At last, the word is spreading about Twitter and what a great marketing tool it is for business. There are still lots of people who are fearful of making the leap into Twitter land.  I teach workshops and do one to one consultations to help businesses to understand twitter more. As a result I have brought many small business owners on to Twitter and it is so rewarding to see them tweeting away and building relationships. It’s also even better when I see them progressing and putting up links, photos, and getting involved in hashtags!

I often get asked the same questions at my workshops so I have made a list for you of the top 5 questions.

1. How often should we tweet?   Ok for my clients I do ten tweets per day and I find this is most effective.  But if you are a small business owner I understand that this is going to be difficult so I recommend at the very least do one per day.  But to be honest this will not be very effective. So five tweets per day at busy times and during a hashtag chat like #irishbizparty would be the minimum.  If you do ten tweets per day I recommend that 3 of these be directing traffic to your site. e.g. put up a link to a ‘buy now’, ‘book now’ or ‘order now’ button.  Twitter is all about engagement and interaction so the rest of your tweets should be chatting and engaging with others, or putting up interesting content (articles, pictures etc)

2. What will I do if I can’t think of anything to say?  You are the expert in what you do. You are passionate about your business aren’t you? So share some of your knowledge with us! If you are in the wedding business for example create ‘top tips for finding the perfect wedding venue’ ‘How to ensure things go smoothly on your big day’ that type of thing.  Share photos of things YOU like. Ask questions……’What is the biggest fear brides have before their wedding day?’ Be creative. Take photos of different items that you find for weddings. Share testimonials from customers who have used your services or products. If you really can’t think of anything, just say hi and ask how your followers are today?

3. Why are followers so important?  Your followers are your own little army of marketeers. They are following you because they either like YOU, are interested in your service or product either now or in the future, they are interested in what you have to say/ articles you are posting or because you look interesting enough for them to click ‘follow’ in the first place! So the more interesting things you have to say, the more likely your followers are going to Retweet and share these things for you.  Build up your followers and your community around you, then when it’s time for you to put up something you need shared or you need help promoting, the more likely they are going to tell others about it and spread the word for you.  But don’t forget … your followers out also. This is not about ‘me me me’ this is also about assisting your followers with a Retweet or comment. I see far too many companies tweeting all about themselves and not sharing others’ tweets.

4. When are the best times to tweet? I have found the busiest times on Twitter are:

7-9am – Morning commute

10 -11am – Coffee break!

1-3pm – Lunchtime! (This time is particularly busy for B 2 B accounts)

9-11pm – I started tweeting at this time as the kids had gone to bed and prime time tv shows are also on at that time. So you will see people commenting on certain shows by using hashtags – e.g. #latelate when the late late show is on. #Gameofthrones #rtept is the hashtag for ‘Prime Time’ so this is an interesting one to watch.  But as a business owner I would just look for people to follow or engage with in future I would not get involved in controversy but you could comment in a positive way on something that comes up. For example if they are talking about a subject vaguely related to what you do, you could comment in a positive way but not even mention your business. (Trust me, people will have a nosey at you and what you do anyway)

This is all about building relationships online and then taking them offline.  This photo courtesy of @Dublinheadshot shows a group of Wexford women who came along to the #irishbizparty conference in Dublin after meeting online first, then locally. All are members of my Womens Inspire Network 


Also, various hashtags have sprung up for business owners between 9 and 11pm. The most popular ones are

#irishbizparty – Wednesdays 9-11pm

#Mummypageschat – Every morning 10.30am – 11.30am and Tuesday evenings 9-10pm

#Belfasthour – Thursday 9-10pm

#Irishbeautyhour – Thursday 10-11pm

#Galwayhour and #Wexfordhour – 9pm on Tuesday evenings.

There are many many more out there, so ask me if there is a particular industry you are interested in.

Mark Tillison made a directory of Twitter chat hours recently….See it here 

5. How do I bring connections I make on Twitter into the real world? 

Ask.  Build up your relationships on Twitter first, then ask them for a coffee. Direct messaging is there for you to privately message someone if you want to get their email address and ask them to meet up for a coffee.  Also there are many networking events that take place including #Dubnet and your local chamber often hold events. Join a networking group.  #irishbizparty often have conferences and get togethers so do take part and be part of our community. It’s great fun going to ‘Tweet ups’ also. Keep an eye out for these. It is great fun, chatting to someone on Twitter and then finally meeting them in real life!

So jump in, join in the conversations. build up your network around you on Twitter, and then enhance those relationships by going to events they are going to, and keep learning and asking questions. People who care and want to help you won’t mind answering your queries for you. (After all, we were all new once)!!

Remember, the more your network grows, the more sales will come! Keep at it!