twitter as a business tool, business twitter, twitter marketingMany small businesses wonder if Twitter is useful for them. The answer is a resounding yes! Twitter is far more than an instant messaging forum where people can “tweet” what they are doing. It is a valuable platform for businesses to connect with customers, inform people of changes, new products, or bargains on your products, and get feedback and answer questions from customers. Twitter has a unique advantage over other forms of marketing because it is a more personal social way of sharing your product or message with a wide variety of people. Here are some more ideas for useful ways your small business can utilize Twitter.

Twitter is useful for getting “instant access to what’s being said, this minute, about your organization, people, products, competitors or brand.” For example, Toyota could be using Twitter right now to see how much confidence people have or have lost in their brand after their recent gas pedal fiasco. Tiger Woods was a popular topic on Twitter recently with his scandal and his public relations staff was surely watching what people said about him.

“Would like a way to quickly find vendors, partners, tech help, even employees for your organization?” Twitter can be useful for that. Taco Bell has a whole Twitter account devoted to available jobs for their many store locations. Dell has several endorsed people, such as ChrisBatDell or StephanieatDell to answer any technical questions you may have. How can you use Twitter to find or give help for your industry?

Twitter is also useful for connecting to others in your industry. For example, if you own a Mexican restaurant in the Washington DC area, you could search for other restaurants or even Mexican style shops in your area. This could lead to a partnership for promotions, or at the very least increased business from people who enjoy similar tastes to yours. Connecting to others in your industry also carries the benefit of expertise if you have questions or your ability to share your knowledge with others and receive more credibility and prestige in your field.

Does your business have a blog? Twitter is perfect for promoting a blog and gaining a larger readership. Just be sure you give people a summary or explanation of what to expect with the address to your post. Tiny URL is a wonderful website to reduce the length of your URL addresses to better fit into Twitter’s 140 count character limit. Twitter can also be used to promote your website in this way.

However, the danger is to start sounding like a broken record that only continuously promotes their product. Twitter is a community first and foremost and to truly do well you must be part of the conversation. Ask questions about your product, answer questions, comment on other people’s thoughts and questions. Twitter is a very useful tool even for a small business and when it is used correctly it can grow your influence considerably.

Do you agree or disagree?  Perhaps, I missed something?  Either way, I would just love to hear what your thoughts are on this topic… just let me know your alive!