The phone rings. A potential client is on the line, asking about a redesign for a small business website. We talk about what he has in mind, what the existing website needs to do that it isn’t currently doing, and what Visual People could do to solve those problems.
Towards the end of this information-gathering chat, the conversation usually turns to social media.
“Oh, we have a Facebook page. That’s working pretty well for us,” this client says.
“What about Twitter? Have you looked into that?” we ask.
“Oh. No. We don’t see the point,” comes the inevitable response.
Now, we’re not sold on Twitter as a great social media and marketing tool for everyone. Compared to the nearly 500 million people on Facebook now, there’s a smaller potential audience. But Twitter does seem to attract a larger group of business people, so if you are selling B2B, there are some advantages.
And according to a Pew Internet report from last October, 19 percent of adults who go online are using Twitter now. Forty-two percent of the online adults who use Twitter have some college education or a college degree. And 38 percent of them have four or more mobile devices, indicating a high level of tech-savvy and disposable income. If that matches with your target customer, you should definitely be looking at Twitter as part of your marketing mix.
But the real advantage we see in our small business clients adopting Twitter now is because of the move toward integrating social networking tools and status updates in traditional online search.
Both Google and Bing, the two major search engines, made deals with Twitter last fall to begin including status updates in search results. What this means is that Twitter is becoming a chance to make your website and blog – and therefore your business – easier for your potential customers to find. And, people are more frequently using Twitter search to find information on current topics.
- You might show up on the first page of Google’s search results even if your website is not optimized for a particular topic. If your Tweet is relevant to the topic searched for, it may appear.
- Your information will be found more quickly, since Twitter happens in real time. No matter how quickly Google’s search robot looks through your website and blog, there’s still a lag time between when you make an update and when that is indexed for search. If you tweet about a new blog post, that will show up in real time search results right away.
- You can take advantage of hot news topics. Do you make a product that appears in a popular movie or TV show? Do you provide a service that’s being discussed on a talk show? Is there a service you provide that coincides with a national day or holiday? You can use Twitter to talk about your role and direct people to more information on your website.
- You can share tweets from others that are relevant to your business. Sharing resources is one of the important parts of interacting with Twitter (don’t just broadcast your own information). And, with the right keywords, you can show up in real time search.
Because of the way people are using search and social media, it may benefit your business to include use of Twitter in your long-term marketing plan – even if you don’t think it will reap direct and immediate benefits.