Some people are entrepreneurial by nature. They love to schmooze, they know how to make deals, and one-on-one networking comes easily to them. Whether they work for themselves or operate a business of 100 employees, for these people, promoting their companies is as natural as breathing.
For many small businesses, though, especially startups, it’s quite the opposite. The entrepreneur went into business for himself because he loves to write software, or he is passionate about making pottery. Marketing and PR are immodest or awkward, accounting is confusing, and any time spent on activities that don’t involve programming or clay is just, well, wrong.
Even if they’re perfectly willing to do marketing, many solo shops and small businesses aren’t very good at self-promotion. These same people can speak passionately about their area of expertise (in fact, it’s hard to get them to shut up), but marketing? They go silent. They have no idea what to say in order to sell their products and services, so they resort to “Buy my stuff!” or “Look at our great deals!”
And Then Came Twitter
This is one reason that Twitter is such a boon to small businesses. You don’t need to be a marketing genius. Twitter lets you be yourself. Tweet about the things that matter to you, to your customers and to your industry… just as you would (and probably do) talk with other people who share the same passions you do. If, every so often (perhaps 1 in 10 Tweets), you say something actively self-promotion, it works.
Consumers using Twitter might use it to opine about sports or the latest TV show, which are personal passions. If you run or market a small business, then we trust you are crazy about what you do, whether it’s pool care or high-tech seeds. All you need to do is share those passions and your target customers will respond to them, and to you.
For example, Latham Hi-Tech Seeds (@LathamSeeds) absolutely is marketing in these two Tweets:
- @LathamSeeds In 12 short hours, I’ll be helping set up 4 Franklin Country IA’s inaugural #harvesttour. Looking forward 2 star gazing tonight w/ my family!
- @LathamSeeds Effective rootworm mgt may include insecticides, crop rotation & planting hybrids w/ multiple traits for RW resistance: bit.ly/qUBjHZ
The first Tweet shows that the family-owned, independent seed company is active in its community, and is run by real people (who apparently like stargazing). The second Tweet, which links to a blog post about agricultural issues, demonstrates that they know about raising crops.
If you’re in their target audience, you can only be impressed.
Successful Twitter marketing has more to do with being yourself than following a 12-step Twitter marking plan.