Grow Smart BusinessUMDNetwork Solutions


Small Business Success Index 4

Index Score*   Grade
73 marginal
Capital Access 67
Marketing & Innovation 65
Workforce 76
Customer Service 88
Computer Technology 73
Compliance 92
*Index score is calculated on a 1-100 scale.
homepreneur

Search Articles

Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’


To Tweet, Or Not to Tweet?

October 21st, 2009 :: Monika Jansen

Whenever I mention Twitter in a business conversation, I am usually met with a roll of the eyes, an exasperated sigh, and the firm declaration,“I hate Twitter”.  And then I laugh, because I too was a Twitter naysayer.  But that has changed.

TwitterEven though I think social networking is the future of marketing, and even though so many big companies are successfully employing it as part of their marketing mix, it is still hard for us entrepreneurs to keep up.  In my last blog post for Grow Smart Business, I focused exclusively on the fact that all of us small business owners know we need to make time for marketing, but we find one excuse after another for why we can’t.  This is especially true for social networking, because each program (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) has their own learning curve.  Add the fact that they are continually changing, and the task at hand is even more daunting.  Who among us really needs to add to our long “to do” list?

I was converted to Twitter after participating in an American Marketing Association sponsored webinar in July entitled “How to Use Twitter for Business”.  It was led by Rick Burnes, Marketing Director at Hubspot, a Cambridge-MA based company that developed an internet marketing system aimed at small to mid-sized businesses.  Basically, they help you leverage the internet so that your website will be found and convert leads into business.  Check them out at www.hubspot.com.

Before the webinar, I thought Twitter was a complete waste of time.  Why on Earth would I want to read about what someone ate for breakfast?  If used correctly, though, it can be a really useful marketing tool.  Here’s what I learned during the webinar:

To succeed with Twitter for business purposes, you need to build your network, follow what people in your industry are saying and what people are saying about you and your company, and share interesting content.

To illustrate how powerful Twitter can be, Rick used a slide in his presentation that compared Barack Obama’s Twitter usage vs. Hillary Clinton’s in last year’s presidential campaign.  The difference was staggering and spoke volumes about their image and campaigns.  I don’t remember numbers, but that doesn’t really matter.  Barack Obama followed about the same number of people who followed him.  Hillary Clinton, however, was the polar opposite.  She had lots of followers, but didn’t follow anyone.  (Pause to think back on Obama’s campaign and style vs. Clinton’s.)

So, building your network.  It’s not that hard.  If you follow someone, they will most likely follow you.  When you set up your profile, be sure to include your bio along with a link to your company’s website.  Follow people you work with or know through networking, but be especially focused on following people in your industry! You want to be able to jump in on conversations that pertain to you or your company and share information.  Just as importantly, follow your company in conversations on Twitter so that you can engage with your clients and prospective clients.

A big Twitter don’t: Twitter should not be used as a broadcast tool.  If someone reaches out to you on Twitter, tweet them back.

OK, on to sharing content, which was briefly mentioned above.  If you want to engage and build you network, you absolutely must publish information that is useful, interesting, and fun.  Publish links to your blog posts, podcasts, videos/photos, presentations, e-books, press releases, etc.  If you are a huge baseball fan, foodie, or movie-goer, you can tweet about that stuff, too.  Just do not tweet nonstop about your product or service, because honestly—and I hate to break this to you—no one cares.  (In other words do not share product information, free trials, etc. nonstop.)  You should always strive to balance the distribution of content with conversations with followers.

If you’re going to spend time and energy on Twitter, you’ll want to eventually measure how well Twitter is working for you.  Look at follower count.  Track replies and re-tweets of your tweets.  Track website visitors, leads, and customers so you know how they found you.

And when you get a negative comment on Twitter, don’t freak out.  Just be honest and transparent with that person, and do your best to resolve their complaint as quickly as possible.

Time to give Twitter a try?

Not Everything That Can Be Counted Counts

September 1st, 2009 :: Michael Dougherty

Albert Einstein was known to keep, and quote, a sign on his wall: “Not everything that counts can be counted; not everything that can be counted counts.”

This got me thinking about the obsessive search for a Return On Investment, or ROI, in Social Media. This is mainly sought after by either people, or companies, wanting a quick fix to their marketing pains or the executives/manager who only know that you should track every marketing initiative to the Nth Degree.

I have watched as social media halted midway are abandoned and social media tools are abandoned, because there hasn’t been the immediate gratification of a high number of a return. I listen as these seekers of the magical silver bullet of marketing success cry when they only have 100 followers on Twitter, 250 Facebook Page fans, and insert a fairly conservative number of followers with a social media tool and this could go on and on. “Our competitors have [insert number far greater] followers on [insert social media tool]” is often the cry. “How are these tools effective if we can’t amass a large number of followers to do our bidding and pass on our one directional message?” Ok, that last one was overly dramatic, but it’s far more an honest question than the ones that are often asked.

Social media tools, and campaigns, take time to grow organically, because what is truly viral is lightning in a bottle. What those of us who use social media tools want is honesty in your intentions of the tools, a conversation, and to grow to trust your message if we have never heard of you before. If we have heard of you, this is your chance to shine and show us that we can/should believe in your product/services/etc. In my previous post “10 Ways To Get More Followers Using Social Media”, I gave some good tips for using social media tools effectively to get results. I invite you to take a minute and read it.

I come back to Einstein’s sign. Ok, maybe you only have a very small number of followers, but I have a question for you. If you’ve gained passionate small group of followers who believe in your message and want to help you get it out…is that less valuable than four times that many people who don’t care nearly as much about your goal/product/message/service/etc.? Using social media tools, you have the ability to grow long term connections that could reap you great rewards down the road, but may take nurturing and patience before you see the results from traditional media.

Now don’t misread what I’m saying. I am in no way saying you should track your social media tools, but I am asking you to be realistic about what you’re seeing. If you find that you are getting quality results out of a low number of followers then you are having thousands of followers who lurk around your blog, facebook, twitter feed, and etc., but never interact with your brand or share your message…why would you ignore these few, but faithful, followers?

It comes down to the age old question, is it quantity over quality?

I would love to hear which it is for you.

Thank you for reading and, as all ways, stay wicked.