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The Wrong Way to Twitter (Part 2)

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In a previous article*, we discussed small businesses using Twitter as a tool for self promotion.
In that article I pointed out how such a tool would be used differently by different types of small businesses.
We looked at one class of small business and one thing they might do to correctly use Twitter to best advantage.
Today let's look more closely at the messages that might be tweeted and their intended audience.
The message is the tweets you send out as a small business.
Every small business that uses Twitter has at least two intended audiences:
  • Previous customers
  • Potential customers
Most businesses don't think much about the distinction but the messages you send to each of these two groups may be different at least some of the time.
I'm going to broadly define previous customers as anyone who has interacted with your business before.
They may have bought something from you, or they may just have inquired.
You may have given them an estimate or they may have crossed your path at some networking event.
Maybe they even just signed up for your mailing list at some point.
The real point is that these are people with whom you already have some kind of preexisting relationship.
You already know who these people are before you compose and send your tweets.
When you send tweets out to these people, your main goal is to cultivate the relationship.
You want to keep yourself in their minds and encourage them to come back or to refer others to you.
Potential customers are essentially strangers who you are hoping will find you by serendipity and become interested enough to come patronize, or at least check out, your business.
You would not adopt the same level of familiarity with potential customers as you might with existing customers.
Potential customers may want to know more about your business: its history, offerings, range of products, guarantees, etc.
They will need to become familiar with you and grow to trust you before moving from potential to actual customers.
Existing customers already know enough of that information to be comfortable buying from you so they may be more interested in ideas for getting more or better use out of the products they've already bought from you.
They may want to know when a new feature or option becomes available.
With both groups, you want to do more than simply try to sell.
Selling is a turn-off that will make most people direct their attention (and often their money) elsewhere.
So what do you do? There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution to that.
The nature of your business may dictate different styles.
In general helpful, interesting, funny, mysterious or unexpected bits of information will generate fascination and interest.
These carry the dual benefit of being retweetable, thus increasing your exposure.
(And helping your goal of attracting more potential customers.
) Beyond that, you really need the custom-tailored advice of an expert.
*In case you missed it, here is the link to the previous article.
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