A decade back in time, the rules of businesses were very different from what they are today. We’re out of the ‘selling’ generation, and are in the middle of the era of marketing. Having confident salespersons who can win arguments and speak their way to huge deals is no more the solo route to success in the markets. The global markets have grown, and with them has grown the awareness among customers to separate the grain from the chaff. Marketing messages can only succeed if they are short and crisp, and touch the right chords. How short – you ask? Well, what about ‘140 characters’ for an answer? Don’t be surprised; you might have always treated Twitter as just another social media network, or something more than that, but now is the time to realize the massive potential of this amazing social networking platform as a marketing toolbox, especially for localized and small businesses. Right from the roadside pizza eatery owner to the talk-of-the-town restaurant chain, every small business owner can bridge the gap between small and big a lot quicker with the help of the right social media impetus, and that’s what makes Twitter a vital part of any growing businesses’ marketing mix. Here, we surface out the top benefits that Twitter can endow upon businesses, helping them expand revenue pools and grow bigger.
More coverage of marketing messages at almost zero cost
From the most menial of businesses to the ones run with a fair deal of marketing philosophy, communication and advertising are the life and soul of getting business. As a localized business, you can ill afford following the advertising patterns of the big businesses, such as firing in radio advertisements multiple times a day, or being visible on the television in the middle of the Ashes. These broadcasting media cost a serious amount of money and could break your business’ back. This is where the power of the web comes into the picture. With Twitter, you can smartly roll out a few words about a new promotional scheme being floated by your small business. Moreover, it doesn’t always have to be a promotional campaign; you can even just post a few words that pertain to the products and services you offer. Of course, you’d need to have a good following from local populations to get more visitors to your shop. If your business is web based, you can pursue your marketing communication all the more vigorously as slipping in the link to your store will never be a problem. The best part – it is all free! Using Twitter does not involve any expenses, not do you need to spend anything to send out as many tweets as you want. Compare it with the mammoth advertising budgets that you’d otherwise have to allocate, and you’ll see the logic behind leveraging Twitter as a strong marketing messenger.
Access to niche clientele that’s highly suitable for your business
As a small business, developing a niche that you serve is integral for success. It’s important not to confirm this as developing a USP of your business. When you are serving a niche audience, you can expect to be able to sell your stuff at huge margins, albeit to a small pool of customers. In coherence with the ‘niche’ philosophy, you’d also want to be able to access a group of prospects to whom your service and products could be appealing. This is where Twitter helps you in targeting a niche audience, as it allows you to follow people based on common interests. So, when smartly done, your Twitter network could well have several branches in social circles with lots of people who have a lot of interest in products and services of the kind your small business offers. Once you have a network on Twitter with a decent number of people following you, then you can even expect the coveted multiplier effect to bless your business one fine day. This can happen when, suppose, an advertisement about a special basket of niche products gets re-tweeted multiple times, thus being visible to the networks of several people who are themselves in your network.
A‘contemporary’ and ‘in-with-the-times’ vibe for your business
Gone are the days when your visiting cards would look painfully bland with several empty spaces. Today, these spaces are well decorated with URLs and social networking IDs for people to connect with you online. If you own a small proprietary business and run a small store, you can well imagine the salubrious impression that will be created on the minds of visitors and customers when they see a Twitter identity on your visiting cards. You can safely assume that your customers will associate attributes such as innovation, support, and responsiveness your business as well as you. Also, for those of you have set up web based businesses, having a Twitter connection can go a long way in increasing the number of your followers as Twitter users will be able to jump to your Twitter profiles just by clicking the relevant button placed on your website. Moreover, they will waste less time in thinking about tweeting or re-tweeting your content such as your business’ website link or any of your marketing messages as that would just be a click away from them.
Building a personality for your business
There’s so much to benefit from creating a brand image for your business that small businesses are advised to budget some part of their revenues for brand building exercises that can help them grow in the long term and stand up against competitors. It’s almost amazing to note how difficult and expensive such activities can be without a special social media platform of the kind of Twitter. It doesn’t always have to be outrageous promotional campaigning using Twitter’s reach, a smart small business manager needs to devise a long term brand building plan and prepare a content repository on the basis of that. For instance, a book store owner or a web based retailer of books and magazines would do well to keep things active via his/her Twitter account by posting legendary phrases from classic books, sharing links to excerpts from magazines and acclaimed novels, and just asking followers about their favorite writers. The possibilities of slowly and steadily creating a brand image for your small business using Twitter are exciting and inexpensive at the same time, which makes for a lethal combo.
Stay in sync with what your prospective customers are excited about
Twitter is undoubtedly a highly credible source of trend alerts that managers and owners of small businesses can smartly interpret and use to devise their product mix and marketing tactics. By observing the re-tweeting activity of Twitter users and the trending topics, businesses can become aware of new themes to base their marketing efforts on. For instance, if you are a bakery owner, and observe a lot of excitement about an upcoming concert from a big artist in the nearby city’s stadium, you might want to prepare theme based cakes and pastries, or spruce up your menu with some theme based smoothies to attract customers and communicate a dynamic brand image. What’s more, by staying in the thick of things, you can expect your followers base to grow, which will help you do all of the above listed activities with better results and returns. If you are in business that can really leverage knowledge of trending topic, you might also want to make use of analysis tools that help by providing you better and clearer inputs on the hot keywords, discussion topics and tweet themes.
Be in the know-how of what customers think of you
Increasingly, users of Twitter are depending upon the reach of the platform to shout out their dissatisfaction’s with brands, businesses and companies. What if you have a terrible customer who is hell bent on ruining your business’ online reputation? Well, the first step you can take is to be aware of such events so that you can control damage, and even transform seemingly troublesome situations into healthy ones. For instance, a Twitter users who releases a poisonous tweet about your show store’s warranty policies, you could quickly tender clarifications so that viewers can see the response along with the complaint, thus helping your business establish a reputation for being understanding, careful and responsive towards customer grievances.
You get the idea, right? Twitter is here to stay, and it would be smart on your part to hug it and enjoy the rub-off effect. Of course, most of the benefits explained above are based on the per-requisite of having a decent number of followers, which in turn depends upon how you manage your Twitter account. So, brace up, log in, and begin treating Twitter as a little bird that can chirp, tweet and bring in some serious business for you to tap.