Here’s something to tweet about: small-business owners are looking at Twitter to increase sales and reach out to customers. The New York Times writes some small businesses use the digital word-of-mouth site as their sole marketing tool. That’s not surprising; the Web site’s free access and flexibility makes it easy for small-business owners to maintain.
Anita Campbell at Small Business Trends compiled a list of Twitter users who tweet small business issues. Once you set up an account, you can start following these people and organizations who regularly post information by, about and for small businesses.
The New York Times also posted a guide to developing an online reputation:
-Set up automatic alerts to notify you when your business is mentioned in a review or blog.
-Local search sites are the new Yellow Pages – make sure your business is listed. The more complete your listing, the more likely you are to get good search results.
-Respond to reviews to show readers that you are listening and that you care about customer service.
-Online reviews are a gold mine of business intelligence. Analyze metrics to get a better sense of your customer demographics.
-Don’t write false reviews to puff your business or trash a competitor. You can severely damage your reputation…and look really silly.
Tips from Yelp on responding to positive or negative reviews.
A guide to Web tools to track your online reputation.
Not sure what to do next? Start by setting up a Twitter account. Create a name that reflects your business. Keep it casual: write your updates like you’d say them to give your customers a feel for the business. Start following other small-business owners and regular customers and watch your popularity grow.