Forest Software

Web, SEO and IT & Business Advice for the Smaller Business

Twitter

As a small business owner you have probably been told many times about how to use social media effectively and the advice that you are given about Twitter includes the number of times to tweet, what to tweet about, why shorter tweets are better and the importance real followers as opposed to just gathering numbers.

I want to add to this “wealth of knowledge” by telling you a true story that happened to me within the past couple of days, see if you can work out what the advice is before the end of the story ūüôā

My partner and I have a friend who is disabled and also has a sick daughter,  they are in the process of moving house and had been told that their scheduled completion (and therefore their moving date) was next Monday, the 19th May.  However, I saw them on Tuesday this week, less than a week before they were due to move with the daughter in tears and the mum very upset. Continue reading

Those of our readers that use Twitter may have heard us mention the lengths of tweets before and may even have seen us tweet about it in the past.

We know that technically tweets can be a maximum of 140 characters but have you thought that the way to get your tweets in front of people that are not following you is to have people that are retweet your “pearls of wisdom”? ¬†Just think, we have around 700 followers so a typical tweet might be considered to have a reach of 700 people (assuming that you don’t use hashtags – something that we will cover in a later blog post). ¬†Now then, if each of our followers has 500 followers and you manage to get each of your followers to retweet to their followers the reach increases to 350,000 people – we know that that’s not very likely to happen but the gist of this article is to suggest ways to make it easier for your followers to do this. Continue reading

Twitter can be a great thing for small businesses as long as you follow the “rules”.

I was at a seminar recently where one of the small businesses there asked if people ever got business from using it, the tutor said he was sure that some did and I know that there are businesses out there that have made sales as a direct result of using Twitter.  Apart from the direct sales you also need to factor in the increase in brand awareness and the chance it gives you to use it for customer service.

So, how can you get started? ¬†It’s simple, just follow the tips below and you will be “tweeting” like a pro in no time. Continue reading

There is so much talk on the Internet about using social media that many small business owners feel that they must do something or else they risk missing out on the current “fad”.¬† If you are one of these people then you need to read the following points before you jump in with both feet.

You need to know that to use social media properly needs a real commitment, both in time and energy that you may be better off using elsewhere in your business.

“Everyone else is doing it”–¬† Lets face it, that is a very compelling argument, especially when you realise that Facebook claims that it had over 500 million active users across the world and is still growing while there are many other social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Friends Reunited, My Space, Plurk, Twitter¬†and many, many others – see the list of social networking sites on Wikipedia¬†for a fuller list¬†.¬† Countering this fact is that many of these sites are aimed at a fairly small demographic and these may not be relevent to your business (there is evidence that B2B businesses do not do that well on sites such as Facebook while B2C businesses fair better).

Interaction РThe main difference between traditional marketing and using social networks is that traditional marketing tends to be one way while using social media tends to mean that your customers can interact with you.  If you are on the ball and react to their questions and comments this can lead to customer loyalty (everyone likes to feel that they are being listened to), can lead to an element of viral marketing and can even provide you with free market research (if a customer or prospect asks if you do your product in a different colour for example).

Reputation Рusing social media can add to your reputation if the feedback from clients is good (think of their comments as testimonials) but, and this could be a big but, your reputation could also be damaged if clients use social media to complain and you do not react to the complaints.  See our blog post about the penalties of not listening to customers as an example of complaints finding their way onto the Internet (this complaint was also tweeted and hit several social media sites).

Feedback Рas any business owner knows, a successful business is based on delivering a service or product that customers need.  By using social media you can listen to the feedback and act upon it Рno matter whether it is good or bad.  Remember that if you are getting bad feedback and do not react it will encourage complainants to increase their bad feedback using other channels until your business is (or could be) damaged.  I recently dealt with a client who wanted to know how to remove a bad review of their services from another website, the review was coming above their site for their services and had been very carefully written Рmy answer was to talk to the dissatisfied person and try to sort out the problem.

TimeРDo you have the time to start a social media campaign and monitor it?  This does not mean creating a twitter account, tweeting twice and then leaving it, nor does it mean creating a Facebook page and then ignoring it.  All this does is to confirm to people that you do not really care about what they are saying.  You need to monitor any campaign that you start, keep updating the campaign and listen to your customers (the final part is no different really to any form of marketing).  Social media is (or can be) extremely labour intensive and you need to make sure that you have the time and resources available and that dedicating these resources will not affect productivity and profitability.

About this blog

Over the years we have published many articles based around the questions that we get asked from small businesses relating to marketing, SEO, general business advice and other subjects.  You can find a list of related articles grouped by subject below or can even search for a word or phrase or browse our recent articles.

We hope that you find our articles useful.

Other sites of interest

The Crafty Kitten, a local craft and gift shop.

Welsh Dragons made from polymer clay.

UK Business Services directory.

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