The Pros and Cons of Twitter for Local Business

When you first think of Twitter, what comes to mind? Typically, people view Twitter as a forum where others blurt out useless thoughts or pretty much anything that comes to mind. And while this may be true for some, using Twitter for your local business is a very powerful took that should be a large part of your business’ social media marketing. Throughout this blog post, we will describe how Twitter can be used most efficiently to benefit your business.

We will begin with some basic information about Twitter for those of you who are unaware. Essentially, Twitter is a social media site that allows you to send messages, or tweets, up to 140 characters long to those who follow you. These tweets can include a link to any website, an image, and even a video. To break Twitter down in the most simplest terms:

–       A tweet is like a short Facebook status update, however it shows up in every follower’s feed, unlike Facebook because of EdgeRank’s filter.

–       A tweet is also like a short LinkedIn status update, the only difference being you can follow anyone on Twitter, and on linked in, you need both parties to accept the connection.

–       A tweet is also similar to a short Google+ status update.

–       Sharing images on Twitter is similar to sharing images on Pinterest, however it is much easier to have a conversation around an image on Twitter compared to Pinterest’s comment feature.

Twitter Icon

Now that you understand the fundamentals of what Twitter is, lets dive into how you should use it. First and foremost, your small business’ Twitter account and profile are the building blocks of your presence on Twitter, so it is crucial that these two aspects are fully and correctly setup. Keep in mind that your presence on Twitter should have a similar look and feel to your other online sites. This will help people recognize and identify with your business, and that sense of consistency will further that connection and trust with your audience.

When choosing an account name, be sure it is consistent with your Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube names. This will ensure that people can find you on all forums, however if the same exact name is not available, try to pick something as close as possible. Similarly, your Twitter profile picture should be consistent with your other profile pictures as well. Whether it is your company logo or a headshot or a picture of your team, make sure it is something identifiable to your audience, as it will show up next to every one of your tweets. In addition to a profile picture, your Twitter profile will ask for a large background photo. This image will appear at the top of your profile page, similar to a Facebook cover photo. This picture should be relevant to your business, and provides you the opportunity to tell a story about what kind of company you really are.

Once you have selected an account name and profile pictures, it is time to update all of the information on your Twitter profile, similar to what you have probably done on Facebook. Make sure you state your location; people need to know where they can find you when they are ready to do business with you. Additionally, share a link to your website! This is crucial because not only can it be used for SEO (Search Engine Optimization), but it also acts a backlink to your website and provides further information for your audience about your business. Another key aspect when setting up your profile is your bio. Because you only get 160 characters to tell people who you are and what you do, it is essential that you share as much relevant, pertinent information as possible. Be sure to discuss the benefits that your customers will receive, and if you can, being witty and adding in a little personality will help engage your audience.

When your profile is all setup and the proper information is all filled out, it is time to start following others. And who should you follow you ask? Follow your customers, business partners, employees, and other professional organizations in your industry, even your competition. Follow other businesses in your area and anyone else in your professional network.

What to Tweet

Now, what should you tweet? Unfortunately, there is not one correct, magic bullet answer for this question. It will take some time to figure out what engages your audience the most, however there are some general rules you can follow. While every business and industry is different, the goal is to find that happy medium between what your target audience is interested in and things that are solely relevant to your business. The best way to find this balance is to focus on how your company – your products and services – can benefit your customers. Don’t be afraid to give away free information to your followers. While many believe that this will discourage them from doing business with you, it is just the opposite. Supplying your audience with useful information will make them view you as an expert, and help build trust and a connection to your company. Furthermore, include images in your tweets! People love to look at pictures, so whenever possible, include a photo that compliments your tweet. This is just another way to engage your audience and catch your follower’s attention. Another great way to expand your Twitter audience is to use Hashtags! Hashtags appear in tweets and a one major way that people identify the main topic that the tweet is about. Hashtags are identified using the pound symbol on the keyboard, for example:


You can hashtag just about anything, however be sure that it is appropriate and relevant to your business, industry, or topic of your tweet.

Ultimately, Twitter and business marketing go hand-in-hand, just like many other forms of Social Media. With over 200 million active users, Twitter allows you to reach an enormous audience in a way that no other site does.

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