Let’s say you have a website that is highly focused on a particular product, service or geographic area. You may be a house painter, a boutique retailer, own a restaurant, barber shop, lawn service or any business catering to a local clientele.
Reluctantly you are now trying to utilize Twitter and Facebook to reach new customers. Hey, you’ve been told that you must do this or face being left behind. You don’t know who or what to believe, but you know that you can’t sit back and do nothing. You’ve seen traffic to your website decline and you’re hoping that this Twitter and Facebook involvement will stop the bleeding.
Anyone who has attempted to create a Facebook ‘Page’ for their business will admit that Facebook’s instructions are confusing and not the least bit intuitive. Twitter on the other hand, is so blatantly easy to set up and configure that you think you must be missing something – nothing can be this easy, can it?
We’ll focus on Twitter in this article and cover Facebook in an upcoming post. Once you have opened a Twitter account and configured your profile and tweaked your layout, you’re ready to start tweeting and following people. And this is where Twitter requires some attention.
There are scores of programs and online services available to help you manage your Twitter account and you will need some of these to save time and make the right decisions. Just searching for the right people to follow (and accepting the right friends) is a chore.
You operate a local business, there is no reason to follow or become friends with a bicycle shop in Taiwan or a pizza shop in Toledo, and you will get requests to follow such companies. Ideally, you want to find people to follow who are in your geographic area. The whole idea is to network with potential prospects and existing customers.
When you begin to accumulate followers there is a tendency to follow-back anyone who follows you. I mean, it’s only the polite thing to do, right? Wrong. Stick to the plan and only follow local people who will add value to your network and hopefully become a customer or source of new business. If you don’t do this, a few months down the road you’ll find yourself with hundreds or thousands of followers that offer no value to your business.
I use a program called SocialOomph to manage my personal accounts and clients’ accounts. SocialOomph will let you schedule Tweets to be published at a later date. Better still, it will let you schedule any tweet to recur 1 day, 3 days, 1 month, etc. The beauty of this is that if you created 20, 40 or 100 tweets they could all be appearing in your feed as you specify. This is handy way of keeping activity in your account while you tend to your business.
SocialOomph will let you automatically follow people who follow you and unfollow those who unfollow you and you can manually approve new followers. You’ll receive daily reports and discover a host of other features that make managing your Twitter account painless.
So, the big question everyone inevitably asks… Does Twitter drive traffic to a website? The short answer is yes. The longer answer is don’t expect to see an uptick in traffic three days after you open your Twitter account. Like any networking experience, it takes time for people to get to know you or trust you. With Twitter, it takes time before anyone may even see one of your tweets.
In my case, I sell a digital book; a product that can be downloaded immediately. To my knowledge, I did not sell any books that I could attribute to Twitter during my first month. On the other hand, I may have sold 50 books, but I had no proof that Twitter was responsible for linking people to my website.
Over time I have heard from people on Twitter who have sent me a ‘Direct Message’ or Tweeted about my book. People have told me they bought the book after reading my tweets.
Twitter works, but like any other promotional or marketing effort, it will demand your attention and your time to bear fruit. So, if you derived any benefit from this post, please do me a favor and Tweet about it…click the social icon below and share this with your friends. Thanks!