The 3 Best Ways to Use Twitter as Small Business

I forgot to mention in my earlier blog that unlike Facebook, you can set-up a business Twitter account on  Twitter without having to set-up a personal account first.  Let’s face it, Twitter as much as it is useful, can also be a source of distraction and hence create less productivity and as a small business, time can not be anymore valuable.  Here are 3 of the best ways to use Twitter for your small business.

1.  Use Twitter as a Forum

Twitter, although I’ve called it a big megaphone, is by no means a one-way street when it comes to communication.  You (your business) and your followers can certainly (and I highly recommend so) have a conversation on Twitter.  Ask your followers for their opinion (in other words, perform your market research on your actual customers) and see how what they say can help you improve your small business.

2. Follow Industry Leaders

Many other businesses, just like yours, are on Twitter.  Follow these people (businesses) and see what they are doing or what else is going on in your industry.  It’s the easiest way to stay on top of the ever changing business environment.  Also, follow these people and seek advice from them.  If they’re using Twitter the right way, they are likely to offer you advice that will be beneficial for your small business.  And as a courtesy, do the same, that is, try as much as you can to provide expert advice.

3. Search for Topics of Interest

If you want to fully take advantage of Twitter to help you out with your small business.  You will have to be proactive (in a strict sense) on Twitter.  Use search.twitter.com to find topics that are strictly related to your business and see what people out there are saying about products or services that are similar to yours.  If possible provide feedback to these people, or even better, find out how you can help them.

Twitter is a very useful tool given that it is used correctly.  In my future blogs, I will also be providing reviews and tips (and what not) on tools that can help you and your small business use Twitter.  Bye for now.

Twitter for Small Businesses

Continuing on with the “social media” for small businesses topic… Twitter, just has to be covered.

Before I continue though, stop for a sec and read this article.  It’s about three success stories on commerce using Facebook.  Also, check this article for quick little facts about Twitter, albeit an older article, I’d say that it’s safe to assume that the stats are still positive if not better.

Twitter, like I’ve mentioned before, it’s a micro-blogging service and for simplicity sake, this just means that you have 140 characters to say exactly what you want to say (140 characters at a time).  Twitter works a little differently than Facebook.  First, Twitter is much like a big megaphone and anything and everything you say CAN be heard by whoever is willing to listen.  Everything you say on Twitter (and this is what you would want anyway) is PUBLIC (yes, there are privacy settings as well, but that sort of defeats the purpose of Twitter).

How can a small business use Twitter you ask?  Well, let’s start with the basics first.  Although anything and everything you “SAY” on Twitter is public, you’ll be better served if you have followers.  Followers in the Twitter world are the people (hopefully your customers) who would like to hear what you have to say.  These are the people that will directly see your tweets and of course, these are the people that you would direct your messages to.  How you get followers is another story of itself, but of course as a small business, you must first get your customers to check out your Twitter feed, and how you keep them following you is by providing them, in short, good stuff. “Good stuff” means differently for different people.  If you’re a local lawn service company, for example, I would like to hear from you how I can keep my lawn healthy and green and perhaps even be reminded when I should turn on or off my irrigation system.

In my next blog, I will continue to talk a little more about Twitter.  Much like Facebook, Twitter is a pretty big topic and my short blog doesn’t really do it much justice.  So if you have any questions about Twitter, please feel free to contact me or leave your comment below.  Thanks.

Facebook For Small Businesses 101, Part 2

Continuing on my Facebook  for Small Businesses blog…  Let’s first talk about how Facebook will work for you and your small business.  Simply put, Facebook works (for your small business) in the following order.

1)   You, as the business owner, with a personal account on Facebook, establish relationship with your clients or customers via Facebook (of course, after the fact that you’ve established a relationship with them in real life). As a side note, personal account means your real name and not your business’ name.

2)   You, as the business owner, have a created a Facebook page for business or establishment to which you have invited your Facebook friends to become a part of by either liking your page or by joining in the conversation that you’ve started in your Facebook page.

3)   The friends that either like your page or become a fan of it, will have some sort of a “badge” in their Facebook profile, indicating that they are part of your business network and thus exposing your business to your friend’s Facebook network.

4)   With your friends talking about your business (hopefully, in a positive manner) in your page, they have essentially given you free advertisement, and better yet have recommended your business, to their network.

It’s quite simple how Facebook will help you and your small business.  The power of social—how people get connected via social networks, is truly amazing and if used correctly can help grow your business.

Follow these simple steps to create your Facebook page for your business.

  1. Create a Facebook account
  2. Login and start finding your “friends”
  3. Go to www.facebook.com/pages
  4. Browse and see how other people are using Facebook pages.  Click on the examples.
  5. Create a page for your business
  6. Suggest the page to your friends
  7. Always provide good content

Facebook is a bigger topic than I’m discussing here.  If you have any questions about Facebook, please don’t hesitate to contact me or leave your comment down below.  Thanks for reading and happy Facebook-ing.

