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17 Entrepreneurs Explain How They Use Twitter for Business

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Social Media is here and it is not going anywhere. Many brands focus on specific social media sites because of the type of updates they can make or the activity level of their target market. Twitter is no different and the microblogging site is used by entrepreneurs and business owners to promote brands, communicate with customers and to tell their stories. Rescue a CEO asked some businesses how they use Twitter to help them.

#1 – Lead Generator

Image Credit: Viren Mahtani

At TutorRoom we use Twitter as our main resource to find potential leads, which subsequently means that we are able to promote our services to our target market without paying for advertising. Twitter allows us the opportunity to find students who are not only struggling with Maths homework and/or revision but it also helps us to categorise the students that are the most desperate for help. Everyday we answer hundreds of questions for free and all we ask for in return is that students tweet about us. This not only gives us a reach into thousands of potential students’ feeds but also allows us to demonstrate the professionalism of our tutors! By giving away free homework help to students it shows them how useful our service is and how well-trained our tutors are. Often times this leads to them eventually subscribing to one of our packages.

Thanks to Viren Mahtani, CEO of TutorRoom!

#2 – Saved My Business

I wrote a book on surviving infidelity, and am currently writing a handbook for couples as they struggle through other issues as well. I use Twitter to locate and bond with other people in the happy marriage industry. Twitter has been fantastic in leading me to over 150 groups and individuals who are also writing books, public speaking and creating programs for keeping marriages alive, healthy and fun. I am coordinating with some of them on my next book.

Thanks to Stacey Greene!

#3 – Network & Tack Down New Business

Image Credit: Maja Stevanovich

I am a Senior Vice President at Mungo Creative Group, a marketing agency in New York City and use Twitter predominantly to network with other marketing professionals across the country. Periodically, I will use it to try and track down new business and I always use it to gather intelligence on what the latest trends and happenings are in my industry. With Twitter, you get what you put in it, so I ensure to tweet a few times a week and be active on the platform and provide my own two cents on marketing trends in the
spirit of helping other professionals like me.

Thanks to Maja Stevanovich, Mungo Creative Group!

#4 – Sharing My Company

Image Credit: Gari Anne Kosanke

I use twitter mainly as a way of sharing my company blog posts and other information regarding business, notification of sales I am having in my online stores, showing new products and making other announcements. I have found and read some of the best articles on entrepreneurship and small business on twitter and in turn I share with others. Compared to other social media Twitter has a whole different clientele and it is an opportunity to share and learn from others through the appropriate use of hash tags.

Thanks go Gari Anne Kosanke, Bead Lovers Korner!

#5 – Search for Specific Keywords

Image Credit: Dawn Martinello

In 2009 when I started my virtual assistance company, even bootstrapping was out of my marketing budget. I used Twitter alerts to search for people who had mentioned virtual assistance. Each day I would review the comments to determine who was actually in need of a VA and I would contact them directly with a social media contact plan that was personalized to their needs or requests from Twitter. This technique allowed me to gain enough clients to fill my docket within 6 months including Danielle LaPorte when she was building White Hot Truth.

Thanks to Dawn Martinello!

#6 – Posting Info, Listening & Finding Out More About Customers

Image Credit: Amit Singh

Posting information about our products and services is the obvious use. Twitter also gives us another channel for listening to and finding out more about our customers – what they like or dislike about our company, how they feel about our brand, what suggestions they have for our improvement, what their favorite products are and why? Twitter gives us all these kinds of nuggets that we can use to make our business more successful.

Thanks to Amit Singh, NibbleMatrix!

#7 – Not Just Shouting into an Empty Room

Image Credit: Jessica Thiele

Twitter is a tricky beast. A good number of companies choose to employ a very loose marketing ‘strategy’ (if you can call it that) of just pushing outbound messages through their Twitter profiles, and then wondering why Twitter is not a great place of audience engagement for them. To make the most of Twitter, someone does need to be actively managing it on a semi-regular basis. Getting more out of your Twitter account is actually fairly straight forward. I highly recommend using some auto-scheduling software (like Hootsuite or HubSpot) to create and maintain a regular cadence of outbound posts, which should be 80% news-related and 20% self-promotional. But after this scheduling, it’s important to *go into Twitter itself* to see what the interaction with your audience has been. Look who’s reTweeted, commented, shared, and followed you, and I mean look at them. Are they interesting to your business? Follow them back, and add them onto an appropriate list for your records (making some lists private is a very good idea). Thank interesting new followers for their follow, and follow them back. DM (direct message) some of the higher potential leads, and attempt to direct them to a property of value to you, like a website or landing page. And then follow up! This is a great, easy, and fairly labour-light way to get more out of your business’ Twitter.

