Is Twitter Right for Your Local Business?

Carmen Rane HudsonSocial Media

twitter-local-business

Recently I came across a post by Firegang Marketing called Why a Local Business Should Not Use Twitter. This was not a post I could agree with!

First, I’ll show you the video.

Now let’s discuss what Jacob had to say.

First of all, yes, absolutely yes, spend the majority of your time improving your own website. You should be especially focused on getting a steady stream of great content on your blog.

However, that does not not preclude using Twitter, or any other social media site.

Jacob mentions that he does not believe that the family of 5 is on Twitter. I think he’s wrong. There are billions of people on Twitter and on the other social networks.

Now that doesn’t mean every social network is right for your business. Facebook is a bad bet because it’s so hard to reach out to people who you don’t personally know (among other reasons).

But Twitter allows you to reach out to people you don’t know very quickly, and is in my opinion an absolutely perfect forum for sharing your own content simply because one of the reasons why people enjoy Twitter is the ability to find and follow people who put out the kind of content that they want to read.

The question is not whether you should be on Twitter. The question is how you’re going to reach that hypothetical family of 5 on Twitter. You’re not going to reach them if you’re not intentional about doing so.

Choose the Right Focus

You’re a painter. Do people have a burning urge to read painting content on Twitter? All painting, all the time?

Probably not. However there are a lot of customers who do have a burning urge to hear about home improvement.

In fact, according to Hashtags.org, the tag #Home gets between 300 and 700 searches every hour.

Now, this does not require you to stop tweeting your tips for touch-up paint or the link to your blog post about getting crayon off the walls. Do so, by all means. That content pertains to the “#home” after all. It just means you should use #home when you’re done.

You can also use this #home focus to choose content that you will share or re-tweet. Everything home related that is not about painting becomes a great choice for shares, so make sure you follow some contractors from other industries. That way, you have a direct line to content that you might want to share.

Make Your Bio Work for You

Pop quiz.

Who are you more likely o follow?

A. Minneapolis painter.

B. Minneapolis painter. Tips and tricks for your walls.

C. Minneapolis painter. I tweet the latest home improvement news and tips.

As they used to say on the radio, just pick C. The third bio tells anyone who is passionate about home improvement that you are going to entertain them with content they care about.

You can use a similar bio strategy on just about any social network you care to be a part of.

Follow the Right People

I talked about who you should follow in this post. So I won’t go into it too much here, other than to give you some hints on how to find your customers.

They’re not going to say, ever, “I own a home, and it hasn’t been painted in awhile.”

No, you need to look for local, professional people who are advanced enough in solid careers to either own a home, know homeowners, or be on the path to buying a home. You also want real estate agents.

And if you’re sure you’re targeting families that’s not too hard either. I can’t tell you how many people put, “Mom,” “Proud Dad,” “Mom of Three,” or whatever in their Twitter bios.

Use Time Wisely

It’s safe to say that Twitter should not be your focus as a local small business owner. However, I have never advocated making Twitter your focus, nor have I ever advocated spending more than 1-2 hours a week on the site.

In fact, I’ve mentioned that you can use tools like Hoot Suite to reduce your time commitment on Twitter.

But let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water. Get on Twitter. Participate. Be relevant. It will help your business in time.