Are you getting the most out of Twitter?
The idea behind Twitter is so simple: a great way to connect with clients or customers and get your message across in just 140 characters, Twitter is at the forefront of the social media revolution.

However, although Twitter sounds simple, getting to grips with using it and then getting the most out of it can prove to be extremely confusing!

Whether you’re new to the world of Tweets and Twitter or have had an account for some time but feel that you’re not getting the most out of it, there are various things you can do to help you maximise the potential of what can be a powerful marketing tool.

The first thing to do is to fill in your Twitter profile as completely as you possibly can. Don’t try and get away with the bare minimum here: the more effort you put into this, the more success you’ll have and it’s worth bearing in mind that people (potential clients and customers) spend just three seconds deciding whether to follow someone or not. So make sure you what you write is well written.

The icon or image that you choose for your account needs to be good. Don’t use a ‘selfie’ that you’ve taken with your phone! If your business has a logo you should use it but if yours is to be a personal feed, a photo (ideally a professional photo) is the best option. Trust is important on Twitter and if you want to be trusted, respected and followed, you must include a link to your business website or blog. Without this vital link, people are unlikely to follow you.

Next we come to the potentially thorny issue of who to follow and whether to follow them back. When you start out on Twitter the temptation is to follow lots of people at random, organisations etc. However, if you connect with people you find genuinely interesting, friends, anyone connected with your field and organisations you respect, your feed will be of more interest and value to potential clients or customers. Following back is simpler: if someone follows you and you think that what they do seems interesting, following them back is a good way to find out more.

Twitter is not the place to try and sell things. When thinking about what to write about, avoid a sales message at all costs. A little occasional promotion about your services every now and then won’t hurt but that’s all it should be: occasional. Telling people a little about you is good, though, and sharing news and views is great. Finding your Twitter voice can take time so try to relax and your ‘voice’ should begin to develop.
Last and by no means least is the question of how often you should Tweet. It doesn’t have to be a daily thing but you do need to make regular appearances. Make sure you keep tabs on what other people are saying about you and if you reply, make sure it’s quickly.

Identify your Demographic

Identifying your Target Customer

Just as in life, no business can be all things to all people. As a small business it is vital that you reach specific customers and satisfy their particular needs. In order to do this you must first identify who you are customers are and understand as precisely as possible what it is they want; no mean task given that they may not know themselves!

This process doesn’t need to be overly complicated or expensive, but it is still very important. Put simply, you will need to find out everything you can about the customers whom you intend to pursue in order to give you a much better chance of capturing them and bringing them as customers to your business.


So what is a demographic? Typically this involves identifying age bands, social class, and gender in the region that you plan to target. You’ll also want to find out about income level, occupation, education, and whether your customers are more likely to be married with children, singles, or retired. To find that information, you’ll need to spend some time online and research the most recent statistical or census data on the area you wish to target.

Geographic and Lifestyle Factors

Give some thought to where and how your target customers live? Are they city dwellers who tend to walk everywhere and so foot traffic will bring them into a store or are they suburban mums who are ferrying children around in their “Mum taxi” spending most of their time in the car and wanting parking space? What is the weather like? Are people more likely to spend a lot of time outdoors, or are indoor activities more popular? Are these people careful with their money, or is it an affluent area where they are more likely to be big spenders?

According to, the answers to all of these questions will help determine what you can sell, how you should sell it, and crucially at what price.

Identify your Customer Needs

Consider all of the reasons why potential customers may purchase your product or service. For example, if you’re thinking of opening a coffee shop, stake out the area you have in mind and take note of footfall at various times of day. Do people dash in and out of shops or do they browse and hang around for longer at different times of the day. This might help you decide what you sell alongside your drinks, pastries or full meals? Now you can design and market accordingly.

Once you’ve considered the main demographic factors outlined above, you can begin to assemble a customer profile. Some people find it useful to develop an “imaginary” customer, even down to giving them a name. That way you can consult “Brian” every time you make decisions about new products or services and pricing as well as targeting your marketing!

