It seems like every business out there is looking to make the most of social media to drive sales, increase product awareness and engage with consumers. But while these are free services that can certainly be useful in the right hands, they aren’t right for everyone.
Twitter is not just one of the most popular social networks out there – it’s also one that causes a lot of confusion for small business owners. Most people will know following certain companies can be handy for getting the odd special offer – in fact I follow MoneySupermarket and recently saved some cash on my business insurance – but how can Twitter help your plans? And should you even be bothering with it in the first place?
Here are five questions you should ask yourself before setting up an account:
Is it the right network for you?
Twitter is definitely adaptable, but there are other social networks out there that may be more worth your while. If you run an online store and images are important, why not try Facebook or even Pinterest to draw attention to what you are doing? You can tweet individual pictures, but as a showcase these two options may make much more sense.
Will people care?
There’s very little point in setting up a Twitter account if your product is painfully dull. Twitter is a social tool and for the most part people only want to follow those with similar interests. With this in mind, you’ll need to think about whether or not people will be interested in what you have to say and whether there is a conversation out there you can get involved with.
Do you know how to talk to people?
One of the most important things to remember about Twitter is that, like emails and text messages, you can be misinterpreted. You need to know how to speak to your customers if you are using it as a service tool and how to engage with people if you are using it for sales. Getting the right brand tone of voice isn’t easy, so ask yourself if you have the people skills.
Are you ready to do business?
Many small businesses have tried to get involved with Twitter and then found that they have nothing to say to people. At that point, it can be easy to wander off and start tweeting your thoughts on the football or randomly asking people what they are up to for the weekend. Remember, people have friends for that – they don’t need you for it.
Have you got time?
Social networking doesn’t have to take up too much time, but it isn’t something you can go into half-heartedly. You need to stick with it, make regular updates and take part in the conversations around you. Tweeting a link to your products once a week will do nothing, so if you haven’t got the time to dedicate to making the most of it, forget it.
Twitter can be an incredible tool for business and there are plenty of examples of brands doing it right. Just remember that it isn’t for everyone – especially those with more pressing business matters to attend to!