Why should my business tweet?

In this article you will find answers to these questions; what is twitter?, how is it used?, why should I use it?.

Here are some more benefits of tweeting for your business.
- It takes very little time.
- Makes you look like an expert.
- Provides another way to connect to potential customers.
- Is more personal.
- Could be a great customer service tool.
- Can lead followers to other online content you produce.
- Will increase your “google juice”.
- Is great for gathering information on your market.
- Allows you to connect directly with your customer.

Here are few suggestions for your tweets
- Blog links
- Witty thoughts
- Re-Tweet related experts
- Contests and promotions
- Links to 3rd party sites with info relating to your business
- Upcoming events

And now… How does it work?

Twitter is a microblogging service that enables it’s users to “tweet” 140 character messages.

When you log into the service, or visit it from your mobile phone, the most recent tweets from the people you are following will show up in a time line. You can choose to see what every public user on twitter is tweeting or you can perform a search to find specific words and topics.

Getting information from twitter is like drinking from a fountain the information constantly flows and there is a lot of it. Luckily you can group people you are following into categories to streamline content. I use this feature to group profiles into; web designers, sound designers, alternative media and more.

Each time you visit Twitter you can be sure the content is current. Twitter displays the most recent tweets at the top of your time line. This enables you to find current and relevant information. During the winter Olympic games I could easily discover Canada’s hockey score by performing a quick search on twitter. Goals would show up moments after they took place. This up to date information stream is extremely useful for following current trends in any market.

With twitter is simple to find links to blog articles, videos, mp3’s, pdf’s and so much more. If you are following the right people the information will automatically come streaming in on your time line. You will not even have to perform a search. This is why it is important to follow people who are tweeting about the topics you are interested in. The last thing you want to do is wade through random tweets with little value. It is easiest to follow multiple profiles and then weed the uninteresting feeds out. This is a great way to use the internet in general. Aggregate content and get rid of the streams you are not drinking from often.

Twitter allows it’s information to be accessed via an application programming interface or API. This has enabled twitter to progress much faster on the world wide web than many of it’s social media competitors. Having access to the API has allowed programmers to use twitter for many things that the original creators probably never thought of from mapping food and medical supply info in disaster stricken areas to finding the nearest pizza parlor.

Yet another reason to be using twitter is that it’s information is used for google and bing’s search results. Check out this Mashable article for more info.

Once you begin using twitter you will notice a few handy shorthands unique to the platform. For instance a # tag is used for creating a topic. You can utilize this by searching with the hash tag in front of a topic, for example if I place #yyc as a search term twitter will return results relating to Calgary Alberta (yyc is the airport code for Calgary.) Another common use is #followfriday or #ff a twitter topic trend where twitterer’s suggest people for other users to follow.

Using an @username tag will allow people who see your tweets to click on that name and go to that users profile. Also “username” will see that you have tweeted about him or her. Likewise if someone tweets your @username than you will see their tweet even if you are not following them.

Using rt@username will “re-tweet” that users last post. This is a good way to spread useful information from other users to your followers. It will also give you street cred with that user and you both benefit because your users may then follow them and vice-versa.

You can also send direct private messages to people who you are following and whom are following you back.

You can follow me at @krisbenoit

Let me know if you have any twitter tips for small business and have fun!

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