A recent survey by Constant Contact revealed that small businesses are discovering the advantages of social media for their businesses. The survey was performed in December 2012 and 80% of respondents said they use social media for marketing. Facebook was considered the most effective social media platform with 82%, and Twitter had a huge jump to 25% from 7% in May 2012.
Although there is an increase in interest and appreciation for social media as an effective marketing tool, small business owners still are not confident in their online skills. Social media can be overwhelming at first – 54% of respondents claimed they need the most help in using social media in marketing. “Only 13 percent of survey respondents post to Twitter daily,” said Mark Schmulen, general manager, social media, Constant Contact. He added that small business who were successful in using social media learned that this marketing strategy requires a commitment to interact with their audience.
How often to tweet?
Twitter is a good platform to introduce your company and promote awareness to your products and services. But, a tweet has a short lifespan, only 2 hours. To capture more audience, and to stand above the flood of tweets, your tweet must go beyond your network. The best way to reach more people is through retweets (RTs). To be retweeted, it is advised to tweet 4-5 times a day. If your business tweets 4 times a day, you have a 300% increase in the chance of being retweets than when tweeting once a day only.
Another key factor to getting the greatest reach in the Twitter world is the timing of tweets. Research from HubSpot revealed that the optimal time to send a tweet is 5pm while marketing firm Lemon.ly found that 9-11am and 1-3pm are the busiest times in Twitter. This information suggest that small businesses should spread their tweets throughout the day, emphasizing on late afternoon. Don’t annoy your audience by sending multiple tweets within minutes (or seconds) of each other. There are online tools that can help you schedule your tweets and most of these tools are for free. Twuffer and FutureTweets are just two examples.
Here are additional tips to help you effectively use this microblogging site:
• Create a Marketing Action Plan (M.A.P.) – List all the things and topics that you can tweet about such as your company’s blog, news about your business, announcements, promotions, and other relevant information.
• Be creative – Bring your company’s personality to your tweets. You can personalize your avatar and Twitter background by including a picture of your team or products. Keep your tweets friendly and interesting to attract more followers. More followers means greater reach which is good in marketing.
• Use Twitter to communicate – Communication is a two-way process. Monitor who “mentions” you and respond to them. Foster relationships around your brand by being personal to your followers. Engage your followers by asking questions and getting their reactions and comments. Don’t make Twitter just about your business. It’s also about your community.