If you haven’t heard of Twitter then apparently you have been living under a rock. Social media has become a great way to interact and communicate with potential customers/fans for your business. The only crazy part to this equation is that a ton of  small business owners don’t have a clue how to use Twitter.

There’s a reason they call it “social media” and the key word in that is “social.” Raise your hand on how many times you’ve seen someone tweet “Check out our awesome business….We have awesome products, come take a look.” I see you raising your hand and you get the picture. If the only thing you tweet about is about yourself or your products then most likely people click “unfollow.” Using Twitter is still a way to make an impression as if you would when you first meet someone. If a person is turned off by the way you approach them from the start then most likely you have lost your chance winning them over for the long run. We could make a list of things that you should or shouldn’t do when using Twitter but the best thing we can tell you is to be social and don’t over promote yourself like a marketing guru or used car salesman.

Many will act like it’s rocket science to “master” Twitter but quite honestly it boils down to actually interacting with people. We asked fellow friends and business owners their tips about the proper Twitter Etiquette to imply when you jump on the social media bandwagon.

“Choose a ratio of promotion to sharing and giving. Mine is 1 to 10 and it really works to build your community who trust, like and value you. When you do go to offer them something or promote your product or service they’re far more willing to listen and engage.” Tip by: Natalie Sisson @suitcasepreneur

“Say something that makes people say…”hmm, I hadn’t thought of that” and makes you seem INTERESTING. Yes, you’ll have misses, but more often than not, people will be intrigued. For example, my personal tagline is…”you’d feel better if you talked about it.” The longer version is…”the thing you don’t want to talk about is the THING YOU NEED TO TALK ABOUT.” The key to any sale is asking an UNCOMFORTABLE QUESTION, shutting up and looking at them expectantly until they say something.  Silence is powerful, uncomfortable and deafening.” Tip by: Michael Bremmer @telecomquotes

“Treat the Twitterverse like a giant cocktail party! I love this analogy because it make twitter feel more real! It is key to come to the cocktail party and not just talk about yourself or your business! It is all about engaging and giving back. Find topics that will interest your followers. Keep the topics relevant to your business but do not self promote. Simply talk about interesting things, re-tweet other businesses and 1 out of every 10 tweets, give your business a tiny plug!” Tip by: Christy Cook @teachmy

“Grow your follower list slowly. It’s not an overnight process–and I’ve seen users rush out and “purchase” 10,000 Twitter followers–many of which will cram up your timeline and ultimately unfollow you– because there is no ultimate reason for the connection to exist. It’s easy to gain multiple thousands of followers, but the key to social media is to establish a communications niche with your customer base and maintain that base, watching it expand exponentially until your key base of users becomes “your” base!” Tip by: Alan Guinn @aguinn

“Don’t worry what strategy your competitor is using. You definitely want to keep track of what your doing, but create your own strategy and develop your own brand identity. Don’t hiccup your competitor!” Tip by: Alfonso Santaniello @AlSantaniello

“Do not tweet your sales offers incessantly or link your twitter account to facebook, so that your tweets show up as facebook posts.  It’s okay to tweet all day long, but if those are all showing up in facebook, it’s very annoying and obvious (especially when the message is super short, has hashtags, and is @ other twitter users).” Tip by: Lolo Siderman @gypsywing

“While we have many tips for new and experienced users when it comes to Twitter the most important one we can stress is to be: Consistent and Courteous. It is essential that you use Twitter consistently providing up to date information as often as possible. The best way to be lost in the sea of Twitter-ers is to only post once every week or so. Speak up and have something important to say everyday!! Remember to be courteous while posting, using positive language, following those who follow you, and be social with other users. (Twitter is about conversations and connections, its not just a news feed!) By keeping these terms in mind while using Twitter, we are sure you will see a positive impact on your profile!” Tip by: Peter Kelly @FM_Strategies

Twitter Mistakes Small Businesses Make—
  • Broadcasting — Meaning to simply use the account as a way to share their own business information but not using it to actually engage their followers. Try to create a balance of business tweets, vs engaging customers and even personal/opinion based tweets. Remember the premise of the platform is being ‘real’ and creating relationships based on that.
  • Customer Service — Twitter is a great tool for interacting with your customers, but it can also be a place for customers to vent about your services when they find them lacking. Make sure you don’t neglect any ‘bad press’ you might receive via Twitter. Instead, if you do find someone complaining, contact them with an email account to follow up with and assure them that you will solve their problem. Showing how quickly and efficiently you follow up with a potential problem is a great way to turn a negative situation into a positive.
  • Variety is Status Spice — Many small businesses have trouble determining WHAT they can tweet about. There is actually more content provided by your company than you might realize. Here are some ideas to get you started: Meetings, Events, Conferences, Seminars, Training. New Software; Tax Season; Sale Products; New Products; Client or Customer Testimonials; Giveaways; New Hires or Interviews; New Online Content or Blog Posts.  Tip by: JP Jones @paige1Media

What’s your best Twitter Etiquette tip?

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photo credit: niallkennedy & Rosaura Ochoa