co Do You Twitter? Micro-Blogging for Small Business – Important Tool or Foolish Waste of Time? |

I’ll be the first to admit that when I first heard about Twitter I was quick to judge it as the latter – nothing but a waste of time. Thanks to Douglas Karr over at The Marketing Technology Blog for opening my eyes to the possibilities!

In his post, “Why aren’t Marketers running to Jaiku?” he makes a great case for the inherent marketing benefits micro-blogging has to offer the small business owner.

While Twitter and Jaiku differ as far as interface and actual use, they are both micro-blogging sites. Twitter asks the question, “what are you doing right now?” – offering a minute-by-minute update from your friends and family members who are Twitter-savvy. You don’t have to be a Tweeter to read Twitter posts – you’ll see them on websites and blogs all over the Internet and you can read what people are up to in that way.

If you’re like me, you’re thinking that nothing you do at any point in the day is THAT interesting that it deserves publishing (“I’m reading my e-mail” is not exactly that riveting OR something that I think my network of friends and relatives need to be kept up to date on). That being said, from a marketing standpoint Twitter and other micro-blogging sites have huge potential.

Twitter is not a strategy. Like any other marketing tactic, when used as a part of an integrated marketing campaign with other mediums, micro-blogging can offer a unique, new way to get your message as a small business owner in front of your local customers and prospects.

Think about the opportunity to post your Twitter updates to your blog or your website – and instead of posting what you are doing “right now” post what specials you are running “right now”.

For instance, one of my clients runs a wellness studio where she offers pilates and yoga classes. If she were to install Twitter on her website, it would be simple for her to quickly post updates as to class availability for this afternoon, a massage appointment time slot that has just opened up where you can get a 10% discount for booking now, or special discounts on the nutritional products she sells.

Thinking about Twitter as a sales tool is one thing – but an additional benefit is the fact that as my client’s customers became accustomed to discovering special offers via Twitter, it will drive targeted traffic to her website on an ongoing basis and work to build a community with her clients as they also get on the Twitter bandwagon.

I’m the first to admit when I’m wrong – and I definitely mis-judged Twitter — it offers endless possibilities for marketing your local small business when used in conjunction with an integrated marketing campaign.

Check it out at Twitter

Caroline Melberg
Small Business Mavericks
Melberg Marketing