Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Timing and Twitter

From mom and pop stores to corporate chains, all companies have sales and events. But small businesses don’t have the promotions resources enjoyed by their larger competitors. Where your business lacks in national TV spots it can thrive with the free services of Twitter.

Time-sensitivity is a common thread in all small business’ sales and events. Take to Twitter to spread the word and draw a crowd. 

Sale Savviness in the Twittersphere
Sales and promotions are a must of owning a small business, whether you’re in retail, services or run a restaurant. Once you’ve built a solid Twitter following, the network is ideal for inviting your customers to take advantage of your special offers.

Daily promotions require daily tweeting. If your pub offers nightly draft specials, or your consignment shop has a discount item of the day, fire out the relevant tweet the morning or afternoon of the offer. “Come in for today’s IPA Pick, Newport Storm India Point Ale!” or “Half-off Orange Tag items! Today only!” Make sure you include any relevant hours, such as opening and close times.

More focused events, such as holiday sales, require more planning and more Tweets. Whether the sale is a day long or runs for a week, you want to give your followers ample notice of the event while avoiding an overlong bombardment of reminders.

Two days before the event kicks off, start tweeting at the relevant high use hours.  3-4 tweets a day should be just right to pique followers’ interest. Don’t copy and paste the same content for multi-tweet campaigns. Highlight a different item, service or point of interest with each post. Use Twit Pics to give users a feel for what you offer. If the promotion runs several days, send out Tweets over its duration and stress when it will be ending. 

Optimal Tweeting Times
According to Twitter itself, the heaviest use of the network takes place at 9AM, noon, 3PM and 6PM. For maximum effect, post your event information during these time windows. Otherwise you risk your tweets being buried under the pile of relatively unseen posts created outside of these peak hours. 

Tweeting for On-the-Go Businesses
Not all businesses have a fixed location. Food trucks might be a common sight on your street’s curb. These road-bound restaurants need to communicate their schedule with sidewalk diners, and Twitter is the perfect vehicle.

The RI Food Trucks Twitter list compiles numerous tweets per day from various Ocean State food trucks. From Mama Kim’s Korean BBQ to Plouf Gastronomie to Rocket Street Food, this list tells followers where and when their favorite nomadic meal provider will be serving.

The list generally gives an hour’s notice of a truck’s arrival and its designated intersection. This gives the lunch hour crowd time to plan ahead. Consider this tweeting method if your small business incorporates street teams or traveling promotions. 

In Summation
Twitter is a free gift that keeps on giving to small businesses on a shoe string advertising budget. Its massive popularity and potential will give your company a fresh and viable web visibility. You put yourself out there on your time; you just have to get the timing down.

Once you’ve mastered the art of timing and Twitter, you just might find an entire new customer base clamouring for your products and services.