Small Business Tweeting: How-to's and Not-to's

In my last blog, I discussed the many reasons why small businesses should embrace Twitter and make it part of their marketing mix. This is a piece of advice I have been giving small business people for a while now and inevitably one of the follow up questions I get is: “But what should I tweet?”

Of course you know what you should not tweet: No one cares about the mundane issues of your life and business. Twitter initially got a bad name because people were (well, some still are) tweeting their lunch menu or the shoes they were wearing or whatever. No one cares.

Similarly, what you should not tweet are incessant self-serving tweets about your business. A sure way to get people to either ignore you or unfollow you is to be boring, and what is more boring than a parade of tweets about routine business matters? “Open until 6 today!”

But what people do care about, and what you should consider offering, is content that makes their day better. That can mean all sorts of things. You could tweet industry articles of interest and thereby become a thought leader. You could tweet items that are quirky and funny, thereby being someone that people turn to lighten up their day. Venture capitalist, entrepreneur, and master tweeter Guy Kawasaki is very good at that. You can tweet videos that you think your audience will like. You can tweet out the free e-book that you wrote. You can tweet a contest you are having on your site or Facebook page.

So the thing is, you need to tweet tweets that are valuable and interesting content.

Think about the tweets you like, about the people you follow, and ask yourself what you like about those tweets. That is a good place to start. You need to offer up to your community content that is not just fine, or even good, but really, content that rocks. If you want to be noticed and want to build up a loyal and robust following, then your content has to be exceptional.

Where do you find that great content? All over:

Your favorite websites: Whether they are sites about your industry, news sites, or something else, you know great content when you see it. And when you see it, then you need to share it.

Business sites: Business Insider, Harvard Business Review, my site TheSelfEmployed, Huffington Post Small Business, etc. are all places that have valuable articles that your people will likely want to read.

StumbledUpon and Alltop: These sites are aggregators of excellent content on every subject imaginable.

Finally, one of the best, and easiest, things to tweet are retweets. That is, find great content tweeted by people you follow and retweet it to your followers. This serves the dual purpose of sharing good content while also offering the original tweeter a 21st century word-of-mouth shout out.

And when you retweet someone, they just might begin to retweet you, and that is the true Twitter currency since it is a personal recommendation to a whole new audience.

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