How to be Successful on TWITTERAs a small business owner, you’re probably thinking, “How can a social platform like Twitter impact my business? What can I really say in 140 characters?” If this sounds like something you would say, you could not be farther from the truth.

Social media has proven to be an effective marketing strategy for small businesses. With the technology driven world we live in today, consumers expect all businesses (large and small) to be on social media and provide them with updates, specials and information at the press of a button. Twitter is not just for teens, tycoons and celebrities. It is a marketing tool that can help grow your business, and many smart small business owners are using Twitter as one of their main online marketing tools in their tool belt.

The numbers are convincing. Twitter has been around since 2006 and has grown substantially. Today, there are more than 284 million monthly active users, according to stats released by Twitter on their website. With almost 500 million tweets sent per day, you can see why this is a powerful marketing tool for any small business owner. As staggering as these stats may seem, you are probably asking yourself, “How can Twitter help my business?”

Here are just a few strategies you can implement to build your brand on Twitter:

Connect  – With the number of active users on Twitter, it makes it one of the best places to look for and connect with potential customers. Small businesses that cater to a niche market find that they are able to connect with their existing customers and interact with new customers easily, allowing potential customers the opportunity to learn more about their business and their brand and stay informed of sales, promotions and special events.

Brand Awareness – While the big brands do not need an introduction to get followers, small business owners need and want more people to know about their products and services. Twitter allows you to drip brand information onto your followers. Before you know it, you are recognizable, reliable and known for your brand to millions of followers. Creating that trust with your followers is key in building lasting relationships with them, which will drive sales for your business.

Relationships – Positive relationships are the key to growing your business. Your Twitter followers will feel connected to you and your business as you make an effort to post updates and tweets that your customers will find interesting and helpful. Value driven content is more powerful today than any other type of information presented. A balance is needed, so keep your direct marketing or sales promotions to a minimum as too many ads can make you come across to your followers as pushy.

Informational MarketingIntroducing new products and services or making important announcements via Twitter has some great benefits. Not only is this a more cost effective way to release information on new products and services, but it also can potentially reach millions of people much faster than other marketing methods, such as print advertisement and even radio and television.

Immediate Feedback – Many small businesses are using Twitter to monitor, survey and handle feedback from their customers. This is a very efficient tool in gathering your customers’ opinions and it allows you to respond quickly. Responding to both positive and negative feedback can set your small business apart from that big competitor down the street. Managing your online reputation in a professional manner creates a positive atmosphere with your followers.

So Twitter can be a very useful tool for small businesses in a multitude of ways. Twitter can help you reach your consumers in ways that you never thought were possible. Here’s a few examples of how a few Twitter-savvy businesses used Twitter to build their small business:

  • Coffee Groundz is a coffee shop in Houston and was one of the first businesses to use Twitter for takeout orders. They fill their Twitter stream with promotions, upcoming events, pictures and the announcement of their special flavor of the day.
  • Crème Brulee Cart was a small side business started by a carpenter. Within a very short period, this business owner learned that customers were finding the cart each day through Twitter. As customers would stop by the cart, they would then tweet where the cart was and what they purchased. This business owner quickly started using Twitter to post where the cart was located every day and what the daily flavors were. Today, there are more than 20,000 followers on this Twitter account and the business owner was able to quit the carpentry business!
  • Roger Smith Hotel, located in New York City, needed an edge to compete against the big name hotels in Manhattan. Twitter provided this hotel an edge that no one could have seen. After reaching out through Twitter to some online influence’rs and inviting them to stay during their next visit to NYC, the Roger Smith Hotel got exactly what it hoped for – happy guests that tweeted about their stay. Word spread quickly and now they are consistently booked. The hotel gives their Twitter followers special discounts and even has a special Twitter kiosk in their lobby to give them a special welcome.

Social media can be the driving tool for small businesses to develop awareness of its products and services. As a small business, you are in the perfect position to use Twitter to your advantage and build your business to heights you never thought possible. Maintain your values and remember the tips mentioned above. Before you know it, your followers and sales will increase.

Social media is not going away. So don’t be one of those businesses that struggle and make the mistake of ignoring the potential of social media – especially Twitter. It’s one of the most economical ways you can increase your visibility and reach your audience, which is why it’s so popular among small businesses. Make it a part of your marketing strategy for your small business so you can reach your audience quicker and easier than ever before.