If you own a small business and you don’t have an active Twitter account, you have already fallen behind your competitors.
Business is competitive. There’s no secret there. Every little thing matters, no matter what business you are in. Whether you are in the restaurant industry or you run a small bank, certain things stand out more than others. Appearance is one of them.
Twitter, like the rest of social media, has the ability to do wonders for your online presence. It can spread awareness of your brand, boost your fan base, help with advertising and mend any negative perception you might have. And best of all, it’s free.
For these reasons, along with others, every business should have a Twitter account. The reason I say Twitter rather than Facebook, for instance, is that most business have a Facebook already, and Twitter has the potential to create a conversation, whereas Facebook is more one-sided.
Here are five reasons that every small business blog needs Twitter:
You can craft a brand
Twitter enables you to craft your brand better than any other social platform. You can follow who you want, Tweet your ideas as often as you want and share information better than regular word of mouth. Best of all, you can track what works, so if you do create a brand that isn’t getting much attention, you can change it to better fit your target demographic.
Twitter expands your reach
Unlike typical word of mouth, Twitter enables you to reach thousands of people at once, with one single, crafted message. You can tell media, fans and employees any news you have, whether it is a press release, a hiring or an honor they received. You can tell whatever story you want, which can enable you to create your own public perception.
Social media gives you direct contact with customers
Unlike traditional public relations, in which you have to go through journalists and other members of the media to get your message out, which could take days, Twitter enables you to directly contact your customers. We live in a non-stop world of instant communication, and Twitter has made customers expect news at their fingertips. Furthermore, if you give news to a customer before someone else does, you have the benefit of creating the message yourself.
Twitter leads to more search traffic
If your website is the face of your company, Twitter is the body. Though people might know your brand from your website, or other traditional forms of advertising, Twitter drives them to that. If you have active social media accounts, people will be more likely to find you on search engines like Google and Bing, and you will be more likely to create a loyal following online. This will spread typical word of mouth, which will then benefit your social media. Typical word of mouth and an active online presence work together, and if you don’t have one, the other will likely falter.
In the past, businesses have had to pay huge sums of money to spread their word. Not anymore. With Twitter, you can drive your message to thousands of followers for free. There’s no monthly subscription, no annual fee and no signup. If you really want, you can boost your profile to gain more followers, but even that is far cheaper than advertising through typical media channels like television or radio.
You can mitigate disaster
Say your company does something really bad, or just sort of bad. How are you going to fix that? You can send a press release out, but the media has to advertise that for it to do anything. You can give an interview, but people might not see that for a while. Or you can send out a message on Twitter. People will see it immediately, which could mitigate the disaster you have. The quicker you respond, the better the public will view your disaster. Social media can do that better than any other form of media.
You can track your competition
With Twitter, you can see exactly what your competition is doing, as long as they have an active account. You can see where they are, what deals they offer, what works for them and what doesn’t.
Social media is becoming more and more important by the day, and it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. If anything, it will just become more a part of our everyday life. As a result, if you don’t have it already, you’re falling behind.
Patrick Rafferty is a digital marketing consultant for Pure Water Technology of South Louisiana, a bottled water dispenser that aims to provide every business with an affordable bottled water solution.