Why Twitter For Small Business Isn’t Dead

As a small business owner, time is your greatest resource. From admin activities to marketing your brand to actually crafting your product, you’re constantly making decisions about how to allocate your time.

In 2016, when eMarketer predicted that Twitter usage growth would drop from 8% to 2%, many business owners decided Twitter wasn’t worth their time. Of the brands that stuck around, a large percentage continue to use the post-and-ghost method, yielding little results and bolstering the rumor that Twitter for business is dead.

In reality, when used properly, Twitter is a powerful tool for creating connections, building brand awareness, and ultimately driving traffic and sales to your products. The secret to unlocking this opportunity is understanding Twitter’s fundamental appeal to its user base and recognizing how you can add value.

Tweet about t-shirt design
Tweet about “Awws” design by Michael Buxton

Reaching an influential user base

According to a recent audience study, Twitter users compared to the general online population are more open-minded, more likely to discover new things, enjoy being the first to try new things, and have significant influence within their networks both online and offline. Furthermore, nearly half the people that visit your Twitter profile will also visit your website.

In other words, the Twitter user base is a potential goldmine of customers and advocates for your brand. But to reach these users, you have to understand what Twitter is and is not.

Twitter is a forum for open, real-time conversations. 

It is not a place to constantly self-promote and plug your products.

If you want to see results, you have to engage with your audience. 

Tweet from Artist Shop owner Teenage Stepdad
Tweet from Artist Shop owner Teenage Stepdad

Finding your audience on Twitter 

Start by searching for other artists or brands in your space. Study the accounts of people that inspire you or businesses whose message resonates with you. You want to see what their customers are saying about them, how they’re engaging in conversations, and which hashtags seem to be most popular.

Hashtags are a great resource to help you find and contribute to relevant conversations. A good rule of thumb is no more than three hashtags per post, so keep a list of the hashtags that have the most activity to help you decide which are most impactful.

And of course, search for your own brand. See what past customers have tweeted, then follow, retweet, and reply. Acknowledge that they took the time to talk about your business.

If you come across any negative tweets, don’t panic! Instead, recognize this as an opportunity. Twitter naturally serves as a customer support platform, and businesses that respond to customer complaints in real-time have the chance to turn a negative customer experience into a positive one.

Bonus: others will see how you respond. Every business makes mistakes — if your audience sees that you’re committed to correcting any mistakes, they’ll be more likely to trust you. And trust is everything when you’re buying from an online business.

Nathan Pyle tweet about Strange Planet
Tweet from Nathan Pyle about his Strange Planet series

Join the conversation

Twitter isn’t simply a platform to talk about your art and products. It’s an opportunity to become a thought leader, both in your own industry and in topics that are important to you.

After all, your brand is more than what you create. It’s a reflection of you. If you’re passionate about designing t-shirts and care deeply about the environment, join conversations about conservation efforts or eco-friendly businesses. Jump in wherever you can add value and demonstrate your passions.

Twitter users are more inclined to purchase from brands that share their values, so give your audience the chance to connect with your business and designs on a deeper level than just your products. 

Threadless tweet about t-shirt design
Threadless tweet about “Exercise Your Demons” design by Michael Buxton

Remember why you do it

Twitter is about responding to more conversations than you start. It’s about recognizing your brand advocates and showing potential buyers what your brand cares about. It’s a place to showcase the values your brand stands for and truly foster a community around your business.

For a small business, every single customer makes an impact. Twitter allows you to interact with each one as a real person. It’s easy to get wrapped up in numbers like conversions or revenue. Seeing a customer tweet about how excited they were to receive your product can remind you why you love what you do.

Nathan Pyle's tweet
Nathan Pyle’s response to a tweet about his Strange Planet series

The power of Twitter for small businesses

With over 330 million monthly active users, Twitter is most certainly not dead. Nor is it about yelling into the void or spamming people with product links.

Are you looking for ways to monetize your brand online? Sign up for an Artist Shop and start promoting and growing your online business!  

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