The Ultimate Twitter Checklist for Business Owners

twitter checklistTo tweet or not to tweet? If you’re a small business owner, the answer: sign up for Twitter today. Twitter allows you to promote your business for free, network with other business owners, interact with your customers and introduce your business to retail owners, media outlets and celebrities. Utilising Twitter may well increase your sales exponentially, but it requires commitment and some good old-fashioned relationship marketing strategies. Here’s how:

1. Choose a Twitter Name That Best Commuicates Your Business

Ideally, your Twitter name should be your company’s name or your name. If those names are already taken, choose a memorable moniker that reinforces your business goals or highlights your product.

2. Upload a professional profile picture

Your profile picture should be your business logo or a professional head shot. By doing so, you immediately identify your Twitter account as from a reputable company or real person – important, because the Twitterverse is full of aliases and people opening accounts simply to badger celebrities. Lead with an official image and your tweets will be taken seriously.

2. Design your background image to further define your business

Your profile picture and background design shouldn’t be the same image. Instead, your background design should further define your business. Do you sell children’s clothing? Create a collage of product shots to showcase them. Are you a motivational speaker? Upload a photo of you addressing a packed house at a notable conference. The only people who can view your background design are those who take the time to visit your Twitter page – maybe they were intrigued by one of your tweets or saw your business featured online. They’re already interested in you, so the background design should encourage a conversation or secure a sale.

3. Write a brief and powerful bio

You have 160 characters to communicate what you do. Say it succinctly – but make it interesting. Tell your readers you’re a family business, that your product was featured on “The Today Show” or that a percentage of your sales are donated to a specific charity. Your bio will be read, so consider it another marketing opportunity.

4. Include contact info

If you have a Web site, feature it on your Twitter page. Consider including your email address and mobile number, too. Whatever your preferred contact method, list it so customers, potential business partners and media outlets can get in touch with you.

5. Set Twitter goals

Before your first tweet, set Twitter goals. Want to know who in your customer database is on Twitter and then invite them to follow you? Find them through Twitter’s “Find Friends” tab. Do you want to network with other small business owners on Twitter? Click on Twitter’s “Browse Interests” tab to discover who’s on and what they’re tweeting about, then join their discussion. Want to turn followers into customers? Tweet special offers that only first-time buyers can redeem.

6. Now start tweeting, but tweet with purpose

Small business owners should stick to tweeting about business. Are you a bakery owner? Tell followers that you sell twelve different chocolate chip cookies and can ship them worldwide, then provide links to mouth-watering pictures of each one. Do you own a bookstore? Announce upcoming author visits. Do you sell outdoor sporting goods? Keep your followers informed of green initiatives you’re involved with, and invite them to get involved with you. Sure, you have an opinion about politics or religion or a popular reality show. Steer clear of weighing in, unless a trending topic pertains to your business.

7. Interact with customers

Once a customer starts following you on Twitter, thank them for their business. Encourage customers to post pictures of themselves using or wearing or enjoying your product, then add it to your business Web site’s photo gallery. If a customer tweets you a question or suggestion, reply to them in a timely manner. You are a person selling to people; always be professional and courteous, especially because your Twitter correspondence is viewable by all.

8. Introduce your business to retail owners, media outlets & celebrities

Once you have a substantial Twitter following and have established yourself as a reputable and responsive business presence on Twitter, you’re in a better position to pitch retail owners, media outlets and celebrities with tweets. If a retail owner shows interest in selling your product or a media outlet wants to feature your business, follow up in a more traditional way – via an email or a phone call. If a celebrity references your business, tweet a thank you, so your and their followers can see your interaction. Most importantly, choose your tweet’s wording carefully; you want to introduce your business to a decision maker, not have your tweet perceived as spam.

In a nutshell…

You may never meet your customers, but by employing good old-fashioned relationship marketing strategies, you can grow your business using Twitter.

Over to you…

Do you have any tips to add? Contribute to this Twitter checklist in the comments below…

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Omar is Chief Strategy Officer at Sandstorm Digital. His experience includes 10 years in traditional marketing and advertising in the Middle East and a further 10 years at two of the largest media agencies in the UK. Follow Omar on Twitter for updates on the latest in digital, branding, advertising and marketing.

2 Responses to “The Ultimate Twitter Checklist for Business Owners”

  1. Michael A. Gaspar
    July 25, 2011 at 9:01 pm #

    Omar,

    Great checklist.  One thing that I may add to the “Tweet with a Purpose” section is this:

    While tweeting with a purpose, be sure to add value to your followers.  Keep in mind that they don’t need or want to hear about your product/service 24/7.  80(value-added content)/20(branded content) rule is pivotal. Tweet with the goal to make your Twitter handle the go-to in the Twitter stream.  Twitter streams are often an abyss of content.  Make yours relevant amidst the chaos.  Own a bakery or bookstore? Tweet about your goods for sure.  But also tweet about literary movements, health tips related to your bakery’s practices, best business practices you have found useful, events you (the owner) will be holding/attending, etc.  I am sure that all of this is well-received as a professional. It’s a great list and wanted to contribute to its comprehensiveness. Excited to see what else gets added here!

    Cheers.

  2. Omar Kattan
    July 25, 2011 at 10:04 pm #

    Spot on Michael.  Many thanks for your contribution. 

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