Thanks to Jessica Thiele, Virtual Logistics!

#8 – Showcase Thought Leadership & Position My Business

Image Credit: Nick Brennan

As a small business owner, I use Twitter to showcase thought leadership and position my business as an industry resource. The marketing world changes so quickly that challenging myself to maintain that position forces me to stay on top of what’s going on in the space. It’s much too easy to get lost in day to day work only to realize how many industry updates you’ve missed a week or two down the road. The challenge of maintaining a Twitter account that I can stand behind is something I welcome as it’s a great way to force me to stay up to date and engage with my peers.

Thanks to Nick Brennan, Watch Social Media!

#9 – More of a Social Network

Image Credit: David Christopher

Over the years the Tailwind twitter account has grown to 5,000 followers, many of whom are customers of our Pinterest and Instagram tool. We share all of our blog posts on our Twitter account, but we see only one third the amount of traffic from Twitter to our blog than we get from Facebook where we have an equivalent amount of followers. As a result we no longer think of Twitter primarily as a place to share our content, but more as a social network where we can listen in on what our customers are saying about us and try to engage them in meaningful conversations which strengthen their relationship with us. To make this process of social listening easy we have bookmarked a Twitter search of our brand name which we check daily.

Thanks to David Christopher, Tailwind!

#10 – Branding & Thought Leadership Channel

Image Credit: Jim Minnick

eVestment uses our main Twitter handle – @eVestment – obviously as a branding and thought-leadership channel to current and potential clients to drive traffic to our web site, our insights and our content. This is pretty standard in social media. We also use it as a relationship-building tool with reporters we work with in our public relations work. When reporters cover eVestment data or quote one of our people, we frequently re-tweet those stories or tweet the story out ourselves, tagging the reporter who wrote it and their news organization. When we do this, both the reporter and the news outlet get a notification that we’ve done so. This creates another opportunity for us to get in front of them, show them that we’re sharing their content when they quote us and encouraging them to use us more often. We also follow reporters we work with regularly and reporters we are working to get to know better so we can stay current on what they’re covering and make our outreach to them as relevant to what they cover as possible. We’ve found Twitter to be a very helpful tool in building and maintaining valuable media relationships that result in coverage around the world aimed at our current and potential clients, so they cycle builds on itself resulting in more exposure on social media and in traditional media.

Thanks to Jim Minnick, eVestment!

#11 – Building an Audience & Promoting Brand Awareness

I use Twitter to accomplish two basic objectives, building an audience and promoting brand awareness. I don’t tweet with the expectation of obtaining new business as a direct result of tweeting, because once the these objective are accomplished, leads and business flow. It’s important to build an audience by providing information important to that audience, and taxes are always on the minds of business owners and entrepreneurs, and, if they’re not, they should be, particularly as we approach an era of possible tax reform of historic proportions! So, I tweet tax topics of interest to individuals and business owners, articles my colleagues and I write, and add some personal touches as well to show the human side. As a Senior Manager of a unique group of CPAs operating as an ancillary business on the platform of one of the world’s largest law firms, it’s important to build that audience and promote the distinction and unique characteristics of a non-traditional CPA firm, and the unique advantages that brings to our clients and friends.

Thanks to Steven M. Packer, CPA, Duane Morris LLP!

