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March for Indies: 10 ways to boost sales and business through Twitter

Published:  25 February, 2015

Twittter is no longer just a way to communicate, keep in touch and build your audience, it can also really help to drive sales and bring new and existing customers to your business.

Here social media consultant Bernadette Costello of Costello Media sets out 10 ways you can drive your business through social media and Twitter in particular.

Twitter can help drive your business Twitter can help drive your business

1. Check your Twitter bio

Does your Twitter bio contain keywords relevant to your company? If not it may need a rewrite. Bios containing keywords about your business and its location will also be useful for SEO purposes. You should also include your company location in your profile and check that the link to your website still works.

Does your Twitter profile look professional, colourful and attractive? If it looks too basic it could be turning people away because it doesn't look used, so think about ways to improve it or ask a professional to design you a new-look Twitter page.

2. Follow the leaders

Are you following all the key wine industry writers, presenters and opinion formers? If in doubt who to follow, take a look at those following @HarpersWine because anyone who's worth anything in this industry is following Harpers. Also mention the Twitter handles of industry leaders in some of your tweets and you'll get their attention to engage them in conversations. Several independents are doing this already and find their customers also respond. So why not join in or start your own discussion about an industry topic, or give your opinion about new vintages etc.

3. Remember the retweet button

If you find a tweet is relevant, interesting or educational to your readers, retweet it. This is also a great way to show your suppliers what matters to you. It could be an important industry news story or educational piece, or even a poignant picture.

One example is to urge suppliers to sign up to Harpers' Best Practice Guidelines - why not do this on Twitter?

Sharing useful information by retweeting also offers value to your followers at no cost to you. And in these fickle days of consumer loyalty, you'll also ensure they keep following you.

4. Don't over promote yourself

Tempting as it is to shout about your business every day of the week, make sure that whoever is doing your tweets doesn't over promote you. Your followers will soon turn off if they are inundated by tweets about your amazing rollback prices or bonanza discounts. It's great if you can create tweets that include links back to your website to drive traffic, but be aware it's not too many.

It's best to encourage others to shout about your business for you. You could ask customers and your friends on Twitter to include links back to your website in their tweets. You can also monitor any tweets you have written that got retweets - if those worked then send out similar tweets in the future.

There are always Twitter accounts for local radio, local newspapers and local mums groups etc. Why not send them a tweet and ask them to retweet it. It's all free PR for you.

5. Join in with hashtags

One role of the hashtag is to collate all the discussions about a particular subject so that anyone searching for this topic can gauge what's being said. So remember to include a hashtag before your keywords in tweets (no more than two per tweet) but also remember to search for conversations using the helpful hashtag and join in with your own opinion. One of the best things you can hashtag as an indie is the name of the area where your business operates so that anyone searching for this term picks up your tweet and pops by your store.

6. Use photo tagging

Twitter has copied Facebook and enabled users to tag each other in photos and this could be great to engage your followers. So remind your customers what a great night they had at a recent wine tasting by collecting all their Twitter names and tagging them in photos on Twitter.

You can upload four pics at a time on Twitter so remember to use this fun and useful tagging tool to get interactive with your followers.

7. To advertise or not to advertise?

It might cost you but many small businesses are now testing to see if promoted Tweets actually work. If you're looking for a way to increase your fan base or to direct more people to your website it could be an idea to pay for this service. Your tweet could contain a direct link to a particular product, a sales page or an email sign-up form. But remember to fix your budget when you set it up or it could cost you a fortune.

8. Keep variety in your tweets

It's useful to tweet about your 'wine of the month' or your great discounts in-store but here are some other ways to vary your tweets. Start a discussion about an industry topic, join in a conversation, tweet about an upcoming tasting, post a photo, joke, video or a quote.

Tweet a tasting note, pose a question, post an educational article relevant to your industry, retweet a useful piece of news, direct a relevant tweet towards a big name in the industry, include a link back to your website or blog and finally thank people for retweeting you.

9. Tweet at weekends

Some of the best times to tweet are between 10am-2pm as this is when the highest number of users are active on Twitter. But if you're sitting down to the Six Nations over the next couple of weekends then chances are your customers are, too. So if you've got nothing better to do while you're waiting for the game to start then why not write a few tweets?

10. Stay close to your rivals

You're probably already gaining followers by tweeting engaging content but also check the Twitter profiles of your competitors to see what they're tweeting about as it will give you ideas for your own tweets. You could also increase your numbers by seeing who's following your rivals' Twitter account and then follow them. You never know, they might also be interested in what you have to say and the great products you have on offer.

Bernadette Costello specialises in writing social media content and producing short HD films for websites and social media campaigns.

Twitter: @bee_costello