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  • Apr 24, 2010, 11:44 AM
    How Do I Best Use Twitter for My Small Business?
    How do companies use Twitter to boost their businesses? Twitter’s microblogging service is a very effective tool that allows businesses to directly communicate with customers and vice versa.
  • Apr 24, 2010, 11:44 AM

    Twitter creates relationships that are otherwise impossible in traditional communication channels.

    Here are a few companies that have used Twitter to the benefit of their respective businesses:

    1. Tasti D-lite is a dessert franchise in the greater New York area. They initially used Twitter to listen to what Twitter users are saying about the company and its competitors. Their successful delivery service began with a single tweet from an office worker craving for a Tasti treat. The nearest branch fulfilled the order upon reading the tweet.

    2. CoffeeGroundz' general manager built a small following at Twitter through constant direct messages. Followers know he is always online. When one of them tweeted an order “to-go”, the manager was able to fulfill it immediately. This gave way to CoffeeGroundz' online order placement system. To date it has expanded into an online reservation service for booking tables, booths and the entire venue.

    3. Dell Outlet, a division of computer-giant Dell, sells refurbished equipment. They post exclusive offers to Twitter followers which lead to an unprecedented increase in sales. And that not only spread the brand name but engaged customers in a two-way conversation.

    How to Make Twitter the Best Bet for Your Business

    To grow your business at Twitter, here are a few simple ideas that you can use:

    1. Ace your Twitter introduction

    Create a business account at Twitter and display clear information about your business, products and services. Place your business logo or company slogan if available. Tell all your clients, through email or your social media networks, to follow you at Twitter.

    2. Socialize seriously and sincerely

    Spend time following Twitter users and increasing your followers. Answer direct tweets. Re-tweet relevant messages from other users. Feel free to follow same-niche companies and even your competitors. Use Twinfluence or Klout to help you decide who the “influential” users to follow are. Tweetcloud even allows you to follow users that actually tweet about the same topics related to your business.

    3. Listen, listen, and listen

    Use Twitter's search tool to find comments related to your business or your competitors. Save the search result to your “Saved Searches”, which you can click from hereon to get real-time results whenever you need. You can generate business leads, get updates on industry news, or keep track of your competitors' activities this way. Use tools like TweetDeck, Trendistic or Monitter to get real-time updates on keyword trends at Twitter.

    4. Tweet well, or don't tweet at all

    Keeping in mind that your messages affect the image of your business, be careful with what you tweet. Go for the casual or friendly tweet. Post useful links or articles related to your business. Re-tweets are OK, if they are quality material. Tweet about your business carefully, without coming across as too self-promotional. You can tweet news, free offers, sales discounts and coupons. Make sure you deliver on them. To make tweeting more efficient, you can use or TwitterFeed. allows you to easily send updates to Twitter and other social media sites. TwitterFeed creates automatic tweets every time your blog is updated.

    5. Be open to customer feedback

    Tweet questions or ideas that aim to solicit comments and opinions from your followers. A new addition to your restaurant menu can be discussed with users. Be prepared for gripes and complaints, or even rude tweets from irate users. Reply clearly and courteously. No matter how unpleasant, these revelations are healthy for your business because they can tell you what you are doing wrong, or what you need to improve.

    6. Evaluate your Twitter experience

    Keep track of your activities at Twitter. Record details like the number of users who used your promotional coupons, the number of questions that you answered or problems solved. For links to your website, track click-throughs and conversions originating from Twitter. not only shortens your links, it also tracks these links and gives you data on real-time traffic from your tweets.

    Twitter can be used in many other ways to drive the business forward. It can complement your email marketing campaign, or widen your customer base, or improve your customer support.

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