As a small-business owner, you’re sold on using social media to engage with customers and to build brand awareness. But you aren’t sure how much potential your Twitter presence really has. What kind of tangible results can you expect from tweeting?
Twitter says it gets asked this question every day. In attempt to answer it, the company hired the research firm Market Probe International to survey 500 users in the U.S. and U.K. in May. The survey produced a lot of data, but four key points suggest how Twitter benefits small businesses:
1. Your followers become customers. Most people (72 percent) who follow your business are likely to purchase from you in the future. Converting leads into sales is the main goal of any marketing venture, and the survey’s numbers show that investing time in your Twitter presence is an effective means of doing just that.
2. Your followers are effective brand evangelists. Your followers are widening your influence, because a good chunk of them (30 percent) recommend your products to their friends. Why is this important? It drives more online traffic to your website. In the survey, an overwhelming number (86 percent) of respondents indicated that they are more inclined to visit small-business sites that are recommended by friends.
3. Twitter organically connects you with existing and potential customers. A major reason why many people (63 percent) follow a business on Twitter is to show their support. A majority of respondents (85 percent) also indicated a deeper connection to the business as a result of following it. This authentic interaction is probably a significant reason why your followers are likely to purchase from you.
4. Your followers want to interact with you. Another major reason many people (61 percent) follow you is to give feedback or share ideas about products or services. Twitter facilitates dialogues between you and your customers, which makes followers feel as if they have a voice — and are truly being heard — by your business.
The big takeaway here is this: You probably aren’t wasting your time on Twitter. Your tweets can amount to more than just clever ways to advertise products or services. They have the power to engender brand loyalty and repeat business among your followers. So manage your Twitter presence wisely, because it has the potential to significantly impact your bottom line.