I find it pretty amazing that small business owners that know about Twitter don’t know how to use it to help make a difference in their business.
Or don’t know that it can.
Citibank just got the results back from a study they commissioned where nearly two thirds of the people they polled said social networks like Twitter weren’t helpful at all. Now, as a film maker who has seen the sales of my most recent film, Six Reasons Why, hit some unexpected heights both in Canada and in the U.S. thanks to viral marketing and social networking, I’ve got to say there’s something wrong with these numbers.
If the error isn’t in the polling question itself, then it’s in those business owners’ use of Twitter. And if it’s not there, then certainly in the tracking of Twitter-based results. The numbers are so low, it actually makes me wonder if the people polled even know that these networks can be used for business at all.
These business owners could definitely benefit from the Twitter marketing success stories of Moonfruit, Naked Pizza and Freshii. Naked Pizza and Freshii have been doing Twitter-only promotions to give away free toppings and add-ons to walk-in orders with great success, and Moonfruit even managed to become the top trending topic for weeks when they began giving away MacBooks on Twitter to increase their brand awareness. These are companies that have followers ranging from barely a thousand all the way up to 20,000+, so it’s obvious that an impact can be made with a reasonably humble number of followers as long as you’re putting effort in to attracting the right kind of follower.
As far as tracking results, I’ve got a couple of thousand followers these days, but it was at about the one-thousand follower point that I realized any time I posted a tweet with value and a link, at least one person would follow that link. These days, I can pretty much be guaranteed that YourGeekNews.com will get a decent surge in traffic if I tweet about a review of the most recent horror movie, like Paranormal Activity or offering an advanced look at a movie like Where The Wild Things Are.
Ultimately, it’s about value to your follower. Give them something they want (whether that’s a free pizza topping or a free Macbook) and they’ll act on your tweet. Ideally, that transaction also gives you something you want. For you that may be a pizza order, a brand-building retweet or a hit to your website to watch a video.
As SMB get wise over the next few years to what corporations like Starbucks and McDonald’s already know, I’m sure Citibank will find their surveys will be looking quite different. Afterall, the playing field is quite level on Twitter right now. Just look at how many more followers America’s favourite coffee has compared to America’s favourite burger.