Twitter Hacks for the Business Owner

There are lots of great things to do on Twitter. Keeping up with the sporting events, seeing what the buzz is with influencers in your industry, and even making fun of idiotic celebrities during award functions. But, chances are, if you clicked on this article, you’ve probably already got the swing of those activities.

 So here, I give you 5 Twitter hacks for business:

 1. Posting Jobs.

Need to hire someone (especially in social media), and don’t want to spend a bunch of money for listings on Monster or the Ladders? Well, build yourself a job description and put it on your website. Then, promote links to it on Twitter. Schedule it often. Use hashtags like #jobs, #dallas and #internalcommunications

 This is good for a couple of reasons. It’s cheap. It’s fast. You can find people who know their way around social media. As an added bonus, those clicks through to your website will help with SEO.

 2. Keep an Eye on the Competition

This is where the “List” feature in Twitter can be your friend. Follow all of your competition, and not just the official business Twitter feed, but the people within the organizations that you compete with as well. Put all these people into a List. Then, check on it regularly to see what your competition is up to, as well as what their followers are saying about it. You can learn about the competition’s new features, new acquisitions, and their position on current industry events. You’ll never know what you’ll find. But, within a few minutes a day you’ll be able see all kinds of competitive information.

 3. Sharpening your elevator pitch

Nothing forces you to be concise, informative and engaging like only having 140 characters to get your point across. In trying to craft tweets that will make an impression, we oftentimes have to think long and hard about the cleanest way to explain the point we are trying to make. Just like figure skaters and chefs, the best ones pour hours of practice into having the final result look elegant and effortless. And, isn’t that we all want when reply to the million dollar question of “What do you do?” Using Twitter to explain what sets your business apart is a great exercise in fine-tuning the pitch you will give when you are in an actual elevator, or business lunch, or networking event, etc.

 4. Getting to potential customers first

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “My customers aren’t on Twitter, so it doesn’t make sense for me to spend any time there.” And, while yes, focusing effort where your customers already are makes good sense, I would like to pose a counter argument. Twitter is free. And it does not require excessive amounts of resources like time or programming or graphic design to be effective. So, isn’t it worth it to spend at least some time building your credibility there? Just think, if you start carving out a space for your business on Twitter right now – before everyone you think might ever want to look at it gets there – there are tons of benefits.

 First, you get to figure it out before you have a large audience. You wouldn’t want to stand up and give your first public speech in the history of ever to a packed auditorium, right? From comedians to CEOs, people like to test out their material on smaller crowds while they find their voice. Smaller groups give you the space to figure out what works, what doesn’t. It also means you can learn the technical stuff like incorporating hashtags and pictures or using a scheduler before those items become mission critical. Then, by the time you are making Inc’s “Most Influential People On Twitter” list, you’ll have all the kinks worked out of your message and your execution.

 Another benefit: when the audience does start to show up, you’ll already be a leader in your field. You’ll be the one who knows how to reach influencers, or heck, even be an influencer. When you do have something important to share, you will have people there to share it with. Nothing like putting together a release for a new product rollout, an acquisition, or even adding new, well connected, people to your staff and then wondering who to share that information with. And, when you are actively engaged with a growing group, you can sense trends, respond to industry needs, and be out in front on issues that others might miss.

 And, what I think is most important reason to get there first is that you might find out that there are other interested parties ALREADY out there that use Twitter to gather information. Just because your current typical customer tends to be an older, technology-averse CEO doesn’t mean there aren’t technology-savy decision makers out there who need your products. And, if you’re just running ads in local printed business journals, you are not on their bandwidth. C-suite level employees of the future are the early adapters of mid-level management today. Wouldn’t it be nice to get to them first?

 Take a cue from the Wildcatters of the Oil Boom or the Gold Rushers of 1849 and get there first.

 5. Gain Insight on your Prospects

If only you could get into the head of the person you are trying to sell to. Just knowing their likes and dislikes, or if they are fun-loving or buttoned up, might go a long way in making sure your are communicating effectively. By following someone on Twitter, you can get a gauge of their interests and personality. And, by clicking on the “Following” button of their profile, you can see what type of information they are after. This could be as simple as finding out they like a particular sports team or vacation spot, or critical, like they will be attending a conference where you will be speaking. Either way, it’s insight worth knowing when you are trying to get your ideas out in front of them.

 So, what about you? Any Twitter hacks that you find particularly useful in business?