As a business with humble Yorkshire roots, Plusnet has always supported small businesses by helping them get online and stay connected, and now by unlocking the value of the digital pound to help grow their business.
We found that 55% of people aged 23 – 38 only search for businesses through social media. So the power of a credible online profile has really never been more important!
With this guide, we’ll share some tips from experts on how to develop a social media strategy.
Read on and discover how to build your small business through social media for yourself - good luck!
Nick Silverwood, Plusnet Head of Business
How to use Twitter for business: Three Tactics
Alison Battisby is a freelance Social Media Consultant, who has worked with a huge range of brands from Tesco to The Guardian. She speaks regularly about social media and offers bespoke consultancy and training. In this guide she shares her top 3 tactics for Twitter growth to help your business reach as many people as possible.
Twitter can be a fantastically powerful tool for new business and start-ups, because of its open platform. No other social media network allows you to have a direct conversation with a celebrity, or search for anyone talking about a certain topic online in real time.
Twitter has approximately 15 million active users within the UK - about a quarter of the population. Twitter's active user base has grown to more than 200 million worldwide, with an average of 400 million tweets posted every day.
1. Be interesting
If you're just going to tweet about your own products, you will soon get ignored. Twitter is not a sales platform. It's a fantastic place for sharing interesting content and engaging in conversations with like-minded people. Think about your target customer, and reasons why they might be on Twitter. Share content that will interest them, and help to build your credibility.
For example, if you are a hat company share information about the latest trends in hats, inspiration about what kind of hats are good for which occasions, examples of celebrities wearing nice hats, and tell your customers the story behind your business and where you are selling your hats.
Give your customers exclusive product news, special offers, the opportunity to feedback their thoughts and from time to time give them something for free!
This is the time to show off what kind of a business you are through your tone of voice. Are you funny, creative, inspirational or educational? Use a tone of voice which will resonate with your audience, so don't use emoticons and text language if you are targeting middle-aged folk.
2. Speak to influencers
There is a huge amount of journalists on Twitter, looking for stories and sources all the time. In fact a recent whitepaper found three quarters of mainstream journalists use Twitter.
Don't spam journalists with news of your business but follow them and get noticed by replying to their tweets and favouriting and retweeting them. Look out for opportunities by searching for keywords like 'small business' and 'startup' and looking for opportunities to be interviewed or get your website linked to. There is a good hashtag called #journorequest to keep an eye on for any potential mentions in stories online and in newspapers.
3. Use Twitter advertising
Twitter now allows for brands and businesses to promote themselves using their self-service advertising platform, which launched at the end of last year.
The ads being used in the platform are labelled with a yellow 'Promoted' label. The ads show up in the Twitter newsfeed on mobile and on desktop, and you can also pay to be a recommended user to follow or a trending topic.
Anyone can launch an advertising campaign, with as little budget as £10. Twitter advertising works when you target a very specific audience. You can target depending on location, interest categories, people that are similar to existing users and even keywords used in tweets.
Using the hat company example, I could target people that are similar to Topshop and ASOS's followers who have used the word 'hat' in their tweets and are based in London.
The trick is to write the most compelling tweet, include an eye-catching image and a link to your website to encourage clicks. Simply go to the Twitter Advertising website to get started.
How to Grow your Twitter Followers
Twitter is all about communicating with a digitally savvy audience. To make sure you’re heard, you’re going to need followers. Aside from the tips above, here are a few more pointers to help grow your follower count.
1. Engage regularly
Twitter is much more focused around conversation and discussion than Facebook or Instagram. If you want to make a success of your business’ Twitter, post more regularly than you do on other channels (as much as seven times a day), and be sure to respond to people when they engage with your brand.
2. Make use of hashtags
Many people use Twitter by browsing relevant hashtags to find out what is being said about a certain topic. This is a good way of finding relevant people who don’t already follow you. Identify some relevant hashtags for your business and use them every time you post about that subject.
3. Be visual
Tweets that include a visual element receive more engagement. If you have relevant imagery or a video, be sure to add it to your tweets.
4. Don't get drawn into "vanity" metrics
Followers are an important yardstick to measure the growth of your Twitter account – but don’t get caught up thinking it’s the only thing that matters. What’s more important is attracting the right audience; people who could purchase your product. It’s much better to have 100 followers who all engage with your brand than 1,000 who don’t care for your product.
Thanks for reading the Blueprint series of guides to social media. We hope you take some of the knowledge shared here and use it to help your own business reach new customers!