3 Massive Mistakes Local Business Owners Make On Twitter

Twitter is a fantastic tool for local businesses, and even better … it’s a FREE tool!  Business is tough and usually top of your list will be pulling in more customers with little or no budget.

mistakes made on twitterWith Twitter you really can get yourself noticed and get more feet through your doors.

Unfortunately local businesses make 3 massive mistakes after they’ve opened their Twitter accounts and I’m going to share them with you so you don’t make them!

Mistake 1.       They don’t connect with the right people

It’s no good following anyone and everyone on Twitter – you need to follow those who can help you most.  Look for your existing customers on Twitter – better still have a big sign in your shop with your Twitter ID so your customers know you’re on there.  People who already know, like and trust you will be more likely to recommend you on Twitter and retweet your posts.  You can also connect with other businesses in your local area on Twitter who have lots of followers – if you work together it could be beneficial to the whole community.

Mistake 2.       They tweet out advertising messages

People tend to buy from those they know, like and trust … or from businesses who have been recommended by someone they know, like and trust.  Do you think by sending out advert after advert after advert you’ll build that trust?  How about sending out some tips on how to use your product or service, or giving your followers some behind the scenes photos – it’s a much better way to let potential customers get to know you.

Mistake 3.       They don’t make use of Twitter’s Advanced Search feature

Possibly the most useful social media tool ever.  Twitter’s Advanced Search feature lets you search specific words and phrases that show up in tweets in a local area you specify.  A photographer on my most recent Twitter workshop searched the phrase “can anyone recommend a photographer” and specified within 15 miles of where he was based.  He found 4 tweets that included that phrase … an excellent opportunity for him to get in touch and showcase his services.  It’s like listening in to thousands of conversations!

Have you tried Twitter and made these mistakes?  Do you think it won’t work for your business?  If you’re struggling to get more customers through your doors just give it a try.  Connect with the right people, build that know, like and trust factor, and use the Advanced Search to hone in on conversations you can take advantage of.

If you need to learn more about how to use this free marketing tool my Twitter Video Course will help you become a pro in no time … in fact it’s 12 videos, each around 10 minutes each.  It’s very practical – I show you exactly where all the features are and how to use them … PLUS you get access to my private support group so you can ask any questions if you get stuck.

And the best bit … it’s only £30.  Grab it quickly before the price goes up!   http://bit.ly/KJvideocourse

4 Ways To Make Twitter Networking Hours Work For Your Business

Twitter Networking HourIn the last year there has been a huge growth in local Twitter networking hours – which is fantastic.  But are you using them in the most effective way?

What are they?

If you don’t know what a Twitter networking hour is let me explain.  The idea is that businesses from the same local area can get together, on Twitter, at a specific time on a specific day and tweet with each other.  The aim is for you to meet and network with other businesses in the area to build relationships that will lead to friendships, joint ventures, referrals and hopefully some sales.

The Twitter networking hour is co-ordinated with the use of a hashtag, e.g. #yourlocalarea.  Once a word (or words with no spaces in between) is given a hashtag symbol at the front it becomes clickable.  If you click on it in your Twitter stream you will be able to read all the tweets that have included that hashtag – making it possible to follow the networking hour.

Good Idea?

It’s an excellent idea.  I go to a local networking group offline every Tuesday morning.  I meet up with about 15 other businesses every week and we get to know each other, get to trust each other and pass referrals and introductions to each other.  We try and help if anyone has a business problem and we pass information about things that may be useful.  In a nutshell we’ve taken time to build a relationship with each member of the group so that when we go about our daily business, if we have the opportunity to recommend another member then we do.

So it follows that Twitter networking hours could work in the same way and be very effective for those businesses who can’t make it to offline networking meetings to meet new people or to strengthen relationships with those people we don’t see very often.

I Can Hear A But?

