Twitter is quickly becoming mainstream, and is growing at an incredible pace. In the past month alone it’s been mentioned on radio commercials, in a television advertisements, and I’ve even heard non-internet savvy friends discussing it. Many popular celebrities are tweeting these days.
Some of you probably already have Twitter accounts and actively use them to promote your business. If that’s your situation, we’d love to hear about your Twitter business experiences in the comments.
Many of you, however, may have delayed your involvement with Twitter. Maybe you even have an account, but just aren’t quite sure how Twitter can help your freelance business. If you fit into one of these categories, then this post is for you.
As an overview, this post won’t cover the literally dozens of Twitter add-ons and utilities that are available around the web. We will, however, give you some basic suggestions on how your freelance business might be able to benefit from using Twitter.
What is Twitter Anyway?
Twitter is a social media/communications tool found at www.twitter.com. It is considered a microblogging tool, which basically means you have a series of small text entries (140 characters) organized by the time they were posted. There is no charge to use Twitter.
Once you are a member, you can begin to post your 140 character messages, called tweets. You can also customize your background, create a brief biography, add an image that will appear with your posts, and link to your website. These tweets form the basis of your interaction with other users on Twitter, and through them you can update your friends/colleagues, make new friends, have discussions, find information, and much more.
If you are planning to use your Twitter account for your freelance business, it is a good idea to make sure that all of these elements coordinate with your business brand. For example, you can use your business logo for your twitter image and possibly even your background, too. Your biography should describe your business. Your link should be to your business website.
About Following and Being Followed
Twitter gives you the chance to follow the tweets of other Twitter members. Following a Twitter member means that you will be able to see their tweets from your home page. Twitter also allows other Twitter members to follow your tweets.
You can select who you follow on Twitter. To some extent, the content of your tweets will determine who follows you.
To make the most of your Twitter account from a business perspective, it’s a good idea to follow those Twitter users whose tweets can enhance your business. Colleagues, possible mentors, and potential and existing clients are good following choices for your business. To find out people’s Twitter user name, try the Twitter “Find People” tool or look on their website for their Twitter information. Twitter search is also a great way to find other people interested in the same topics as you. (On Twitter, you can find me as @TXWriter. FreelanceFolder is also on Twitter as @FreelanceFolder.)
Ideally, your followers would be made up of a targeted group of colleagues, clients, and potential clients. Right now, however, many Twitter users are making efforts to indiscriminately get as many followers as possible. Depending on the type of freelance business that you run, this approach may or may not make sense for your situation.
Six Ways To Build Your Business Using Twitter
Here are six ways your freelance business could use Twitter:
- Build Relationships – Successful marketing is largely a matter of relationship building. Twitter is an excellent communication tool that gives clients and perspective clients a way to get to know you better. Twitter can also be used as a mentoring tool. You can follow your mentors or provide relevant information to your mentees.
- Gather Information or Conduct Research – You can conduct research through Twitter. If you’re “stuck” on a particular problem, tweeting about that problem often leads to tweets from your followers containing helpful suggestions and links to resources.
- Look for Gigs – Believe it or not, you may actually find gigs directly through Twitter. You may notice that perspective client is tweeting about needing help or that a colleague has posted a link of job listings. You can also use the Twitter search tool to look for gigs.
- Offer a Gig – Does your freelance business need to hire someone? Why not “advertise” the gig to your loyal Twitter fans first? Tweet about your opportunity and see what kind of response you get.
- Establish Your Expertise – Twitter is a great way to build your professional reputation and establish yourself as a subject matter expert in your field. Not only can you link to your own blog posts and articles, you can also scan the Internet for materials that are relevant to your field and link to those materials as well.
- See What People Are Saying About You – The Twitter search tool also gives you a chance to find out what other Twitter users are saying about you. Try searching on your business name, your blog name, your name, or the name of your latest blog post.
Do You Use Twitter in Your Freelance Business?
Do you currently use Twitter in your freelance business? Has it provided a significant benefit?
We’d love to read about your real–life business experiences with Twitter. Leave a comment and share your story or your ideas.