Twitter – Good or Bad for Small Business?

Social media marketing is certainly in a refining stage in 2010. The popularity of social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook has taken off within the last 12 months, especially with small business owners. The previous holiday season in 2009 proved that social media can be a great way to market products and services to the millions of Twitters and Facebookers who spend their days checking up on status updates.

Focusing specifically on Twitter, is it really a site where small businesses can make more money? Some small business owners believe so, but most do not. In fact, only about 1 in 5 small business owners use social media, as reported by a recent study performed by the University of Maryland School of Business. While Twitter is growing the numbers of new small business accounts, the pace is nonetheless trending downward.

What can be gained by creating a Twitter account for your small business? There are pros and cons. Here is a look at what you can expect with a Twitter marketing account.

PROS

  • The more followers you gain, the easier it is to stay in touch with them.
  • The viral aspect of Twitter can help your tweets gain more exposure.
  • Twitter is a great place to get feedback from your followers. Crowdsourcing through Twitter has become a powerful way to conduct market research and tailor your products and services specifically to what the masses want.
  • Creative Tweeting can help boost sales.

CONS

  • Tweeting is time-consuming. Staying on Twitter and keeping up with follower feedback can claim a large portion of every day.
  • Followers may never read your Tweets. Most people on Twitter follow so many people that there is no way to keep up with every Tweet. Yours could get lost.
  • Writing sales copy in 140 characters or less is challenging.

Do you think the naysayers are deterred? Another recent survey sponsored by FedEx called the FedEx Office Signs Of The Times 2010 shows that 36% of small business owners plan to utilize social media networks. That’s a jump from only 24% one year ago.

The survey clearly shows that while most small business owners do not currently use social media, more and more are interested and curious.

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