My concern is that there seems to be an emphasis on retweeting.  I see people taking part in Twitter networking hours … retweeting, retweeting, retweeting anyone and everyone.  And while it’s great to retweet people I feel there are other things we can do to make them work as well as offline networking does.

my thoughtsSo here are my thoughts:

1)            If you see a tweet during the hour from someone who looks like they’d make a good referral partner (i.e. they have the same target customer as you but don’t offer the same product or service as you), put them onto a private Twitter List (call it Referral Partners).   Spend some time after the hour to browse through their tweet stream, read their Twitter bio, have a look at their website, and then come back to Twitter and start a conversation – get to know them and let them get to know you.

2)            When you’re Retweeting you’re basically endorsing that person to your followers (my opinion).  Wait until you’ve found out more about the business before you start to retweet them.

3)            When you retweet lots of lots of tweets during the hour you’re filling up the tweet stream of your followers.  Yes it’s good to get the #networkinghour trending so more people notice it, but what about saving some retweets for a later time or even the next day … the idea of a retweet is that you’re sharing something with your followers.  If it’s so noisy your followers just don’t tune in during that hour then you’ve lost your audience.

4)            This tip is probably more for those managing a Twitter networking hour.  The ones I’ve dipped in to that have really appealed to me are ones that ‘hook’ the hour onto a specific topic.  The manager of the hour sets 4 questions to do with something that’s important to businesses, so on the hour they’ll start with question one (Q1), then at 15 minutes past they’ll ask question two (Q2) … and so on.  Participants can join in by including A1 or A2 plus the #yourlocalarea (depending on what question they’re replying to).  An hour like this can be much easier for people to understand, it’s easier to get to know each other, it’s more interesting for everyone to tune in to and by varying the topics people get a chance to show their business expertise rather than just telling people about it!  Or how about picking a regular participant each week and interviewing them about their business during the hour … a fantastic way to showcase someone.

Warm regards, Karen

PS:  Are you struggling to grow your Twitter community?  My free 21 day course gives you an action tip daily to help you get more followers.  Click here for more info.

 

 

Using Hootsuite Can Stop You Losing Followers!

I opened up my Twitter account this morning to tweet about a new update to Gmail which I thought was rather useful (they’ve added new tabs to organise your email), and when I opened up my Compose Tweet box I noticed something new and shiny!

Twitter tweet & track button

A Tweet & Track button.  When you click it, you get the option to sign into (or sign up for) your Hootsuite account allowing you to schedule the tweet rather than sending it out straight away.  (Which also means you can use Hootsuite’s analytics feature to track engagement and clicks).

But my amazement didn’t stop there.  (Okay I’m easily pleased).

When I hovered my cursor over a tweet in my tweet stream I noticed a new Hootsuite button.

Hootsuite in Tweet

Like the Tweet & Track button, when you click it, you get the option to sign into your Hootsuite account to schedule the tweet.

Note:  If you’re more of a Buffer person you’ll notice there’s a button there for you too.

So how does that stop you losing followers?

I regularly browse my tweet stream and my Twitter lists to find things to retweet that I think my followers will be interested in.  Up till now I’ve either retweeted each tweet there and then (which could mean 4 or 5 tweets one after the other) or I’d have to open up a new tab then login to my Hootsuite account, then find the tweet and then schedule it to retweet.

But now I can click Hootsuite right from within the tweet I want to share and schedule it immediately (and edit and add a comment if needed).

Hootsuite Send

This means I’m not bombarding my followers and filling up their tweet streams with tweet after tweet after tweet … so they’re less likely to get annoyed and unfollow me … do you follow?

What do you think?  Does that make your life easier or is it just me? 🙂

If you’d like to learn more about the principles of social media for business my FREE ebook is packed with useful tips you can put into practice today.  Click here to download it today:  Generating Leads with Social Media

 

 

Twitter For Business: What Is A Hashtag?

What is a hashtagWhat is a hashtag?

Placing the # (hashtag) symbol in front of a word or words (no spaces in between) in some social media sites turns that word or words into a clickable link that when clicked gives you a list of all the status updates/tweets/comments that have included that #hashtag in it.

Why is it there?

