Why Twitter is a terrific tool for small businesses content marketers

When people ask me what my favourite social tool is, they’re usually surprised when I say “Twitter.”

This may be sad, but one of the last things I do at night before I go to sleep, is pull out my iPad and read articles people have posted on Twitter. I always find compelling content to read, retweet and inspire blog posts for my own sites.

Interestingly, the Wall Street Journal just published results of a small business survey showing that small businesses felt Twitter did not have the same leverage as other social platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323926104578273683427129660.html.

Gotta say this really surprised me, especially since Facebook posts are becoming less and less visible (for free that is). So, I  thought it would be helpful to take a look at exactly why Twitter is an awesome tool for content marketing.

#1. Posting Links on Facebook is Pointless (unless you do a big shiny graphic every time).

9 times out of 10, links to useful, helpful content won’t be seen by followers on Facebook. The way to make your content stand out on Facebook is to do a graphic and paste a link into the status update along with the graphic. However, even that’s getting more complicated now with the introduction of the 20% rule.

Facebook’s new rule states that if your graphic contains more than 20% of text, you will not be able to amplify the post through sponsored stories or promoted posts. The 20% includes your profile image, so if you want to promote a post, bear this in mind and put your text in the status update instead.

However, on Twitter, people LOVE links to useful, helpful content, particularly blog posts, funny pics and great one liners they can share. On Twitter, retweeting brilliant content is king. And if you use all that Twitter has to offer, you can build your networks, grow relationships and participate in some fun conversations.

#2. You can post links for curated as well as created content on Twitter a few times a day and nobody will mind. In fact, if it’s relevant and helpful, they’ll love it!

The Twitter stream moves fast. You can post links to useful content (including your own content) a few times a day, varying the posts a little each time, but if you’re linked in (pardon the pun) to blog sharing networks, and your content is valuable, your links will likely be shared and re-shared by many others as well, meaning more opportunities for you to reach people and draw them to your website. Where Facebook and Linkedin are like magazines, Twitter is like CNN (post the same content several times a day to ensure everybody gets the most recent updates). A word of caution though. If you overdo it, people will very quickly unfollow you, especially if all you are sharing is sales messages. Also, if all you do is post links, and you’re not responding to people or conversing on Twitter, you won’t get the most benefit out of the platform.

#3. Twitter is great for keeping your finger on the pulse.

Bottlenose helps you keep your finger on the pulse.

Bottlenose helps you keep your finger on the pulse.

Twitter is a terrific research tool. Just search topics by hashtag # and see what kind of questions people are asking. You can even see what issues people may be having with your competitors and identify trends. One tool that makes this kind of research easy is Bottlenose.

bottlenose hashtag sonar

Bottlenose can graphically show you what topics are trending and you can search for specific topics via keywords. Bottlenose will then recommend tweets for you to check out, according to what is trending and relevant. Cool hey!

#4 Twitter is a great compliment to live networking.

tweeting during events is cool!

I’ve written about this before, but one of Twitter’s big strengths is that it facilitates networking and note taking at events. If you’ve missed something at a conference, just do a hashtag (#) search and bam, there’s the twitter stream of notes people have published on Twitter. You can then pick out the choice one-liners and retweet to your followers. Retweeting during conferences is also a great way to connect with influencers. Everybody loves to be retweeted (unless, of course, you tweeted something really dumb… or drunk… not recommended).

#5 Twitter is a great tool for finding potential clients in your niche.

Every once in a while I like to check out who’s following who to find interesting people to follow. I’ve done this when looking for journalists to follow on Twitter, industry influencers etc. You can even subscribe to other people’s public lists or create your own. This makes it easier to follow people who consistently interact and share great content. You can also use lists to highlight topics and people who share your content, which helps to build relationships with genuine potential clients and peers in your niche.

These are just a few of Twitter’s benefits for small business content marketers. So, if you’re a small business looking to harness content marketing to grow your business, don’t rule out Twitter.

Do you use Twitter regularly or do you prefer other platforms for your small business?

  • Danielle Royall-West

    Hi Cas, I’m wanting to get into the world of Twitter, did you teach yourself or did you do a course/1 day session? If so who with? Or who would you recommend?

    • http://www.casmccullough.com/ Cas McCullough

      Hey Dani, for Twitter, I’d recommend Stacey Myers. I taught myself, attended conferences and learned from Stacey.

  • Nikki@WonderfullyWomen

    Fantastic post, still master Twitter land, but definately working on it :)

    • http://www.casmccullough.com/ Cas McCullough

      Thanks Nikki and thanks for connecting with me on Twitter!

  • Taty Hindes

    I got a twitter account which I barely use.. I don’t seem to get around it, feel its a bit isolated but I guess is because I don’t like the hashtag ### symbols! Sounds silly but my brain does not like them..
    Great article Cas.. sharing on my biz page!

    • http://www.casmccullough.com/ Cas McCullough

      Hi Taty! Love your work! And I get what you’re saying… not silly at all! You don’t need to use hashtags on Twitter. They’re mainly used for specific conversation topics. There are some great articles out there about how to use them effectively (or when not to use them). I mainly use Twitter during events and to find and share cool content. Thanks for sharing! Much appreciated.