Marketing is only useful if it is reaching the people who are interested in what you have to offer so make sure you know who they are and how to reach them.

Is social media marketing right for your business?

There’s no getting away from it: social media is here to stay. Nowadays it’s impossible to read anything connected with the world of business – whether it’s a trade magazine, newspaper, or business blog site, without some kind of call to jump on the social media bandwagon.

Social media is, undeniably, one of the most effective methods of communication we’ve seen for some time. It has to be acknowledged that it’s transformed the way we connect with each other and that it can bring lucrative results but social media isn’t always suitable for every business.

Before you embark on a social media marketing campaign, it’s important to ask yourself whether it’s right for your business. Things to consider are: are your customers the kind of people who use social media? Are other businesses or brands in a similar line of business to yours using social media? Are people using social media to talk about your area or niche market? If you can answer yes to these questions, social media could prove to be very useful to your business.

To discover whether people are talking about things that are relevant to your business, there’s no need to spend hours searching through Facebook and Twitter etc. There are lots of handy tools out there which will do the work for you and you could try using Twitter search, Google Blog Search and Google Alerts to find out what’s happening.

Creating a social media presence requires both time and energy and you’ll need to also ask yourself if there’s room in your busy schedule and sufficient resources to not only get things up and running but to also maintain a profile. Social media marketing cannot be turned on and off like a tap and it’s worth bearing in mind that social media activity needs constant care and attention to be a success. If your company is large enough for you to pass on social media marketing to one of your team, will their job description allow it? If this person is busy, do you have someone else who can step in?

Patience is also crucial and it’s important to remember that especially during the early stages, you’re unlikely to see a return on your investment. Your social media presence will require nurturing and you’ll need to invest both time and effort to get things started.

Last and by no means least, you will also need to turn your attention to your website as its quality and design are important elements in a social media presence. A fully optimised, good quality website is crucial if you’re going to direct potential clients or customers to it from your blog or social media profiles. Spend time looking at the bigger picture as this will make it much easier to integrate your social media presence with all your business activities. Knowing what you want from social media, setting clear objectives that have been tied into your overall business plan are important if you are to be sure of your social media success.


How to get the most from your marketing budget

When times are hard, for many small businesses the first expenditure to be slashed is usually their marketing budget. Whilst it can be very tempting to cut costs on marketing, reviewing the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns is likely to be a much wiser decision. Even if your marketing plan and budget is rock solid, continuous refocusing on your goals is definitely a good idea.

Knowing your customers is key and companies who instinctively know what their customers want are better able to react to changes in demand when times are hard or buying habits alter. If you’ve never done any market research, don’t panic as market research done at any time and it’s better to be late than never. One of the easiest and cheapest ways of carrying out basic market research is to ask you customers to fill in a simple survey or questionnaire. Checking out what the competition is up to is another great idea, whilst many trade associations hold information on market trends and customer spending habits.

You need to know what your existing and potential customers want, which offers they are most likely to respond to and how they know, or found out about your products or services. When armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to reassess the effectiveness of your current marketing campaigns or strategy and then make any adjustments as necessary.

A combination of market research and marketing strategy review is the best way to decide what it’s worth spending your marketing budget on. The majority of marketing activity can be measured so make sure you find out what works and then make any decision based on this information. If you’re doing anything that can’t be measured, you need to take a long, hard look at whether it’s worth it.

As the saying goes ‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch’ and it’s also true that there’s no such thing as free marketing. However, your customers can prove to be an unbeatable and most importantly, free advert. Provided your service is top-notch at all times your customers will let other potential customers know how great you are and all at no cost to you. There are countless review sites on the internet and consumers are increasingly willing to leave feedback both good and bad. Although you won’t be able to solicit what your customers are saying about you, putting both effort and time into internet marketing can be a low-cost, effective way to market your products or services.

Internet marketing is all about a return on investment though and this is something that’s generally best left to the professionals. So whether your business is professional or manufacturing websites will be important. Search engine optimisation and web design are skills which many small business owners simply don’t have and so to make your marketing budget work hard for you, the best thing you can do is study the results and ensure your customer service is second to none.