The #hashtag makes it easy to find conversations that are talking about the same thing.  Let me explain:  It’s a bit like going to a library and looking for an autobiography.  If the library didn’t have a specific labelled section for autobiographies and all the books were just randomly stuck on the shelves we’d have trouble finding them.  The hashtag is giving the update/tweet/comment a label to make it easier to include it in a particular section of conversation and makes it easier to find.

Where can I use it?

Although Twitter is probably the most well known social media site for the #hashtag, you can now use them on some of the other social media sites such as Google+, Facebook and Instagram.

How is it used?

#Hashtags are used in lots of different ways including:

Following conversations around television programs:  most popular programs feature a #hashtag so viewers can comment and talk to each other on social media sites about what they’re watching

But for business they’re generally used in these ways:

Conferences & exhibitions:  to connect conversations to do with the events:

event hashtag

Local networking:  to find people in your geographic area to network with:

local hashtag

Industry discussions:  to talk about your industry developments, news and network with your peers:

Industry Hashtag

Categorising:  to make it easier for people to see what the post is about:

category hashtag

And not forgetting:

A way to recommend someone using #ff (also known as #followfriday):

Follow Friday Hashtag

Can you search a #hashtag ACROSS social media sites?

Funny you should ask that 🙂

I came across Tagboard.com when I was reading an article on Social Media Examiner.  #tagboard is a website where you can create your own #hashtag boards so you can follow the #hashtags you’re interested in across multiple social media sites.  You definitely need to put this on your list of social media tools to have a look at!

Tagboard for hashtag

What #hashtags do you use on a regular basis? Tweet me @kljsocialmedia

 

Twitter for Business is like playing Snakes & Ladders!

Twitter Snakes & Ladders - kljsocialmedia.com

Remember the game Snakes & Ladders?  I used to love that as a child – I’d play for hours until I beat those snakes and got to my goal … the 100th square.

When I started to use social media for my business it struck me that it was very similar to Snakes & Ladders … I was playing Social Media Snakes & Ladders!

LADDERS:  Some activities will help grow your followers, you get more engagement and you make useful connections.

SNAKES:  Some activities will cause you to lose followers and it feels like tumbleweed is blowing across your @Connect tab.

So to help you get to your goals on social media here’s some Snakes & Ladders for you to think about if you’re using Twitter for business.

LADDERS

  • Include important keywords in your Twitter bio (helps you get found in a search)
  • Retweet  other people’s tweets  (help others – it’s not all about you)
  • Create lists to filter out the noise (do most of your networking with the people most important to you)
  • Tweet links to your blog posts (give people useful info & send them to your website at the same time)
  • Use bit.ly to shorten links and track clicks (continue to tweet things that work and change the tweets that don’t)

SNAKES

  • Only tweeting once per week (you need to be consistent and tweet every day)
  • Not checking your @connect tab (you need to know if anyone’s talking to you)
  • Leaving the generic twitter egg as your photo (we need to know who you are)
  • Following anyone and everyone (it’s more effective if you follow a targeted network)
  • Only tweeting sales messages (it’s not an advert channel – talk to people too)
  • Not using a website link in your Twitter bio (a missed opportunity to get more traffic)

Keep ‘playing’ Twitter for your business, beat those snakes and reach your social media goals.

If you’d like to learn more about the principles of social media for business my FREE ebook is packed with useful tips you can put into practice today.  Click here to download it Generating Leads with Social Media

Using Twitter to find local customers

How would you like to find tweets that mention your topic of expertise, from people who are geographically close to you?  Imagine how useful that could be to you!  It would mean you could start up a conversation on Twitter and then have the opportunity to take it offline.

A recent client, who has a tyre repair service, has a search set up for the word ‘puncture’ – whenever he sees a tweet that includes that word he sends a reply to let them know he can help, and quite often he’s then booked to do the job.

While you can use the basic Twitter search box to do this you need to know something about search operators to get really specific, which can be complicated.  However the Twitter Advanced Search page lets you search locally without knowing anything about search operators.  Unfortunately Twitter seem to have hidden this option quite well – but don’t worry, because I’m going to tell you how to find it!

