The importance of being active on social media sites no matter who you are

Twitter is a social wonder, very similar to the texting explosion of the new millennium, but with a global reach. Twitter allows you to send and receive shot effective 'tweets' from anyone who has signed up to follow you. Jamie Brown explains who and why you should be active.

With millions of active users sending in excess of 200 million tweets a day, Twitter certainly has become a relevant communication channel – and not one just for celebrities and eager teenagers. Business owners, including franchisors and franchise owners, are realising its potential power and using it as a marketing and a networking tool. It has become the way to send out news and talk about new offers and/or products to thousands, possibly millions of people.

So who can tweet

Many people see what Twitter offers but it is less obvious which types of businesses will benefit from such a tool. It is undoubtedly more useful to companies that have a website they are promoting or driving traffic towards. However, with mobile technology enabling people to send and receive tweets whereever and whenever, it’s argued that any business could get in on the action and see results. There are potential issues – franchise owners need to be aware of the franchisor’s brand motto and observe and uphold it’s ethical standards.

Getting on the tweeter and connecting with customers

It’s easy to start. Simply register with the site and start gaining followers. It’s probably advisable that you try connecting with existing contacts and customers so send them an email and ask them to follow you. Then tweet away. Keep your tweets snappy and engaging – and remember tweets cannot be longer than 140 characters, which is around 20 or so words. The key to success here is to be active on site, interact and post updates, and respond back to questions put to you by your customers and followers.

Build relationships

Once you have followers on Twitter you should try and build an engaging and evolving relationship with them. You should be making an effort to post regular updates and tweets that your customers find interesting, useful and engaging. A gardening company could use social media as a way of letting customers know about tips and ideas for the green-fingered. From here, they entice their Twitter audience back to their own website for further information.

Creating a brand awareness for yourself

Big brands and franchises, unlike the smaller franchises, need little introduction to get followers. Smaller business owners, however, can use the power of Twitter to make people more aware of their product line or brand. An important bit of information to remember is this: if you’re a small business it may be worth setting up a personal profile to start with until you gain the trust of your customers/followers. No one likes to talk to a logo unless, perhaps, it’s a well-known brand. Once you have gained awareness you could create a business profile and introduce your followers to it.

Marketing new products or services

A franchise’s main reason for having a Twitter account is to connect with potential customers and market products. You can use Twitter as a way to introduce new products or promotions.

Increase your sale potential with promotions and discounts

It really doesn’t matter if you’re big or small, free discount coupons always attract people to the brand. You can use this as a way to attract customers to your site. Tweet about a deal and include a voucher code, so potential customers can take it to your site and activate the promotion. This can help you effectively build an online reputation for your brand and direct traffic to your site. Potentially, this means more sales and revenue for your business. Twitter, like all online marketing, can be time-consuming and it will take effort from you to make this work. You need to be regularly updating, posting, blogging and tweeting for it to work in the way you believe it should. It doesn’t matter if you’re business is established, new, small or large, selling burgers or cutting peoples’ hair, being social is right for you and you’re right to be social. In a world where social media is huge, with an estimated 1.5 billion plus people using Twitter and Facebook, a lot of potential clients are at your fingertips. It would be a massive opportunity missed if your franchise wasn’t on there too.