5 Creative Ways for Small Businesses to Use Twitter

Twitter is a strange fellow. On one hand, companies use it to send mass communications to hundreds, thousands, and even millions of people at a time. Yet it is also terrifically effective at driving one-on-one engagement. This opens the doors to get really creative with your small business Twitter marketing campaigns.

Here are 5 ways you can use Twitter to ramp up your effectiveness on the social network.

Update:I’ve included a slideshow at the bottom to accompany the post and give you even more ideas.

1. Identify Influencers With Lists

Twitter lists are an underutilized tool that can help you organize your followers and optimize your time spent tweeting. Instead of navigating the seemingly endless stream of information in your main feed, lists allow you to keep up with different categories of Tweeters. One of my favorite uses of lists is to identify influencers in any given industry.

To start, simply identify one of the major players in your target industry (I’ve chosen Chris Brogan for this example.) Once on their profile, navigate to the “Lists” section and click on “Member of”. This will now show you all the lists this influencer is a part of, and introduce you to other lists filled with different influencers. The possibilities are endless as you keep navigating through new lists and connecting with prominent players.

using twitter lists

2. Use Embedded Tweets As Your Testimonials

I’d argue that harnessing word-of-mouth marketing is an insanely potent sales technique for local businesses. Traditionally, this has been done by collecting testimonials from happy clients and posting them all over your marketing collateral. There’s one glaring problem with this technique though: How do your customers know the testimonial is real?

Using embedded tweets to capture your testimonials helps to correct this issue. The tweets are linked back to the original source, so that customers can verify their validity with the click of a button. Here’s a great example of a Twitter Testimonials page on the LocalVox website.

The process for added embedded tweets to your website is simple. Navigate to the tweet you wish to feature and click on the “more” option in the bottom right corner. Follow the prompt to embed the tweet, and paste the newly generated code into your website to memorialize your social testimonial.

Embedded Tweet

3. Create Lightning Fast Customer Service

Customer service is an essential function of small business success. Customers are often prone to pass up on cheaper options from large brands in favor of a more personalized experience. Unfortunately, providing great customer service can often eat large chunks of your time as you juggle lengthy phone calls, emails and support tickets.

In many situations, time is wasted because you are not able to quickly identify the problem and provide a swift solution. Twitter cuts down messages to 140 characters or less, making it the ideal way to “cut the fat” when serving customers. And because of its mobile nature, you can easily receive and respond to customer inquiries directly from your smart phone.

A prime example comes from my own life. I needed to commute to NYC for my new job, and I couldn’t figure out if the bus dropped me off close to work. I tweeted at Academy Bus late and night, and I had my question answered within minutes of the bus company opening the next morning.

twitter-customer-service

4. Locate Local Customers

This tactic is by far one of the most effective uses of finding customers on social media. Many have preached of the value of using Twitter search, and yet it is still not widely used by small businesses. Let me show you just how easy it can be.

Navigate to search.twitter.com and select the “advanced search” option. What you’ll see is a powerful tool that allows you to pin point groups of individuals that you deem in need of your products or services.

search-twitter

In our example, let’s pretend that you own a restaurant in Flat Iron and you’re looking to attract patrons for lunch. Simply type the words “Hungry” and “Dinner” into the “Any of these” field, and make sure to include “SoHo NYC” in the location. You’ll locate any hungry tweeters that you can then respond to with a special, coupon, or even a simple invitation to come eat. Here’s one of the first results I got when I tried this query:

tweet

5. Recruit Social Savvy Employees

Finding talented employees can be a difficult and laborious task, especially when your budget is limited (or non-existent.) With Twitter, you can amplify your efforts by posting jobs and actively seeking out candidates using hash tags, twitter search and a little bit of elbow grease.

Start by crafting a tweet that describes your open position in one sentence; this may very well be hardest part. Make sure to hashtag the important keywords so that your tweet is discoverable by job seekers. Once you’ve posted your tweet, you can then start actively searching for candidates using the same hash tags from your post, plus buzz words like “resume”.  In doing a quick search on the words “marketing” and “resume”, I was instantly able to find a social savvy candidate on my first try.

job-search

Twitter is an extremely versatile tool that opens the doors to endless small business marketing opportunities. By experimenting with creative ways to tweet, you’ll find the tactics that work best to help your company grow.

If you need a crash course in Twitter, you can download our Twitter for Small Business guide that highlights how you can get more followers and drive revenue using Twitter.

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