Tag Archives: small business

5 ways to decide if Twitter is right for your business?

imageA lot of small businesses assume that they should be on Twitter – because everyone else is.  They have no idea whether Twitter is the right thing for them.  These businesses join Twitter and struggle to engage their audience in conversation.

The Flowtown blog has an infographic flowchart which steps you through the main questions to ask yourself when you are considering using Twitter.  For small businesses the main questions to ask are:

  • Do you want to distinguish your business account from your personal account?  Having two Twitter accounts can take up significant amounts of time if you want to communicate using both accounts regularly.  Using separate account for personal and business might leave your business account cold and unfriendly.  Consider including a few personal tweets amongst the stream to make the feed more friendly.
  • Do you want to communicate with customers and send brand updates?  If so , then a corporate account is probably right for you.  You can create a corporate Twitter feed and ask members of your team to update it regularly.  You’ll have different voices contributing to the main corporate feed so the Twitter stream will start to get a personality of its own.  Appending each Tweet with the initials of the team member will make the stream more personalised. ^EB is the annotation used by services such as CoTweet.
  • Are the majority of your Tweets related to your business?  Try not to only talk about your work and special offers.  Talk about ‘we’ a little.  It gives your followers an insight into the team behind the company and gives your Twitter stream a personality
  • Do you want to proactively engage with your customers?  Read and respond to tweets from others.  Engaging proactively will bring you much greater returns than just responding to tweets.  If you use your Twitter account for customer service then try going back to the customer after their problem has been solved to make sure that they are still happy with you.  It’s shows extra care – even after the case has been resolved.
  • Do you want to engage regularly? Make sure you have enough time to engage with your customers.  Tweeting infrequently will make the relationship between the brand and the customer harder to nurture.  Frequent engagement – without being spammy – will encourage better dialogue.  Its about quality over quantity.

If the answer to these 5 points are yes, then Twitter is certainly an option worth considering…

However, Twitter might not be for you if your business involves government security or defence clients or involves legislative, auditory or regulatory work. 

Twitter might also not be right for you if you don’t have the time or energy to put into making your communications interesting or engaging.  Repetitive tweets can be seen as spam – as can automated quotes and ‘motivational’  messages sent out by apps such as Tweetlater, Bufferapp and Hootsuite.

Think before you tweet – or think before you sign up for Twitter.

it might not be the app for you..

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Image credit:Technoblog


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Something will turn up


Image credit: ipostr

The business week blog has some good advice on how to face fear when you’re an entrepreneur.  Running a small business can be really stressful, lonely and filled with obstacles.  I particularly like item 2:

2. Turn to someone you trust who is conservative and practical. Get their perspective—their reality check—and consider talking through your numbers or your books with them. There is no sense in letting fear run you around in circles or in getting depressed because you don’t know what to do. Sometimes a fresh take from a pragmatic ally can send you in a better direction.

What a great idea.  Often entrepreneurs are so busy being positive that they fall into the trap of believing that this is the only way to be.  Talking to my friends who also run small businesses sometimes makes me feel worried.  Everyone seems to have a Marvellous Time With Lots Of Clients.  However, when I talk to them in more detail, they often ‘embroider’ the truth a little so that others won’t notice that there are quiet times in every business.  So here’s a few of the things I do when I’m ‘between jobs’ (as they say in the movies)

  1. Don’t worry that the invoice you’ve just submitted will be your last one. 
  2. Continue to network.  Connections made now, could bear fruit in several months time
  3. Don’t network just with the aim of finding new business.  Often great connections refer you onwards
  4. If the customer doesn’t have the budget for your proposal, He often doesn’t have the budget.  Ask the appropriate questions up front to save your feeling that you’re being rejected.
  5. Call a friend.  Often they can talk you through the difficult patches and soothe your anxiety
  6. Use the quiet time in your calendar to do some admin, learning, research or networking.  Don’t dwell on the quiet times
  7. Work on your online presence.  Update LinkedIn, Facebook and your blog
  8. Extend your circle of events.  Go to a new networking event – one you’re not familiar with.  Your next client could be there
  9. Update your business plan.  Go on, be honest.  This should be a living document!
  10. Shut down the PC at a reasonable hour. Don’t burn out.  Enjoy the downtime for a while and use the free time to do some thinking and planning


A little lull in business allows you to regroup and plan your strategy.  It’s not the end of the world.  Something will turn up from the most unexpected place.  Stop worrying about it…

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