How To Use Twitter For Your Retail Business
I realized after my last rant about what I hate about Twitter, many of you might be going, “What the heck is that?” Here goes…
A new marketing tool is getting a lot of coverage and I think all small business owners should be on it. It’s called Twitter.
Now if you’ve heard of it but have brushed it off as pointless, stay with me. Those of you who don’t know what it is, Twitter is a social networking Web site that allows users to send and receive 140 character updates to and from their friends. These updates are called “tweets.” It was designed to be read on a cell phone, though many people read it on their PCs, too.
was originally created to let friends know what you are up to (you can watch their introductory video here.) But it’s changed from that first launch. It isn’t about chatting with your friends — it’s about promoting yourself. And that’s why you need to be on it.
Twitter is growing exponentially, we aren’t sure exactly where it is headed but one thing is clear, businesses that are on it are meeting with success. Dell sold $1 million worth of computers on Twitter alone last year! Major bricks and mortar businesses like Lumber Liquidators are tweeting. Heck, I even got a speech inquiry based on my Twitter tweets last month!
How do you use it?
First thing, sign up for an account. It’s free – http://twitter.com/account/create
Your next stop should be to the twitter help guide – http://help.twitter.com/portal.
This is where you get all your basic how to questions answered. Read it, it will save you some time and anguish. After you’re done, go here and download your FREE twitterhandbook.
Once you create an account you will be given a home page and a profile page –my profile page can be found here: http://twitter.com/theretaildoctor. From these pages you can find other twitter streams to follow, post your own messages and even watch the entire public stream of comments flow by.
You can search for people you already know to follow. You can type in categories, specific words or phrases and Twitter will show you the people/tweets that include those words.
Click on the individuals profile to read their past few tweets. If they look interesting, follow them. It may feel easier to just watch and see what people are talking about before you try it yourself but don’t wait too long – maybe a few days at most.
Not sure what to post? Just post something about what you are doing, “New to Twitter, hoping to learn its secrets before lunch today.” It doesn’t matter, just do it. Don’t worry, you can’t do anything wrong.
So the big question you may ask at this point is why would I need to use this? Here are a few reasons:
· Do you want to connect and network with others in your industry either locally or across the nation? This might do you some good but it might take awhile to build your network.
· Do you have expertise you can offer to your customers in a timely way? Look at BazaarHDC in WI posts.
· Are you looking for what’s going on in the world from people who share your interests? Twitter is good at that since many people publish links, content and other resources in their tweets.
· Promoting your business to new people is not a good use of Twitter. In fact, DON’T make all of your posts “ $50 off this weekend only” or followers will drop you like a rock.
· Got a blog that needs publicity? Twitter can be a good way to do it. Just give the headline and link.
· Are you a retailer looking for new ways to connect with your customers? Get them on Twitter and they can follow you. Make sure you post both relevant things like new products and links to your online newsletter. At left is Village Toys in MA. They post new products and other things going on at their toy store that draws people to them. That is the future of advertising.
Today, the Wall Street Journal had a story about Twitter user Garyvee who landed a 10-book deal based on his tweets and having 145,000 followers. Obviously, this Twitter thing is not going away and none of us are sure what opportunities might arise from it.
If you want to know what NOT to do, visit my post from last week.
Again, it isn’t the begin-all and end-all, but you’re going to hear more and more about how to use it and the results Twitter can offer you. Don’t make the assumption it is only kids on the big cities using it, people around you are tweeting right now.
If you don’t have a business to promote using Twitter, you should definitely be on FaceBook. Read my post about Facebook here.
With all the buzz, shouldn’t you find out what Twitter is all about? ©2009 Bob Phibbs
Best-selling author and speaker Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor has helped thousands of independent businesses compete by using his sales approach and not discounting. His Book, You Can Compete: Double Sales Without Discounting is the backbone of several companies training programs and teaches his methods for making over a business.Visit his blog at www.bobphibbs.wordpress.com and download more free tips at his website.