The business world is buzzing with talk of Twitter’s highly anticipated initial public offering (IPO) set to take place over the next few months. Since its launch in 2006, Twitter has made communicating in 140 characters or less a way of life for consumers and the brands they love.
For some small business owners using the micro-blogging site to reach the consumers most likely to purchase can be both confounding and arduous. If you own a coffee shop, how do you find the latte lovers in your area? Wouldn’t it be great if you could get an alert each time someone tweets about a product you sell or service you provide?
Just ask Eduardo Torres, owner of Sip restaurant in South Miami which opened just under five months ago near Sunset Place. As a new kid on the block, Torres turned to Twitter to help bring in customers.
“Social media in general is great for generating exposure,” Torres said. “When we opened we wanted to focus on Twitter to see what kind of success we would have with it as a way to get people to come and visit the restaurant.”
Torres launched his Twitter account two months ago, and with just 18 followers so far, he’s determined to stick with it.
“We are going to continue to invest resources into social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter,” said Torres. “If you have a business, I don’t think you can afford not to use social media to promote it.”
Torres, like many business owners, wasn’t particularly social media savvy when he opened his restaurant earlier this year.
“I ended up getting someone do it for me,” Torres said. “It was a lot of work and if you’re the owner of a business, you don’t necessarily have the time to do it on top of everything else.”
If you’re a busy business owner with little time to focus on social media, you’re in luck! Here are five free tools that will help you capture the attention of your ideal customer on Twitter.
JUST TWEET IT
This free tool is essentially an online directory of Twitter users organized by areas of interest. There are multiple categories that range from fashion and food to gaming and music. Take a minute and browse through the categories that relate to your business. Be sure to list your company on the site as well by registering a free account. Get more information: http://justtweetit.com.
This insightful free tool is unique. It lets you know which tweets from other people are bringing you the most traffic.
You’ll be able to instantly see which Twitter users are most interested in your product or service. Then you can develop a plan to begin actively engaging with them.
To find out more, go online to http://tweeterspy.com.
How do your target customers on Twitter? What about finding out who is tweeting near you in real-time? Nearby Tweets makes it possible for you to do both! Simply log on to the Website: http://nearbytweets.com and it will automatically determine where you are and generate a list of Twitter users and their recent tweets within a certain geographic radius. Nearby Tweets lets you change your location, specify the radius and add keywords to make targeting even easier.
Described as Google Alerts for Twitter, Tweet Beep is a free tool that lets you receive hourly updates via e-mail about Twitter conversations that mention your company, its product or any keyword of interest.
The service offers a paid option where for $20/month you can receive alerts every 15 minutes. Check it out: http://tweetbeep.com.
For more free ways to target customers on Twitter, visit the Miami Herald’s Starting Gate blog.
Tasha Cunningham is a principal in the Cunningham Group, a communications firm.She writes about strategies small business owners can use to leverage social media. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or @mediaprbranding.