One of the many questions in small business social media is how best to use Twitter. The short message platform and limit of 140 characters make Twitter an appealing platform for posting both links to the web and links to other social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and videos from YouTube. Using Twitter in both its free and paid formats can greatly enhance a business presence on social media.
A common Twitter feature is the mention, meaning an “@” followed by the name on Twitter, and each Twitter site has a unique name, like @Prose4SEO. This allows others to promote a given Twitter page, mention a specific page in a piece of content or string of replies, or send a direct message to a recipient. The other common Twitter feature is the hashtag, which groups Tweets based on a mentioned topic. If one wanted to group messages about #Prose4SEOBlog or any other person or entity would use that. This can also be a great promotional tool to get a message or promotion out immediately, #JoesPizzaHalfOff could easily get the word out about a half price deal. Both the mentions and hashtags allow businesses to find customers (or be found) through a common interest.
Use of Twitter is free, although Twitter also allows businesses to run ads to further that supercharge the free features. Although Twitter has many types of ads, the ones relevant to small business are promoted tweets, promoted accounts, and direct mail. Promoted tweets show up in the newsfeed of those who are not yet following a business but fit into a target profile. A promoted tweet is often a website card which will direct users to a given website. Promoted accounts put a business in a list of suggested tweets for a given target audience. This can lead to more followers than simply showing up in those results organically. One great feature about Twitter ads is they’re fully functional tweets. Organic actions such as likes, retweets, or replies cost the business owner nothing. Assuming one goes with the pay per click (PPC) model, only when the ad is clicked is the business charged. If one wants to engage with the educated Twitter is likely an ad platform of choice. Like with Google and Facebook, ad costs are a bidding process, though each click tends to cost about 25-30 cents each. Additionally, some users will also utilize Hootsuite, AWeber, or other social media management sites to send automated messages for promotions or to reach out to groups of followers. This feature can be helpful in promotions of products, other social media sites, or simply to communicate personally.
A social media presence can be economically and efficiently enhanced by utilizing Twitter. With its over 300 million users, free promotional features, and ease of reaching non-followers with common interest, Twitter provides a substantial benefit. And if a business has an advertising budget, it can be utilized to further enhance these features. While Twitter is not recommended to replace Facebook, LinkedIn, or other social media platforms, it can be a great way to communicate quickly and bring in the followers needed to have an impactful social media presence.
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