Twitter Writes a New Guide for Small Businesses … and It’s Pretty Good

Filed in Social Media by Matt McGee on March 29, 2012 7 Comments


Small business owners that are looking to learn how to have a productive presence on Twitter could do a lot worse than to download and read a new guide that comes direct from the source.

Twitter published the 22-page PDF last week to coincide with the rollout of its small business ad products. It covers Twitter in three chapters, going back to scratch with the most basic info such as “anatomy of a Tweet” — a section that shows and explains hashtags, mentions, replies, retweets and other basics. There’s a tutorial on using Twitter search to find users that tweet about the keywords associated with your business, and a suggestion to search on your product or business name to see what’s been said about you.

But the guide goes beyond that level and actually offers some fairly nuanced tips for the small business crowd. For example, in a section encouraging business owners to show their own personality, the guide explains that there’s no one-size-fits-all method for doing so: “Business styles vary. As you keep using Twitter, you’ll find your voice.” And, in a section explaining the need to reply to both praise and criticism, the guide explains that “some conversations need to be taken offline.”

Some other tips that I thought were spot-on from the guide:

  • Start out by listening: “Follow and observe businesses similar to yours to see what they are doing well, and to learn from their mistakes.”
  • Listen on Twitter to “learn what types of content will be most appealing” to your followers.
  • If your employees are also on Twitter, retweet or mention them “when what they are tweeting about meshes nicely with your business’ interests and goals.”
  • Be yourself and give followers “insights and information about your company that [they] can’t find elsewhere.”
  • Follow reporters and news organizations that cover your topics so you can make connections with them. (I’d also suggest following local reporters and news outlets if your small business targets a specific area.)

There are also suggestions for types of content to tweet, as well as ways to promote your Twitter username online and offline.

As I said, it’s pretty darn well done. It’s also free, and can be downloaded from the Twitter Small Biz page — look for it below the video.

Comments (7)

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  1. Tyra says:

    Brilliant tips! Twitter marketing is an effective to get prospective users and a great target for your marketing plan as well. Perfect ideas for newly established small business with the right guidelines like this one is surely a great help.

  2. Colin Smith says:

    Thanks for the tips! Twitter and Facebook are both great places to interact with your customers and future prospects – this is also a great way to get the word out about your business. Look at George Takei on Facebook sometime, ever since he began his comedic posts, he has become relevant in people’s everyday lives again. Needless to say, these sites harbor a vast amount of advertising potential.

  3. alice zyetz says:

    Great post with lots of information, especially for ongoing businesses. Any suggestions for where to start in social media as a copywriter for local small businesses? For example, I go to LinkedIn Temecula Business and all I find are other consultants desperately in search of small business prospects.

  4. Usually guides created by bigger companies are too general to be useful – or they are really outdated. I agree with you that this one is pretty good. Way to go Twitter! And thanks for bringing this to our attention.

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