I heart TwitterMaybe you have read this a thousand times, but I would like to encourage you once again.

You. Have. To. Use. Twitter. Period.

What is Twitter, anyway? In essence, Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging site that allow you to connect and interact with fellow users easily – in real time and in 140 characters – basically answering this question: “What are you doing?”

Twitter is the fastest growing social networking site on the Net today (Goodbye Facebook!), with 1,382 per cent year-on-year growth, compared to Facebook’s “mere” 228 per cent year-on-year growth.

What does Twitter’s growth mean to small businesses?

Two things: More opportunities and a bigger market to target.

From business owners, such as Kevin Rose, the founder of Digg.com, to sportsmen, such as NBA’s Shaquille O’Neal, almost everybody use Twitter these days!

From a ‘somebody’ to a ‘nobody’, Twitter can be used for a simple networking, chit-chat, or doing business. I love the last one, although I enjoy the first two to a certain extent :)

The “business owners should blog” advice is a bit outdated today. These days, the small business owners, such as Nectar of Life Gourmet Coffee, use Twitter to keep in touch with their clients and prospects, as well as to promote their products and services.

So, in other words, if you haven’t blog for the sake of your business, you’ve got to start ASAP (I can help you with this), while learning to use Twitter (it’s only require basic Internet skills.) Otherwise, you are lured to lose your competitive advantage little by little.

How to use Twitter for the sake of your business

If you don’t take care of your business as an owner, who else will?

No matter how you do it – Do-It-Yourself or hiring an assistant to ‘tweet’ for you – you need to use Twitter, the sooner, the better.

I’m not a Twitter expert, but I’ve been socialising and do marketing on Twitter for a couple of months now. From my short experience, I learn that many people use Twitter to market their products and/or services – some in a spammy way, and some other in a more subtle way – on a regular basis.

I learn from my observation and my own experience that their keys in using Twitter for the benefit of their business are:

  • Sharing valuable information
  • having a genuine interaction with other Twitter users
  • follow the right people in your niche.

Consider this example: If you run a small business selling bicycles, then you might want to search for bicycle enthusiasts on Twitter and start following them. Doing this will actually give you a viral effect: Most of the time, they will follow you back, and this means they give your ‘tweets’ an exposure to their network. Can you see the pattern, here?

Now you need to repeat and rinse to grow your network and widen your target market :)

Doing those things will eventually bring traffic to your business websites and the business itself. The next logical step is to convert those prospects into customers. This is where the power of Twitter lies.

Twitter allows you to partially eliminate boundaries between you, your business and your customers. By writing personal ‘tweet’ such as “I visited my family, and by golly they are happy to see me. Yay!”, you open up to your customers. And, believe me, such customers will likely to do more business with you :)

Please share your experience with Twitter for your business purposes by commenting on this post. Thanks!

Ivan Widjaya
Follow me on Twitter
Image by PortableContent.com