Twitter Tips to Boost Small Business Marketing

We take you step-by-step through the process of maximizing your 140-charcter small business marketing messages on Twitter.

Twitter is both a fun and useful small business marketing tool. The best way to get the most out of Twitter is to incorporate the service into your current marketing strategies, but keep in mind that Twitter is only helpful tool -- not a small business marketing solution on its own.

In this Twitter tips article, we'll take a look at different ways you can boost your small business marketing messages by maximizing the content of and exposure to your 140 character-length messages.

Learn the Twitter Basics

There is a lot of information readily available for Twitter novices, so for the purpose of this article we'll assume you have an active Twitter account and are ready to start tweaking your tweets for maximum exposure. If you are new to Twitter, we recommend that you start by reading this Twitter Dictionary on Webopedia.com to get familiar with the Twitter lingo and to learn more about how the service works.

One way that small business owner, ecommerce site owners or entrepreneurs can use Twitter is to send out links to new content-relevant articles, blog posts or even promote new store products, contests or anything else to spread the word about for your small business.

Using Twitter, you can send this information in a message that is 140 characters in length. While that may sound rather simple, as with any marketing message, there are a number of things to consider. For example, you'll want to track how successful the message is and also ensure that Twitter users with related interests see the message to maximize retweets.

Prepping Your Twitter Marketing Message

The first thing to do is to get the URL -- or Web address -- of the page you want to tweet about, and come up with a descriptive message about the page you are linking to.

Throughout this article, we'll use this recent article, A Buyer's Guide to Remarketing Service, as an example.

For this you could use any number of descriptions including; A Buyer's Guide to Remarketing Services, Learn about Ecommerce Remarketing, How to use remarketing to convert cart abandoners, or any brief statement that would pique someone's interest.

Shorten URLs and Track Twitter Traffic

Once you have an idea of the message you want to send out, the next step will be to take the URL of the page you will direct Twitter users to and shorten it in length to give you extra characters for your small business marketing message. In the tweet you can provide a direct link using a URL redirection service (more commonly called a URL shrinker). This is an online service that will assign a short URL to the page and redirect users from that shorter URL to your website.

Using our example, we would need to include the following URL in the Tweet: http://ecommerce-guide.com/article.php/3886596. Our URL is 46 characters. By using a free URL shrinker we can change that to a 20-character URL and use those saved characters to add more meaningful details in the Tweet. The Bit.ly service (20 character URLs) can redirect people with this shorter URL: http://bit.ly/94pZA9.

As an added benefit, once you have found a URL shrink service you like, you can register for a free account and obtain tracking information and see how many hits the shortened URL gets, and also track how many people on Twitter will retweet your short URL. This tracking information will be useful to help you determine which of your small business marketing messages work on Twitter -- and which get ignored.

Some of the other URL redirection services you can try include: Cligs (20 character URLs), and TinyURL (25 character URLs).

Put Your Twitter Message in Front of Those Who Care

Every tweet you send as a part of your small business marketing strategy should be written with goal of obtaining the most exposure on Twitter as you can -- which means you want people with similar interests to your message, and hopefully, retweet it to their followers. For this reason, you need a good Twitter following with an interest in what you tweet about, and you also need to make sure people not in your follower list can also find your message to retweet it for maximum exposure.

On Twitter, a hash tag is a way of organizing your tweets for Twitter search engines. Basically, this will allow others to search Twitter for a specific topic -- and if you have tagged your message with the search term your tweet will be seen by a larger audience with related interests.

You will add a community-driven hash tag in your tweet to help others discover relevant posts when they search twitter. For example, with our EcommerceGuide.com tweet, popular and relevant hash tags include #ecommerce and #smb.

To narrow down good hash tags you can search Twitter for a number of your related topics to see how popular that subject is. Choose several hash tags and leave space in your 140 character update to include one or two with each tweet. This helps expose your message to others who tweet about the same topic.

Finalizing Your Small Business Marketing Tweet

So now, our example tweet that we have been creating along the way will read something like this: "A Buyer's Guide to Remarketing Service http://bit.ly/94pZA9 #ecommerce #marketing." This is only 81 spaces, so we still have lots of room to spice the message up a bit.

Retweeting is crucial to maximizing your exposure so making it easy for others to send out your small business marketing message is helpful. You can encourage retweeting simply by leaving space for someone else to include the standard retweet statement without having to edit the tweet. This means you will need to leave the number of characters in your username, plus space for adding the RT @ message.

On Twitter I use "AuroraGG" so I need to leave enough character space that anyone can just add "RT @AuroraGG." So in this case, we would have 94 of the 140 characters used.

Lastly, you can use the remaining characters to expand your topic message, add an additional hash tag or whatever you choose to do. Often when tweeting about EcommerceGuide.com articles I will add something like "Check out my new #ecommerce article today" or something that lessens the feel of marketing to those reading. For example:

I have a new #ecommerce article online today. Learn about ecommerce remarketing services http://bit.ly/94pZA9 #marketing.

There you have it. A good 140-character tweet that gets your small business marketing message out in the twitterverse, with less than 5 minutes of planning, once you know how to do it.

Looking for More Small Business Twitter Tips?

Read more Twitter articles on EcommerceGuide.com by this author:

Vangie Beal is a veteran online seller and frequent contributor to ECommerce-Guide.com. She is also managing editor of Webopedia.com. You can tweet with her online @AuroraGG.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other e-commerce topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com E-Commerce Forum. Join the discussion today!


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