I have some advice for local businesses on twitter. I know that is scary. I have never professed to be an expert, however, I am a participant. So maybe it isn’t advice as much as it is an observation to consider. I am considering it for myself, of course, too. Here it is:
Most of the local businesses I follow in Baton Rouge, and for that matter New Orleans, are only posting about specials, or product availability. Some of them do have blog posts which is good, but they aren’t joining the conversation, or starting one.
[I know it’s hard. I am trying to learn myself. I see my progress as I go along, but noticed it wasn’t in the local community. ]
Why is this relevant? If we believe that we will have a bigger impact by participating in social media in today’s marketing mix then I assume we want to use the tools effectively. Twitter is just a tool. The concept of social media as a marketing tool is to create relationships and build trust. Chris Brogan’s book Trust Agents (affiliate link) dives into the relevance and effectiveness of relationships in social media.
I have had the need to purchase web services, graphic design services, speaker’s coaching, copywriting and more in the last 12 months. I have purchased these services outside of my own business community. Why? Because I have found resources through twitter and they have formed a relationship with me allowing me to get to know them and their services prior to purchasing.
I felt bad about using outside sources so I set up a list of local businesses. I have this list just so I can start conversations and interact in hopes of future relationships being built and potential future business transactions. But I can’t break into the conversation. Why? There isn’t any. There is only product announcements and occasional blog posts.
To show the difference by example, here are some people I have found on twitter that I have purchased from in the past. Check out their profiles and see how they engage. It may help you increase business to your local community in the future.
They do post blogs! They also interact with their online communities. They talk about topics they are interested in. They discuss their projects and business. They share what they are learning and reading. They introduce you to their friends and resources. They pose questions.
I see that these things work to attract me to their services and their communities. I am going to work harder to interact in these ways myself. So, advice or observation, I think we need to get with the program local businesses!
[If you haven’t already, I would love for you to sign-up to get my blog by email and join my community! I look forward to diving deeper into the conversation!]