your business.
Five Twitter Chats to Join Right Now
#smbiz The Small Business chat exists for small business owners to share resources about the social media needs particular to the small business world. This chat is hosted every Tuesday at 8 pm Eastern time.
#SMChat Social Media Chat is a general place to share social media ideas, such as lessons learned, or air questions or new ideas. Use this resource to bounce new around and share your success stories. Join in on Wednesdays at 1 pm Eastern.
#SocialMedia is another general chat time about social media, making it a great way to learn about the newest trends and what they could mean for your business. This chat happens every Tuesday at 12 pm Eastern.
#BrandChat can be used to talk about the nuts and bolts of branding, and what it means in the age of social media. This chat happens every Wednesday at 11 am Eastern.
#BlogChat is the best way to kick your end-of-weekend blues and power up your work week for some innovative content creation. A different blogging expert hosts each week, and topics tend towards the innovative and interesting. Last Sunday's conversation revolved around using mobile devices for content creation. Sundays, 9 pm Eastern.
Is no one chatting about the latest trends in cupcakes or couture or whatever else you need to know? You can also start your own chat, with the topic of your choosing.
What Twitter Chats Do You Participate in?Image credit: freedigitalphotos.net/James Barker