Tag Archive | small business

Using Twitter to make money

twittersearch

I have posted how to use LinkedIn for business and how to use social media as a PR strategy, but isn’t the most important factor making money?

This post explains some simple steps of how I used Twitter to help a local Ottawa company reach new clients and increase profits.

Once you get the hang of Twitter, it’s pretty straightforward on how to find business opportunities through Twitter search.

First off, the company prefers to work within 30km of the city limits. Second, the plumbing industry is multifaceted, involving different kinds of work and services. In this case, lots of keywords. I currently have 15 search terms set up.

Twitter search allows me to track conversations relevant to his business within the city limits. This is how I found them:

  • Whether you use search.twitter.com or use the search bar on your Twitter web application, you can apply these search operators to specifically find conversations to a ‘T.’
  • In my case, I created a handful of search terms with the following code: [keyword (ex: plumbing, plumber, renovation)] near:Ottawa within:30km
  • Since his business is fairly new and is very location and keyword specific, I don’t need to use other search codes at this moment.
  • After four months, the company gained eleven new paid clients. The conversations keep on growing, and so does the business!

Not only am I tracking conversations of potential clients, but also those of plumbing suppliers, companies and contractors. It’s important to know what your competition is doing, but also keep up-to-date with what’s happening in the industry. I also set up Google search terms similar to those in Twitter for news and industry updates.

At the end of the day time is money, so it’s only fair you know how much time I’ve put in.

I work full-time by day and volunteer for three organizations by night. Since I also volunteered my time to help this company, on my spare time I would check the search results for conversations worth engaging or accounts worth following, and either engage or post some content. If I couldn’t find opportunities to engage, I either posted plumbing facts/tips (with his approval) or used Google search for relevant articles or stories.

In one day it would take me approximately half an hour to an hour. The company also posted pictures and content of the work they were doing on a regular basis to help keep up the momentum and engagement. It actually worked out better when they could jump on every now and then to help answer questions and add their own personality.

I hope this helped you learn how to use basic Twitter search to look for potential business or clients and help increase your brand awareness. Thanks for reading! Do you have questions? Would you like to learn more about how to use Twitter to reach new clients or gain followers?

Power of Promotion

Oprah’s Big Giveaway
(image by sethskim.com)

Nothing comes for free, but everybody loves receiving free stuff.

Whether it’s complete samples or small testers, or in-kind donations, sometimes free stuff can help raise awareness of your company, generate buzz and attract new customers.

But how do you justify giving away free stuff when your return on investment (ROI) is unknown?

For marketing, one per cent return from direct marketing techniques, such as email, online display ads, fliers, catalog distribution, promotional letters and outdoor advertising is considered a success. For example, if you hope to achieve 20 new customers then you need to target at least 2,000 people or households. Sounds like finding a needle in a hay stack, right? It can be.

Direct marketing was once a very popular method implemented by companies, but with the advancements of technology, some direct marketing activities have become obsolete while more have become more prevalent, but also disregarded.

Consumers are smarter, more critical and have more power to control the messages they wish to receive or not receive. From “no solicitors allowed”  signs to opt-out or spam controls through emails, marketers are finding it harder to reach consumers and gain ROI.

So how can you reach consumers, get their attention, learn more about them and attempt to gain their business?

Why not try giving something for free?

I know this can be seen as a big risk or investment, but below are a variety of options on how you can generate buzz about your company, products or services, get consumers to try your product or service, and build positive brand association. Keep in mind that all of these options can be executed on a small or large scale. Before you choose an option, it’s a good idea to first plan out: a) total budget, b) cost of production and distribution, c) type of outlet or distribution method (store, sidewalk, gala, sporting event, online, email, traditional mail, etc), d) type of audience (demographics), and e) how are you going to measure your ROI?

  1. Give away a complete sample or small tester of your most popular product or a product you feel the majority of consumers will like. If you’re unsure, ask your close family and friends to sample and vote for the best product.
  2. Offer “buy one get one free.” Instead of giving the same product twice, perhaps you can add a personal touch by allowing the customer to choose their free product. You can control their purchasing power by offering any product under a certain amount or they can choose from a selection of products that you have specifically chosen for an important reason.
  3. Give your products or service as an in-kind donation to a fundraiser or corporate event for their silent auction, door prize give away, swag or as a speaker gift. Feel free to ask the organizers if you can supply business cards with the in-kind donation and have them place your cards on the dining tables or at the main entrance, or on the promotions/marketing table. Depending on the amount of your in-kind donation, you may also be eligible for further promotion such as a logo display on the event website or signage and/or sponsor announcements during the event. Tip: choose an event that complements  your company’s brand or represents a target audience that matches your target consumer base.
  4. Organize a contest. This can be a great opportunity to partner with your local media and/or jump start or increase your social media engagement (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Foursquare) . The sky is the limit with contests. Let your creativity soar and don’t be afraid to have your consumers work for the prize (fill out a short survey, write a short testimonial, answer a question, execute a treasure hunt) and the list can go on.

Related articles:

6 reasons giving away free stuff can work for your small business (ideas4smallbiz.com)

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