Why Are You Really Using Twitter?

Could Your Time Be Better Spent Elsewhere?

A question I’m often asked by small business owners is “can you show me how to use Twitter?”

My reply is “yes, but why do you want to use it?”

In this post I’ll look at some of the real reasons small business owners use Twitter and why they’re wasting their time.

Don’t get me wrong, Twitter can be a very useful tool. Since I started this blog in October 2010 it’s been my second biggest source of traffic and helped me raise my profile in the blogging community.

But is it really something all small business owners should be doing?

Here are five reasons small business owners use Twitter.

  • Because someone told me to

This is one I hear a lot. Many small business owners start using Twitter because someone told them they should. Launching a Twitter presence because you feel you should and without any idea what you’re trying to achieve can be a complete waste of your time.

  • To get more online sales

While this is a valid reason to use Twitter, unfortunately, many SMEs expect instant sales just by tweeting a blatant advert for their products or services.

  • Because my competitors are on there

Most of your competitors may be on Twitter but do you know what they’re getting out of it? It’s easy to second-guess the benefits others are getting, but the reality might be they’re spending lots of time on there without getting any return.

  • To get people following me

Why do you want people following you? It’s easy to use automated Twitter tools to amass thousands of followers, but what’s the point if only a very small percentage of them are actually interested in what you have to say?

  • Increase traffic to my website

In theory, this should be easy; you post regular tweets and people think “oh, that sounds interesting” and visit your website or company blog.

In reality, your tweets are fighting to be read amongst hundreds or thousands of others at any given time in people’s streams. You could try getting over this by tweeting every 10 minutes or so but this is a waste of time and will actually have the opposite effect and lead to fewer people clicking on your links.

The main point to take away from this post is you should have a clear and defined focus on why you want to use Twitter before you start.

If you want to use it to get social with other business owners online, that’s fine, but don’t let it distract you from the day-to-day running of your own business and making money.

What do you think? Are you using Twitter for the right reasons? Share your comments and thoughts below.