#12 – A Variety of Ways

Image Credit: Reagan Toal

We use Twitter in a variety of ways – reposting articles or content we find interesting and relevant to our industry, posting photos of successful projects with the contributors tagged, gleaning inspiration from the multitude of innovators and trendsetters that make Twitter their platform of choice, but mostly interacting. Most of our interaction is with other firms, businesses, and publications in our industry. We’re tweet throughout kitchen & bath tribe chats, ensuring that we’re keeping up to date on trends, new products, solutions, and technologies, and often support other Made in America brands on Twitter, tweeting out about their most recent, beautiful, new products. Twitter is an of-the-moment social platform, and as a consumer-based business, we aim to stay on top of things, providing the best possible materials, methods, and products for our loyal customers.

Thanks to Reagan Toal, Federal Brace!

#13 – Engagement with Leaders, Promote & Bragging

Image Credit: Lauren Fach

I work in social media as the Digital Media Maven for University of Advancing Technology (UAT). I use the college’s twitter account to engage with industry leaders, promote our technology degrees, brag about our students and alumni, keep up with trends and industry events, connect with new and perspective students and answer questions and concerns. Twitter is a powerful tool that allows you to reach those who may seem out of reach by phone or email. A tweet goes a long way. I advise students when looking for a job in their desired field- some of them being very competitive and niche, to build a network of likeminded people on Twitter. If you are a game designer, get immersed in the #gamedev community, search for game studios, use appropriate hashtags, engage in relevant conversation and connect with job recruiters at the companies you want to work for, attend major conferences and follow the event hashtag to find out where the recruiting events will be held at events like GDC and BlizzCon. There are opportunities on Twitter if you know where to look and how to use the platform. In Public Relations, I also use Twitter to pitch the media, send out press releases and engage with trending topics.

Thanks to Lauren Fach, University of Advancing Technology!

#14 – Give Tips, Sharing & Retweeting

Image Credit: Robby Slaughter

What we do on Twitter is simple: we brainstormed a huge list of over 1,000 tips of the day and release those every day at 9:00am. That way, there’s always something interesting and relevant that isn’t self-promotional. We do the usual sharing of our articles, events, and retweeting interesting content as well, but the tips of the day is what people tell us they appreciate most.

Thanks to Robby Slaughter, AccelaWork!

#15 – Gaining Exposure with Hashtags

Image Credit: Jessica Moreno

While all social media sites are useful to a degree, Twitter is unique because it relies heavily on hashtags. Hashtags allow people to easily locate and follow topics of interest to them. Other sites like Facebook and Instagram use hashtags as well, but they are not as prevalent. Twitter has become a hub for whatever is new and buzz-worthy, which gives every business the opportunity to get in on the conversation! Trending hashtags reflect what Twitter’s community is talking about; they are also a magnet for impressions (people seeing your posts). Any opportunity we get to use these hashtags – we take them. For instance, if the trending topic pertains to our field, we find a way to use the hashtag in a way that it is: 1) Informative 2) Entertaining 3) Shareable. Social media is about gaining exposure and hashtags are the way to do it on Twitter.

Thanks to Jessica Moreno, Active Web Group!

#16 – A Variety of Ways

Image Credit: Diana Haven

We use Twitter daily at Ellipses, and in a variety of ways. It’s perfect for sharing industry-related articles and media coverage of our clients. We also use it as a tool to research and interact with members of the media, as well as social media influencers. Ideally we’re able to gauge whether a journalist or influencer is a fit for our clients by their Twitter profile and feed before we reach out and pitch them a potential story. Twitter has given us a platform to stand out, interact, and build relationships with media like no other social platform can. We also use Twitter to see what is trending in the world, what’s grabbing people’s attention, and what we need to keep an eye out for. Twitter still remains the best real-time social media platform.

Thanks to Diana Haven, Ellipses!

#17 – Promote Media Coverage

Image Credit: Grainne Kelly

At BubbleBum, we use Twitter to promote any media coverage about our car travel essentials. Promoting the articles, TV segments, and other media placements is a great way to show our followers and customers that BubbleBum car innovations are highly credible and safe for little ones to use. We also make sure to tag the media outlets and authors in the tweets, as they will usually retweet our posts. This has been very helpful in driving traffic and new followers to our Twitter page.

Thanks to Grainne Kelly, BubbleBum!

About Gresham Harkless Jr.

Gresham Harkless is a Media Consultant for Blue 16 Media and the Blogger-in-Chief for CEO Blog Nation. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.
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