 

Facebook For Small Businesses 101, Part 1

As I previously mentioned, I will blog about Facebook and how it is being used by small businesses.  First, most small businesses should at least have a basic web site.  At the most, small businesses should have static web sites that talk about their products and or services.  Although, this is, well… not at all enough nowadays, it should at least be enough for people to somehow find you through search engines like Google and Bing.  What’s better to have on top of just a static site is a blog that’ll feed information to your current and potential customers (blogging is a completely different topic, that I will blog about as well in the foreseeable future).  Prior to Facebook, many websites hosted forums that allowed business owners and customers to interact.  Forums took the relationship between business owners and customers to a different level and created a much more intimate relationship and allowed for honest to goodness conversations that both helped business owners and patrons alike but as they say, those good old days are gone, well sort of anyway… forums are still there, if you’d like to use them but Facebook, for the most part, has replaced forums.  Facebook provides endless possibilities for both owners and customers to interact and has many more advantages than just simply using a forum in your website.  For one, Facebook is almost ubiquitous and has a deeper reach.  Forums lived in websites that unless were found directly either via you as the business owner directing your customers to your site or via some sort of advertisement that you spend money on would not get found easily.  Facebook, with 500 million (and growing) users, is very well known and through the power of “friends” can actually allow for your business to be found a lot easier and would allow you as the business owner to interact with your customers in whole new different level.

Before I continue on this topic (Facebook for Small Businesses 101, Part 2). I’d like for you to explore how some of the local businesses here in Reno, Nevada are using Facebook to interact with their customers and thus promote their businesses.   Below is a small list, please follow the links see how these businesses are finding success by using Facebook.

  • Sqeeze In
  • Awful Awful Burger
  • Great Basin Brewing Co.
  • Thanks for reading this post and please come back for Part 2.

    Track your favorite Tweets in 5 easy steps using Google Reader

    From time to time I will post little tips and tricks (such as this one) on how to use some of the big technology (like social media sites) available online for people and businesses to use.

    This particular one, I believe is useful because it’ll allow you to read all your tweeter feeds along with your other RSS feeds (news, blogs, etc.) all in one place!

    1)      Go to http://search.twitter.com

    2)      Search for the twitter handle (for example, search for my twitter handle:haipinc)

    3)      Right click on the “feed for this query” link on the top right corner of the results page and select “copy link address”

    4)      Login to Google Reader

    5)      Click “Add a subscription,” paste the link from step 3, and click Add.

    Enjoy reading your favorite tweets.

    Social Media for Small Business

    Let me go ahead and get the topic of social media out of the way.   It you haven’t noticed, more and more organizations are asking people to “fan” them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.  Here are a couple examples of businesses that are using Facebook or Twitter.  Squeeze In is a local breakfast restaurant–it has been featured on the Food Network and Toyota is, well, a large very well known automaker.

  • Toyota’s Facebook Page
  • Toyota’s Twitter Stream
  • Squeeze In’s Facebook Page
  • Sqeeze In’s Twitter Stream
  • There are many more companies out there that have Facebook pan pages and or Twitter accounts. Some of them have products to sell and some have services to sell. From big companies like Toyota to a small one person operations, from for-profit to not-for-profit establishments, many are using social media as a marketing tool to reach their audience.

    I will discuss the differences between the available social media services out there in my future blogs, provide examples of how they are being used, and discuss when and how they are effective. In this one though, I will simply list some of the popular social media services and provide a quick overview of what they are.  There are several out there… for now, I will only discuss Facebook and Twitter.  In my future blogs, I will also discuss how businesses are using blogging services like Blogspot and WordPress to, again, reach to audience.

    Facebook

    Facebook was initially used as a means for college students to network with each other, later on, it was opened to the general public.  Currently, there are over 500 million registered users on Facebook.  Facebook requires that members are real people and not business entities.  However, “real people” can create fan pages for their businesses–and this is how most businesses use Facebook.  Registered users of Facebook, can “fan” your business page.

    Twitter

    Twitter is a social networking and a micro-blogging service.  The best way to understand Twitter is to think of it as a bulletin board with subscribers.  The idea of Twitter is to gain and establish a group of followers to whom you can “broadcast” (in 140 characters or less) just about anything.   However, anything you “broadcast” on Twitter is public and can be found by everybody on the internet as well.

    In my next blog, I will begin to discuss Facebook in-depth and discuss how it is being used by small businesses to promote their products or services.

    If you’re curious whether your favorite business establishment is using Facebook and or Twitter as a marketing tool, simply google “<company name here> facebook” or “<company name here> twitter.”

    Big Tech for Small Business

    This being the first blog post, I’d like to take the time to introduce myself, talk about what I will be blogging about, and, of course, welcome you to my blog.  My name is Haipin Cua.  I have been a software developer (professionally) for over 8 years now but all my life, I’ve always been a gadget-head and a technophile.  Very recently, I started working for a start-up company here in Reno, NV building mobile apps.  Before that, I worked for IGT developing slot machine games.  I’m also currently working on my MBA.

    I’ve decided to focus my blog on technology and more specifically technology that can positively affect small businesses.  Many years ago, technology was predominantly used by many large corporations to gain strategic advantage, and of course, technology still is being used today for that reason but more and more, the use of technology in any business establishment is becoming the status-quo and yet, there are still many businesses (small businesses in particular) that are, to say it a nice way, sort-of, behind the times.

    There are quite a few things that I will be discussing in this blog.  I will have reviews on tech products/services aimed for small businesses, how-to guides, talk about current tech trends, and many more.  I will be constantly adding topics to my list.  But my goal for this blog is simple… I will make technology easy to understand for small business owners and help them leverage technology in their business.

    I encourage my readers to ask me any specific questions or send me topics they would personally want me to explore and discuss in this blog.  I’m here to remove any mystery behind any technology!  With that said, I welcome you to my blog and thank you for reading my first blog entry.   I very much hope that you’ll come back and participate in my little quest.  Thanks.