How to get connected on social media:  Setting up your Twitter account

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“Twitter is a simple tool that helps connect businesses more meaningfully with the right audience at the right time.” via Twitter.com

Social media networking is here to stay.  Last year, nearly 80% of all US internet users visited a social networking site.  (Marketing Charts.com)

And Twitter is one of the most popular social media platforms of them all with over 25 million people worldwide logging in daily! (http://siteanalytics.compete.com/twitter.com/ )

What does that mean for you if you are a small business owner?

It means that if you are not adopting Twitter as part of your marketing strategy, your business will soon be left behind!

This post discusses how to set up your Twitter account.

1.  Go to Twitter.com and click the “Sign up” button.  To set up an account on Twitter, you simply input your full name (real name), a user name, create a password, and enter your email address.  I recommend that you set up your account using your business name as your user name, if you are the business owner.  However, use your personal name as your user name if you are a representative of a company.  Twitter asks you to enter your “full name” as well.  If you are using Twitter for business marketing, use your real name or some variation of it.  For example, I use Wendy Kenney as my full name.  However if it were already taken, I might use WKenney, or WendyKenneyAZ.  This enables people to find me using the “Find People” search function in Twitter by typing in my  “real name.”  Twitter walks you through the steps to set up your account, so it should be fairly easy.

2.  Secondly, click on the “Settings” tab and set up your profile.   Make sure you upload a picture here.  Some companies, like Southwest Airlines, use their company logo.    Again, this works well if you are the business owner and tweeting on behalf of the company.  You will also need to enter your location, website, and a short, 160 character, bio.  The best bios tell a little bit about the person who tweets, such as their interests, and why or what they tweet ab0ut.  My bio says:  “Buzz Building marketing expert, social media practitioner, owner of 23 Kazoos (Marketing Firm) love my dogs, family, foodie”


3.  Next, you need to start following people. This is how you get followers.  I recommend you identify your goals for using social media and who you want to build relationships with to grow your business.  For example, as a buzz building marketing expert, I want to create new relationships with small business owners, and joint venture or referral relationships with other marketing professionals.  I also want to network with thought leaders and influential people in my community.  Then I can use the “Search” feature on Twitter to search for people based on that criteria.  For example, one of my clients is Culver’s Restaurant in Phoenix.  (Follow them on Twitter at @Culversphx) Their goal is to get their word out about their new restaurant which opened on Camelback Road.  I entered “Camelback” and “Phoenix” into the Twitter search bar to find people who mention Camelback Road and who are in Phoenix and then follow them.  If the people that Culver’s follows are interested in learning more about the restaurant, they will follow Culver’s back.  I also recommend that you use  a free online application called Twellow (http://www.twellow.com) to find followers.  You can search geographically by city, by interest, by category and more.

4.  Lastly, start tweeting! Remember:  social media is all about being social; connecting with people and building relationships.  The best type of tweets is those that add value to the people who are following you.    Contrary to what you may have heard otherwise, selling is perfectly okay on Twitter, as long as you are up front that that is why you have a Twitter account.  For example, Amazon.com, has a Twitter account that only lists great deals on Amazon daily.  (http://www.twitter.com/amazondeals)   This account has over 30,000 followers.  However, for most people, the best Twitter strategy is to not sell, but to educate, add value, and engage.

Since I have started using Twitter for my business I have seen incredible results.  My visibility has increased substantially as evidenced by a quadruple increase in website traffic.  I have been invited to speak for groups and associations on several occasions, which has resulted in new clients.  I have received many new leads, referrals and clients from people who follow me on Twitter.  And lastly, I have built valuable referral relationships and friendships with people that I did not know before.

What are you waiting for?

For more Twitter tips for business, I highly recommend you visit the Twitter Expert, Dan Hollings, and watch his videos on 100 Twitter Tips in 15 Minutes on YouTube.
Also download the Twitter 101 Guide for Business Guide on Twitter.com.