News & Blog

26 Sep 2012
BFMD Twitter page design

Twitter tips for Mid Devon businesses

Thank you to all of you who attended our talk on ‘Using Twitter for Business’ at the September BFMD meeting, and for all the feedback since: we’re delighted that it proved useful and has inspired so many more of you to start tweeting!

Using Twitter for business is, inevitably, a wide-ranging topic - and we only scratched the surface during our presentation. To make the topic easier to digest in written form, I’ve now split our presentation into two sections: 

  • For some tips on getting started, and some general dos and don’ts on using Twitter for business, please read the previous article
  • Meanwhile, this article will focus on some ideas for how Mid Devon business operators can use Business Forum Mid Devon’s (BFMD’s) presence on Twitter to help boost their business.

BFMD’s Use of Twitter

We’ve been helping BFMD to tweet - as @BizForumMidDev - for some months now.

In Phase 1, our aim has been to:

  • Promote BFMD’s presence – on Twitter and offline (encouraging visitors to our website and events)
  • Discover and build relationships with Mid Devon businesses, or contacts of potential interest and value to Mid Devon businesses
  • Find out what Mid Devon businesses are tweeting about, what’s of interest to them
  • Let Mid Devon businesses know about business initiatives from Mid Devon District Council (MDDC)
  • Promote Mid Devon businesses to other local businesses – and other
    potential customers beyond the region
  • Boost BFMD’s search ranking (SEO).

In Phase 2, we'll also aim to:

  • Develop a closer relationship with MDDC's Economic Development team, so we can:
    • provide businesses with more timely, relevant, interesting information
    • help businesses track down the right contacts within Council, and
    • help make sure MDDC hears your business concerns and requests
  • Add more value to BFMD members: promote the activities/products and services/events of BFMD members to @BizForumMidDev's follower-base
    • As a member of the BFMD Executive Committee we're now getting involved with managing BFMD's database so, over time, we'll recognise tweeting members and will be able to give you an extra plug (even more reason to join up!)
  • Become more entertaining and valuable as a local voice, so more people will want to follow  - thereby creating a bigger pool for you to network in
  • Connect with other networking groups in the area: to further expand the networking pond and find you more business opportunities
  • Become a virtual extension of BFMD - providing a networking or discussion forum for businesses between the organisation's bi-monthly meetings
  • Group followers into industry sector and geographical lists. If any strong sub-groups emerge, we may be able to develop more specific activities to help you improve your business success
  • Above all, we want BFMD's Twitter zone to become whatever you want it to be, so we'll be encouraging suggestions and feedback.

Using @BizForumMidDev to Benefit Your Business

So how can you use BFMD’s Twitter presence to your advantage? How can you help us to help you?

Start tweeting

  • Twitter provides easy step-by-step start-up tips, here
  • Don’t forget to develop a Twitter strategy: know what you want to achieve and consider how our aims and activities might marry with yours.

Follow

  • Follow us – and we’ll follow back
  • Follow our follower/following list – these are businesses already interested in/of interest to BFMD so could well be of interest/use to you, too
  • Follow publications and directories you want to be in
  • Search people of interest to your business/use the ‘# Discover’ function: use key terms of interest to you, such as your industry sector, your local town or your key products/services
  • ‘Listen’ to our Twitter conversations: learn what we’re discussing with our followers, and what they’re finding interesting – then, when you have something to contribute, join the conversation.

Promote your presence

  • Tell your friends and business contacts, particularly in Mid Devon. The more people who follow @BizForumMidDev on Twitter, the larger a networking base we’ll all have
  • Promote your Twitter address (‘handle’) - include it in your email signature, on your business card, on your company website, and/or at the end of your blog/FB posts, add it to the bottom of letters/invoices/quotes, even put a sign in your reception, etc.
  • If you’re a member, make sure you add your Twitter handle to your profile in the Directory on BFMD’s website. (An email has recently been issued to members explaining how to do this: let us know if you didn’t receive it)
  • Use hashtags - # - in your tweets to flag your areas of interest or associate
    your business with a theme/topic, so you’re more likely to be found by contacts of interest to you. To attract the attention of BFMD’s followers, you could try ‘#BFMD’ or ‘#MidDevon’. 

Promote your activities

  • Don’t make the mistake of thinking that because you tweet about your activities/upcoming events/sales/new products/etc, and because we follow you, that we will automatically see your promo tweets. We have several thousand very active followers on our various accounts, so it’s up to you to make your tweets stand out. Two easy ways to do this are:
    • Members: make sure you’ve added your events to the BFMD website - we’ll be checking this page regularly and will tweet links to it. So, if your event is there, chances are it’ll be promo-tweeted by us
    • DM (Direct-message) us or ‘@mention’ us when you’ve got an event/news/a new blog to promote, and we’ll RT (retweet) it. (Waiver: we’ll be unashamedly retweeting members’ tweets more, and we won’t overly RT one organisation)
  • If BFMD retweets you, do thank @BizForumMidDev publicly
    • This allows you to repeat the key facts to all your followers, eg ‘@BizForumMidDev tx for RT about our fundraising event in Mid Devon on 30 Sept (wxyz.com)’
    • Then, we might even tweet a response such as: ‘No worries. Looks like a good event on in Mid Devon on 30 Sept xyz.com’ – which reiterates the news to our followers once again.

Engage with us

  • Remember the ‘social’ element of ‘social media’: don’t simply plug your wares to BFMD all the time. Twitter is a conversation; the process is ‘give to get’.
    • Engage, be humorous, be visual (use the photo/video link features on Twitter). This will all make you more memorable, which means your future tweets are more likely to be noticed, retweeted, etc
  • Retweet us – then we’ll thank you publicly and that gets your name out there again (waiver – we’ll only do this now and then: we won’t bore our followers!)
  • Be helpful – ‘@mention’ us to make sure we see any news of benefit to members/Mid Devon businesses, eg funding schemes, new networking groups, business opportunities, etc
  • Be proactive: tell us what information/activities would be useful to you.

So, what are you waiting for? Come and ‘join our conversation’ @BizForumMidDev and @LathwellAssoc.

Thank you for listening. We look forward to tweeting with you!

Tags: Business, Devon, SEO, Social media, Twitter