Twitter at its most basic level is a real-time information source. Twitter has experienced a phenomenal growth rate over the past few months. With the ability to get instant information about world events such as the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton and the breaking news story of Osama bin Laden, it’s no wonder why so many people are signing on. We want to be able to get information and get it now.
Here are some numbers to consider (as reported by the Huffington Post):
Twitter handles a billion tweets every week.
In the past year alone, the average number of tweets per day has nearly tripled from 50 million to 140 million.
Tweets generally spike during a significant cultural event, and recent figures have been staggering. On March 11, the day of the Japan earthquake and tsunami, Twitter users exceeded the average daily tweets by 37 million–that’s 177 million tweets in a single day.
Also surging is Twitter’s membership. 572,000 new accounts were created on March 12. For the past month, the average daily sign-up rate has been 460,000 new accounts, and Twitter has also marked a 182% increase in the number of users tweeting from mobile devices in the past year.
You’re probably thinking, well I’m not Osama bin Laden (thank God) or Prince William so why should I care about this?
It’s all about being where people are. If they are on Twitter, you may want to be there too.
The average Twitter user follows 100 people. They typically are very community based in their following and the information they are looking for. While the global event numbers are staggering, and information about these events something Twitter users are interested in, it isn’t the main reason they use the platform. This information is important to you as a small business.
One of the best things you can do as a small business is figure out a way to tie into these global events by linking yourself to the subject or topic that is being searched. Your information will come up to your followers searching for this information.
Twitter has some unique features enabling you to target and get followers in your market area. This is how you want to use it. You don’t want to amass followers from all over the world, unless that is where you target market is.
Here are some basic Twitter starting points:
Make sure you complete your entire profile so people know what you’re about and can get to know you better.
Be sure to include a photo. People want to see what you look like.
Use Twitter Search to see what is being said about your topics of expertise. This will give you an idea of what people might be searching for and how you might be able to help with information you have.
Share interesting information and any interesting links that may be happening in your community.
Be sure you are not always just promoting your business. That is a turn off. Instead figure out ways you can provide helpful information that makes you the expert and trusted advisor. Your followers will be more drawn to you by you showing your human side than if your tweets are self-serving.
The biggest tip of all is not to be afraid to start tweeting and don’t let the number of tweets you see overwhelm you. You do not have to read or answer every tweet but you do need to participate to make it work.