To access the Twitter Advanced Search page type the keywords you want to search for in the usual Twitter search box and press Enter on your keyboard.

Twitter Search

You’ll see a results page that gives you a list of tweets that include those keywords. Click the down arrow next to the ‘cog’ in the corner of the page then click Advanced Search.

Twitter Advanced Search Button

 

 

 

 

 

This reveals the Twitter Advanced Search page where you can really narrow your search.

Twitter Advanced Search Page

Type in your keywords then go to the Places box.  Enter the geographical area you work in and then click Search.

You’ll get a list of tweets that include your keywords, from people who are in the location you searched on.

To save this search for future use click the drop down arrow on the search results page next to the ‘cog’ and click Save Search.  The next time you want to look at this search click in the basic search box and a list of your saved searches will appear.

Using Twitter search in this way helps you find opportunities and people to add to your network.

A to Z of Social Media: F is for Forums

While everyone’s raving about Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter etc., let’s not forget about the humble Forum.

A Forum is an internet message board where like-minded individuals congregate to discuss topics, ask questions and generally network.

Wait a minute – isn’t that what social media is for?!

 

It certainly is, but social media sites can sometimes be complicated to use and a little daunting.  An internet forum is usually much more straight-forward.  You sign up for a free account (although there are paid levels on some of them) and then browse through the different discussion topics to find threads of conversation you find interesting and want to get involved in.

To find a forum that’s related to your industry or your target market’s industry, do a keyword search on Google, e.g. marketing forum, beauty forum, small business forum … you get the idea.

Once you’ve joined a forum you have the option to add a signature to all the posts you make.  Be creative with this – add your website address or a link to your Facebook page.  Note:  some forums will only allow you to do this once you’ve made a certain number of posts or if you have a paid account.

What should you use a forum for?

  • Ideas for blog posts – look through the topics being discussed, many of the questions could be turned into a blog post
  • Answer questions – show off your expertise by answering questions, but remember not to sell in your reply.  By giving people genuine help you’ll soon become known as the go-to person for that topic
  • Ask questions – forums are a great place to do some market research – the replies may often throw up things you’d never have thought of
  • Find new contacts – look for referral partners or suppliers, do some research on them by browsing their activity in the forum first

Here’s some fantastic business forums I’ve used in the last year and actually got a new client from one of them:

Have you found a forum useful in the last year?  Let me know in the comments box below.

And remember to check out the rest of the A to Z series here

Twitter School: Which window shall we look through today?

Have you ever noticed the #Discover tab on your Twitter account?  It’s probably the one I use the least but from today I’m going to browse it regularly and here’s why.

When you click on the #Discover Tab you’ll see it has 5 ‘discoveries’ to choose from

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today I just want to focus on Activity because it actually reveals some interesting things.

The Activity section shows me what the people I’m following are up to, specifically:

  • who they’ve followed recently
  • what tweets they’ve favourited
  • and what tweets they’ve retweeted.

Why is that interesting I hear you ask!

Firstly, looking at who other people follow can alert us to new prospects, suppliers or influencers we might not have noticed otherwise.

Secondly, if someone has favourited a tweet it’s probably because they think it’s interesting enough to read when they’ve got more time.  So if we’re following people who are in the same industry as us and they’ve favourited a tweet it will probably be interesting to us too.  And if a prospective client favourites a tweet then it could be information that helps us understand their needs a little better.

And thirdly, if people we are following regularly retweet things in our niche we need to be building relationships with them as they could be great influencers.

So next time you’re on Twitter, take a look at your #Discover tab and click on Activity – you never know what you might discover!

Generating Leads with Social MediaWould you like some more FREE social media tips & advice?  Grab my FREE ebook here:   Generating Leads with Social Media:  7 actions you need to take on Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Google+  or Pinterest to get people into your sales funnel

 

7 Ways To Attract New Customers With Your Facebook Business Page

Facebook for BusinessDon’t think Facebook can help your business?  Think again.

Take a look at these 7 ways you can use your Facebook Business Page  to attract new customers.

