This may seem shocking, but I met someone over the weekend who doesn’t know what Twitter is!
After I tried not acting surprised, I decided to use it as a teachable moment: besides addressing the “how” and “what”, I discussed the “why.”
Why Tweet? Why would someone use Twitter for business? Why is it not just a social network? Why is it more than just a way to update your friends on where you are or what you are doing? Why should a non-user start something new?
From a PR perspective, Twitter is another means to communicate with customers, clients, and those you do business with. It gives you an opportunity to:
- Start conversations; gather feedback; test the waters; and see what else is going on in your space.
- Share offers; give tips; share links; or invite followers to events.
- Provide instant communication that requires minimal time to exchange key messages in real-time (140 characters does not take long).
I realize I recently posted about a company going 100% social media, so I see that both extremes are represented in the business world, but I do encourage business owners to use social media as part of their marketing communications portfolio.
I wouldn’t go entirely social media only, but at the same time, if you plan to be competitive in today’s marketplace, you need to understand the tools: Twitter, LinkedIn, Yelp, PitchEngine, Facebook, and YouTube. That means, you need to know what the sites are about and start using them, even if only on a limited personal level at first.
For total newbies, I recommend Twitter 101 or Mashable’s The Twitter Guidebook. After that, sit down with your marketing team and decide when, how, and why you are going to be using social media. Then create a plan, with some basic measurements for review. MetricsMan wrote a great piece on what to measure in 2010. Small business owners especially do not need to be over analytical. Try it. Watch the pros. See how it works. Modify, if necessary.
Not sure it is worth your time or the cost of employing someone to help out? Review Oliver Blanchard’s Social Media ROI presentations. Once you have the basics down, work with your team to determine how social media integrates into your business. For a great plan, Brian Solis shares a great blog post on Mashable.
Too much work? I know just where you can find a PR professional who can help you out!