Twitter Ball: A 5-Point Tweet Sheet for Retailers



Twitter, the social network famed for its focus on brevity, has long been considered a must for small businesses looking to promote their services. But as Twitter has exploded—it now has 500 million users pumping out 140-character tidbits on a continual loop—it’s harder than ever to gain a following. Ryan Goff, social media marketing director of Maryland-based marketing firm MGH, teaches his clients how to cut through the network’s noise.

Banish the Bland

“Five years ago when we really started using Twitter, there wasn’t much competition,” says Goff. “Now virtually every business has a Twitter account.” The best way to get noticed: “Really let your personality come through.” And never, ever syndicate content. That’s “not in the spirit of Twitter,” he adds. It should be about having conversations—“not just posting something and then not engaging.” 

Be a Local Resource

Not everything you post on Twitter should be about your business. “If someone’s looking for a certain type of restaurant in town, chime in,” says Goff. “There’s no reason why a jeweler shouldn’t be giving that advice. A restaurant suggestion makes you more likable. What people want is a good network of ­people who can offer something.”

Be Obsessive

“Small business owners need to be spending a lot of time on Twitter to use it effectively,” says Goff. “You can’t spend 20 minutes a week on it. In order to do it right, you have to be on there all day, really.”

Keep in Touch

Even if you don’t have the resources to tweet all day, the network is a great tool for staying abreast of local and national happenings. “We use it as a listening tool,” notes Goff. “Retailers should be using it to keep up with any mentions of their business—so they can respond.” ­

Don’t forget Facebook

Goff does believe that it’s easier for businesses to build a fan base on Facebook. But for businesses and private ­citizens, Twitter offers a way to collect followers of all stripes—without gunking up your Facebook feed. “The only reason I gravitate toward Twitter, for business, is there are a lot of people I interact with there that I wouldn’t necessarily want to make my friend on Facebook.”