1.  Think like a publisher:  Your Facebook page should give your audience what THEY want.  They want to read posts that can help them solve their problems, or entertain them, or educate them, plus they’re more likely to comment, like and share these.  So use it less as an advert channel and more like a magazine or newspaper.

2.  Give variety:  Different people like to receive their messages in a variety of different ways.  Use a combination of types of post to attract those different people – photos, video and text.  It also makes your page look much more interesting!

3.  Think about time:  Your audience may be on Facebook in the morning, afternoon, evening or even through the night.  Mix up the times you post so you reach a wider audience.  If you want to reach potential customers on a different continent this is especially important.   Schedule a post on Facebook

4.  Engage with your target audience:  There are millions of Facebook business pages – go and find active pages who have a similar target market, or pages of businesses who are your ideal customer, and then start to comment on their posts.  Every time you comment as your page your Facebook avatar shows up next to it which then becomes a clickable link back to your own page – it makes you visible.  Remember not to spam other pages, you’re there to network and add value.

5.  Network, Network, Network:  Facebook groups are a brilliant forum for meeting prospective customers.  Search for groups your target audience would join and get involved in the discussions.  Again, you’re not there to advertise, you’re there to network.  You can only join Facebook groups if you have a personal profile, you can’t join from your business page – a great reason to use personal AND business pages.

6.  Remember your existing customers:  If you give your existing customers something extra, they’ll be more likely to refer you to their network.  Create your own secret Facebook group for your VIP customers and give them extra tips, extra discounts or a place for them to get advice about the products/services you’ve sold them.  Again you can only do this from a personal profile and not a business page.

7.  Advertise:  Facebook Adverts have a fantastic targeting feature – you can choose to have your advert show up on the pages of people who have specific interests, live in a specific town or read a specific book, even those who have stated they’re engaged or married.  Put some thought into who your ideal customer is and what their interests/hobbies/location/age etc might be and you can practically guarantee you’ll pick up some extra ‘likes’ that you can then get your interesting, educational, entertaining posts in front of.  You do have to pay for Facebook Ads so take your time setting them up, and remember you can’t use FB Ads if you’re just using a personal profile for your business.

Note:  If you’d like to learn more about using Facebook Advertising to boost likes and sales I recommend you take a look at Jo Barnes Facebook Domination course.  I’ve learned so much from taking her course AND I’ve gained new customers using her methods.

Facebook is not an advert channel

Facebook for BusinessAccording to Mark Zuckerberg there are now 1 billion users on Facebook.  Do you think some of them might make a good customer for you?  YES, I hear you shouting … “but how do I attract them?”

Posting advert, after advert, after advert on your Facebook page is not the way to do it.

I mean would you really watch a TV channel that only showed adverts?  (There’s bound to be one of you out there who says yes!)  The majority of us would say no.  There’s a reason why adverts are packaged during and in-between entertaining, informative and educational programmes.  If you can grab your audience’s attention with something that they find interesting (e.g. I’m a Celebrity …. ) they’re more likely to notice the adverts in the middle of it – and as some very big companies are spending large amounts of money placing them I assume enough people actually act on them.

Using Facebook is just the same.  If you send out posts that are entertaining, informative and educational then your fans will be more likely to take notice of, and act on, the promotional messages you slot in among them.

I know thinking up the interesting stuff is hard work, and it’s so tempting just to post an advert about your product, or your workshop, or your service but to attract prospective customers to your page and then get them to stay engaged you’ve got to do it, otherwise all you’ve got is a page with tumbleweed blowing across it!

Can’t think of anything interesting to post?  Try some of these ideas:

  • Give a tip
  • Ask a question
  • Funny photos (this photo on Pinnacle Lettings Agent’s Page generated 89 likes!)
  • ‘How-to’ video
  • Link to your recent blog post
  • Link to an article on the internet that your audience will find helpful
  • Run a contest (but make sure you do it using a 3rd party app and not directly from your page)
  • Offer a discount
  • Hold a Q&A session on a specific day/time each week

Remember make your page interesting and your fans will take more notice of the promotional messages you post.

What are you doing to make your Facebook page interesting?