Seven reasons your business should (probably) be on Twitter

Updated: September 10, 2009

I can think of seven specific, revenue-producing reasons why most businesses should be on Twitter. If your customers are using Twitter, you probably should be to. But how, and why? Here are seven places to start:

Get New Customers
What do you sell? There are prospective customers talking about it on Twitter right now. Do a search for that product or service or topic and you'll find them. Reply to their tweets, and engage with them directly as prospective new customers. Better yet, start sending your own tweets with the same keywords or hashtags (which is the keyword with a # in front of it to help others find it). That way you'll start attracting new customers to you with the same topics or products.

Keep In Touch With Customers & Fans
Find out which of your customers are using Twitter, ask them to follow you. Follow them in return. Share news about your business, your new products, and topics your customers collectively will care about. Reply directly to your customers & fans, and retweet their Twitter posts that would be interesting to the rest of your followers. Twitter is a great way to keep an ongoing, interactive conversation going with your customers between purchases.

Watch Your Competitors
Who do you compete with? They're either on Twitter too, or are being talked about there. Do searches for them directly, and you'll not only see what they're talking about to their customers and prospects, but you'll also see what their current customers are saying about them - good, bad and ugly. Not a bad way to find new prospective customers, but at minimum you'll keep closer tabs on the competition - including gleaning things you could be doing to grow your own business.

Announce Sales & Specials
Putting that summer line on sale? Tell your Twitter fans. Announce that anyone who retweets the discount to their own followers is entered in a drawing for free product. Send special coupons and offers exclusively to your Twitter followers (which will encourage more customers to follow you).

Generate Referrals
Contribute content or links that your followers will retweet to their own followers. This will drive new customers to discover and follow you. Run a contest for anyone who retweets about your business today - all new followers and those who retweet are entered in a drawing for a gift card, or free product.

Cross-Promote Neighboring Businesses
If you're in retail or a restaurant in particular, and physically sit with other businesses, you're in it together as far as foot traffic goes. Help promote your neighbor businesses to your followers - even if they themselves aren't yet on Twitter. The more business you help drive to them, the more they'll help drive to you - either directly or via the increased foot traffic to your general area.

Cross-promote Similar Businesses in Other Markets
You're a unique hotel in Seattle? Partner with similar hotels in other markets and cross-promote each other to travelers. High-end French restaurant? Do the same. Build a partner network via Twitter to quickly accelerate the volume of out-of-town traffic you generate.

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